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Transfer a SEVIS Record to NU

Transferring your F-1 or J-1 status to Northwestern University from another school in the U.S. requires several steps. Please carefully review the information below and follow the steps.
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F-1 Students Transferring to Northwestern

F-1 International students are only considered "SEVIS transfer students" for immigration purposes if they are currently in valid F-1 status and no more than 5 months have passed from the last date of attendance OR the last day of OPT (whichever is later) to the start of classes.

The deadline for F-1 students to request a transfer is 60 days after the program completion or OPT end date, whichever is later.

J-1 Students Transferring to Northwestern

J-1 students who wish to transfer from their current program sponsor to Northwestern must consult with the International Student Advisor at the current school. To be eligible for a transfer, the J-1 category must remain the same, and the J-1 must request a transfer before the DS-2019 program end date.  In addition, to be eligible for a J-1, students must receive a majority of their financial support from sources other than personal funds and meet the following criteria:

  • Have adequate financial support for all school and living expenses, including additional financial support for any accompanying family members, for the duration of your degree program as determined by normative time.
  • 51% of total financial support must come from an institutional or government sponsor in the form of a scholarship, fellowship, assistantship, stipend, tuition waiver, or other direct support provided specifically for the educational program.  Personal or family funds and loans or support from individuals do not qualify.

The deadline for J-1 students to transfer is the program completion date or the end of the Academic Training, whichever is later.

J-1 students cannot transfer during their 30-day grace period following completion. 

If the J-1 student plans to re-enter the US following the transfer, it is recommended that the J-1 student apply for a new J-1 visa with the new institution's DS-2019.  If the J-1 student remains in the U.S. between transfer institutions and does not leave the country, a new J-1 visa stamp is not required. 

If you are a newly admitted student in F-1 or J-1 visa status, you must transfer your SEVIS record to Northwestern if any of the following apply:

  • You are currently enrolled in a college, university, or high school in the U.S.;
  • You have recently graduated from a college, university, or high school in the U.S.;
  • You have completed or are completing a period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT);
  • You are currently in valid F-1 or J-1 status, even if you are outside the U.S.

As a transfer F-1 student, do I need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again?

  • If you are a continuing student, who has maintained status and has not completed your program of study using the same SEVIS ID, do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • If you are a continuing student, who has maintained status and is transferring or changing program levels using the same SEVIS ID, do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Read more on the DHS I-901 SEVIS Fee Frequently Asked Questions.

What are the steps to transfer my SEVIS record to Northwestern?

  1. Notify the international student advisor at your current school that you intend to transfer to Northwestern University.
    The advisor will enter a SEVIS Release Date into your record. On this date, your SEVIS record will automatically transfer to Northwestern University. You will need to know the Northwestern SEVIS Code for your program at Northwestern (see section below with SEVIS Codes).

  2. Confirm your planned attendance at Northwestern
    In order to begin the process of requesting an immigration document (I-20 or DS2019) from Northwestern University, admitted international students, including transfer students, must confirm their planned attendance at Northwestern by paying the NU tuition deposit (if required by your program).

    Generally, within 2 weeks of paying the NU tuition deposit and setting up NetID & NU email, admitted international students will be granted access to the OISS portal. Upon receiving access to the portal, you will receive a system-generated email sent to your NU email address. You can then log in to the OISS Portal with your Net ID and password to request an immigration document.

    The system-generated email is sent to an admitted student’s Northwestern email address. Therefore, newly admitted international students must set up their NU email address and are checking it regularly. Typically, students activate their G-suite account for email as part of the NetID activation process. NU, including OISS, will use your northwestern email address for ALL official communications. For more information, see Overview on the IT website.  

  3. Complete the "Immigration Document Request" AND select the “SEVIS Transfer In” button
    The link included in the email will take you through an easy process to confirm your address and other biographical details, submit financial documentation, and request immigration documents for dependents if applicable. 

