If a student transfers to a new school (whether in the same or a different educational program), he or she must comply with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) rules:
Indication of New School
The student must first notify the designated school official (DSO) at the transfer school within 15 days of the start date listed on the SEVIS I-20 form. During the process of transferring schools, the (DSO) must indicate the school to which the student intends to transfer in SEVIS. Therefore, the initiation of a student record transfer in SEVIS can only be carried out after the student has completed the application and acceptance process and has chosen the school to which he or she is transferring.
The Number of Schools to which a Transferring Student may Apply
The SEVIS rule does not place any limit on the number of schools to which a transferring F-Visa or M-Visa student may apply. The transferring student may apply to and be accepted by any number of schools. However, the SEVIS rule restricts the number of SEVIS Form I-20s that may be issued to a transferring student. SEVIS will allow a student's record to be available only to one school at a time.
Once the student decides which school he or she intends to transfer, the DSO of his or her current school will update SEVIS to reflect this choice and will enter the release date for the student. The student's name will then appear in SEVIS at the transfer school as an ``alert'' containing the student's name and release date. When the release date is reached, the transfer school will be able to issue the transferring student a new SEVIS Form I-20. In most cases, schools will not send the acceptance letter and the SEVIS Form I-20 at the same time. If the student changes his or her mind prior to the release date, the DSO at the current school may cancel the transfer request. If the transfer request is cancelled the student may continue studies at the current school or make a new request to be transferred to another school. However, once the release date has been reached, the DSO at the current school may no longer access the student's record in SEVIS. Therefore, a student who changes his or her mind after the release date must work with the DSO of the transfer school to accomplish a second transfer to another approved school. In such cases, the DSO of the transfer school must complete the transfer process for the student in SEVIS and then initiate any subsequent transfer that the student may request.
Five Months--Transferring Period
The SEVIS rule also limits the length of time a student may remain in the U.S. while transferring between schools. The student may not remain in the U.S. between programs if the student will not resume classes within 5 months of transferring out of the current school, or within 5 months of the program completion date as indicated on the Form I-20 issued by the current school, whichever date is earlier.
In the case of a student authorized to engage in post-completion optional practical training (OPT), the student must be able to resume classes within 5 months of transferring out of the current school that recommended OPT or the date the OPT authorization ends, whichever is earlier. For example, in instances where a DSO initiates a transfer within the 60-day period following completion of studies, in order to remain in the United States between transfer of programs or schools, the 5 month period begins tolling on the date the program was completed, not the date the DSO initiated the transfer. The initiation of a transfer-out date occurs when the DSO enters a date for the release of the student's record to the transfer school. While the DSO may enter any date reasonable and appropriate for a student's circumstances, in most instances, the DSO will want to enter the release date as the date the student completes the last day of the academic term at the current school.
Notification Procedure of Transfer of School
To transfer from one school to another, the student must first notify his or her current school of the intent to transfer and must indicate the school to which he or she intends to transfer. Upon notification by the student, the current school will update the student's record in SEVIS as a "transfer out'' and indicate the school to which the student intends to transfer, and a release date. The release date will be the current semester or session completion date, or the date of expected transfer if earlier than the established academic cycle. The current school will retain control over the student's record in SEVIS until the student completes the current term or reaches the release date. At the request of the student, the DSO of the current school may cancel the transfer request at any time prior to the release date. As of the release date specified by the current DSO, the transfer school will be granted full access to the student's SEVIS record and then becomes responsible for that student. The current school conveys authority and responsibility over that student to the transfer school, and will no longer have full SEVIS access to that student's record.
As such, a transfer request may not be cancelled by the current DSO after the release date has been reached. After the release date, the transfer DSO must complete the transfer of the student's record in SEVIS and may issue a SEVIS Form I-20. The student is then required to contact the DSO at the transfer school within 15 days of the program start date listed on the SEVIS Form I-20. Upon notification that the student is enrolled in classes, the DSO of the transfer school must update SEVIS to reflect the student's registration and current address, thereby acknowledging that the student has completed the transfer process. In the remarks section of the student's SEVIS Form I-20, the DSO must note that the transfer has been completed, including the date, and return the form to the student. The transfer is carried out when the transfer school notifies SEVIS that the student has enrolled in classes within 30 days.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations: 8 CFR §§ 214.2(f)(8); 214.2(g)(2)
(Updated 10/11/2012 by AD)
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