Changing Schools

The school which issued your I-20 is the school of record in the SEVIS system. When transferring from one school to another school within the United States, certain procedures must be followed to maintain lawful F-1 or J-1 status. Transfer means changing schools before completing your studies at the current school. A request to transfer must be entered into the student record in the SEVIS system.

  • For F-1 students after changing their I-20 to reflect a new school, they have to start the new school within 5 months of the “transfer out” date in SEVIS or the program completion, whichever is earlier.
  • Students do not need to request a transfer of their SEVIS record if there is more than 5 months between programs.  The new school will issue a new initial I-20 and new SEVIS number.
  • Make sure to keep F-1 status current.
  • If program has concluded (i.e. student has graduated) there is a 60 day grace period to have transfer completed.
  • Students on a J-1 Visa must have their SEVIS transfer completed before their current DS-2019 expires.

Transfer to a New School

To transfer to a new school, a student must apply to the school for admission. Once admitted to a new school the student, the student must notify their current school’s international office of the intent to transfer. Your current school MUST issue a transfer of the students SEVIS record to the new school. This is because the current school is the school of record and are the only ones who has access to your SEVIS record. No new I-20 can be issued until the SEVIS record is transferred.

The “transfer out” date will usually be the last day of your final term at their current school. It is the student’s responsibility to request the transfer of the I-20 and then make sure the new school has received the transfer so they can issue a new I-20. Failure to do this will result in being “out of status”.

Make sure to check with the new school to learn how they will send the new I-20 to the student. In many cases a copy can be faxed or electronically transmitted to the current school so they will know it has been transferred.