Program Extension


F-1 and J-1 students may apply for an extension of  their status if they  have not completed their program of study by their current I-20 expiration date. Approval of extension requests is at the discretion of the ISSSO advisors. In order to preserve the integrity of Kennesaw State University federal certification to enroll F-1 students, the ISSSO may deny extension requests that do not meet the criteria below.

  • F-1 students who are eligible for an extension of program/status must meet the following criteria:

    • Students who are eligible must submit all documents for an extension request at least one month prior to his or her I-20 expiration date. The I-20 expiration date is listed on the I-20.
    • The student has continually maintained and is currently maintaining F-1 status. More information on maintaining F-1 status.
    • The delay in completion of studies is caused by compelling, substantive academic or medical reasons. Such reasons may include changes of major or thesis/dissertation topic, unexpected research problems, or a documented medical illness. Delays caused by poor grades or academic probation or suspension are not valid reasons for program extension.
    • The student is making normal academic progress towards the degree objective listed on the Form I-20. Normal progress is the rate at which the average full-time student in the program of study completes the program requirements.
  • F-1 students are not in lawful status if their Form I-20 expires.

    It is your responsibility to be familiar with the information on your I-20 at all times, including its expiration date.  If you will not complete your degree program before the current expiration date on your I-20, you must:

    • Request an I-20 extension BEFORE it expires.
    • Review the Extension of F-1 Program Policy for more details before applying for an extension.
    • After your I-20 expires, you can no longer request an extension. You will have to apply for reinstatement.

    How to apply for an I-20 Extension

    • Log into iStart, navigate to F-1 Student Services, and complete the I-20 Extension Request e-form. The e-form will collect the following information:
      • Financial documentation proving sufficient funding for full-time study for the recommended period of extension or one year, whichever is shorter. Financial documentation is generally a bank statement and a sponsor form. If you are receiving a tuition waiver, scholarship, stipend or other financial support from KSU, provide an updated letter of financial support from your academic department, along with the updated bank statements. Note that tuition and fees are subject to annual increases. Be sure to contact the ISSSO to confirm how much financial support you should document.
      • Information from your academic advisor explaining the reason you will need additional time to complete the program requirements and the expected semester of graduation.

    Please Note: Submitting the I-20 Extension request does not guarantee approval of the request. There must be compelling academic or medical reasons in order to be eligible for an extension.

    Next Steps

    • The ISSSO advisor will review your request within 3-5 business days and notify you by email of a decision or follow up information needed, if required.
    • If you are not eligible for an extension you will unfortunately not be able to continue your F-1 status at Kennesaw State University. If that is the case, an advisor in the ISSSO will meet with you to discuss your options.
  • The ISSSO may extend a student’s F-1 status in accordance with the recommendation provided by the student’s academic advisor. For example, if the academic advisor indicates that a student only has one semester of program requirements remaining, the ISSSO will only extend for one semester. The end date of the extended I-20 will coincide with the last day of finals of the semester in which the extension period will end.

  • Pending student eligibility and the ISSSO approval, second and subsequent extension requests will be granted in one-semester increments only.
  • If a student completes his degree program prior to the new, extended I-20 end date, the student’s F-1 status and I-20 will be shortened to reflect the earlier date of program completion. For example, if a student is granted an extension through the Fall 2020 semester but completes his degree in Spring 2020, the student’s I-20 end date will be shortened to the end of the Spring 2020 semester.