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If you are not able to finish your degree program by the end date noted on your I-20 or DS 2019, you can request an extension of your program. The length of time allowed for an extension is based on the recommendation of your academic adviser. J-1 sponsored students may need additional approval from their sponsor prior to being able to extend their stay in the U.S.
An extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 must be completed before the end date of the document. If your I-20 or DS-2019 expires while you are still a student, you will be considered in violation of your status.
If an exchange visitor must have an extension of stay to complete the program for which he or she was admitted to the US, a request for a program extension must be filed with his or her program sponsor prior to the expiration date on the DS-2019. Extension periods vary depending on the category of exchange visitor.