    Under the “Immigration Status” tab, select the "Transfer In" button if you are currently an F-1 or J-1 international student in the U.S. and need to transfer your SEVIS record to Northwestern University. You will need to provide:
    Full name of your current institution

    Transfer release date for your SEVIS record

    Indicate the date your current institution will transfer your SEVIS record to Northwestern University.

    Your most recent U.S. address Even if you are not currently in the U.S., you must list your most recent U.S. address in order to transfer a SEVIS record.

    Important Note:

    You must complete and submit 2 requests in the OISS Portal: The "Immigration Document Request" and "SEVIS Transfer In Request"
  4. Important Note about Timing & Receiving your I-20/DS-2019 from Northwestern
    The OISS will not be able to process your transfer in request and prepare your Form I-20/ DS-2019 until AFTER your current school has transferred your SEVIS record to Northwestern.

    Please allow 2 – 4 weeks after the date your SEVIS record is received by Northwestern to receive notification that your new I-20 or DS-2019 for study at Northwestern is ready.  You will be able to access and print your I-20 or DS-2019 from the OISS Portal. 

Who is my OISS Advisor at Northwestern?

It is common for schools to require name and contact information for the advisor at the new school (Northwestern) to process your SEVIS record transfer. Please consult the Northwestern OISS Contact Our Office webpage to find your assigned advisor and contact information.

SEVIS Transfer Deadlines

  • F-1 students: within 60 days of the program end date on the I-20 or within 60 days of the OPT end date.
  • J-1 students: by the program end date on the DS-2019.

Important Guidance for the summer between programs

This guidance applies to F-1 students who are ending an academic program at another U.S. institution (for example program ends in May or June)  and transferring to Northwestern to begin study in fall term :

  • When transferring from one U.S. institution to another, you can stay in the U.S. during the summer between the two programs.

  • During the transfer pending period (summer), you can travel outside the U.S. If your current F-1 visa is still valid, you can use it to re-enter the U.S. before the start date of your Northwestern University program begins, using the I-20 from Northwestern. (Note: Canadian students do not need a visa to enter the United States.)
  • Any on-campus employment benefit (at previous school) ends on the date indicated on your I-20 or date of transfer of your SEVIS record to the transfer-in school (Northwestern) - whichever date comes first. 
  • If you are on OPT from a previous degree program, selecting the SEVIS transfer release date during the approved OPT period will end your OPT work authorization. It is advisable to choose a release date that is after your OPT end date, UNLESS you are terminating employment early.

Traveling abroad between schools & your student visa

Transfer students may travel and re-enter the U.S. at any time between school programs. However, transfer students must re-enter the U.S. with their Northwestern University I-20 or DS-2019 and not the previous school's document. 

F-1 students

  • F-1 students can use a valid (not expired) visa stamp issued for their pre-Northwestern institution to re-enter the U.S.
  • If the F-1 visa has expired, and you have plans to travel internationally, you must apply for a new F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.

J-1 students

  • A J-1 student with plans to travel internationally and then re-enter the US after the transfer date must apply for a new J-1 visa with the DS-2019 from Northwestern (even if the current J-1 visa has not expired)
  • A J-1 student who remains in the U.S. for the time between transfer institutions does not need a new J-1 visa stamp. 

SEVIS School Codes for Northwestern University



Campus & Program

F-1 Transfers



Evanston Campus:

All undergraduate (Bachelor's) programs

Graduate programs at the following schools: 

  • Bienen School of Music;
  • Kellogg School of Management (except for Master's in Management Studies students - MSMS);
  • McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science;
  • Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications;
  • School of Communication;
  • School of Education & Social Policy;
  • Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences

F-1 Transfers 


Chicago campus, for graduate programs at the following schools:

  • Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Pritzker School of Law
  • School of Professional Studies
  • Master's of Management Studies (MSMS) program in Kellogg School of Management

J-1 Transfers 


For all undergraduate and graduate programs