|2.||DSO Guidance for Students at Transfer-Out Schools|
|2.1.||Your student says, “I have my visa, but I have not entered the United States to attend school. I have changed my mind and want to attend a school different from that listed on my visa. I have a Form I-20 from the new school. What do I do?”|
|2.2.||What are the obligations for an F-1 student with an Active SEVIS record at your school who wants to transfer to another school?|
|2.3.||An F-1 student with a Terminated SEVIS record at your school wants to transfer to another school and asks, “What do I need to do?”|
|2.4.||A new initial F-1 student wants to transfer to another school and asks, “What do I need to do?”|
|2.4.1.||How do I transfer an Initial SEVIS record?|
|2.5.||A student with an Active SEVIS record asks, “How long can I wait between ending classes at my transfer-out school and starting classes at my transfer-in school?”|
|2.6.||What do I tell a new initial student who is transferring that asks, “How long can I wait before attending classes at my new school?”|
|2.7.||A student with a Terminated SEVIS record asks, “How long can I wait between ending classes at my transfer-out school and starting classes at my transfer-in school?”||2.8.||A student asks, “When do I need to contact the transfer-in school?”||2.9.||A student asks, “When do I report to my new school?”|
|3.||DSO Responsibilities at Transfer-Out School|
|3.1.||How do I set a transfer release date?|
|3.2.||What if the student’s transfer plans change prior to the release date?|
|3.3.||How do I initiate the transfer process for the student in SEVIS?|
|3.4.||Does a new initial student have to report in person in order to transfer to another school?|
|4.||DSO Guidance for Students at Transfer-In Schools|
|4.1.||A student asks, “When do I report to my new school?”|
|4.2.||A student asks, “When must I start classes at my new school?”|
|5.||DSO Responsibilities at Transfer-In Schools|
|5.1.||Does my school have to accept a transferred record from another SEVP-certified school?|
|5.2.||How do I ensure that the transfer-out school has the correct information for students we have accepted?|
|5.3.||How does SEVIS show pending transfers?|
|5.4.||What happens on the transfer release date?|
|5.5.||What do I need to do to create/update the record for a transfer student?|
|5.5.1.||Completing the transfer for students who had an Active record at the transfer-out school|
|5.5.2.||Completing the transfer for students who had a Terminated record at the transfer-in school|
|5.6.||What do I need to do if there is a student on my list of Students in Transfer Status but my school has not accepted the student?|
|5.7.||What do I do if a student has been transferred to my school in error and the transfer release date has already passed?|
|5.8.||How can I tell which school has transferred a student’s record to my school?|
|5.9.||My transfer student’s record was terminated after being transferred to the incorrect school. What do I need to do?|
|6.1.||How do plans for travel outside the United States impact transfers?|
|6.2.||What if, after the transfer release date, the student decides to transfer to a third school?|
|6.3.||Can students with a pending reinstatement transfer?|
|6.4.||Does time at the transfer-out school count towards the one full academic year provision for employment and practical training?|
|6.5.||What is the impact of a transfer on students engaged in practical training?|
|6.6.||What is the impact of transfers on employed students?|
|6.7.||What happens to students who want to transfer but cannot find an SEVP-certified school that will accept them?|
|7.||Summer School Issues|
|7.1.||I have a prospective student (Initial) who wishes to attend summer school at another SEVP-certified school and then attend my school for the fall term. Which school should issue the Form I-20?|
|7.2.||Some of my continuing students participate in summer programs or camps at other SEVP-certified schools. Do I need to transfer their records for the summer?|
|7.3.||One of my students wishes to participate in a summer camp or summer program that is not at an SEVP-certified school. Is this allowed?|
|7.4.||I have a student who is transferring to another school in the fall and wants to take a summer term at a third SEVP-certified school. How do I handle this transfer?|
|8.||Concerns about Transferring Students|
|8.1.||Does allowing the transfer of new initial students circumvent the approval process for prospective F-1 students?|
|8.2.||Does allowing the transfer of new initial students undermine the tracking and monitoring of F-1 students?|
|8.3.||Does the transfer of new initial students make DSOs accountable for determinations over which they have no control?|
|8.4.||Can a first term student transfer before the end of the semester?|
|8.5.||Isn’t it possible that students could be school hopping and improperly prolonging their stay in the United States?|
|8.6.||Isn’t it possible that students could be changing their educational objective or course of study?|
|8.7.||Won’t this transfer process allow a student to drop out and shop around for another school?|
|8.8.||Shouldn’t students be required to complete a course of study at the school listed on their visa?|
|8.9.||What if a school is seeking to attract students by having lax attendance requirements?|
This SEVP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is written for designated school officials (DSOs) and provides information about how to transfer the record of an F-1 student from one SEVP-certified school to another. The FAQ also provides information for DSOs when guiding students through the transfer process. See the glossary if you do not understand a term or acronym.
