This SEVP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is for designated school officials (DSOs) and provides information about how to transfer the record of an F-1 student from one Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school to another. The FAQ also provides information for DSOs when guiding students through the transfer process.
Background: F-1 Transfers
An F-1 student may transfer between SEVP-certified schools. Regulations governing school transfers are in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(8). The transfer process is a way to electronically move Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records and retain the same SEVIS identification (ID) number for the student.
The SEVIS transfer process does both of the following:
- Sets a date on which responsibility for the student record transfers
- Helps ensure that the transfer-in school updates and activates the student’s record
Once the DSO at the transfer-out school releases the record to the transfer-in school, the DSO at the transfer-in school can enter information into the Draft Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status." If the record was in Active status at the transfer-out school, the DSO at the transfer-in school can create an Initial record from the Draft record. The DSO may print a Form I-20 at this time. The DSO must register the student and set the record into Active status within 30 days of the program start date.
If the record was in Terminated status at the time of the transfer, the transfer-in DSO must populate the fields available in Draft before clicking the submit button. The record will remain in Terminated status and the DSO must recommend reinstatement and print a reinstatement Form I-20. The student must immediately file an application for reinstatement with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unless the DSO or SEVIS put the student into Terminated status erroneously. In this case, the DSO may call the SEVP Response Center to request a data fix.
A DSO at a SEVP-certified school must transfer the SEVIS records for any F-1 student accepted at another SEVP-certified school. SEVIS records are government property. A DSO may not refuse to transfer records for a student accepted by another SEVP-certified school for any reason; including financial or business reasons. Please note the SEVIS transfer process is a transfer of SEVIS records only. It does not obligate the school to transfer its own academic records. That is a matter of school policy.
Initial admission – The first admission to the United States by an F-1 student using a given Student and Exchange Visitor Information System ID number.
New Initial student – An F-1 student with an Initial Student and Exchange Visitor Information System record who recently gained admission into the United States.
Program start date – For initial students, the start of an academic or vocational program of study listed on the Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status."
See 8 CFR 214.3(g)(iii)(C).
Transfer – The release of a student’s record in Student and Exchange Visitor Information System from one SEVP-certified school to another.
Transfer-out school – A school that holds the student record and starts the transfer process after the student notifies the designated school official of their wish to transfer.
Transfer-in school – The school that receives the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System record upon the transfer release date.
Transfer release date – The date the student's record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System is deactivated from the transfer-out school and appears at the transfer-in school.
DSO Guidance for Students at Transfer-Out Schools
If an F-1 student with an Active SEVIS record wants to transfer to another school, what obligations does that student have?
The student must maintain F-1 status at your school by pursuing a full course of study or be engaged in post-completion optional practical training (OPT) until the transfer release date.
The student must be accepted by another SEVP-certified school. The student should bring you the following information:
- Written confirmation of the acceptance
- Contact information for the new school’s DSO
- The SEVIS school code for the transfer-in school to ensure transfer to the correct school
Work with the student to choose a transfer release date. Base that date on the student’s academic needs, travel and work plans and projected program start date at the transfer-in school.
A transferring student must also contact the new DSO within 15 days of the program start date and register for classes. These students need to ensure that the DSO at the transfer-in school has all the information needed to update the SEVIS record, including any change of address. Advise the transferring student to contact the DSO at the transfer-in school. The DSO at the transfer-in school will be able to create a Form I-20 issued for the reason of transfer. Once a transfer student registers, the student should ask for a Form I-20 that shows the status as a continuing student and that the transfer is approved.
On the transfer release date, the responsibility for the student’s SEVIS record transfers to the DSO at the transfer-in school. You can no longer have access to the record to make changes or print a new Form I-20. Your school will have a Deactivated record for the student.
This Form I-20 will have the student’s new program start date. It is important that the student get a new valid Form I-20 as quickly as possible. The Form I-20 from your school will no longer be valid.
What are the choices for an F-1 student with a Terminated SEVIS record who wants to transfer to another school?
The student has three choices:
- Apply to USCIS for reinstatement before transferring to another school.
