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F-1 Visa Holders

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F-1: Transferring Schools

For SEVIS purposes, "transferring" schools can occur anytime a student goes from one school to the next, regardless of whether the program or degree changes. In other words, you can be a "transfer student" if you are moving from high school to college, or changing from a bachelor's program to a master's program, or if you are transferring between schools in the middle of a degree program.

Transferring into JMU

Those students in F-1 status wanting to transfer to James Madison University must first be accepted through the application process administered through International Admissions. Admission is competitive and applicants should have all the satisfactory requirements from previous college or high school work. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of those international students from non-English speaking countries and must have been taken within the last two years. This requirement may be waived if you have successfully completed at least two years of college level work at a U.S. institution.

Students who have completed one semester of full-time study at a college or university in the United States may transfer to James Madison University with the understanding that they must submit the International Student Advisor's Report (ISAR) as part of the application. The Office of International Admissions will furnish the ISAR to you during the application process.

Once accepted, please see your current Designated School Official (DSO), in your International Office to inform your school of your intention to transfer to JMU. Your record in SEVIS will then be released to JMU. Once your current school official releases your record to us, our Office of International Student and Scholar Services can issue you an I-20 under our sponsorship. The following steps will assist you in the process:

  • After your acceptance into JMU make an appointment with your current Designated School Official (DSO) to inform him/her that you plan to transfer; If you have been accepted to more than one university/college, you need to decide on only one school. This particular university's name needs to be documented in SEVIS at your current school;
  • When you are sure you want to transfer to JMU, your DSO must enter a "release date" from your present school, selecting JMU as the transfer school. The "release date" is usually the last day of your session at the current school;
  • If you are an undergraduate student, you must submit the enrollment deposit of $250 to JMU as per Admission's instructions if you have not already done so;
  • After the deposit has been received and the release date has arrived, JMU can issue you a new SEVIS I-20 showing the transfer of the F-1 visa sponsorship. Your new JMU SEVIS I-20 will be mailed to you. (Please note that you can cancel a transfer request only before the "release date")

Transferring out of JMU

If you plan to transfer out of JMU into another school, you must first notify the Office of International Student and Scholar Services Staff (link to contact info) of your intent to transfer. If you have completed one semester of full-time study at JMU, you are eligible to transfer to another school, provided you have remained in status for immigration purposes. The following steps will assist you in the process:

  • After your acceptance into the other school, make an appointment with that school's Designated School Official (DSO) to inquire about their procedures for transfer;
  • If you have been accepted to more than one university/college, you need to decide on only one school. The official at that school will need to complete the International Student Advisor's Report Form and the university's name must be documented in SEVIS at JMU;
  • When you have informed us that you definitely want to transfer into another school and you have completed the Transfer Out form available in our office, we will enter a "release date" from JMU into SEVIS, selecting that school as the transfer school. The "release date" is usually the last day of the current academic session;
  • Notify your new school's DSO that the release date has been entered by JMU and, once that date is reached, the new school can issue you your new I-20. (Please note that you can cancel a transfer request only before the "release date.")