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Extend M-1 Student

Last updated 25-Jan-2018

General Information

Occasionally, M-1 students cannot complete their program by the program end date in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). An M-1 student may request a program extension up to three years (plus a 30-day departure grace period) from the program start date if the:

  • Student is maintaining M-1 status.
  • Student has/had a compelling educational or medical reason that delayed the course of study. (Academic probation or suspension are not compelling reasons.)
  • Student is able to maintain M-1 status for the duration of the requested M-1 extension.
  • Designated school official (DSO) requests the extension in SEVIS no more than 60 days and no fewer than 15 days before the current program end date.
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the full M-1 extension application no more than 60 days and no fewer than 15 days before the SEVIS program end date.

Note: This guide and process do not affect school policy or school-owned records.

Important Points

It is important to remember:

  • The M-1’s program of study may not exceed three years from the student’s original program start date.
  • The 3-year maximum extension limit includes extensions that were granted due to a drop below a full course of study, a transfer of school, or a reinstatement to lawful status.
  • Extension process differs between F-1 and M-1 students.
  • M-1 students must work with their designated school officials (DSOs) to begin the extension process.
  • The SEVIS M-1 extension function is only available to the DSO between 60 days and 15 days before the student’s SEVIS program end date.
  • If a student misses the extension window, other options include:
    • Applying for a reinstatement.
    • Departing the United States and reenter with a new M-1 Form I-20 and SEVIS record.
  • An M-1 extension may be requested for no more than one year-at-a-time beyond the current end date.
  • The M-1’s program of study may not exceed three years from the student’s original program start date.
  • The SEVIS M-1 extension function requests an extension for all related M-2 dependents with the primary M-1 students.
  • M-1 and any accompanying M-2 extensions must be approved by USCIS.
  • M-1 students must include M-2 dependent extension requests on the Form I‑539 for the USCIS application.
  • USCIS will deny any M-1 extension application received more than 60 days before and/or fewer than 15 days before the current program end date.

Best Practices

  • Before you start, it is helpful to have the following student information for the M-1 extension:
    • Documentation from the student’s advisor/instructor explaining the academically-based extension requests.
    • Documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist explaining the medically-based extension requests.
    • Current financial documentation showing the student has enough funding to pay tuition and living expenses for herself and any dependents for the duration of the M-1 extension.

Before printing the new extension Certification of Eligibility (COE) Form I-20, it is best to update the student’s financial information in SEVIS. (See Update Financial Information in the SEVIS Help Hub.)

M-1 Extension Process Overview and Players

Step Player/s Action
1 Student

Notifies DSO of need to extend program.

Note: It is good practice for the DSO to request:

  • Written program extension request from the student to document the date of the request.
  • Letter from student’s doctor and/or academic adviser explaining the reason and length of the needed extension.
  • Current financial documents from the student showing ability to support self and any dependents for duration of the extension.
2 DSO DSO requests extension in SEVIS between 60 and 15 days before the current SEVIS program end date. The extensions can only be done one year at a time.
3 Student
  • Submits a complete I-539 program extension application to USCIS. It must arrive between 60 and 15 days before the SEVIS program end date.
  • Enrolls in a full course of study for next session.
4 USCIS

USCIS either approves or denies the M-1 extension application and notifies the:

  • Student by mailing a Form I-797 Approval or Denial document. The Form I-797 includes an I-94 document with the student’s last day of legal M-1 status.
  • DSO by changing the M-1 application status in SEVIS to Denied.
5 Student
  • If USCIS denies the extension, the student may continue the program to the current program end date. If the student has not completed the program of study, the student is not eligible for the post-completion practical training. The student must request a reinstatement, change nonimmigrant status, or depart the United States.
  • If USCIS approves the extension, the student must continue the program in a full course of study until the new program end date.

 

Request M-1 Extension in SEVIS

To extend an M-1 student’s program:

1. Navigate to the Student Information page.

2. Click Extend Program. The Extend Program page opens.

The Extend Program button only appears on the Student Information page between the 60th and 15th days before the student’s program end date.

3. Enter:

  • New Program End Date
  • Explanation of the medical or academic need for the extension.

Note: This field is limited to 1000 characters.

DSOs may request the time needed to complete the program plus the 30‑day grace period. However, the total extension, including the grace period, will not be approved for more than one year.

4. Click one of the following:

  • Extend Program: Extends the program end date. The Update Successful page opens. This page reminds the DSO that the transfer requires USCIS adjudication. Click one of the following:

  • Return to View Record: Opens the Student Information page.
  • Print I-20: Prints student’s Form I-20.
  • Reset Values: Returns all fields to their original values.
  • Cancel: Cancels the action and returns the user to the Student Information page.

 

  • Before printing the new Form I-20, DSOs should update the financial fields with any new/increased costs and the student’s current financial statements.
  • Once the extension Form I-20 with updated financials is printed, the DSO and student should sign it before the student sends the M-1 program extension application to USCIS.

After the extension is requested in SEVIS, the Student Information page will display the current program end dates and that an extension has been requested.

View Requested/ Pending M-1 Extension

DSOs can view M-1 extensions in Requested or Pending status.

1. Navigate to the Student Information page.

2. Click Request/Authorization Details. The Current Request/Authorization Details page opens.

 

3. The Requested/Pending M-1 Extension fields include:

  • Requested End Date: Date of the new requested program end date.
  • Receipt Number: Number assigned once the application is received and receipted by USCIS.
  • Remarks: Comments explaining the need for the extension.

4. Click Return to open the Student Information page.

Cancel M-1 Extension in SEVIS

It is possible to cancel an M-1 extension request in SEVIS, if both the following are true:

  • Extension request is still in Requested status.
  • Extension application has not been sent to USCIS.

 

The student must contact USCIS to have the extension application withdrawn, if either of the following is true:

  • Student has already mailed the extension application to USCIS.
  • SEVIS extension request status has changed to Pending.

To cancel an M-1 extension:

1. Navigate to the Student Information page.

2. Click Cancel Extend Program. The Cancel Extend Program Request page opens. 

3. Click one of the following:

  • Cancel Request: The Confirm page opens. Click one of the following:

  Do not cancel the extension in SEVIS, if the M-1 extension paperwork has been sent to USCIS. The student must write to USCIS to have the extension application withdrawn. When doing this, the student should cite the receipt number from the USCIS Form I-797 Extension Application Receipt notice.

  • Yes: Opens the Update Successful page. Click one of the following:

  • Return to View Record: Opens the Student Information page.
  • Print I-20: Prints the student’s Form I-20.
    • No: Cancels the action and returns the user to the Student Information page.
    • Return: Returns the user to the Student Information page without canceling the extension.

 

 

Complete the M-1 Extension Process

The following occurs after the DSO requests the M-1 extension in SEVIS:

  • M-1 student must submit the following to USCIS no more than 60 days and no less than 15 days before the original SEVIS program end date: a completed Form I-539 with application fee, and supporting documentation for the student and any additional M-2 dependents.

  DSOs and students may include a letter explaining the need for the extension.

  • M-1 extension request will remain pending in SEVIS while USCIS considers the application.
  • M-1 student must enroll in a full course of study at the school for the next available session.
  • DSO must continue to register and update the student SEVIS record until the program end date passes.
  • Once USCIS approves the extension, the DSO must register the student in SEVIS.

 For more information on student registration, see F-1 and M-1 Registration on the SEVIS Help Hub.

 

Icon Guide

See the SEVIS Help Icons on the SEVIS Help Hub for a quick-reference of the icons used in this user guide.