A student who is unable to complete the doctoral program by the expiration date listed on the immigration document must request an immigration extension to continue the doctoral program in the United States. If the student has also exhausted all time to degree for the academic program, he or she must first receive approval for an academic extension. Subsequently, the student must submit a Program Extension Request Form and a letter confirming the need for an immigration extension (from the Laney Graduate School, if the extension is academic in nature; from both a medical professional and LGS, if the extension is for medical reasons).
The student must also submit a statement (on letterhead, with a signature) from LGS regarding the current costs associated with the extension and financial documentation that meets or exceeds this estimate. Once an International Student Advisor receives the financial estimate, financial documentation and the required letter(s), he or she will consider the immigration extension request. Please note: All steps in the process must be complete prior to the end date on Form I-20 or DS-2019. The new immigration document will list an end date that coincides with the appropriate academic semester, for a maximum period of one year, depending on the length of time specified in the LGS letter.
Special note for J-1 Students
Unlike F-1 students, who are immediately granted an immigration document for the length of the academic program, J-1 students may only receive time on the DS-2019 Form that corresponds to the amount of funding they can provide at the time the document is issued. Therefore, J-1 students may need to request multiple extensions of the DS-2019 Form as they secure funding. These purely financial extensions do NOT require documentation of an academic extension when they occur during the normal time to degree.