Transferring your SEVIS Record from another U.S. School

Overview & Eligibility for SEVIS Transfer

If your F-1 or J-1 status is currently 'SEVIS Active' at another institution, you may be able to transfer your SEVIS record from your current school to UChicago. A “transfer” of your F-1/J-1 SEVIS record means to change your immigration sponsorship from one education institution in the US to another, in order to continue your F-1/J-1 studies. The SEVIS transfer is for immigration purposes only and is completely separate from transferring academic credits to the University.

Current UChicago Students Moving to a Higher Degree Level

Completing one academic program and starting a new one at the University of Chicago is similar to a SEVIS transfer, but is considered a change of education level/program. The timing and advantages of moving from one program to another at UChicago are the same as those for transfer students. However, the process is very different.  If you are changing in between UChicago programs, contact OIA several months before the change occurs.

 

Eligibility for SEVIS Transfer

F-1 STUDENTS:

You will be eligible for a SEVIS transfer if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You have continually maintained F-1/J-1 status at your current school (e.g. no status violations)
  • You are currently in SEVIS 'Active' F-1 status (this includes periods of post-completion OPT) and have continually maintained status for the duration of your F-1 program
    • We cannot accept 'Completed' records.  It is unlikely we can accept 'Terminated' records.  Check with OIA before having your current school transfer your SEVIS record if it is anything other than 'SEVIS Active.'.
  • Your UChicago program begins within 5 months of your current I-20 end date or EAD end date (if on post-completion OPT).  Visit the UChicago academic calendar for official quarter start dates.
    • For transfers students, the UChicago I-20 start date must be the official first day of the quarter that courses begin (e.g. 09/25/2017). Transfer student start dates cannot include boot camps, English programs, or other pre-program activities.
    • For students starting in Autumn 2017, your I-20 start date would be 9/25/2017.
    • The start date for all transfer students must be the same and cannot be adjusted for personal circumstances or preferences.
    • See additional information in our SEVIS transfer timing FAQ.
  • Your current school confirms you are eligible by completing the UChicago Transfer-In Form (linked below)
J-1 STUDENTS:
  • You are currently in SEVIS 'Active' J-1 status (this includes periods of post-completion AT) and have continually maintained status for the duration of your J-1 program (e.g. no status violations).
    • NOTE: We cannot accept 'Completed' or 'Terminated' SEVIS records.
  • Your UChicago academic program begins immediately after the DS-2019 program end date from your previous program without any gap period (e.g. summer in between programs).
  • If there is a gap between programs, you will most likely need to get a new J-1 status for your UChicago program 
  • For transfers students, the DS-2019 start date must be the official first day of the quarter that courses begin.
    • Transfer student start dates cannot include boot camps, English programs, or other pre-program activities.
    • Visit the UChicago academic calendar for official quarter start dates.
  • You are continuing the same academic objective you had on your previous DS-2019 at the same or higher degree level (e.g. MA to MA, or MA to PhD).
  • You cannot transfer to a lower degree level in J-1 status
  • Your current school confirms you are eligible by completing the UChicago Transfer-In Form (linked below)

Note about J-1 transfers: not all J-1 students will be eligible for SEVIS transfers.  You must consult with your current school and OIA to review your J-1 transfer eligibility and confirm timing.

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Advantages to Transferring your SEVIS record:

There are several advantages to transferring your SEVIS record, including:

  • You keep your current SEVIS ID number and F-1 record
  • You do not have to pay the SEVIS fee again
  • If your F-1 visa is still valid, you can continue to use it until its expiration date.  It is OK if your old school's name is on your visa.
  • You will be allowed to remain in the U.S. or travel in and out of the U.S. in between programs
  • You are not subject to the 30-day entry restriction (entering no earlier than 30 days before your program starts) and can enter the U.S. at any point before your program
  • You can participate in any pre-program activities before your start date, as long as you have electronically checked in to OIA with your UChicago I-20.
  • Work authorization benefits:
    • On campus employment: you are eligible to engage in on campus employment immediately after checking in with OIA
    • Off campus employment: as long as you are otherwise eligible and enrolled in an eligible program, you may be able to apply for off-campus employment through OPT, CPT or AT at the new school, as you will have already built up enough full-time study on your SEVIS record to qualify (one year of full time enrollment).