F-1 students are allowed to transfer between SEVP-certified schools. 8 CFR 214.2(f)(8) governs school transfers. The transfer process is a way to electronically transfer SEVIS records and retain the same SEVIS identification number for the student.
The SEVIS transfer process:
Once the record has been released to the transfer-in school, the DSO at the transfer-in school can enter information into the Draft Form I-20. 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. A Form I-20 can be printed at this time. The DSO must register the student and create an Active record 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 USCIS.
SEVP schools must transfer the SEVIS records for any F-1 student who has been accepted at another SEVP-certified school. SEVIS records are government property. Schools may not refuse to transfer records for a student accepted by another SEVP-certified school for any reason; including financial or business related 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.
Transfer. The electronic transfer of a student’s SEVIS record from one SEVP-certified school to another.
Transfer-out school. The school the student is leaving.
Transfer-in school. The school where the student intends to transfer.
Transfer release date. The date on which the student’s SEVIS record is made available to the transfer-in school for update and can no longer be amended by the transfer-out school. This date is set in SEVIS by the transfer-out school.
Program start date. The date the student’s program of study begins at an SEVP-certified school.
Initial admission. The first admission to the United States by an F-1 student using a given SEVIS ID number
Advise the student to get a new visa issued for the new school before entering the United States, rather than transferring after entering the United States. This is required by 8 CFR 214.2(f)(1)(C).
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 until the transfer release date.
Work with the student to choose a transfer release date. It should be based on the student’s academic needs, travel and work plans, and projected program start date at the transfer-in school.
On the transfer release date, the responsibility for the student’s SEVIS record transfers to 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.
Advise transferring students to contact the DSO at their transfer-in school. The transfer-in school will be able to create a Form I-20 issued for Reason of Transfer. This Form I-20 will have the student’s new program start date. It is important that the student obtain a new valid Form I-20 as quickly as possible. The Forms I-20 from your school will no longer be valid.
Transferring students must also contact their new DSO within 15 days of your program start date and register for classes. These students need to ensure that the school has all the information needed to update their SEVIS record, including any changes of address. Once transfer students register, they should ask for a Form I-20 that shows their status as a continuing student and that the transfer is approved.
The student has three choices.
The first choice is that the student can apply to USCIS for reinstatement prior to transferring from your school. The student must maintain a full course of study at your school, and otherwise abide by the regulations governing F-1 students, while USCIS adjudicates the reinstatement. See the USCIS web site for information on how to file for reinstatement. If reinstatement is denied, the student must leave the United States immediately. If the student does not leave, he or she may be placed in removal proceedings at any time under section 237(a)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The second choice is for the student to request that their Terminated record be transferred to the transfer-in school. Your school will need confirmation that the student was accepted in the new school.
The third choice is for the student to 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). If the student chooses this option, he or she will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. The student will also lose credit for any time accumulated towards qualification for benefits such as optional or curricular practical training. If the student’s visa is valid, he or she does not need a new visa if returning to the United States within 5 months of his or her exit date. If the student has a Terminated record because he or she failed to maintain status or because the student violated any provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the student may be denied re-entry to the United States under section 212(a)(6)(G) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The student must report to your school by the program start date listed on his or her Form I-20. Reporting does not have to be in person, it may be via e-mail, telephone, and/or fax.
As with any other F-1 transfer, the student must provide written verification of his or her acceptance at another SEVP-certified school.
