School Transfer

A student may transfer to another university or college either before completion of the program or after graduation. It is very important that F-1 students know and understand the transfer guidance of Department Homeland Security.

School Transfer—CFR 214.2(f)(8)

F-1 students may transfer between SEVP-certified schools. The transfer process is a way to electronically transfer SEVIS records and retain the same SEVIS identification number for the student.

A student transferring to Biola from another school must inform Admissions at Biola of his/her intent to transfer. International Admissions at Biola will contact the student’s previous school regarding the student’s eligibility to transfer and begin to process the application for admission.

A student transferring from Biola to another school must have been accepted at the new school. The new school will contact SIS at Biola for the student’s transfer eligibility and finally to request the transfer “release date” of the student’s SEVIS record from Biola to the new school. When the SEVIS record is released from Biola to the new school, the new school will issue a new I-20 to the student, and thereafter will be responsible for the student’s SEVIS record.

Students who withdraw from all classes before requesting a transfer will be terminated for “Unauthorized Withdrawal” or “Unauthorized Drop Below Full Course”. These students will either have to apply for reinstatement, or depart the country at once with no grace period and return as a new initial student with a new Form I-20.

Eligibility for School Transfer

  • The student must be maintaining status at his/her current school.
  • The course of study at the transfer-in school must begin within 5 months of the end of the course of study at the transfer-out school, or the release date set by the transfer-out school, whichever is earlier.
  • For students on OPT, the course of study must begin within 5 months of the end of OPT, or the release date set by the transfer-out school, whichever is earlier.

After a student transfers to Biola, the student is required to contact SIS within 15 days of the program start date listed on the Form I-20. SIS registers the student in SEVIS as required for all new students. SIS will complete the registration no later than 30 days following the program start date. At this point, the status of the student’s SEVIS record will change from “initial” to “active” at Biola, and the transfer will be considered complete.

After the student’s SEVIS record has been registered, SIS will print the student’s transfer I-20, which will now indicate “continued attendance” in section 3 and reflect the transfer completed remark. A student who has a “transfer pending” I-20 must report to SIS to have his/her SEVIS record registered and get the “continued attendance” I-20 within 15 days of the program start date.

Why does Biola issue two I-20s?

The two I-20s serve different purposes. One indicates that a transfer is pending, and the other reflects that the transfer has been completed. Students should use the new “continued attendance” I-20 issued to them after they have been registered in SEVIS for any traveling, DHS verification and student identification. All the old I-20s should also be kept carefully to show proof of attendance at the school(s) in the United States.

Different School Name on Visa

If you have lawfully transferred schools while in the US, your visa will still specify the school for which it was initially issued. In this instance, you may travel and re-enter with an unexpired F-1 visa and Form I-20 from the new school without having the new school’s name annotated on the visa. For re-entry, a student must have a Form I-20 endorsed for travel by SIS within the preceding 5 months.

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