Transferring schools while in F-1 status
Students in F-1 status are allowed to transfer schools as long as the following conditions are met:
- Their SEVIS record is currently in Active status and continued to be active after transferring;
- They have been accepted to another DHS-approved school and provide the current school with documentation of the acceptance;
- They have requested that the current school release his or her SEVIS record to the new school, allowing the new school to issue them a new I-20;
- The student transfers and begins classes within the required timeframes.
How long do I have to complete my transfer and beginning classes?
A current student who is transferring without completing a degree program must begin classes at the new school during the next available term, which must begin within 5 months of transferring.
A current student who is completing a degree program must transfer before the end of their 60-day grace period. Their classes must begin within 5 months of the degree completion date listed on the I-20 (NOT their graduation date).
An initial student must transfer and begin classes within 30 days of their initial entry into the United States.
What is the 60-day grace period?
A student's 60-day grace period begins on the day they complete a degree program (NOT their graduation date). In order to maintain lawful status, they have 60 days to transfer to another school, apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), change to another status, or leave the country.
For more information on OPT, please see Working while in F-1 status.