If the student has been accepted by another SEVP-certified school with a program start date that is within 30 days of the student’s initial admission into the United States, you must transfer the student’s SEVIS record. Follow the directions below for transferring an Initial record.
If the student does not have a program start date at the transfer-in school that is within 30 days of his or her initial admission into the United States, the student may do one of the following:
If the student does not choose one of the options above and fails to enroll for classes, terminate the student’s SEVIS record for Failure to Enroll. The student may then ask to have his or her Terminated record transferred.
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 these circumstances, the SEVIS record clearly indicates the student properly reported to your school and the school properly initiated an immediate transfer of the student’s SEVIS record. It does not indicate that the student enrolled in classes.
This depends on the student’s circumstances. The transfer-out school controls the student’s SEVIS record until the transfer release date. [8 CFR 214.2(f)(8)(ii)(C)] If classes are in session, he or she must attend classes and otherwise maintain status until the transfer release date.
On the transfer release date, the transfer-in school controls the student’s SEVIS record. He or she must begin classes at the transfer-in school at the next available term, 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 he or she can begin the new program. This will not be handled as a transfer. The student will get a new SEVIS record and the school will send the student an Initial attendance Form I-20. The student must then pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and apply for a new F-1 visa.
New initial students can transfer only if they have a program start date within 30 days of arrival in the United States. See the question above on transferring initial students.
Transfer students with a Terminated record must report to their transfer-in school no later than 15 days prior to the program start date for the next available term. They must take a full course of study even if their reinstatement application has not been adjudicated.
Students may wish to report on the record release date so they may file a timely reinstatement application.
Advise the student to contact the transfer-in school as soon as possible after the transfer release date. He or she should ensure that the DSO has all information needed to update the SEVIS record. The student should 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 transfer is pending from the transfer-out school.)
The student must report to the school 15 days prior to the program start date.
One purpose of the transfer procedures is to keep the same SEVIS identification 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 cannot issue a Form I-20 until the transfer release date. 8 CFR 214.2(f)(8)(ii) and (iii) refer primarily to processes that predate the use of SEVIS. 8 CFR 214.2(f)(8)(ii)(C) is the only text in paragraph (ii) that is not obsolete, and it gives the current correct procedure. (A Federal Register notice to delete the obsolete sections is pending.)
The release date is the date that access to the student’s SEVIS record will shift from the transfer-out school to the transfer-in school. 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(8)(ii)(C) defines the transfer release date as “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:
SEVIS will not allow you to set a transfer release date more than 6 months in the future.
See the section on Special Circumstances for more information that may impact the choice of an appropriate transfer release date.
Prior to the 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 reenter transfer data to change:
Beginning on the transfer release date, as DSO at the transfer-out school, you have read only access to the student's SEVIS record. The record will be in Deactive status. You cannot make any changes at this point. You will not be able to see changes made to the record at the transfer-in school. Any change to the record must be made at the transfer-in school.
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 you should double-check and ensure that the school code matches the one you obtained 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 school 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 so you can verify the date of entry.
Follow the directions in the question A new initial F-1 student wants to transfer to another school and asks, “What do I need to do?”.
If new initial students do not ask for a transfer within 30 days of arrival in the United States, they must immediately report in person to the school on their visa.
In most cases, a transfer student must report to the school within 15 days of the program start date. New initial students must report within 30 days of arrival in the United States.
In all cases, 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. New initial students must have a program start date that is within 30 days of their arrival in the United States.
However, if the next available term is the annual (or summer) vacation, the student may take a vacation if he or she meets all of the following qualifications:
The student must be sure to coordinate all his or her plans with the new DSO.
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 ensuring that your official responsible for admissions has accepted the student for enrollment and that the student demonstrates financial responsibility.
We recommend that you provide the student with a letter of acceptance and transfer information including:
Prior to the transfer release date, the student’s name will appear on the list of Students in Transfer Status. The record will be in Draft status with no option other than Print.
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 student’s SEVIS record is transferred to the wrong school. Prior to the transfer release date, the transfer-out school can cancel the transfer. Notify the transfer-out school if they transfer a SEVIS record 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:
If the field is one that is populated by an interface with another government system (such as POE data, for example), you will not be able to update the field unless it is blank.
