If you're a student with an F-1 or M-1 visa, you can apply for an extension of your student status while you're in the United States. To be eligible as an F-1 student, you must have 'continually maintained status' and have experienced a delay in the completion of your educational program 'caused by compelling, academic or medical reasons.' Such reasons can include changing your major or research topic, experiencing unexpected research problems, or having a documented illness. To apply for an extension, you'll need to fill out forms I-20-A-B and I-5-38 and turn them into your designated student official at least 30 days before your program would have been completed. This date should be written on your initial I-20-A-B form. If you're an M-1 student, you may apply for an extension by submitting form I-5-39 with a filing fee. You'll need to send these along with forms I-201-D, I-20-M-N if applicable, and form I-94 of any dependents to the Immigration office between 15 and 60 days before your authorized stay expires. Do not send your I-94 or your passport to I-N-S. You may legally stay in the U-S while your application is pending as long as you meet all the requirements for maintaining your status.