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Immigration and Visa Information for Students Transferring from Other U.S. Schools

You’ve made it through the first big step and have been accepted to UB! However, before you can transfer to UB from another U.S. school, you should review the following information about your visa and immigration status.

On this page:

What if I am already in the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student?

If you are already in the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student, it may be possible to transfer your SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record from your current school to UB.

If you are a SEVIS transfer student, you will receive a “Transfer Pending from (current school)” I-20 instead of an “Initial” I-20.

Am I eligible for a SEVIS transfer?

To be eligible for a SEVIS transfer, you must:

  1. Have maintained your F-1 student status
  2. Be admitted to UB in time for your SEVIS record to be transferred no later than the last day of the 60-day grace period after the end date on your I-20 (for F-1 students).
  3. Continue attending classes at your current school until your transfer release date.
  4. Begin classes at UB within 5 months of your transfer release date or the end date on your current I-20, OR at the start of the next available academic term, whichever is earlier (for F-1 students).

Your transfer release date is the day your current school releases your SEVIS record to your new school.

Enrollment exception

The only exception to the requirement to enroll during the next available session is when it is a summer vacation for which you are eligible. To be eligible for this exception, you must have been enrolled at a U.S. school for a full academic year AND you must enroll within five months of your transfer release date.

J-1 transfers

The rules for J-1 students’ transfers are different than for F-1 students.

If you are a J-1 student, you will receive advice on what you need to do from UB’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

If you are not eligible for a SEVIS transfer, you must depart the U.S. and re-enter with an Initial I-20.

What if I am on Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

You can transfer to another school during the 60-day grace period after your Post-Completion OPT, as long as the transfer release date occurs within the grace period.

You must begin classes within 5 months of your transfer release date or the date your OPT authorization ends, whichever is earlier.

Your OPT work authorization will end on your transfer release date. Therefore, if you wish to complete your OPT, your transfer release date must be after your OPT ends.

How do I request a SEVIS transfer?

  1. Complete Section 1 of the Eligibility Confirmation Form for a School Transfer by an F-1 Student
  2. Ask a Designated School Official (DSO) at your current school to complete Section 2 of the Eligibility Confirmation Form for a School Transfer by an F-1 Student and enter into SEVIS your intent to transfer to UB and your transfer release date.
  3. Return the School Transfer form with copies of your immigration documents (biographical page of your passport, all previous I-20s) to UB.

Do I have to pay the SEVIS fee again?

If you meet all the conditions for a SEVIS transfer, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again.

Can I use my current student visa if it is still valid?

If you are already in the U.S. on an F-1 (or J-1) visa, you can study at UB on the same visa.

Visas are entry permits that allow you to enter the U.S. from anywhere in the world, if your visa and number of entries have not expired, and if all of your other immigration documents are in order. Visas do not determine how long you can stay in the U.S., so, unless you travel abroad before joining UB, you can study at UB without renewing your visa even if it has expired.

If I am transferring, can I travel outside the U.S.?

Yes, but you must be careful to re-enter the U.S. using the I-20 (or DS-2019 for J-1 students) issued by the school that currently has your SEVIS record.