If you wish to transfer to another institution while studying on an F-1 student visa, you will need to be a full time student and in good academic standing. You will also need to insure that the school you are transferring to is approved by USCIS to educate Foreign Students. Once this is confirmed the following steps need to be completed:
- Have proof of acceptance at the institution you plan on attending, which BIR issues upon enrollment
- Obtain contact information from the DSO (Designated School Official) at the institution you plan on attending
- Notify your current (transfer-out) school of your intent to transfer. Request an International Student Transfer Form from BIR and fill it out. You will have to sign the form authorizing your current school to release certain information about you and transfer your SEVIS record BIR
- Submit F-1 Student Documents and Fees
- Obtain I-20 from the new school
- You must also report to the school within 15 days of the program start date and enroll full-time in the first required session at the school
Even if you have completed or been terminated from a school, that school is still obligated to transfer your SEVIS record to any school you desire. If your current/previous school refuses to transfer your SEVIS record, work with the DSO at your new school to try to resolve the situation. A school cannot refuse to transfer SEVIS records for any financial or business reasons.
Initial Status Transfer
If you arrive at a US school from abroad and decide to immediately transfer you must first report to the school listed on your Form I-20. The School DSO should activate your SEVIS record and transfer it to the new school you plan on attending.
Travel During Transfer Process
If you plan on leaving the country during the transfer process keep in mind that you must reenter with a Form I-20 for the school that holds your active or initial record. So travel must be either:
- Started and completed before the transfer release date with an active Form I-20 from the transfer-out school
- Started and completed after the transfer release date with an initial Form I-20 from the transfer-in school