What is a Program Extension? Who needs it?

International students have either an I-20 or DS-2019 which will expire.

See the ‘Program End Date’ on the I-20 to know when it expires. On the DS-2019, see the ‘Form Covers Period’ box. Example images below.

A Program Extension is for those who need more time to complete their program of study.

If a student’s I-20 or DS-2019 expires before they graduate, the student loses their F-1 or J-1 status.

Will you finish your studies before the I-20/DS-2019 expires? If so, you don’t need a Program Extension.

Student Tips & Warnings

  • You must submit your Extension request at least two weeks before the end date on your current I-20/DS-2019. Please do this even if you do not yet have all the necessary materials.
  • It’s best to request your Extension at least 30 days before your current I-20/DS-2019 expires
  • To be eligible for an Extension, you must be maintaining your F-1/J-1 status.

General Process & Timeline

You will complete and gather some documents. Your academic advisor will need to write a letter of support.

Then you will email the set of documents to us.

Then we will send you a confirmation email within a business day. Our process may take 7-10 business days to complete.

How to Request a Program Extension

The Program Extension Request must include four documents:

  1. Program Extension Request PDF Form
  2. Letter from academic advisor
  3. Signed financial certification form
  4. Proof of financial support (see our estimated expenses)

When you have completed those four documents, email the set to isss@colostate.edu.

Detailed Student Instructions

  1. Complete Page 1 and Page 2 of the Program Extension Request PDF Form.
  2. Contact your Academic Advisor
    1. Provide them with pg 3 of the Program Extension Request PDF Form.
    2. Request a letter of support that meets the parameters of that document.
  3. Gather proof of funding for the length of the extension
  4. Email the complete packet to isss@colostate.edu.

Academic Advisor Instructions

This information is also on Page 3 of the Program Extension Request PDF Form.

Program Extension requests must include a supportive letter from the academic advisor.

A supportive letter must contain the following information:

  • The student is making normal progress toward completing the degree
  • The legitimate reasons for the delay
  • The new anticipated date of completion

Examples of possible reasons a student might need a program extension:

  • Student ran into unexpected delays with thesis/dissertation research
  • Student changed research topics
  • Student added a second major or a minor that resulted in more required coursework
  • Student had a documented illness

Do you support a Program Extension? If so, please provide this letter to the student upon their request.

Suggested Format for Academic Advisor Letter

Department Letterhead


This letter is to request an extension of (Student Name)’s immigration document.

I am (Student)’s academic advisor and can confirm that they are making normal progress toward completion of the academic program.

The student needs a Program Extension because (list legitimate reason for the delay here).

We expect the student to complete all program requirements in (Semester YYYY).

Please extend this student’s immigration document to (month/day/year.)

Name of Academic Advisor