Sample Letter: How to Ask for an Extension

There are several reasons why an extension request letter may be required. A student may need to request more time to complete a paper or project, or someone offered a job may need to ask for an extension of the starting date. 

A formal letter, written with honesty and tact, is a respectful way to request an extension. It should consider the requirements of the recipient for granting the extension and any rules about extensions in the concerned institution.

Since extension letters are asking for a favor, many people feel embarrassed, and find it difficult to express themselves. However, extension letters are normal for people in difficult or unexpected situations, and, if they are written according to proper business letter format and are polite and clear, there is no reason to feel embarrassed.

A student should not include statements that complain about the time limit given for a paper, and a prospective employee should not include statements complaining about low salary.

Some of the reasons for an extension request letter are:

• Extension of probationary period
• Extension of time to file a legal brief
• Extension for debt repayment
• Extension of medical leave
• Extension of a job interview date

This is a letter asking for special permission. The sender should not take for granted that the request will have a favorable outcome. Letters that have a respectful tone and look professional have a better chance of success than a letter that is full of complaints and criticisms. 

letter should be sent well in advance

The letter should be sent well in advance of the time for which the request is made. A last minute request puts the receiver under pressure and in an awkward situation. It also shows irresponsibility and poor planning on the part of the requester. This is not a courteous way to ask for a favor.

The requester should have a realistic idea of how much time they need for an extension. If they ask for too little time, there is a chance they will miss that deadline too and need to ask for another extension. This will, most likely, not be well received. It is also important to consider the time limits of the recipient. 

An employer may need to hire someone as soon as possible, so asking for a small extension may be all right, but asking for several weeks may not be acceptable. A teacher or professor may be willing to grant an extension that is within the timing of the current semester, but not an extension that goes into the summer vacation or next semester.

Here is a sample of an extension request letter. It should be sent by certified mail, so the sender has proof of the date it was sent and received. Any enclosures should be copies, and no original documents should be sent. If the extension is granted, a follow up letter of appreciation should be sent immediately.

sample extension request letter

Requester’s Name
Requester’s Address
City, State, Zip Code

DATE

Receiver’s Name
Receiver’s Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Receiver’s Name,

I am enrolled in your English Literature 101 class and have been absent for the past five weeks because of injuries I sustained in an automobile accident. You have kindly accommodated my situation by allowing me to turn in my homework late, and this has helped make it possible for me to remain enrolled in the university and not lose a semester, and I am very grateful to you.

I have been released from the hospital, but still need to walk with crutches for the next month. Because of this inconvenience, it will be very difficult to do the required research for the mid-term paper that is due on DATE. I would like to ask for an extension of 10 days to complete the paper. It is my intention to submit the paper to you on DATE.

Thank you again for the kindness you have shown me during this difficult time and for taking the time to consider my request. I would be happy to answer any questions, and have enclosed a letter from my doctor explaining my current physical condition. You can call me at 555-123-4567 or email me at Name@email.com.

Sincerely,

Requester’s signature
Requester’s name printed
List of enclosures

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