F1 Visa Defer admission in US schools. I20, Visa issues, Fees? Process – How to Defer?

In F1 Stamping- After Visa by Kumar240 Comments

After going through the complete process from studying for GRE all the way through visa stamping, occasionally due to family situations, financial situations or medical conditions you may not be able to attend the US school for the term you applied though you have visa. This post explains the process of deferring admission in US Universities and other commonly asked questions.

There are three scenarios where you would like to defer your admission.

  1. You have only applied to a US University, you do not Have an admission Confirmed
  2. You have admission confirmed and have I20. But, have not yet got Visa stamping.
  3. You have admission, I20 and have F1 visa stamping done for a  particular University.

Let me try to explain your options one by one.

Scenario 1 : You have only applied to a US University, you do not have an admission Confirmed :

In this situation, you have only applied and would like to just defer the application. The idea is you want the school to consider you for a different term. Lets say you applied for Fall and immediately before their decision, you want to defer admission to Spring. You will need to have a reason for asking deferral. Could be anything. Just be honest.

Steps for Deferring admission and Consequences : It is very simple, all you have to do is ask the University admission office or Graduate school to defer your applications. Most of the times you do not have to pay extra fee. Your application is valid for one year. But, some schools want you to pay again. You will have to check with the Univeristy you are applying in specific. Ideally, you will email three people

1. Admissions coordinator at The Graduate School about deferring admission

2. Admissions coordinator at The actual school you applied to i.e., School of Engineering or School of Business etc

3. (If applicable) Depending on school. You will have to email the International students office or International admissions office.  Some schools do not have this separate.

You do not have to do anything else. You should get a confirmation from the University official saying that your admission  is deferred for Spring. You will be automatically considered for Spring.

Scenario 2 : You have admission confirmed and have I20. But, have not yet got Visa stamping :

This is a much more likely situation where you have applied and have the admission confirmed. The University have sent you an I20 confirming your admission. But, you have not gone for visa stamping. For some reason you have changed your mind and you would like to go to Spring instead of Fall. As always, you will have to state a reason. Be honest and you do not need to lie.

Steps for Deferring admission and Consequences : It is same process as above, all  you have to do is ask the University admission office or Graduate school to defer your applications. You will also need to contact the International Student Advisor or the DSO ( Designated School official) who issues you the I20.

Typically, the Universities let you defer for next term or up to term anytime that ranges within one year since you applied.  Ideally, You do not have to pay any extra fee But, some schools want you to pay again or ask for fee for reserving the admission. You will have to check with the University you are applying in specific. Here is what you do:  you will email these four people

1. Admissions coordinator at The Graduate School about deferring admission

2. Admissions coordinator at The actual school you applied to i.e., School of Engineering or School of Business etc

3. International Student Advisor or Designated School official(DSO) who have sent you the I20.

4. (If applicable) You will have to email the International students office coordinator or International admissions office coordinator.  Most schools have DSO and this office together, but in case they are separate.

Process after your email them about Deferral :

You should get a confirmation from the University official saying that your admission  is deferred for Spring or next semester. Apart from that, you should get a New I20 from the school. The DSO sends you a new I20 with his signature. You will have to use this I20 for doing any F1 Visa stamping process when you intend to do for visa stamping. You will sometimes be asked by the University to send back the old I20, if so, you will have to send them back. Ideally, they just send you the new I20 and you will have to use this for visa stamping.  In fact, what happens is your SEVIS record is updated and new I20 is released that suits for your New visa application.  When you go for visa, you will have to have a valid reason if Visa officer asks you at F1 visa stamping in Consulate.

Scenario 3 : You have admission, I20 and have F1 visa stamping done for a  particular University:

This is a sometimes a likely situation where you have done everything and something goes wrong. Lets say, you got your visa after the Orientation date due to some query issues or any other emergency.  You have been to the F1 visa stamping and got F1 visa for 5 years and the visa states the University name on it.   You will need a very good valid reason here because you will be asked the question at Port of entry. You should be able to tell the proper reason before entering US at the immigration checkpoint at Airport.  Check Sample Visa and I94 How they look

Steps for Deferring admission and Consequences :  It is similar process as above, you email all the three people as said above. And also, the University  lets you defer for next term or up to term anytime that ranges within one year since you applied.  Ideally, You do not have to pay any extra fee But, some schools want you to pay again or ask for fee for reserving the admission. You will have to check with the University you are applying in specific. Here is what you do, you will email these four people. You MUST mention you got F1 Visa.

1. Admissions coordinator at The Graduate School about deferring admission

2. Admissions coordinator at The actual school you applied to i.e., School of Engineering or School of Business etc

3. International Student Advisor or Designated School official(DSO) who have sent you the I20.

4. (If applicable) You will have to email the International students office or International admissions office.  Most schools have DSO and this office together, but in case they are separate.

