International Students
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Transferring

In addition to following the school's academic and administrative procedures for transferring to another school, F-1 students must complete the transfer procedure established by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Definition - According to the USCIS a "transfer" occurs when an F-1 student moves from:

  • one ESL program to another
  • an ESL program to an academic program
  • an undergraduate program to a graduate program
  • full-time Optional Practical Training to another academic program

Eligibility - To be eligible for a transfer you must:

  • be a bona fide non-immigrant student
  • have been maintaining status at the previous school
  • intend to pursue a full course of study at the new school
  • provide documentation showing that you are able to meet all anticipated financial obligations associated with attending the transfer institution
  • have completed the application and acceptance process for the school you wish to transfer to

Transfer Procedure

To transfer to another institution you must complete the following steps:

Step 1 - Make an appointment with the coordinator for international student services/DSO to discuss your eligibility for a school transfer. Since a recommendation from the coordinator for international student services/DSO is required, you should make an appointment well in advance of the completion of your degree or the date you wish to transfer out. Please bring with you the following documentation:

  • Your current Form I-20
  • Your old Form I-20s and/or Form I-20IDs
  • Your passport
  • Your I-94
  • Proof of acceptance at the school you wish to transfer to
  • A completed SEVIS Release Form

Step 2 - After reviewing your documentation, if the coordinator for international student services/DSO determines that you are eligible for a transfer, CIS will be notified of the pending transfer by initiating a student record transfer in SEVIS.  At this time the coordinator for international student services/DSO will enter a release date into SEVIS.  The release date used will be based upon the date indicated by the student on the SEVIS Release Form.  This date should be the date the student completes their educational program, the date the last semester the student plans on attending their current institution ends, or the date the student's Post-Completion OPT ends, whichever is appropriate.

Step 3 - When you have "academically" transferred to a new school, it is your responsibility to notify the International Student Advisor/DSO. If you have not done this prior to the start of classes, make an appointment to meet with the International Student Advisor/DSO as soon as you register for classes or arrive on campus. When you meet with the coordinator for international student services/DSO, please bring with you:

  • Your old and new form I-20s
  • Your passport
  • Your I-94
  • Proof of registration

After verifying that you meet the eligibility requirements for a transfer (list above), the International Student Advisor/DSO will issue you a new SEVIS form I-20. The International Student Advisor/DSO will then complete the transfer via SEVIS and endorse the form I-20 as such.

Step 4 - When the semester has started, it is your responsibility to notify the International Student Advisor/DSO that you are registered for classes and on campus. This must be done "within 15 days of the program start date listed on the SEVIS form I-20." (8 CFR 214.2) Once the International Student Advisor/DSO has been notified that you are registered for classes and in attendance, (s)he will update SEVIS to indicate your registration and current address, which will indicate that you have completed the transfer process. The coordinator for international student services/DSO will note in the "remarks" section of your SEVIS form I-20 that the transfer has been completed (including the date) and return the form I-20 to you.

Points to Consider

  • When transferring between schools, "the student may not remain in the U.S. between programs if the student will not resume classes within five months of transferring out of the current school, or within five months of the program completion date as indicated on the form I-20 issued by the current school, whichever date is earlier." (8 CFR 214.2) The five-month countdown begins on the date that the academic program at the current institution was completed.

  • In order to qualify for a form I-20, it is necessary for you to provide the coordinator for international student services/DSO (at the institution you are transferring to) with financial documentation that demonstrates that you have the ability to meet all financial obligations associated with attendance at your new school.

  • The USCIS must be notified within the first 45 days of beginning your studies at your new school. This means that you MUST have been issued a form I-20 by the institution you transferred to by the 45th day after the first day of classes. If you miss this deadline, you must apply to the USCIS for reinstatement. This is a lengthy and expensive procedure.

  • If you plan to travel outside the United States and reenter with your new transfer I-20 but your plans change, make an appointment to see the coordinator for international student services/DSO.

  • Once the release date is reached, the coordinator for international student services/DSO at the current school will no longer be able to access your records in SEVIS for any reason (including canceling your request to transfer). If you decide not to transfer after the release date is reached you will need to contact the "transfer institution" and request a transfer back to your current institution. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider and plan your school transfer.

  • If the USCIS authorizes you to work under the provisions of Optional Practical Training and for whatever reason you do not use some or all of the time you have been authorized to work, you will lose the "unused" time you have been authorized to work. For example, if you have been authorized to work full-time for eight months after you complete your degree, and choose to transfer to another school to after working for only three months, you will lose five months of OPT. Your employment authorization ends when you transfer from the school that recommended it and the unused time is lost.

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