Transferring Your SEVIS Record to Columbia (F-1 Student)
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.
You are eligible to transfer your SEVIS record only if you meet the following requirements:
Choosing a transfer "release date"
The "release date" is the date on which you want Columbia to have ownership of your SEVIS record. We cannot issue an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility, COE) for you until your record is released to us.
This will require you to meet with your current international student advisor to establish the date they will release your SEVIS record to Columbia.
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.
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.
How to Transfer
Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20)
Follow and complete the application instructions for a COE.
We will not be able to process your transfer I-20 more than 15 days after your program start date.
Report your arrival
When you arrive at Columbia University, you must report your arrival. You do not need to come in person.
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.
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).