Program Extension

F-1 students who do not complete their program of study by the expiration date on their I-20 must apply for a program extension before the I-20 expiration date. Failure to extend your stay could jeopardize your legal status and require that you depart the U.S. or file with USCIS for reinstatement of your student status.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: PhD and Master’s Students

PhD students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences who have not completed the dissertation by the end of the sixth year of study may request a period of extended registration from the Graduate School. In rarer circumstances, Master’s students may apply for an extended period of stay based on the length of their program.

  • Obtain academic approval of the extension from your program.  Full instructions on the extended registration can be found in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Policies and Regulations.
  • Upon approval, the student will receive a letter from the Graduate School approving the extension.
  • Visit OISS during open hours to submit approval letter and evidence of funding per current budget to OISS.
  • OISS will review and extend the student’s I-20 and F-1 status as appropriate.  An extension does not result in an automatic extension of your F-1 visa.  You will need to get a new F-1 visa stamp the first time to travel outside the U.S.
  • OISS will contact you when the new document is ready.

Yale College and Professional School Students

  • Meet with your academic adviser or dean to discuss the extension. 
  • Your adviser or Dean should complete and sign the recommendation form [PDF] and forward to OISS
  • Gather evidence of funds - the amount of financial support required must be sufficient to cover tuition, fees, and living expenses for the first year of the extended period.  If the extended period is just for one semester, only one semester’s funding evidence will be required.  This budget amount will vary based on your program of study.
  • Visit OISS during open hours and ask to meet with a student adviser to submit final extension approval letter and evidence of sufficient funds to OISS.  
  • An OISS adviser will review your request. If there are questions, you will be contacted via email.
  • OISS will issue a new I-20 to reflect the end date of the approved extended period and the new funding.  You should keep this I-20 along with any previously issued I-20s for your records.

Please note: The extension procedure will extend your I-20 but not your visa stamp. If you have an expired visa stamp in your passport, you are permitted to remain in the U.S. with a valid I-20. However, the next time you travel out of the U.S., you need to apply for a new F-1 visa to re-enter the country.