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Questions from DSOs: How do I transfer the SEVIS record of an F-1 student in ‘Initial’ status?

August 29, 2019

If you receive a request from a student who has recently arrived in the United States under your school’s Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” to immediately transfer their record to another Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school, use the following resources to learn how to complete this request in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

To start, the student will first need to report to you either in person or by telephone, fax or email to request a transfer.

You should ask the student to provide you with all of the following documents:

  • Written confirmation of acceptance to the transfer-in school;
  • Copy of a student’s Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record,” to confirm the student’s initial date of entry to the United States;
  • Contact information for the new school’s designated school official (DSO); and
  • The SEVIS school code for the transfer-in school.

Regulations require that the student’s program start date at the transfer-in school must be within 30 days of the student’s initial date of entry to the United States.

What should I do if a student is overseas and decides to go to another SEVP-certified school?

In this case, the student should get a new Form I-20 from the school they have chosen to attend and contact their local U.S. Embassy for further assistance.

How do I ‘activate’ a student’s SEVIS record to facilitate the transfer?

You will need to perform an additional step in SEVIS by registering the record prior to the transfer release. For instructions on this step, visit the Initiate Transfer for Students in Initial Status page in the SEVIS Help Hub.

For additional resources on student transfers, visit the Transfers for F-1 Students page on and the Instructions for Transferring to Another School as an M-1 Student page.

For case specific questions, please contact the SEVP Response Center

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