TRANSFER PROCEDURES FOR F-1 VISA HOLDERS When does the visa transfer procedure apply? • If you are currently in the United States in F-1 Visa Status and will not be out of the United States for longer than five months between programs • If you plan to enter the United States in F-1 Visa Status prior to the beginning of your matriculation at Brandeis University (for example, for English Language Courses or Summer School) • If you have attended school (High School, Bachelor’s Program, Master’s Program, Ph.D. Program) in the United States and are transferring to Brandeis University • If you are currently “Active” in SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System * Please note: Although the Brandeis Admissions Office may not consider you a “transfer student”, if you answered “YES” to any of the above, you are a transfer student for visa purposes. A transfer student for admissions typically means that you are entering Brandeis University mid-way through your program of study. What is the transfer process? 1. Once admitted to Brandeis University, you will receive a VIDOF or Visa Information and Certification of Finances Form. On the first page of the VIDOF, please complete the section regarding your current visa status and indicate your intent to transfer your F-1 Visa Status to Brandeis University. Please complete the VIDOF including the required financial support documentation so that we will be prepared to create the new I-20 when the time comes. 2. If you are entering the United Status for a summer program (ESL or Summer Courses), “School A” will issue you a Form I-20. You will take the “School A” I-20 to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for the F-1 Visa. (see section below on transfers and visas) Once you have matriculated at the summer program, please contact the International Student Advisor. S/he will instruct you on the transfer process. Brandeis CANNOT issue your I-20 until you have entered the United States and have been released by “School A”. Next, see step 3 for a description of the process. We recommend that you also consult the ISSO web site regarding information for “Incoming Students” – www.brandeis.edu/isso 3. If you are currently in F-1 Status, your current school “School A” must transfer your active record in SEVIS. First, the international student advisor releases your record in SEVIS to Brandeis University. Second, you and the advisor complete the Brandeis University Transfer Verification Form, available on line at (http://www.brandeis.edu/isso/Students/Incoming_Students/Transfer%20Verification%20Form.pdf ) and fax it to the ISSO at (781) 736-3484. After your release date from “School A”, Brandeis can then access your SEVIS record to create your new I-20. (See section on selecting a release date). 4. After the release date in SEVIS, Brandeis ISSO will print a “transfer pending” I-20 and this indicates that you are transferring from “School A” to Brandeis University. 5. Once you are enrolled as a full time student at Brandeis, AND within 15 days of the start of classes, Brandeis ISSO must complete your transfer. The ISSO will then create a “continued attendance” I-20. This completes your I-20 transfer. * Important: Please save all I-20s issued to you. You will need to present them if you apply for practical training or if you change to another visa category in the future. What is the effect of the transfer process on my F-1 Entry Visa Stamp? If you are entering the United States for the first time in F-1 Status: A visa is a stamp or sticker in your passport that allows you to request permission to ENTER the United States. You obtain a visa at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad by presenting underlying documents that qualify you for a particular visa status. Students present a Form I-20 for an F-1 student visa and this I-20 will be issued by “School A”, the summer program. Your visa may be valid for a few months or for several years. Single-entry visas are valid for only one entry into the United States, while multiple-entry visas allow several entries. The consular office abroad makes these decisions. In addition to the “School A” I-20, you may wish to take your Brandeis admission letter with you to your visa interview. Although most times the visa will only be granted for the duration of the summer program, a consular officer may grant a longer visa based on your intent to matriculate at Brandeis. However, typically they only grant the visa for the duration listed on the summer I-20. You do not need to renew your visa if it expires during your stay in the United States. You do need to renew it if it has expired and you wish to re-enter the United States after a temporary absence, however short. Renewal is done at a U.S. Consulate abroad; it cannot be done inside the United States. Form I-94 or “Arrival/Departure Record” is a small white card stapled to your passport that indicates that admission has been granted for a specific period of time and for a specific purpose. Most students are given I- 94s with expiration dates marked “D/S” or “Duration of Status”. That means you are allowed to remain in the United States as long as you remain in your current status (which for students is until you complete your academic program). Therefore, you are legally allowed to remain in the United States with an expired Visa Entry Stamp, as long as you complete the transfer of your I-20 properly. If you have been in F-1 Status and currently have a valid F-1 Entry Visa Stamp: Your current F-1 Visa Entry Stamp will have the name of “School A”. You do not need to go back to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to adjust your visa. However, because of changing guidance from the Department of State, we recommend that if you are abroad, you contact your consulate to inquire there. (http://usembassy.state.gov ) We recommend that if you are traveling, you take your previous I-20 to indicate your attendance at “School A”, but that you enter into the U.S. using your Brandeis I-20. If your F-1 Entry Visa Stamp has expired, you will need to have it renewed on your next trip home and/or any time you wish to re- enter the U.S. after traveling abroad (except to Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands – see ISSO for more details). What should my release date in SEVIS be? It is very important to select your release date wisely. We highly recommend talking to your current International Student Advisor in advance so that s/he will know your intentions and can advise you appropriately. Here are some topics that you may wish to discuss: • If you are currently in the U.S., are you planning to do practical training in the summer? If so, we recommend that you transfer on the last date of your OPT authorization. Once you are transferred to Brandeis University, you are no longer eligible to work on your practical training from “School A”. • If you have completed your program of study at “School A” and are not planning to do practical training, you want to be sure that you transfer within the 60 day grace period following the end of your program. A TRANSFER CANNOT BE COMPLETED IF YOUR SEVIS RECORD IS EITHER TERMINATED OR COMPLETED. Please be sure to communicate with your advisor prior to your completion in your program. You must be released before SEVIS automatically completes your record. • If you are entering the U.S. for a summer program, we recommend that your release date be your last date of instruction. You should have your “transfer pending” I-20 from Brandeis before the first day of classes at Brandeis.