You must enter:
There is an option 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. 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.
This action completes the transfer process and removes the student from the Students in Transfer Status list.
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 program start date.
If the student does not report to the school and enroll full-time, you must terminate the record for Transfer Student – No Show within 30 days of the program start date.
If you are accepting a student whose record was released to your school in Terminated status, you will get it 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 from a student with a Terminated SEVIS record.)You will need to recommend reinstatement and the student must apply to USCIS for reinstatement. The record will then be on the list of Students Pending Reinstatement and the Students in Transfer Status list.
The student must report no later than 15 days before the program start date, regardless of the status of the reinstatement request. These students must maintain a full course of study at your school, and otherwise abide by the regulations governing F-1 students, while USCIS adjudicates the reinstatement.
If the student’s reinstatement is approved 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 that the reinstatement was approved. The student’s name will drop off the Students Pending Reinstatement list. It will remain on the Students in Transfer Status list until you activate the student’s record. Activate the record as described above.
If the reinstatement is approved 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.
If it is prior to the transfer release date, contact the DSO from the transfer-out school and ask them to cancel the transfer. The transfer-out school can then transfer the record to the correct school or take other appropriate action. If you need assistance contacting the student or the transfer-out school, call the SEVIS help desk at 1-800-892-4829.
If it is after the transfer-release date, refer to the question below.
You can transfer the record to the correct school. Contact the transfer-out school or the student and determine which school the student actually plans to transfer to. 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, call the SEVIS help desk at 1-800-892-4829.
SEVIS Release 5.1 allows you to 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 Deactive record for this student.
You can also use SEVIS 5.1 functionality to transfer the record to the correct school even if it was terminated for No Show or Failure to Register.
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 assistance contacting the transfer-out school, call the SEVIS help desk at 1-800-892-4829.
To reactivate the record, contact the SEVP help desk and ask to have a data fix for this record. Be sure to indicate that the student’s record was transferred to another school by mistake and was terminated before being correctly transferred to your school.
If a student plans to travel outside the United States, time the transfer to take this into account. The student must reenter the United States with a Form I-20 for the school that holds his or her active or initial record. Travel should be:
If the student leaves the country before the transfer release date, but cannot return until after, the transfer-in school must send the student an updated Initial Form I-20 for reentry into the United States.
Students who want 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 transfer-in school and return to attend that school within 15 days of the program start date on the new Form I-20.
Students who are attending the transfer-in school with a reinstatement pending on their current SEVIS record should not travel outside the United States until the reinstatement has been adjudicated. If they must travel prior to the reinstatement being adjudicated, the DSO of the transfer-in school should cancel the reinstatement request on the student’s SEVIS record and issue the student a new Form I-20 from the school in order to return. The student will forfeit all application fees paid to USCIS for adjudication of the reinstatement. If the student’s visa is valid, he or she does not need a new visa if returning to the United States within 5 months of his or her exit date, otherwise the student will need to obtain a new visa.
The student will have to work with the school that has his or her SEVIS record – which is the current transfer-in school. 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 current transfer-in school can use the transfer procedure described above.
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 his or her last date of class attendance. See the question When must I start classes at my new school? for more information on the timing of transfers.
New initial students who have already transferred from their school on their visa will not be able to transfer again until they have started classes and have an Active SEVIS record. The only exception is for errors where the SEVIS record was inadvertently transferred 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, he or she can ask to have his or her terminated record transferred as described above.
When students withdraw a pending application, the filing fee will not be refunded.
Yes, transfer students can count the time spent studying at their transfer-out school towards 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 (in lieu of transferring), the student cannot count the time spent studying at a previous school.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Students authorized for CPT employment may continue authorized employment at the transfer-out school until the transfer release date. If the student wants to participate in CPT at the transfer-in school, he or she must receive authorization from the new DSO.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
The student’s authorization for OPT ends on the transfer release date. Authorization for OPT is not transferable. If the student wishes to complete OPT, the transfer-out must set the release date for a date after the OPT ends. Students can transfer during the 60-day grace period following post-completion OPT, as long as the transfer release date occurs within the grace period.