Process after your email them about Deferral :

You should get a confirmation from the University official saying that your admission is deferred for Spring or next semester. Apart from that, you should get a New I20 from the school. The DSO sends you a new I20 with his signature. You will have to use this I20 at the port of Entry. It is very critical you have the updated I20 sent by DSO. You will sometimes be asked by the University to send back the old I20, if so, you will have to send them back. Ideally, they just send you the new I20 and you will have to use this at the Port of entry.  In fact, what happens is your SEVIS record is updated and it is reflected in new I20. Be careful and you MUST mention to the DSO that you have F1 visa stamping complete. They will update that information in the SEVIS record. So, when you arrive at the port of entry, the immigration officer knows that you have deferred your admission and you have the right I20 reflecting the same.  Here is a similar question asked  and answered before : I got visa for Fall 2009. Can I come to US for Spring 2010 ? .  Also, Some of you may have ideas to transfer Universities before first semester, if so you should read this article  : Can I transfer to another US University before first semester? Transfer in first week? Issues ?

About F1 Visa validity if admission is Deferred:
[Updated with info from CBP response ]  One of the most asked questions is, “I have got F1 Visa. But I got my admission deferred. Should I go for visa stamping again, after I get deferral”. Simple answer NO, if it is less than 5 months. One of our readers updated that 5 month rule does not apply to new students, it only applies to returning students. He has shared the email confirmation from CBP officer as well.  What it means is that, if your F1 Visa is valid and you have I20 issued for the semester you plan to attend, you are good to go to the same school, without the need to go for stamping gain. Also, if you change schools, you may have to do visa stamping again and you should check with the new school you are coming too about the process.  But, if you are going to same school, you must be good to go.
I always recommend that you check with the school DSO or the local US consulate office as these things keep changing.

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Comments ( 240 )

  1. Rajitha

    Hi..
    I am applying universities for Spring 2018 and my IELTS scores are going to expire on Dec 19,2017.
    Do I need to keep my IELTS score valid till I reach USA or getting I-20 from universities is enough.
    Should I retake IELTS ?

  2. Shankari Seethalakshmi Mohanakrishnan

    Hi,

    Greeting! Hi I am Shankari Seethalakshmi Mohanakrishnan currently a student of Illinois Institute of Technology. I attended my visa stamping for F1 visa on August 4th 2016 and cleared it but due to unforeseen reasons i was not able to make it up to USA and deferred my admission. I got a new I20 for the spring 2017 semester with a different SEVIS to the one I got for Fall 2016 (previous one). But due to lack of technical knowledge on SEVIS i just entered USA although my SEVIS in the new I20 and my Visa stamping in the I20 was different. Now my SEVIS fee is transferred from old SEVIS ID to the new SEVIS ID. I want to know will there be a problem in the following things and what should i do to resolve these problems.

    1. Going back to home country before completing the course for a vacation.
    2. Moving into CPT status.
    3. Moving into OPT status.
    4. Getting an H1 visa.

    Kindly also let me know if i could correct this issue being in USA itself.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Nour

    I got admitted to fall-2017 and got my F1 visa stamped but due to I was unable to attend for Spring-2017 and got it differed to fall -2017 and know I got new I-20 for spring-2017 ,

    Do i need to get my visa stamped again?

    If not , What do steps do i take from here

  4. Mossaab

    Greetings,

    I’ve been taking classes with ESL school as a full-time student under F-1 Visa since September 2016. By now, I finished three levels of English instruction, and my I-20 expired on the last day of summer semester, August 11th, 2017. I’ve decided that I want to extend my studies with the same school and finish the remaining levels of English. I’m still in the 60-day grace period and haven’t left the U.S. yet. After paying the tuition, I reached out the school’s DSO, and asked her to extend my I-20 for this fall semester, and she told me that she couldn’t extend my expired I-20, and that she’ll issue a new I-20, but then I have to leave the U.S. and re-enter again. My question is, is there any way I could avoid having to leave the U.S. while having a new I-20 issued for this semester?

    The odds of getting rejected for admittance by an immigration officer and the related costs of traveling are making this option unappealing and somehow risky.

    I’d really appreciate your advice regarding my situation.

