Extension Procedures

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Extension Procedures | CGPS | University of Delaware

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Extension Procedures

I-20s and DS-2019s are issued for set lengths of time, based on our University's I-17 which stipulates the projected program length for each level of study. Sometimes, students require more time to complete the program, most commonly in cases where students are working on comprehensive papers or research, such as a thesis or dissertation.

If you require an extension to your I-20 or DS-2019, CGPS can help you. You must complete the I-20/DS-2019 extension request form online. This application will also require approval from your academic advisor explaining why the extension is necessary. If you are found eligible, CGPS will issue you a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a new end date.

Click on an item below for more details.


Only CGPS can determine if you are eligible for an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019. You are required to provide supporting documents to substantiate your request. For general reference, you may be eligible for an extension if you meet all of these conditions:


  • You apply at least one week prior to the expiration of your current I-20 or DS-2019 (the earlier the better).

  • Your advisor has approved your request detailing why, in your specific case, the extension is necessary and stated your anticipated completion date.

  • Your graduation date has been extended in UDSIS.

  • Your inability to complete the program in the projected time was not a result of disciplinary action or probation.


Please note that, if approved, extensions can be granted for a semester or session, up to a maximum of one year. If additional time is needed to complete the degree, you will need to submit new documentation to support your request.


Complete the online extension form. You must be prepared to electronically upload the following as you complete the form:

  • Your current financial support documents (bank statement or department funding letter).

  • Approval from your academic advisor certifying that your delay in completion is a result of compelling medical or academic reasons, such as a change of major, unexpected research problems, or documented illness.

Only completed applications will be processed.

The decision to grant an extension is based on the application you submit, your department's recommendation at the time of request, your expected graduation date in UDSIS, the amount of funding you provide, and the extension is typically granted for a maximum of up to one year at a time. If you require additional time, you must submit a new, completed application with new, original funding documents, as well as new approval from your academic advisor that explains why you need more time. This authorization is required to prove that you have been making adequate progress toward your degree conferral.

Please remember that failure to make adequate progress toward your degree conferral, including failure to make progress on your dissertation or thesis, is considered a direct violation of your visa status, and will make you immediately subject to termination of your SEVIS status.

The end of the semester is generally a busy "extension season", so we will process your extension as quickly as possible. We give every application equal, individual attention, and we appreciate your patience. Most requests take between 1-2 weeks. As long as you submit the completed application at least one week prior to your expiration date and there are no issues, we guarantee that it will be processed before your document expires.

The advisor’s approval or recommendation is a new requirement and part of the extension process. The government relies on CGPS to report data about students and their progress, including requests for extensions and other updates. The University's I-17 is a government document that outlines the programs for which we are certified to issue I-20s, and the average length of time it takes to complete the program. If we request an extension past the anticipated end date, we must explain the reason for the request in detail. Because we are not the experts in the student's academic progress, we need your help to substantiate these requests.

The recommendation does not have to be very long, but it should contain details about the student's program, the reason for the delay, and the anticipated end date. Here are some guidelines to remember:

  • The reason for the extension must stem from academic or medical issues that have caused a delay in the program completion. For example:
    • Documented medical illness
    • Change of major
    • Unexpected research problems
  • Students should not be recommended for an extension of stay if they are simply waiting to find a job or want to continue working as a TA or RA. Intentionally or unintentionally failing to make normal progress toward the degree completion (including postponing or simply not scheduling a defense when a dissertation is complete or nearly complete) is a direct violation of status.

  • Remember that you are the expert regarding the student's program! If ICE, the FBI, or any other governmental organizations audit our files, you may be contacted to support your student's request. For this reason, we encourage you to only recommend students who have documented reasons for the delay in program. We further suggest that you encourage students to make continuous adequate progress toward degree completion.


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ISSS Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is provided as a service to international students, faculty, staff, employees, and administrators at the University of Delaware, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of official counsel. For assistance on your immigration status, we encourage you to contact an ISS advisor for specific guidance at oiss@udel.edu.