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How Do I Defer My Enrollment?

February 9, 2015
Once you are admitted to a university, you may decide that you need to delay your start date. This is often called deferment. If you realize you need to defer your start date, you must talk with your designated school official (DSO) as soon as possible, as there are important steps both of you must take. 
Once you are accepted to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school, you will receive a Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status." This is a paper record of your information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Your Form I-20 is important because it shows your program start date and is one of the documents you need in order to apply for a student visa and pay your I-901 SEVIS fee
If you decide to defer your enrollment, your DSO can adjust your start date in SEVIS and issue you a new Form I-20. However, you must do this before you travel to the United States. You cannot defer your program start date once you have already entered the United States.
When deferring, your new start date should be at the beginning of another semester or term that you are able to attend. You may not enter the United States more than 30 days prior to your adjusted program start date. 
Speak with your DSO if you have any questions about deferment or contact the SEVP Response Center.
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