F-1 and J-1 students attending degree- or certificate-granting programs offered by the University of Hartford are expected by the USCIS to complete their studies within a reasonable period of time. F-1 and J-1 students are admitted into the United States for "Duration of Status" (see: note below). Therefore, they are generally not required to apply for an extension of stay as long as they are making normal progress toward completing their educational objectives.
Upon acceptance to the University, F-1 and J-1 students are issued an I-20 or DSP 2019 form that states the anticipated completion date of their intended program of study. The International Center has calculated the typical time it will take for a student to reasonably complete a specific degree or certificate program and has noted that on a student's I-20 or DSP 2019. The ending date given on either form generally allows sufficient time to complete a program for virtually all students.
F-1 and J-1 students who are unable to meet the program completion date stated on their I-20 or DSP 2019 may under certain conditions, be granted an extension of stay by the USCIS to complete their program of study.
To file for an extension of stay, students must show that they have continually maintained full-time student status and that the delays are caused by "compelling" academic or medical reasons, such as changes of major or research topics, unexpected research problems, or documented illnesses. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for a program extension and the USCIS may deny an extension request on those grounds.
An F-1 student who is unable to complete an educational program within the time period stated on the I-20 or DSP 2019 and who does not have a "compelling" academic or medical reason to justify the extension, is considered to be "out of student status" by the USCIS. A student in this situation is required to seek "reinstatement" to student status through the USCIS (see: "Reinstatement to Student Status").
Students are advised to make note of the program completion date stated on their I-20 or DSP 2019. Should that date expire and they have not yet completed their course of study, they must seek an extension of their stay or “reinstatement” to their F-1 student status through the International Center. An extension of stay request must be completed prior to the date of completion stated on the I-20 or DSP 2019 form. The following documentation must be submitted to the International Center for approval and notification to the USCIS.
1. A letter from the student explaining why an extension of stay is required
2. A letter from a faculty advisor explaining the need for an extension of stay
3. I-20 or DSP 2019
4. A photocopy of your I-94 form (Arrival Record).
The International Center will process the request for extension and issue a new I-20 or DSP 2019 that notates the approval. The USCIS will be notified of the student's approval for an extension of stay through the SEVIS system.
An extension of stay request will be considered approved by the USCIS so long as the International Center certifies that the student has met the service's requirements.
Duration of Status is defined as the time during which an F-1 student is pursuing a full course of study at an educational institution approved by the USCIS for attendance by foreign students, or engaging in authorized practical training following completion of studies, plus 60 days to prepare for departure from the United States.