Transferring to Another School: F1 and J1 Students

I'm an F1 student and I need to transfer to another school in the United States. How do I do this?
We will be sorry to lose you! But, of course, you are free to change schools if you like. The problem is to make sure you do this correctly so that your F1 status transfers to that new school with no gaps or errors. You are eligible for transfer if:

  • You have been registered at New Mexico Tech for at least one semester;
  • You have been maintaining legal F1 status; and
  • You will begin your classes at the new school within five (5) months of stopping study here at Tech.

And here is what you have to do:

  • Get accepted at the new school. Provide the new school with all requested academic and financial documentation. Make sure you are eligible for an I-20 from the new school; otherwise, you could find yourself marooned, without any school! Discuss the optimal "release date" (see below) with the new school.
  • Inform Student Affairs that you wish to transfer.
  • Supply the complete, official name and location of the new school.
  • Decide upon a date by which you wish to be released for transfer. (Logically, this date could be the day after you complete your courses at NMT, the day you will begin courses at your new school, or any date in between. The date you choose may depend upon possible plans to visit outside the U.S. before transferring. After this release date is entered in SEVIS, it can be changed up until that date; however, once that date arrives, your record in SEVIS is no longer visible to NMT.)
  • Inform the new school of your release date and confirm with them the date on which they are going to issue your transfer I-20.
  • Register at the new school (remember the 5-month deadline) and contact the new international advisor within 15 days of the start date on your new I-20.

What if I finish my degree here at Tech and then transfer to start another degree at a different school?
No problem. You are eligible to request transfer before you finish or within your 60-day "grace period" following the completion of your current degree.

What if I am doing OPT and then want to transfer?
Again, no problem. You are eligible to request transfer during OPT or within the 60-day grace period following completion of OPT. As always, you must begin studying in the new program within five months of the end of your OPT (or five months from the release date, whichever is earlier).

I am a J1 student interested in transfer. Is my process different from the F1 procedure?
A little bit. Here are the differences:

  • New Mexico Tech and your new school must agree that your proposed transfer is consistent with your original program objective, whether you are still in your study program or already out on AT;
  • Any interested parties at New Mexico Tech will be consulted to see if there is a serious objection;
  • Both schools must agree upon a transfer release date (once entered, there may be no way to change this date); and
  • The relevant form is the DS-2019