For students who will require additional time beyond the current expected program completion date listed on their Certificate of Eligibility Document (Form I-20 for F-1 visa holders, or Form DS-2019 for J-1 visa holders), it is possible to request a Program Extension of their Certificate of Eligibility if the reason for the additional time is due to a valid academic or medical reason.
The new Certificate of Eligibility Document (Form I-20 or Form DS-2019), to Extend the program completion date, must be issued before the current Form I-20/Form DS-2019 completion date. The ISO recommends that students request the Program Extension at least 15 days prior to current program completion date.
Failure to timely extend your visa document may result in you falling out of legal visa status and losing eligibility for off-campus employment authorization (including F-1 Curricular Practical Training, F-1 Optional Practical Training, & J-1 Academic Training).
In order to request the Program Extension of Form I-20/Form DS-2019, students must complete the following:
- In iMIT, request a new Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (under “F-1 Student Services” or “J-1 Student Services”, then select “Extension of Form I-20″ or “Extension of Form DS-2019” and complete the eform and required documentation).
- A letter from your academic department administrator or academic advisor must include ALL of the following information:
a) student’s current degree program,
b) start date of student’s degree program of study (month and year)
c) confirm student is in good academic standing,
d) the specific reason(s) why the student was unable to complete their degree by the current expected program end date and why additional time is needed to complete the degree program
(examples: change/addition of new major field of study; change in research topic; change in thesis advisor; unexpected research delays; unexpected delays in completing the writing of/defense of thesis; etc.)
e) new expected date of completion of degree.
The letter must be issued on department letterhead and signed.
NOTE: Reason for delay in completion of degree must be an academic or documented medical reason in order to qualify for an Extension (per USDHS regulations).
- Proof of financial support for the extended period of stay.
For students with funding from MIT, current MIT financial documentation must be confirmed either on the above department letter or a separate funding letter on department letterhead and signed. Documentation for assistantships/fellowships must include confirmation of the additional funding being provided and the duration of funding (e.g. 9 months, 12 months, etc.) for the additional period of extension being requested (include the dates or terms that the funding will be provided.
If MIT funding will not meet full tuition/fees/health insurance and living expenses for the Extension period, additional funding documentation (personal bank statement, letter of support and financial statement from a sponsor) must be provided. A combination of funding sources is acceptable. Guidance concerning financial documentation requirements is available on the ISO website.
If any questions arise, please be sure to contact your ISO Advisor.
Please note that after submission of your Form I-20/Form DS-2019 Request with all supporting documentation, it will take the ISO approximately 10 business days to process the new visa document. You are strongly advised to submit the Program Extension request at least 15 days prior to the expiration date of your current Form I-20/Form DS-2019.
Important note: A Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 Extension does NOT automatically extend the entry visa in your passport (issued by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad). If a student will be traveling outside the U.S. after receiving the new Form I-20/Form DS-2019, and the F-1 or J-1 entry visa in the passport will be expired before the planned date of re-entry to the U.S., students will need to plan to apply for a new entry visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate while abroad.