F-1 students attending degree or certificate-granting programs offered by the University of Hartford are expected by the USCIS to complete their programs within a reasonable period of time. F-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 students are issued an I-20 AB 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 form. The ending date given on the I-20 form generally allows sufficient time to complete a program for virtually all students.
F-1 students who are unable to meet the program completion date stated on the I-20 AB
form 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 their I-20 form, 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.
Students are advised to make note of the program completion date stated on their I-20 form. 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 your I-20 form. The following documentation must be submitted to the International Center for approval and notification to the USCIS:
A letter from the student explaining why an extension of stay is required.
A completed Faculty Advisor Extension Request Form explaining the need for an extension of stay
A photocopy of your I-94 Form (Arrival Record).
The International Center will process the request for extension and issue a new I-20 form that notes the approval. The SEVIS system will notify the USCIS if the extension of stay is approved. 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.