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SEVIS Transfer Timing

F-1 students: OIA must receive your transferred record within 60 days of your I-20 end date or EAD end date (if on post-completion OPT).  Consult with your current school to determine transfer timing.  A few reminders:

  • You must have your UChicago transfer I-20 before your new program begins. We should receive your F-1/J-1 record from your current school at least 10-14 days before your UChicago program begins
  • Your existing F-1 or J-1 SEVIS record must be transferred from your current institution to the University of Chicago no later than the 60-day Grace Period following your I-20 end date
  • If you are finishing OPT, you can transfer your SEVIS record during OPT or during the 60 day grace period following your OPT end date.
  • If you transfer your record while on post-completion OPT, your OPT will automatically end and any remaining OPT time will be forfeit.

J-1 Students: Your record must be transferred before your current DS-2019 end date. It will typically be transferred on the last or second to last date. There cannot be a gap between program dates.  You will need to work closely with both your old school and UChicago to determine J-1 transfer eligibility and transfer timing.

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Steps to Transfer Your Record:

Complete Part I of the UChicago transfer-in form and submit it to the international student office at your current school. Be sure to tell your current adviser when you want your SEVIS record to be transferred.

  1. Your international student adviser must email the completed form to our office according to the instructions on the form.
  2. Your international student adviser at your current school transfers your SEVIS record to UChicago ('Transfer Release Date').  The transfer is electronic and happens instantaneously.
  3. You submit your financial and biographical information to your UChicago admissions department. See our our admitted student website for more information.
  4. OIA electronically accesses your SEVIS record after your transfer date to create your new I-20 or DS-2019. It will take 10-14 days to create your new I-20 after we receive your SEVIS record from your school.  Make sure to have your school release your record to us at least 2-3 weeks before your program begins. You must have the new I-20 before your UChicago program begins.
  5. After you have received your UChicago I-20/DS-2019, you:
    1. Submit an online check-in form within three business days of arriving in Chicago,
    2. Complete and online international student orientation before courses begin.

      Information about these requirements can be found on our our admitted student website.

We cannot issue your new I-20 or DS-2019 until your SEVIS record has been electronically transferred from your previous institution to UChicago and the release date indicated on the transfer-in form has been reached. Please consult with your current international student adviser regarding the transfer date.  It will take 10-14 days to create the new I-20 for you once we receive your SEVIS record from your current school; make sure to plan ahead!

You must have the UChicago I-20 or DS-2019 before starting courses at UChicago.

Please communicate with our office to make sure we receive the transfer-in form and are aware that you need to transfer your SEVIS record. You can e-mail us at international-affairs@uchicago.edu. Let us know your name, your UCID (if known), and to which program you have been admitted.

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SEVIS Transfer-In FAQs

Transfer Eligibility and Application
  • Am I eligible to transfer my SEVIS  record to UChicago?
    F-1 Students: See the eligibility criteria above and consult with your current school.  As long as your record is 'SEVIS Active,' you have continually maintained status at your current school, and you meet the timing and eligibility criteria above, you will be eligible for a SEVIS transfer.
    J-1 Students: Consult with OIA and your current school.
     
  • My SEVIS record is 'Complete.' Am I eligible for a transfer to UChicago?
    No.  A 'Completed' SEVIS record cannot be changed.  If your SEVIS record is 'Complete', you are not eligible for a SEVIS transfer to UChicago.
     
  • My SEVIS record is 'Terminated.' Am I eligible for a transfer to UChicago?
    Most likely not. It is extremely rare that we can accept 'terminated' records.  If you failed to maintain status at your previous University (e.g. failure to enroll, suspended for disciplinary reasons, no show, etc), you will not be eligible for a SEVIS transfer to UChicago.  If you have a terminated SEVIS record and believe you are eligible for a SEVIS trasnfer, contact OIA for guidance.
     
