International students in F-1 status transferring from one school/university in the U.S. to another are required to complete a special immigration transfer process. Failure to comply with the transfer regulations in a timely manner can be a violation of immigration regulations.
If you are planning to travel outside of the U.S. after completing your current school, but before beginning classes at your new school, pay particular attention to Step 4 and the first question in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you are applying to more than one school, refer to Step 4 and the third question in FAQ.
Steps to transfer out of Foothill
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- Meet the conditions for admission by the school/university to which you intend to transfer. For example, some acceptances are conditioned on the requirement that you complete a specific class and earn a specific grade in your last term at Foothill and submit your final official Foothill transcript. If you don't meet the condition(s) or provision(s) specified by the new school, it will rescind your admission and you will not be eligible to enroll.
- Submit the following documents to the International Student Office: a copy of your acceptance letter and a completed Foothill Transfer Out Request Form. Please note that the Transfer Out Form is not accepted before the 9th week of your last quarter.
Your new school may also give you its own transfer form to be completed by our office.
- Once you submit the Transfer Out Form and the transfer form from your new school (if any), our international student advisor will review your documents and verify that you are in lawful immigration status. Since the review process can take 1 to 2 weeks, please submit your request as early as possible.
If approved, Foothill will enter the name of the school/university you want to transfer to and the "release date" into SEVIS. The "release date" is the official last day of your last quarter as stated in the Foothill College schedule. When this information is submitted to SEVIS, both the Department of Homeland Security and your new school will be automatically notified that you are a pending transfer to the new school with a specific release date.
- Receive an I-20 from the new school/university. Under SEVIS regulations, your new school cannot issue an I-20 until the "release date." After the new school issues the new SEVIS I-20, it is your responsibility to report to the school per its instructions. The new school will complete the transfer process after you arrive on campus.
Very important! Once the release date passes, Foothill has no power to change anything in your SEVIS record or issue any documents in SEVIS. If you change your mind about transfer and want to remain at Foothill or transfer to a different school/university, you must contact the ISO at Foothill immediately because rectifying or rescinding the transfer after the "release date" is not always possible.
Frequently asked questions about the transfer out procedure
- What is the procedure to follow if I want to travel outside the USA after I complete my classes at Foothill, but before I begin classes at the new school/university?
If you are traveling outside the USA, you must use the I-20 of the new school to return to the USA. It is a violation of immigration regulations to use the Foothill I-20 to reenter if you are going to attend another school/university.
The timing of the transfer procedure may not allow you to travel outside the USA exactly as you plan. In Step 4 above we explained that the new school/university can only issue a new I-20 to you after the release date. If you plan to leave the USA a few days before or after the release date, you may not be able to receive the new I-20 before your departure.
If this happens, the new school may not be able to guarantee that it can issue a new I-20 and get it to you in your country in time for your return to the USA. You should discuss this matter with the new school/university before you travel.
- Do I need a new F-1 visa because I am changing schools, and the name of the new school/university is not on my visa?
No, you do not have to apply for a new F-1 visa even if the name of the new school is not on your current unexpired visa. However, if your F-1 visa is expired or you don't have an F-1 visa in your passport and you plan to travel outside the U.S. and need to reenter, you should apply for a new F-1 visa.
- I have applied to more than one school/university, and I am not certain which school I want to attend. Or I have been accepted by one of the schools but I am still waiting for a decision from another school. What should I do?
If you have applied to more than one school/university, it is very important for you to consider the timing while notifying Foothill about your transfer school choice.
Before the release date, Foothill can change the name of the school to which you want to transfer. For example, if you told us you want to transfer to school "A", and we enter the transfer information about school "A" into SEVIS, we can change the transfer school name to "B" or "C" only until the day before the release date.
However, if we enter the name of school "A" into SEVIS, and you inform us after the release date that you want to transfer to a different school or remain at Foothill, the process becomes much more complicated. After the release date Foothill cannot stop the transfer process, and your SEVIS record will be transferred to school "A". In that case, you would have to request school "A", the original transfer school entered into SEVIS, to transfer you to another school that you would like to attend.