An M-1 student may only transfer programs within the first six months of arriving in the United States. The only exception to this is if you are unable to stay at a school because of circumstances beyond your control, such as if a school closes.
An M-1 student may transfer under the following conditions:
- Within six months of your arrival in the United States or, if you changed to M-1 status from another nonimmigrant classification, within six months of the change
- If your documentation confirms that you are an M-1 student
- You remain engaged in a full course of study at your current school
- You plan to pursue a full course of study at your new school
- You are financially able to attend the new school
- You are continuing with the same educational objective
The M-1 transfer process is as follows:
- Apply and gain admission to another Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified school that accepts M students in the same educational objective.
- Tell your current designated school official (DSO) your plans to transfer, and provide the name of the transfer-in school and proof of acceptance by them. The DSO at you current school must change your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record to “transfer-out” status.
- After this change, the DSO at your transfer-in school can generate and print a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status.” If the SEVIS record at the current school is in Terminated status, the DSO at your transfer-in school will need to recommend you for reinstatement on the Form I-20.
- Submit your request for approval to transfer with a Form I-539, “Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status” and your new Form I-20 (signed by the transfer-in DSO and you) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- If USCIS approves your transfer application, they will endorse the name of the new school on your Form I-20 and return it.
To be eligible to transfer, you must continue attending all of your classes at your current school while you are waiting to transfer. For an M student, that is until you have submitted you Form I-539 application for approval to transfer. While the Form I-539 is pending, M-1 students should enroll at the transfer-in school by the program start date indicated on the transfer Form I-20. It is important to maintain your status while waiting for USCIS adjudications.