    Thank you

  5. Uday

    Due to academic dismissal my visa is revoked port of entry.Now my advisor suggested me to go community college for one semister. Can I get fresh visa with new I20 of community college

  6. Uday

    Due to academic dismissal my visa is revoked port of entry.Now my advisor suggested me to go community college for one semister. Can I get visa with new I20 of community college

  7. Pratick mystry

    Hello sir,

    I was in Us last year April to Aug 2016 and after completing 1st semester i came back,because my parents were not mentally good,as it was first time for them and me too. Though i had return ticket Usa for 23rd Nov, but i did not go back due to huge confusion. Now, recently i appeared for visa 3 times on same Uni where i studied and i got rejected. So,my question is that,is it wise decision to make 4th attempt in same intake? Is it something that i will not going to get my visa back ever? Or how is it going to be if i change my university? and apply for visa in next intake.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Pratick,
      It is hard to say what is going on in the VO mind. It could be the school has some issues or it could be that they can think that you are potential immigrant, etc. There is nothing like you will never get US visa…it depends on many factors.

      1. Pratick mystry

        Respected sir,

        So in this case what would you suggest? Should give GRE and IELTS again and apply for new University or go with same college where i studied?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          It is very hard to say, if you do either of these you will get visa. You need take a conscious decision and try our based on what you think went wrong or look at your application holistically. I wish I could add more, you will need to take the decision on your own.

  8. S

    Hello

    I was supposed to attend Duke in fall 2016 but I couldn’t. I have a valid F1 visa but the university issued a new i20 with a different SEVIS aid for Fall 2017. Do I need a new visa?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Well, you will very likely need one, if the SEVIS ID has changed and it has been over a year. You can write to CBP office to get confirmation. Rules keep changing and I suggest you write to CBP office to get confirmation, so that you can carry the same proof, if not required.

  9. Suresh

    Hi
    I recently got graduated in Masters in Computer Science. But unfortunately I am not eligible to apply for OPT because I did not finish my course with full time. My university international advisor told me the only way to apply OPT is to do apply for another masters and for that I have to leave the country and return. What I don’t know is do I have to attend another visa interview? My SEVIS ID got expired too.

  10. RAPHAEL

    Hello
    The resumption date on the I-20 for my school is august 13, can i resume this month, July? and when do you advice i should resume?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Raphael,
      Well, you need to follow the info on I-20. Please check with your DSO, if something can be changed.

    2. Rishi Adhikari

      I got F1 Visa for this fall 2017 but due to some emergency I am not able to go now. I have already talk with colz authority, they are positive about issuing new i20 and updating same Sevis id. But do I have to go for stamping again? Is the rule same i.e no need to stamp again or it’s been changed? Plz reply

    3. Nipun Sawhney

      I had applied for a visa for attending a PhD at University of Florida in 2016 fall. Got the stamping done for the visa and could not attend due to personal reasons. I reapplied and have been readmitted for the course in 2017 fall with a new sevis id and have been informed that my previous sevis id is invalid and that I will have to apply for a new visa. Is my previous visa also invalid? Or would it considered canceled/revoked or expired? Or is the previous visa still valid?. I need to answer these questions in the form. Could you please help as this is urgent

      1. administrator
        Kumar

        Well, I am not sure, what options you see. You may classify it as invalid because the SEVIS ID has changed. You can write to embassy to clarify the same.

  11. ajay singh

    Dear sir
    I have had applied for i 20 and i got that unfortunately i was lost my passport during travlling so pls sir could you tell me if there is possibility to reissue new i 20 for fall month in same that collage. My collage is santa monica in california in USA. Can i do that and what is the proccedure.
    Thank you

  12. Ahmed

    I was dismissed from a college however I have a 5 year student visa. If i get re-admission and get a new i-20 do I still have to apply for a new visa stamp? My stamp is still active for another 2 years.

  13. Rahul

    I got admitted to spring-2017 and got my F1 visa but due to some reasons I was unable to attend for Spring-2017 and got it differed to fall -2017 and know I got new I-20 for fall-2017.My question is can I travel to US 3-4 months prior to the semester(Sep) starts for Fall-2017 .I have my immediate relatives living there?

  14. narain

    Hello,

    I have applied for F1 visa for university A and biometrics are also done. I have not got I20 from another university B. I would like to go new university B – what should I do? SEVIS fee transfer and can I use the same visa slot for F1 stamping?

  15. Robin

    Hello,

    I have a doubt, My College major is written as “Bachelors in Cyber security systems” in the college acceptance letter but in my I-20 its written as “Computer and information systems security/Information assurance.” Which one should I write in DS-160?

    Looking forward to your response.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Robin,
      Are you applying for Bachelors or Masters ? Usually it is the degree name you would need to mention. You can have multiple majors for a degree, depending on your program and how you plan it.

      1. Robin

        Its a Bachelors. Please try to understand my question.

        On the university’s website and in my acceptance letter it’s “bachelors in cyber security systems” but in my I-20 it’s basically a similar major chosen from the Sevis major list by the university.

