Can I transfer to another US University before first semester? Transfer in first week? Issues ?

In F1 Stamping- After Visa by Kumar208 Comments

A good amount of students arriving in US for higher education tend to transfer to other schools for variety of reasons like funding issues, on campus jobs, go to better university, study with friends, etc. Let me explain you clearly if you can really transfer and what the conditions are. I will caution you what not to do. I was a victim !

Can I transfer to another University before First semester?

Yes, you may, depending on the school’s policy and their consent with few conditions!  It is usually not recommended by international advisors or DSOs to suggest you to do this in first semester. Ideally, every university wants you to study first semester in their university and pay some tuition as you came to US with their Visa. Let me caution you, every school policy is different; some may have policy not to do any transfers at all in first semester. So, it depends. If you ask them this question or call them, they will straight away not tell you that you can transfer and they will say, it is recommended that you study with us for the first semester and we do not encourage you. I did call couple of universities and they exactly gave ame the same answer. So, there is a big ‘IF’ saying it depends on University. But, if the International advisor or DSO thinks and the policy of University is in your favor, you can easily transfer in first week. Here are some of the conditions…

Conditions for Transfer of University before First semester :

Here are few conditions that are pretty much mandatory for your transfer to happen smoothly

  • You should be admission to the University you are transferring to with a valid I20.
  • You should be in United States on F1 Visa and with valid I94.
  • You should be in proper legal status.
  • The transferring University you wish to go should be willing to accept your transfer
  • The classes should not have started at the transferring University you wish to go.
  • You should not owe any fees to the University you are transferring from.
  • The University should not have policy to prohibit transfers during first semester.

There might be few more conditions like, your department head at the university you are planning to transfer from might have to approve your transfer. If you meet all the conditions, you are set to seek transfer from DSO and ask for a transfer.

How does University transfer work ?

Your status information is maintained in SEVIS(Student and Exchange Visitor Program)  records. It has all your legal status info, schools info, when you entered US, etc.  When you ask the University to transfer you to anther university, all they do is, they release your SEVIS Info from their school and indicate the transfer school in SEVIS record. When you go the new transfer University, the international advisor again updates your status and you are all set. There is a catch here, the university should properly transfer you in SEVIS system, if not you will end up into problems as explained below.

What you should NOT do ? What can happen if you are not properly transferred ?

Your info should NOT be deleted in SEVIS by the institute you are transferring from. The DSO should do a proper release of your SEVIS record and indicate your transfer University. If they delete your SEVIS record or do something wrong, you will be OUT OF STATUS.  This is what exactly happened in my case, I asked for transfer and they denied my transfer, but I insisted for transfer. The international advisor was mad at me and deleted my SEVIS record related to their University and told me that I do not belong to their University anymore. She gave me some paperwork indicating that she deleted the SEVIS record because my transfer was not approved by the department head and herself and the student insisted to transfer.  I did not know what I was doing, I asked other advisor and she told “I was out of status at that point of time and I have to reinstate my status at the new University I was transferring to”. I came home and googled info and got scared. It is a long process… To re-instate, at the new transferred university I had to re-apply with all my documents like Bank statements, passport, I94, new I20 and a requisition letter asking to re-instate my status to the USCIS . It is like getting visa second time in US. If USCIS were to deny my reinstatement appeal, I would have had to leave USA and come back home.  I did not have Social Security Number and I was not allowed to work because I was out of status for almost 2 to 3 months. It was a big tension for me. Luckily it went well and the people at new University were very supportive and I transferred. Overall, the key point is, do it the right away and clarify if they have released your SEVIS properly for transferring, if not you would be in deep trouble ! Trust me, you do not want to go through all the tension.

What’s the lesson ?

Overall, the key point to tell you is, you have to work carefully with University advisors / DSO at both universities and seek proper transfer to be in legal status. If not, you might end up in OUT of STATUS can be on the verge of leaving the country due to status issues. Be Careful !

What was your experience ?

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Comments ( 208 )

  1. Fola

    I’m currently in the US on an f1 visa since may but i did not report to the school at all due to financial challenges. I have deferred my admission till spring but. I dont know if i will be affected since i have been in the US for so long without reporting to the school. What do i do pls?

  2. Sanhita Bhattacharyya.

    After BE I went to ASU for pursuing PhD in industrial engineering.But in 1st semester I failed to score 3gpa.As my scholarship was stopped and I have to pay nearly 13 lakh to continue my program I have to come back .Is there any chance that I can apply again and get a chance in another University in USA.

