Navigating the SEVIS Transfer Process for International Students

SEVIS transfer

For international students studying in the United States, the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) transfer process can be a critical step in their educational journey. Whether seeking better academic opportunities, relocating, or addressing financial needs, understanding the SEVIS transfer process is essential. This article outlines the steps, eligibility criteria, and important considerations involved in transferring SEVIS records between SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program)-certified schools.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is an online system that tracks and manages information about international students and exchange visitors in the United States. Managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it ensures compliance with immigration regulations and supports the monitoring of student status.

Why Consider a SEVIS Transfer?

Students often transfer to institutions that offer specialized programs or better academic resources that align with their career goals.


Personal circumstances, such as family relocation or a desire to live in a different part of the country, may necessitate transferring to a new institution.

Financial Reasons

Transferring to a more affordable institution or one that offers better financial support can be a crucial factor for many students.

Eligibility Requirements for SEVIS Transfer

To be eligible for a SEVIS transfer, students must maintain valid F-1 status at their current SEVP-certified institution.

Admission to a New SEVP-Certified School

Students must have been accepted to another SEVP-certified school and have an official acceptance letter.

Intention for Full-Time Study

The new program must require full-time enrollment, ensuring the student continues to comply with F-1 visa requirements.

Steps in the SEVIS Transfer Process

Inform the Designated School Official (DSO) at your current institution of your intent to transfer and provide the acceptance letter from your new school.

Establish Transfer Release Date

The current DSO will set a SEVIS transfer release date, usually at the end of your current term or session, allowing for a smooth transition.

Complete Transfer Forms

Fill out and submit any required transfer forms from both your current and prospective schools, ensuring all information is accurate.

New School Issues Updated Form I-20

After the transfer release date, the new school’s DSO will issue a new Form I-20, reflecting your transfer.

Verify SEVIS Record

Confirm that your SEVIS record has been accurately transferred and updated with your new school.

Considerations for a Smooth SEVIS Transfer

Carefully plan your transfer to avoid interruptions in your F-1 status. Ensure the transfer release date aligns with your academic and personal schedule.

Maintaining Enrollment

Continue to attend classes and fulfill all academic obligations at your current school until the transfer process is complete to maintain your F-1 status.

Financial Readiness

Prepare to provide updated financial documents to your new school to prove your ability to cover educational and living expenses.

Addressing Common SEVIS Transfer Issues

Maintain regular communication between the DSOs at both institutions to prevent delays. Regular follow-ups can help ensure a smooth transfer process.

Documentation Accuracy

Ensure all forms and documents are accurately completed and submitted on time. Errors or omissions can lead to delays or complications in the transfer process.

Visa and Travel Concerns

If planning to travel internationally during the transfer, consult with your DSO to understand any potential visa implications and ensure you have the necessary documentation.

Post-Transfer Checklist

Participate in orientation programs at your new school to familiarize yourself with campus resources, policies, and procedures.

Update SEVIS Record

Ensure your new school updates your SEVIS record with your current address and contact information.

Academic Advising

Meet with academic advisors to understand your new program’s requirements and integrate smoothly into your new academic environment.


Transferring SEVIS records can seem daunting, but with careful planning and understanding of the process, it can be navigated successfully. By meeting eligibility requirements, following the outlined steps, and considering key factors, international students can ensure a smooth transfer between SEVP-certified schools. This comprehensive guide aims to provide international students with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively manage their SEVIS transfer and continue their educational journey in the United States.


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