        My question is what should I write in DS-160? The major mentioned in the university’s website or the one mentioned in the I-20?

  16. Eddie

    1) My F-1 visa expires in April but I have not completed my studies, do I need to renew it here in the US? If yes, how?

    2) After obtaining “AA” degree, I intend to stay and continue my studies to another university, what do I need to do? Can I use the same F-1 visa from my previous college even if expired?”

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Eddie,
      1. If you are already in US and maintaining proper status, you do not need to do anything. Check US visa vs status
      2. You can continue to do that, as long as you maintain your F1 status properly. You do not need new visa, if you have maintained valid F1 status in US.
      You can speak to DSO, if you need more information.

  17. Ruhsanth

    i applied to a university but haven’t received any update regarding the I20 as they are on holidays I applied in the last week of November and are there any chances that I will get the admit for this sem or will they differ my admit to next sem if I get this sem admit classes start on jan 9th so what should I do any suggestions

  18. SARANYA PILLAI

    I have paid my Sevis for fall 2016, and now after deferring my admit, I am going for visa again with new SEVIS ID but same University and program.
    IS there any means by which i can transfer sevis payment or I need to make another payment again?

  19. Emma

    Hi, I have scheduled for my student visa interview on 27th December 2016 and the orientation starts on 4th January 2017 can I defer my application to next semester or am still in time to apply for the visa coz visa processing in my country takes one day

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Emma,
      You are too close to go to the orientation as the visa processing can get delayed sometimes. If you get approval from the school that you can join a week late, if your visa processing gets delayed, it should be fine. You do not need to wait another semester.

  20. SARANYA PILLAI

    I applied for fall 2016 and got my visa approved but my visa underwent a long administrative processing and hence i could not join in for fall, and now I am set to join in spring, so is my visa valid as my new I20 has got new SEVIS ID do i need to go for another stamping?

    1. olaoluwa

      Thank you i hope i find this helpful.

      Am olaoluwa,i have been refused for an f1-visa and i got a new I-20 but am to resume for aug 7 or no later than aug 14. Should i book an appointment if i can get a closer date or should i get in touch with my school and ask again for a new I-20 which will be the thirld time.

  21. T V Dsouza

    Sir. My daughter went to NYU for her MS in computer science in 2013.But she could not complete it successfully and came back to India in september 2015. Now she got admission to Michigun state university for spring 2017.She has to go for her F1visa again. What reason she can give at visa interview for her failure in ms at NYU. please let me know. Her visa interview is scheduled for 17 November 2017.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Well, in my view, you should not be telling answer of someone else and fabricating stuff, it will miss the conviction and create more problems when the VO believes that your answers are made up. Take time to think honest reasons and state them, it should be fine. Think of the positive side of it, your daughter is going back to get her degree, she should articulate her passion.

  22. Vailisha Merani

    I applied to a university in US for Fall 2016, ai got my F-1 visa and travelled to US in August. But, due to my severe health conditions I had to return back in September. I coordinated with the university about the deferral and got my new Admission letter for Spring 2017. They asked me to complete my appliation for new I-20. I did and mentioned that I already have a Sevis ID and a valid F-1 visa. But now they have sent me my new I-20 with a new Sevis ID. My F-1 visa has my old Sevis ID printed. Is this a problem?

    Also, they have asked me to pay Sevis fee.

    Does my F-1 visa becomes invalid?
    Should I apply for a new student visa?

      1. Vailisha Merani

        Since my visa has the Old Sevis ID and the new I-20 has a new Sevis ID, I contacted the US consulate. They suggest:

        “In response to your question, we would like to inform you that if you have got the new I-20 with the different SEVIS number, then you may needs to apply for a new and fresh student visa.”

        Going again for a visa interview will be very difficult for me. What should I do?
        I have lost my chance I guess..

        Please guide me.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Vallisha,
          Why do you think that you have lost your chance ? If you are really keen on pursuing your dream and passionate about it, be fearless and confident, you will get your visa. You will need to follow the advice given by US consulate.

  23. Amir Ebrahimi

    Dear Sir/Madam
    I would like to know whether students can defer to next semester after more than one month passed start date of their first I-20. I mean, Is there any problem for updating the sevis record after one month?
    Best Regards,
    Amir

  24. AKS NAMBOODIRI

    I am currently doing PhD in UMD after doing my MS from Cornell University. I have my Student F1 visa stamped in passport which states “Cornell University” and it expires in June 17. Now I have new i20 from UMD and SEVIS transfer also done.

    Please let me know how to obtain the extension of visa stamped in my passport? I am an Indian and currently staying at Maryland.

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