Applying for Your Transfer I-20

Transfer to Columbia
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Find answers to frequently asked immigration-related questions.

Summer Session Only

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.

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You are eligible to transfer your SEVIS record if you have been admitted to a full-time program at Columbia, and:


Note: Statistics Hybrid Program students cannot transfer in for fall term because they are not in residence until the spring term.

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Transfer Date

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How to Apply for a Transfer I-20

How to Transfer
Step 1.

Prepare your documents

The deadline to submit a complete application is no more than 15 days after your program begins.

Step 2.

Log in to Compass to apply

There are two ways to log in to Compass: with a PID or with a UNI.

Apply for your I-20 with your PID

Your PID is the 9-digit number beginning with “C” you will receive from your admissions office or department (e.g. C123456789). If you don't have a PID, contact your admissions office.

  1. Use your PID to request a Limited Services PIN
  2. Receive your Limited Services PIN at the e-mail address you used to apply to Columbia.
  3. Log in to Compass using your PID, Date of Birth and Limited Services PIN by clicking the appropriate link below:

Not sure of your campus? Check our campus school list.
Need help using Compass? Learn more on our Compass User Guide.

PID Login Issues

If you do not receive your Limited Services PIN within a few minutes, please check your SPAM folder. If you still do not receive it, please email the correct ISSO office only and be sure to include your PID and your preferred email address in the body of the email. In the subject line write “Limited Services PIN”:

Don't know your Campus? Please check our Campus school list.

If you were recently accepted to Columbia, your record may not be in our system. Make sure you have accepted your offer of admission and paid your deposit, if applicable. If you cannot access the system after 10 business days, please contact the ISSO office for your campus only:

Don't know your Campus? Please check our Campus school list.

Apply for your I-20 with your UNI (Morningside students only)

Your UNI is assigned to you by your school and consists of your initials plus a number, e.g. AB1234, and is part of your Columbia email address. Learn more about your UNI on the Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) website.

Not sure of your campus? Check our campus school list.
Need help using Compass? Learn more on our Compass User Guide.

UNI Login Issues

Don't worry! You can follow the steps above (With a PID) to login to Compass without a UNI.

Step 3.

We will review your application

  • We will email you if we need additional information.

  • When your SEVIS record has been transferred and your application is complete, we will process your transfer I-20 within 2 weeks. 

Step 4

Receive your I-20 

Please review the information on your I-20 for accuracy when it arrives.

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Visa Information for Transfer Students

If you have an 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.

If you plan to travel abroad after your transfer date, you must return to the U.S. with:

  • I-20 issued by Columbia University
  • Unexpired visa
  • Unexpired passport

You can return to the U.S. with your Columbia I-20 at any time before your program begins.

Transfer students are not required to depart the U.S. in between programs. You may remain in the U.S. even if your F-1 visa is expired as long as you have applied for your Columbia I-20.

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

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If you have questions not addressed on this page, email the ISSO office for your campus.

Not sure of your campus? Check our campus school list.

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