  • When can/should I transfer my record?
    OIA must receive your SEVIS record at least two weeks before your program will begin. You must have your new I-20 to legally start your new program.  If you are currently on post-completion OPT (or STEM), based on your previous record, transferring your SEVIS record will automatically end your OPT and cause you to forfeit any remaining OPT time.  Consult with your current school for transfer timing.
     
  • I am a few days or weeks away from the 5 month SEVIS transfer window.  Can you adjust my start date to an earlier date so that I am eligible for a SEVIS transfer?
    No. By regulation, all SEVIS transfer students must have the start date of the official term start.  We are unable to adjust start dates based on personal circumstances or pre-program activities. See the UChicago Academic Calendar for official quarter start dates.
     
  • How long does it take to do the SEVIS transfer?
    As the SEVIS transfer is electronic, it happens instantaneously.  However, after we receive your record from your new school, it will take 10-14 days to create your new UChicago I-20, assuming you have all required documents. Make sure to plan ahead to have your school release your record at least two weeks before your program begins.
     
  • What documents are required for a SEVIS transfer?
    As a SEVIS Transfer student, you must go through the exact process outlined on our admitted student website. In addition to the documents listed there, you and your current school must complete a UChicago Transfer In Form (available on the page above).
     
  • What's the UChicago SEVIS School Code?
    The UChicago SEVIS school code can be found on our transfer-in form.
Transfer Start Dates and Timing
  • What will my SEVIS Transfer I-20/DS-2019 start date be?
    By regulation, all SEVIS transfer students must have the start date of the official term start and cannot include and pre-program activities.  If you are a SEVIS transfer student starting in Autumn 2017, your start date will be 09/25/2017.  We are unable to adjust start dates based on personal circumstances or pre-program activities. See the UChicago Academic Calendar for official quarter start dates in other terms.
     
  • I'm required to do a pre-program boot camp or English language class.  Can my I-20/DS-2019 start date be earlier?
    No. By regulation, all SEVIS transfer students must have the start date of the official term start and cannot include and pre-program activities.  We are unable to adjust start dates based on personal circumstances or pre-program activities. See the UChicago Academic Calendar for official quarter start dates.

    However, SEVIS transfer students are not restricted to the 30-day entry requirement.  If you have required sessions to attend before the quarter starts, you can certainly do so with your SEVIS transfer I-20.
     
  • When will I get my my UChicago I-20? 
    To create your SEVIS transfer I-20, the following criteria must be met:
    1. Your 'Transfer Release Date' must have passed,
    2. We must have received your transfer-in form from your previous school, and
    3. You must have submitted all other required documentation (e.g. FRS, passport, financial information) outlined on the admitted student page.
  • If all of your application documents are in order, your SEVIS transfer I-20 will be created about 10-14 days after your transfer release date.
Visa and Travel for Transfer Students
  • My visa is valid for the next 4 years, but has my old school's name on it.  Do I need a new visa?
    No. If your F-1 visa is still valid, you can continue to use it until its expiration date.  It is OK if your old school's name is on your visa. This is one benefit of transferring your SEVIS record.
     
  • Can I stay in the U.S. in between programs?
    Yes. Once your record is successfully transferred, you will be allowed to remain in the U.S. or travel in and out of the U.S. in between programs.
     
  • Can I travel internationally between programs?
    Yes, but you must have the UChicago I-20 to re-enter the U.S. after your previous program ends. If you do travel, you are not subject to the 30-day entry restriction (entering no earlier than 30 days before your program starts) and can enter the U.S. at any point before your program
     
  • Can I enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the I-20 start date?
    Yes. As a SEVIS transfer student, you are not subject to the 30-day entry restriction (entering no earlier than 30 days before your program starts) and can enter the U.S. at any point before your program. You can participate in any pre-program activities before your start date, as long as you have electronically checked in to OIA with your UChicago I-20.

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