The student must continue to maintain a full course of study and otherwise abide by the regulations governing F-1 students while USCIS adjudicates the reinstatement. See the USCIS website for information on how to file for reinstatement.
If USCIS denies the reinstatement application, the student must leave the United States immediately or risk being placed in removal proceedings at any time under §237(a)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended.
- Request that you transfer the Terminated record to the transfer-in school.
You will need confirmation that the student received acceptance to the new school. On the transfer release date, the transfer-in DSO becomes responsible for the student’s SEVIS record, making the recommendation for reinstatement on the student’s SEVIS record, and issuing the student a new Form I-20 for the reason of reinstatement.
The student will be responsible for properly filing for reinstatement with USCIS. The student must intend to pursue a full course of study at the next available term or within five months, whichever is earlier, at the transfer-in school (8 CFR 214.2 (f)(16)(i)(C)). The only exception is that if the student’s SEVIS record was erroneously Terminated, the transfer-in DSO may instead seek a data fix through the SEVP Response Center.
The student must begin to attend the transfer-in school in the next available session even if USCIS has not yet adjudicated the application for reinstatement or if the SEVIS record has not been fixed yet. If USCIS denies the reinstatement application, the student must depart the United States.
- Get an Initial Form I-20 from the new school.
The student must exit the United States and return as an initial entry in a new F-1 nonimmigrant status (initial admission). A student who chooses this option must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. The student will also lose credit for any time accumulated toward qualification for benefits such as optional or curricular practical training (CPT).
If the student’s visa is valid, the student does not need a new visa. If the student has a Terminated record because of a failure to maintain status or has violated any provision of the INA, as amended, the student may be denied re-entry to the United States under §212(a)(6)(G) of the INA, as amended.
As with any Initial student, the student must report to your school by the program start date listed on the Form I-20 (in person or via e-mail, telephone and/or fax).
For any F-1 transfer, the student first must provide written verification of acceptance at another SEVP-certified school. The options depend on the program start date and when the student enters (or plans to enter) the United States.
- If the student has received acceptance by another SEVP-certified school with a program start date fewer than 30 days before or after the student’s initial admission into the United States, you must transfer the student’s SEVIS record. Follow the directions in the next question for transferring an Initial record.
- If the student does not have a program start date at the transfer-in school within 30 days of the initial admission into the United States, the student may do one of the following:
- Enroll for a full course of study at the transfer-out school. Once the student’s record is Active, the student may request a transfer following the procedures above.
- Withdraw acceptance to your school and then leave the United States and get a new Form I-20 from the DSO at the school the student wants to attend. After leaving the United States, the student must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee for the new school. Since the student entered the United States and reported to a DSO at your school, you must make the record Active and then terminate it for authorized early withdrawal. The student must exit the United States within 15 days. Use this option only if you know the student plans to leave the United States.
- The student may ask to have the DSO transfer the Terminated record if all three of the following conditions exist:
- The student does not choose one of the options above
- The student fails to enroll for classes
- You have terminated the student’s SEVIS record for Failure to Enroll
SEVIS functionality requires that you make the student’s record Active in SEVIS in order to release the record to the transfer-in school.
For the current session end date, use today’s date. For the next session start date, use tomorrow’s date. Select the Transfer Out function and use tomorrow’s date as the transfer release date. Write "Transfer of initial student not enrolled at this school" in the remarks.
You can make a student’s SEVIS record Active solely for the purpose of initiating a transfer. ICE does not (and will not) view this as registering the student. In this circumstance, the SEVIS record clearly indicates the student properly reported to your school and that you properly initiated an immediate transfer of the student’s SEVIS record. It does not indicate that the student enrolled in classes.
How long must a student with an Active SEVIS record wait between ending classes at a transfer-out school and starting classes at a transfer-in school?
This depends on the student’s circumstances. According to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(8)(ii)(C), the DSO at the transfer-out school controls the student’s SEVIS record until the transfer release date.
- If classes are in session, the student must attend classes and otherwise maintain status until the transfer release date.
On the transfer release date, the DSO at the transfer-in school controls the student’s SEVIS record. The student must begin classes at the transfer-in school at the next available term or within five months, whichever is sooner, unless taking an authorized break or vacation during that term.