    1. administrator

      Well, you can try again applying. But, you will probably need to answer that question again, when you go for visa stamping. Not able to maintain 3 GPA is not good, unless there is a strong reason and you can defend it…

  3. sonali

    I have done my visa interview and rejected thrice on the same university now i want to go for another university should i go with another university or i have to apply in next intake pls pls reply what should i do

  4. Namratha

    I have got an admission from University of A and I’m done with my visa for this university. But, now I’ve got admissions from University B and I want to attend this university. How can I transfer to university B before start of first semester without attending visa again? Should I have to pay the admission fee for university A and get enrolled in classes and later will they repay the money if I get transferred to university B?

    Thank you.

    1. Tara

      Hi .. I am also in the same situation.
      Can you please tell me what did you do?
      Please please help me with your reply. Really need that on urgent basis.
      Thank you

  5. Sanchayan

    Hi , I have got I-20 from university of pittsburgh and have completed my biometric for visa . Now i think it will be better if i go to Oregon state university . My start date in pittsburgh is 14 august while that of oregon is 11 september. Is it possible and wise to transfer sevis ? Both courses are phd computer science

  6. SK

    I transferred to another university after spending 2 semester at a different university. Since I changed my major, I wasn’t able to transfer all credits. Due to this my graduation will get extended by 1 long semester (Dec 2017 instead of May 2017). Will it affect me negatively in the future? I have taken proper care while transferring my SEVIS id and have been maintaining F1 status at all times. Any response will be very helpful. Thanks!

    1. administrator

      It should not have any impact. This happens all the time when students realize a school or major is not fit for them. As long as you have done it correctly without any SEVIS issues, you should be fine.

  7. Rosan


    I had my visa issued for university A but they are saying that I have been put in their waitlist. It’s so strange that a university puts a student in their waitlist even after the issuence of i20. Unluckily If I didn’t get seat on the university can I still go to USA and study in another university? Does initial transfer work here?

  8. Reza

    I have got an admission from University of A and applied for student visa. My interview with the embassy was good and my visa will be approved between 4 to 8 weeks. But, a few days ago I got fellowship from University of B and I want to attend this university. How can I transfer to university of B before start of first semester?

    Thank you.

    1. administrator

      You have two options, you go for stamping again with University B and enter US with University B visa or You go to US with your current visa to University A and request for Transfer before start of the first semester by consulting DSO….Not many schools encourage the idea of leaving the school before completion of first semester, but it can be done, if the University A allows you. Worst case scenario, you will need to study for one semester at University A and then transfer to Univ B after first semester, you will need to ask Univ B to defer the award for next semester in that case. You can check with DSO at University B to get more clarity on your situation.

    2. Tara

      Hi .. I am also in the same situation.
      Can you please tell me what did you do?
      Please please help me with your reply. Really need that on urgent basis.
      Thank you

  9. Diana

    I am currently studying at a college in North Carolina on a F1 visa. In December I have to go and go home and extend my visa as I wasn’t able to graduate in 2 years. I am pretty unhappy with my current college because they keep changing major requirements which is why I wasn”t able to graduate in 2 years. I want to transfer to another college in Texas when I go and apply to extend my visa. Would that be a problem? The fact that I’m transfering schools? Also, let’s say they extend my visa for 1 year, how do I apply for OPT? At my current school they told me that I can only do a change of status but there isn’t a way to get a visa for OPT. I would like to know if there is a visa for OPT as I would like to be able to go home and come back whenever I want to. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

  10. geetika

    Hello , I just want some information regarding my re-instatement.
    I came to university A with visa stamp and asked for immediate transfer since i did not like the university.They terminated my SEVIS and then I got an admission in university B and applied for re-instatement and got approved from USCIS and back to F1 status now. Now I am on my CPT working and will complete my masters by May 2017.
    I am planning to go to INDIA in Feb 2017. I just wanted to know is it safe to travel and re-enter since I have been re-instated. I have all the documents taht i have sent to USCIS for reinstatement , mail conversations with old and new university , I20 docuemnts , Reinstated I20. Will I have a stringent immigration by CBP officer?? and please do let me know is it risky??
    and also I have my visa stamped on university A , while I am studying in University B. Please do let em know as soon as possible. Thank you so much in reading and replying me. Looking forward for your reply asap.Thank you.

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