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The information on this page is for F-1 status students only. To transfer your J-1 DS-2019, please submit your request via the Contact ISS form.
Admission to a new school does not by itself authorize an international student in F-1 status to begin studying full-time at the new school.
You must request your current school (UW) to transfer/release your F-1 U.S. government SEVIS I-20 record to your new school before you can begin full-time studies there. The U.S. government calls this process a “SEVIS transfer.” (It is different from an “academic transfer.”)
There are several benefits to a SEVIS transfer:
- You do not pay the $350 SEVIS fee again
- You can remain in the U.S. in between programs
- You maintain the same current SEVIS ID number (which may make you eligible for certain benefits at your new school earlier, such as CPT eligibility)
The U.S. government considers all the following examples to be possible “SEVIS transfer” situations:
- Completing a program at one school and starting a new program at a different school Examples:
- A student graduates with a bachelor’s degree and will begin graduate study
- A student graduates from high school in the U.S. and will begin study at a community college or university
- A student completes an intensive English program and will start a university degree
- Currently studying at one school and deciding (before completing program) to change to a new school
Example: A student is studying for a bachelor’s degree. The student decides after only two quarters at their current school that they want to change to a different school.
- Currently doing OPT and starting a new program of study at a different school Examples:
- A student graduated with a bachelor’s degree and started a 12-month standard OPT. During their OPT they also apply to graduate schools. They are admitted and decide to start a Master’s degree that will begin before or after completion of the 12-month standard OPT.
- A student graduated with a Master’s degree and started a 12-month standard OPT. Then they started a STEM OPT extension period. They receive admission to a new program of study that will begin before or after the STEM extension OPT finishes.
Eligibility for an F-1 SEVIS Record Transfer
- You must currently be maintaining F-1 status
- You must have an offer of admission from a new school
- If you already graduated or completed OPT, you must still be within your 60-day grace period
- The start of classes at your new school must be within 5 months of one of the following:
- academic program completion at UW
- last day of enrollment at UW (if not graduating from UW)
- OPT authorization end date
- For students not completing OPT period, the requested SEVIS I-20 transfer/release date
If the period of time between F-1 activities is longer than 5 months, your SEVIS record is not eligible for transfer. Your new school must issue a new initial I-20 with a new SEVIS number.
What is the SEVIS I-20 Transfer/Release Date?
Only one school at a time can access your F-1 SEVIS record. On the SEVIS I-20 transfer/release date, SEVIS access “transfers” from UW to your new school.
The SEVIS transfer affects your F-1 benefits, including employment, travel, and I-20 validity.
On the SEVIS transfer/release date:
- The UW ISS office loses access to your electronic SEVIS record
- Your new school gains access to your electronic SEVIS record; your new school can create your new I-20 only after the SEVIS transfer/release date
- OPT authorization is canceled (regardless of end date printed on EAD)
- On-campus work authorization is cancelled
- The UW I-20 is no longer valid for travel to the U.S.
How to choose a SEVIS I-20 Transfer/Release Date
The following chart provides guidance for choosing your SEVIS I-20 transfer/release date. Also, remember:
- ISS will take time to process after you submit your completed SEVIS I-20 transfer/release request.
- ISS cannot set a past date as the SEVIS I-20 transfer/release date. If ISS receives/processes your SEVIS I-20 transfer/release request after your requested transfer/release date, ISS will transfer/release the SEVIS record on the day of ISS processing.