- If the next available term does not start within five months of the last date of school attendance or program completion date at the transfer-out school (whichever is earlier), the student must depart the United States until able to begin the new program. The DSO will not handle this as a transfer. The student will get a new SEVIS record and the DSO will send the student an Initial attendance Form I-20. The student must then pay the I-901 SEVIS fee and apply for a new F-1 visa, if required.
A new Initial student can transfer only if the student has a program start date within 30 days of arrival in the United States. See the question above on transferring Initial students.
How long can a student with a Terminated SEVIS record wait between ending classes at a transfer-out school and starting classes at a transfer-in...
How long can a student with a Terminated SEVIS record wait between ending classes at a transfer-out school and starting classes at a transfer-in school?
A transfer student with a Terminated record must report to the DSO at the transfer-in school no later than 15 days before the program start date for the next available term. The student must take a full course of study even if USCIS has not adjudicated the reinstatement application.
The student may want to report on the record release date to file a timely reinstatement application.
Advise the student to contact the DSO at the transfer-in school as soon as possible after the transfer release date. The student should be sure to do the following:
- Ensure that the DSO has all information needed to update the SEVIS record
- Request a copy of the new Form I-20 reflecting the transfer and the new program start date (Block 3 on the Form I-20 will show a pending transfer from the transfer-out school )
The student must report to the school no later than 15 days before the program start date.
DSO Responsibilities at Transfer-Out Schools
One purpose of the transfer procedures is to keep the same SEVIS ID number for the student. When a student brings you proof of acceptance from another SEVP-certified school, you will need to coordinate with the student to establish a transfer release date.
The transfer-in school can only create a draft but cannot issue a Form I-20 until the transfer release date.
The transfer release date is the date that access to the student’s SEVIS record will shift from the DSO at the transfer-out school to the DSO at the transfer-in school. According to 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(8)(ii)(C), the transfer release date is "the current semester or session completion date, or the date of expected transfer if earlier than the established academic cycle." Among the considerations in setting the date are allowing the following:
- Time to complete all study at the transfer-out school
- Time for travel outside the United States, if applicable
- Time for working during school vacation, if applicable
SEVIS will not allow you to set a transfer release date more than six months in the future.
See the section on special circumstances for more information that may impact the choice of an appropriate transfer release date.
Before the transfer release date, as the DSO from the transfer-out school, you can update SEVIS to reflect changes in the student’s plans. If the student decides not to transfer, cancel the transfer using the Cancel Transfer option on the student information screen. You can also cancel the transfer and re-enter transfer data to change the following:
- The transfer-in school, if the student decides to go to a different school
- The transfer release date, if the student decides to accelerate or postpone the transfer
Beginning on the transfer release date, the DSO at the transfer-out school has read only access to the student's SEVIS record. The record will be in Deactivated status. After this point, the transfer-out DSO can no longer make changes and will not be able to see changes made to the record by the transfer-in school. Only the DSO at the transfer-in school can make changes to the record.
Using the Transfer-Out screen in SEVIS, enter the transfer release date that you choose in consultation with the student. The SELECT button opens a second screen where you can type the name of the transfer-in school.
If you use wildcards and type in a partial name, you will see a list of all schools with names that meet the search criteria. For example, typing tex* will result in a list of all schools whose names start with tex and typing *tex* will return a list of all school with tex anywhere in the name. This list will show the school’s name in SEVIS and the school code.
Many schools have similar names, so ensure that the school code matches the one you got from the student. If necessary, call the transfer-in DSO and verify the number.
Convey the transfer information to the student. Be sure the student is aware of the transfer release date and how it affects his or her status.
No. The DSO can transfer the record based upon phone, fax, mail or e-mail notification. If the notification is by phone, you will need to have the student fax or e-mail the student’s acceptance to the new school and a copy of both sides of the student’s Form I-94, "Arrival/Departure Record," so you can verify the date of entry.
Follow the directions in the question If a new Initial F-1 student wants to transfer to another school, what must happen?
A new Initial student who does not ask for a transfer within 30 days of arrival in the United States must immediately report in person to the DSO at the school listed on the visa, if applicable.
