Transferring Your SEVIS Record to Columbia (F-1 Student)

Are you currently in F-1 status at another U.S. institution? Learn if you are eligible to have your active SEVIS record transferred from your current school to Columbia to study.

Exception: You do NOT need to transfer your SEVIS record to study at Columbia during your summer vacation if you will return to your current school in the fall.
Transfer to Columbia
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Application Alert


Beginning 9AM Friday, March 10 through 11 AM Monday, March 13, you will not to be able to submit or upload any ISSO applications (including this one) as we conduct our Compass database migration. Do not worry, you will be able to submit applications again starting 12:00 PM Monday, March 13. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

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Eligibility Requirements

You are eligible to transfer your SEVIS record only if you meet the following requirements:

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How to Transfer

Steps to transfer Your SEVIS Record to Columbia (F-1 Student)
Step 1

Download and complete the Transfer-in form

This will require you to meet with your international student advisor who will complete the form with you.

The "release date" is the date on which you want Columbia to have ownership of your SEVIS record. We cannot issue a COE for you until your record is released to us.

Your current school must enter your chosen release date into your SEVIS record by the end of the grace period following your academic program or authorized OPT.

 

Some things to consider when choosing your transfer release date:

1. If you’re traveling abroad, you will need to have Columbia’s COE in hand when you return from your trip. This means you need the release date to be early enough for Columbia to process your application for a COE, which can take four weeks.

2. Are you going to be employed between the two programs?

If you're currently on OPT, you need to choose a transfer release date after your chosen last date of employment. You cannot continue working on OPT after your release date.

Step 2

Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20)

Follow and complete the application instructions for a Certificate of Eligibility. We're currently accepting COE applications for Spring 2017 only. We'll start accepting COE applications for Summer and Fall 2017 in the second week of January 2017.

Step 3

Once you have arrived at Columbia University, report your arrival here

This step is necessary to complete the transfer procedure and activate your Columbia SEVIS record. You must complete the steps above no later than 15 days after your program's start date.

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Travel Information for Transfer Students

Yes, you can. If you plan to travel after completing your studies at your previous institution but before starting your program at Columbia, you must re-enter the U.S. with:

  • COE (I-20) issued by Columbia University
  • Valid visa
  • Valid passport

Students with a transfer pending COE may return to the U.S. at any time before the program start date on the transfer COE. Be sure to use the transfer COE at the port of entry. Transfer students can enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the COE program start date.

If you have a valid, unexpired visa in your passport, you do not need to apply for a new visa. You may use the visa you have, even though the previous school's name is on it.

If you have an expired visa and are traveling outside of the U.S., you will need to apply for a new visa (but you are not required to pay the SEVIS fee again).

For more information about traveling, visit Documents Needed to Travel page.