- You cannot cancel a SEVIS I-20 transfer/release on or after the transfer/release date; you can only request to cancel the SEVIS transfer/release prior to the transfer/release date.
|Situation||Recommended Transfer Date|
|Plan to discontinue your studies at UW without completing a degree||
|Plan to temporarily leave UW to study full-time at another school (like a community college) and plan to return to UW in the future||
|Plan to graduate this current quarter and will not apply for or use OPT||
|Recently graduated and are in your 60-day grace period (did not apply for OPT)||As soon as possible, and at least 3 weeks before the end of your 60-day grace period|
|Have OPT approval but you DO NOT plan to start a job/practical training position.||
|Have a pending or approved OPT application and plan to do some OPT before starting your new degree program||One day after your last date of employment:
|Have approved OPT authorization but you do not plan to start a job/practical training position||As soon as possible; request the transfer at least 3 weeks before your 90-day limit of unemployment ends. If you exceed 90 days of unemployment, your F-1 status is considered invalid.|
Instructions: Request Your SEVIS I-20 Transfer/Release From ISS
- Gather the necessary information/documents to complete the online ISS SEVIS I-20 Transfer/Release Request Webform:
- Offer of admission (scan or photo of admission letter or email with offer of admission)
- New school’s SEVIS code (contact your new school if you do not know what this is)
- Decide your requested SEVIS transfer/release date based on the Transfer Date chart.
- Complete the online ISS SEVIS I-20 Transfer/Release Request through MyISSS.
- Allow time for ISS processing. Please note that after the transfer out date the UW will no longer have access to your SEVIS record, so request a transfer only after your plans are certain.
- You will receive an email confirmation of your SEVIS transfer/release from ISS. If you are registered for a future quarter at UW, don’t forget to withdraw and fulfill any financial obligations with the University before you transfer to your new school or leave the U.S. Note the tuition forfeiture and refund policies posted by Student Fiscal Services.
- Contact the new school’s International Admissions office to arrange when and how to receive your new I-20.
Frequently Asked Questions
ISS does not complete transfer eligibility or verification forms for students. ISS will never transfer terminated or completed SEVIS records without first consulting with a DSO at your new school. And, we confirm that you have maintained F-1 status before we complete every transfer. We encourage you to share any information regarding past enrollment, CPT, OPT, or reduced course loads with your new school upon their request.
You may stay in the U.S. in between programs/F-1 activities if the SEVIS record transfer procedures are correctly followed. If the period between programs is longer than 5 months, your new school must issue a new initial I-20 with a new SEVIS number. You must leave the U.S. within your 60-day grace period and re-enter no earlier than 30 days before your new program start date.
You must enter the U.S. on the I-20 from the new school. It is important to discuss your travel plans with your international student adviser at the new school so that an appropriate “transfer out” date and new I-20 issuance can be coordinated to facilitate your travel.
As long as you have followed the proper transfer procedures, you will be able to use your current, unexpired F-1 visa to reenter the U.S. even though it has your previous school name printed on it.
If your F-1 visa will expire in between degree programs, remember you can stay in the U.S. with an expired F-1 visa as long as you are following the correct SEVIS transfer procedures. You must apply for a new F-1 visa if you travel internationally. For more information review Visas information.
Your UW on-campus work permission ends the last day of your final quarter.
While the UW allows student hourly workers to continue employment for one quarter following graduation, students in F-1 status cannot work on campus after graduation because of U.S. government rules.
Students Transferring Schools to Complete Current Degree Level:
You may only work on campus at the school that has access to your SEVIS record. Contact the international student adviser at your new school to verify employment eligibility. Your UW on-campus work authorization ends on the SEVIS transfer release date.
You are eligible to request a SEVIS record transfer during the 60-day grace period following your program completion. However, remember to allow for ISS processing; contact ISS at least 3 weeks before the end of your 60-day grace period to request the SEVIS transfer. If you are authorized for OPT you can request a SEVIS record transfer during your OPT period and within the 60-day grace period following your OPT expiration date.
If you are currently authorized for OPT, choose carefully when deciding what date you would like your SEVIS record transferred to your new school. OPT authorization ends on the “transfer out” date, even if the EAD card is not yet expired. If you plan to work between programs while on OPT, coordinate with your international student adviser at both schools to determine an appropriate “transfer out” date.
Yes. You must report to your new school’s International Office within 15 days of the program start date listed on your I-20.
Your new school will issue you a new I-20 to show you have completed the school-to-school SEVIS record transfer process correctly. This update changes the issuance reason from “transfer pending” to “continued attendance” as in this example.