DSOs are required to transfer the student’s SEVIS record upon request. Individual SEVP-certified schools may have additional transfer policies that students may have to follow.
DSO Guidance for Students at Transfer-In Schools
In most cases, a transfer student must report to the school within 15 days of the program start date. A new Initial student must report within 30 days of arrival in the United States.
The student must start attending classes within five months of the last day he or she attended classes or the next available session, whichever comes sooner. A new Initial student must have a program start date within 30 days of arrival in the United States.
However, if the next available term is the annual (or summer) vacation, the student may take a vacation if the student meets all of the following qualifications:
- The student has already completed a full academic year.
- The student can start classes within five months from one of the following dates:
- Finishing classes at the transfer-out school,
- The end of a period of authorized OPT
The student must be sure to coordinate all plans with the new DSO.
DSO Responsibilities at Transfer-In Schools
No. You may return the transferred record to the transfer-out school if your school has not accepted the student in accordance with the rules in 8 CFR 214.3(k). This acceptance includes confirming that your office of admissions has accepted the student for enrollment and that the student demonstrates financial responsibility as you would before creating any Form I-20.
How do I ensure that the DSO at the transfer-out school has the correct information for students we have accepted?
We recommend that you provide the student with a letter of acceptance and transfer information including the following:
- Your school’s name and school code as shown in SEVIS,
- A phone number and e-mail address where the student or the transfer-out DSO can contact you.
Before the transfer release date, the student’s name will appear on the Students in Transfer Status list.The record will be in Draft status with printing as the only option.
It is a good idea to check this list regularly. Ensure that your school expects all students on the list by checking with your admissions or registrar’s office. Occasionally, a DSO accidentally transfers a student’s SEVIS record to the wrong school. Before the transfer release date, the DSO at the transfer-out school can cancel the transfer. Notify the DSO at the transfer-out school if you find a SEVIS record transferred to your school in error.
The Create I-20 option for that student will appear on the student’s SEVIS record on the transfer release date.
There is not a separate alert when a record becomes available in Draft, so you must continually monitor the Students in Transfer Status list.
When you choose the Create I-20 option, SEVIS populates the following fields in the student’s record with information from the transfer-out school:
- Family Name
- First Name
- Date of Birth
- Country of Birth
- Country of Citizenship
- *Individual Taxpayer ID
- Foreign Address
- *Visa Number and Visa Issuance Post Code
- *Passport Number
* These fields are optional, and SEVIS may not populate them.
If the field is one that is populated by an interface with another government system (such as port of entry data, for example), you will only be able to update the field if it is blank.
You must enter the following information:
- New program information (including new program start date and program end date)
- Current financial information
There is a button to submit the form once you have updated the biographical and financial information.
If the student’s record was Active at the transfer-out school, the student’s record will be in Initial status after you submit the Form I-20. You can print a Form I-20 that shows the student’s transfer is pending. The record will remain on the list of Students in Transfer Status until you activate the student’s record.
The student must report to your office within 15 days of the program start date. Activate the record at this time by entering the following:
- Current session end date
- Next session start date
- Student’s local address
- Remarks noting the completed transfer and the effective date
This action completes the transfer process and removes the student from the Students in Transfer Status list.
Note: SEVIS will automatically terminate the student’s SEVIS record if you do not complete the transfer process by activating the record. Complete the process within 30 days of the initial session start date.
If the student does not report to the school and enroll full-time, you must terminate the record with the reason of Transfer Student – No Show within 30 days of the initial session start date.
If you are accepting a student whose SEVIS record was released to your school in Terminated status, you will get the record in Draft status. Upon submitting the record to the system, the student’s record will still be in Terminated status. (You are not required to accept a transfer of a Terminated SEVIS record). In most cases, you will need to recommend reinstatement, and the student must apply to USCIS for reinstatement. The record will then be on the lists of students pending reinstatement and in transfer status.
