I-20 Transfers

If an international student is already present in the United States, either attending another academic institution or on a period of Optional Practical Training, and wishes to move to a new institution, their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record will need to be transferred from the previous school to the new institution.

What is an F visa?
The F visa is an entry document that only has to be valid during any entry to the U.S.

When a SEVIS transfer is requested, the F-1 student's (and any F-2 dependents') SEVIS ID number remains the same. The F status is kept intact even if the corresponding F visa is expired. The corresponding F visa may expire while the student is inside the U.S. as long as the student maintains a valid I-20, a valid passport and remains in Active Status on their SEVIS record. The F-1 visa holder must be in good standing and have maintained appropriate status compliance to qualify for a transfer procedure.

Important considerations:

  • The SEVIS record can only be transferred to one school.
  • The new transfer-in school will be able to issue the new I-20 only after the transfer release date.
  • Students who wish to cancel the transfer of the SEVIS record must notify their ISSO at least 5-10 business days before the transfer release date; once the transfer release date occurs, the international advisors will no longer have access to the SEVIS record.

To qualify for a SEVIS transfer, the new program start date (at the new school) must be within 150 days of either when the student completed studies at the previous school or when the student completed OPT/ STEM OPT. The student may choose the transfer date, which is the day in which the SEVIS record will formally transfer from one school to the other school. The student that wants to request a SEVIS transfer must carefully consider when the transfer date needs to occur.

The transfer date chosen should fall within the following parameters:

  • For students who will not graduate, choose a date after the semester ends.  Typically, the date will be after the last day of classes.
  • For students who will graduate, choose a date after the degree confirmation date. The date chosen however, must be within the 60-day grace period immediately following graduation.
  • In both cases, the transfer date must be before the start of the semester at the new school.

For a student that is currently on OPT/ STEM OPT, or whose period of OPT/ STEM OPT will be ending in the near future, the student may choose a transfer date that is:

  • Either on or before the current OPT/ STEM OPT end date or
  • Within the 60-day grace period immediately following the OPT/ STEM OPT end date and
  • Before the start of the semester at the new school

Students who are employed:

  • CPT (on or off-campus): Employment must end by the CPT end date listed on the I-20, or by the Friday before commencement, or by the transfer date, whichever comes first.
  • OPT/STEM OPT: Employment must end on or before the transfer date or the EAD card expiration date, whichever comes first.
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