Currently, the transfer guidelines in the online help for SEVIS state that authorization for OPT ends when the student registers at the transfer-in school. We are correcting that text to reflect that OPT authorization ends on the transfer release date. When OPT is recommended by a DSO, that school assumes responsibility for reporting on the student during OPT. This responsibility cannot be transferred to another school.
On campus employment
Students can work on campus only at the school that controls their SEVIS record. With DSO 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.
Work can begin at the transfer-in school after the transfer release date.
The authority 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. Students who cannot find another SEVP-certified school may stay at the transfer-out school, if eligible. If not, these students must either leave the United States or, if they are eligible, apply to USCIS to change to another nonimmigrant status.
It is important to note that students with a new Initial SEVIS record must report first to the school listed on their Form I-20 and their visa.
Therefore, it is best if the summer school issues the Form I-20. You may provide a letter explaining that the student has been accepted by your school and intends to transfer to your school after summer school. Provide the necessary financial information. The 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 listed on his or her visa. That school can then initiate a transfer to your school for the fall term.
The other alternative is for your school to issue the Form I-20 with a start date that allows the student to report to your school and have his or her record activated before attending the summer session at the other school. You will need to treat the attendance at the other school as concurrent study. If you choose this option, your school is responsible for the student and for updating SEVIS while the student attends the summer session at the other school. You are not required to give the student this option. Choose it only if it works for your school and the student’s situation.
Note that new initial students must enroll full-time for their first term even if it is a summer session.
No. If the student is earning credit, treat this as a concurrent enrollment. If not, this is a recreational summer activity. While recreational activities do not have to be reported 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.
Yes, if the student has been 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 towards his or her 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.
Transferring the student to the summer school is not necessary. Your choices are to treat the summer school as:
Be sure you update the student’s address information. Ensure that the transfer release date is prior to the reporting date at the transfer-in school.
Alternatively, you can release the student’s record to the transfer-in school prior to the start of summer activities and the student will need to work with the transfer-in school to ensure accurate reporting in SEVIS.
No, it doesn’t. First, keep in mind that the purpose of the Form I-20 for new initial students is to serve as certification by the school that:
The Department of State uses the Form I-20 to ensure an SEVP-certified school has accepted the student. A visa allows the student to apply for entry into the United States with the intent of attending the school listed on his or her visa.
Upon entry, the student is required to report to the school on the Form I-20.
However, after entry, the student may change his or her mind about attending the specific school listed on his or her visa. As long as the student applies to another SEVP-certified school, is properly accepted, and transfers within the deadlines given above; the approval process has not been circumvented.
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.
No. After admission into the United States, a new initial student, like every other student (whether U.S. citizen or foreign), can apply for a transfer to another SEVP-certified school. 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. The transfer-out school is only responsible for determining that the other SEVP-certified school has accepted the student.
Unlike the M-1 class of admission, there is no requirement that F-1 students apply to DHS for permission to transfer (which would involve filing a form with a fee for an adjudicative decision by USCIS).
Yes. If the student has been attending classes and otherwise maintaining status, the student may transfer. There is no requirement to complete a term before applying for a transfer. The student must continue to attend classes until the transfer release date.
New initial students must have a program start date within 30 days of initial entry. They cannot use a third transfer to prolong time between classes.
Continuing students must begin classes within five months of the last date of attendance 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 his or her status. However, ICE can detect this by an audit of a student's SEVIS record.
F-1 students are allowed to change educational objectives/courses of study. 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. All such reports are investigated and may impact a school's continuing DHS certification.
No, students who withdraw from all classes before requesting a transfer should be terminated for Unauthorized Withdrawal or Unauthorized Drop Below Full Course. These students will either have to apply for reinstatement, or depart the country and return as a new initial student with a new Form I-20.
The current regulations do not require F-1 students to complete a course of study at the school listed on his or her visa. Transfers and changes in programs of study for F-1 students do not have to be adjudicated. A student may transfer to any SEVP-certified school with an F-1 program that will accept the student.