While USCIS adjudicates the reinstatement, the student has specific requirements:
- Report no later than 15 days before the program start date, regardless of the status of the reinstatement request
- Maintain a full course of study at your school
- Otherwise abide by the regulations governing F-1 students
If USCIS approves the reinstatement prior to the student’s program start date, the student’s record will be in Initial status. Under the Requests and Authorizations section of the Student Information screen, it will show the approved reinstatement. Subsequently, the student’s name will drop off the list of students pending reinstatement. It will remain on the list of students in transfer status until you activate the student’s record. Activate the record as described above.
If USCIS approves the reinstatement after the program start date, the record will become Active. Under the Requests and Authorizations section of the Student Information screen, it will show that the reinstatement was approved. The student’s name will drop off both the students pending reinstatement and the students in transfer status lists.
Please note, if the student’s SEVIS record was Terminated erroneously, reinstatement may not be necessary, and the DSO should contact the SEVP Response Center for assistance with a possible fix or correction to the SEVIS record.
What must I do if there is a student on my list of students in transfer status (before the transfer release date) but the student has not received...
What must I do if there is a student on my list of students in transfer status (before the transfer release date) but the student has not received acceptance to my school?
Contact the DSO from the transfer-out school and ask them to cancel the transfer. That DSO can then transfer the record to the correct school or take other appropriate action. If you need help contacting the student or the DSO at the transfer-out school, call the SEVP Response Center at 800-892-4829.
What must I do if a DSO has transferred a student’s SEVIS record to my school in error and the transfer release date has already passed?
You can transfer the record back to the correct school. Contact the DSO at the transfer-out school or the student and determine to which school the student actually plans to transfer. It is a good idea to coordinate with the DSO of the transfer-in school to ensure you have the correct school code. If you need assistance contacting the student or the transfer-out school, or if the student was on OPT, call the SEVP Response Center at 800-892-4829.
You can transfer the record for a continuing student while it is in Initial status. Note the transfer error in the remarks. Indicate an immediate transfer release date. After the transfer release date, you will see a Deactivated record for this student.
In addition, you can also transfer the record to the correct school even if a DSO terminated it for No Show or Failure to Enroll.
Open the student’s Draft record and look on the Current Request/Authorization Details page. This page lists the release date and the name and SEVIS code for the transfer-out school. If you need help contacting the transfer-out school, call the SEVP Response Center at 800-892-4829.
What must I do if SEVIS terminated my transfer student’s record after transfer to the incorrect school?
To reactivate the record, contact the SEVP Response Center at 800-892-4829 and ask to have a data fix for this record. Be sure to indicate that a DSO transferred the student’s record to another school by mistake, and the record terminated before a DSO could correctly transfer it back to your school.
If a student plans to travel outside the United States, time the transfer to take this into account. The student must re-enter the United States with a Form I-20 for the school that holds the Active or Initial record. Travel should meet the following requirements:
- Started and completed before the transfer release date with a current Form I-20 from the transfer-out school
- Started and completed after the transfer release date with Form I-20 from the transfer-in school
If the student leaves the United States before but cannot return until after the transfer release date, the DSO at the transfer-in school must send the student an updated Initial Form I-20 for re-entry into the United States.
A student who wants to travel outside the United States before or after the transfer release date and whose current SEVIS record is in Terminated status should obtain a new Form I-20 from the DSO at the transfer-in school and return to attend that school within 15 days of the program start date on the new Form I-20.
A student who is attending the transfer-in school with a reinstatement pending on the current SEVIS record must remember several important points.
Points to Remember
- Should not travel outside the United States until USCIS adjudicates the reinstatement
- If travel is unavoidable, DSO of transfer-in school should cancel reinstatement request on student’s SEVIS record and issue the student a new Form I-20 in order to return
- Student forfeits all application fees paid to USCIS for reinstatement adjudication
- A student with a valid visa does not typically need a new visa
The student must work with the DSO at the current transfer-in school. The DSO at the original transfer-out school can no longer change the student’s record.
If the student’s record is still in Draft or Initial status, the DSO at the current transfer-in school can use the transfer procedure as described in the “What do I need to do to create/update the record for a transfer student” FAQ located on the Transfer-in Schools section.
Adding an additional transfer does not add to the maximum of five months allowed between transfers. A student must resume class attendance no later than five months after the last date of class attendance. See the question When must a transfer student start classes at a new school? for more information on the timing of transfers.
A new Initial student who has already transferred from the school will not be able to transfer again until they have started classes and has an Active SEVIS record. The only exception is for errors where the DSO inadvertently transferred the SEVIS record to the wrong school.
No. The students must stay at the school that supported the reinstatement or withdraw the reinstatement application. If the student withdraws the reinstatement, the student can ask to have the terminated record transferred as described in the What are the choices for an F-1 student with a Terminated SEVIS record who wants to transfer to another school? in the Transfer-Out Schools section.
When a student withdraws a pending application, USCIS will not refund the filing fee.
Does time at the transfer-out school count towards the one full academic year provision for employment and practical training?
Yes, a transfer student can count the time spent studying at the transfer-out school toward any regulatory requirement that the student be "in F -1 status for a full academic year" in order to qualify for employment.
However, if a student leaves the United States and returns on a new Initial Form I-20 with new SEVIS ID (in lieu of an actual transfer in SEVIS), the student cannot count the time spent studying at a previous school.
A student authorized for CPT employment may continue authorized employment at the transfer-out school until the transfer release date. A student who wants to participate in CPT at the transfer-in school must receive authorization from the new DSO.
The student’s authorization for OPT ends on the transfer release date. Authorization for OPT is not transferable. If the student wants to complete OPT, the transfer-out school must set the release date for a date after the OPT ends. Students can request to transfer up until the end of the 60-day period following post-completion OPT, as long as the transfer release date will occur within five months or at the start of the next available session, whichever is sooner.
On campus employment
Students can work on campus only at the school that controls their SEVIS record. With a DSO’s permission, students can work on campus at the transfer-out school until the transfer release date.
To work on campus at the transfer-in school, the student must consult with the DSO at the transfer-in school to ensure the work qualifies for on-campus employment. See the On-Campus Employment FAQ for more information. A student may begin employment at the transfer-in school after the transfer release date.
The permission to work off campus ends when a student transfers. To continue off-campus employment, the student must request the recommendation of the DSO from the transfer-in school and file a new application with USCIS.
SEVP-certified schools must adhere to their institution’s standards for acceptance and for confirming financial ability.
Points to Remember
- If the student is eligible to remain at the transfer-out school, then the student should stay
- If the student is not eligible to remain at the transfer-out school, then the student may choose one of the following:
- Leave the United States
- Apply to USCIS to change to another nonimmigrant status (if eligible)
Summer School Issues
I have a prospective Initial student who wants to attend summer school at another SEVP-certified school and then attend my school for the fall term...
I have a prospective Initial student who wants to attend summer school at another SEVP-certified school and then attend my school for the fall term. Who should issue the Form I-20?
It is important to note that a student with a new Initial SEVIS record must report first to the school listed on the Form I-20 and visa, if applicable.
Therefore, the DSO at the summer school should issue the Form I-20. You may provide the student with a letter explaining that your school has accepted the student and that the student intends to transfer to your school after completing summer school. Provide the necessary financial information. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate can use this information in conjunction with the information from the summer school to make a visa issuance decision.
After initial admission, the student must report to the summer school, as this is the school on the visa. The DSO at that school can then initiate a transfer to your school for the fall term.
Note that a new Initial student must enroll full-time for the student’s first term, even if it is a summer session.
Must I transfer the record of a continuing student who participates in a summer program or camp at another SEVP-certified school?
No. If the student is earning credit, treat this as a concurrent enrollment. If not, this is a recreational summer activity. While you do not have to report recreational activities in SEVIS, it is a good idea to make a remark in the student’s record and issue an updated Form I-20. Be sure to update the student’s address in SEVIS.
May a student at an SEVP-certified school participate in a summer camp or summer program that is not at an SEVP-certified school?
Yes. If the student has remained enrolled full-time during the regular academic year, this is a recreational summer break activity. However, the student cannot use any credits earned from a school that is not SEVP-certified to count toward full-time enrollment.
It is a good idea to make a remark in the student’s record and issue an updated Form I-20. Be sure to update the student’s address in SEVIS.
What should I do if an F-1 student who is transferring from our school (School A) to another school (School B) in the fall wants to take a summer...
What should I do if an F-1 student who is transferring from our school (School A) to another school (School B) in the fall wants to take a summer term at a third SEVP-certified school (School C)?
In this situation, DSOs have four options:
- Transfer only – Transfer the student from school A to school C for the summer; transfer the student from school C to school B for the fall
- Concurrent enrollment – If the study at school C can be construed as contributing to the program of study the student is enrolled in at school A, study at school C could be accepted as concurrent enrollment. The student would remain enrolled at school A throughout the summer while taking classes at school C; school C would have reporting responsibilities to school A. School A can use the end date of the summer session as the next session end date and schedule the transfer release date after the summer session. Use the remarks field in SEVIS to note the name of the summer school and that the student is attending a summer session there as concurrent enrollment.
- Incident to status study, pending transfer. F-1 transfer students are considered to be maintaining status during the timeframe between completion of one program of study and the start a new program of study (does not apply if the timeframe exceeds 5 months). If an F-1 student is planning to take coursework at school C during this summer session, the study may be considered incident to status. In this instance a SEVIS transfer to school C for that summer session would not be required.
- Incident to status study, summer vacation. If the student is entitled to summer vacation, he/she may study at school C incident to status during the summer. If this option is chosen, no action should be taken to initiate transfer from school A to school B until study at school C is completed.
In all of these situations, a student should provide the DSO at the school having jurisdiction over the student’s SEVIS record with any address changes or other material changes. Additionally, the DSO at the school having jurisdiction over the student’s SEVIS record should use the remarks field in SEVIS to clarify the student’s situation.
These options do not apply to F-1 students authorized for practical training unless they plan to terminate their practical training early.
Concerns About Transferring Students
Does allowing the transfer of a new Initial student circumvent the approval process for a prospective F-1 student?
No. After entry, the student may decide to attend a different SEVP-certified school. As long as the student applies to another SEVP-certified school, receives proper acceptance and transfers within the deadlines given above, the student has not circumvented the approval process.
Does allowing the transfer of a new Initial student undermine the tracking and monitoring of F-1 students?
No. Transfer by a new Initial student does not extend the 30-day period after initial admission into the United States by which the student must report and enroll.
Does the transfer of a new Initial student make DSOs accountable for determinations over which they have no control?
No. After admission into the United States, a new Initial student can apply for a transfer to another SEVP-certified school. The DSO at the transfer-out school is not responsible for determining the suitability of the transfer-in school and is in no way required to approve the transfer (but must allow the transfer). The DSO at the transfer-out school is only responsible for determining that the other SEVP-certified school has accepted the student.
Yes. If the student has been attending classes and otherwise maintaining status up to the time of request for transfer, the student may transfer. There is no requirement to complete a term before applying for a transfer.
Is it possible that a student could be school hopping and improperly prolonging a stay in the United States?
A new Initial student must have a program start date within 30 days of initial entry. The student cannot begin another transfer to prolong time between classes.
A continuing student must begin classes within five months of the last date of attendance or at the next available term, whichever is sooner, and cannot use another transfer to prolong the time between enrollments.
If a student requests multiple transfers without making academic progress, this could result in the student violating status. SEVP can detect this by an audit of a student's SEVIS record.
An F-1 student may change educational objective or course of study. The DSO at the transfer-in school is responsible for ensuring the student meets the requirements of the school. If you suspect a school is accepting unqualified students, report this to SEVP. We investigates all such reports, the outcome of which may affect a school’s SEVP certification.
No. A DSO should terminate a student’s SEVIS record for Unauthorized Withdrawal or Unauthorized Drop Below Full Course if the student withdraws from all classes before requesting a transfer. This student must either apply for reinstatement or depart the United States and return as a new Initial student with a new Form I-20.
Should regulations require a student to complete a course of study at the school listed on the visa?
The current regulations do not require an F-1 student to complete a course of study at the school listed on the visa. Transfers and changes in programs of study for an F-1 student do not require adjudication. A student may transfer to any SEVP-certified school with an F-1 program that will accept the student.