Transferring your F-1 or J-1 status to UC Berkeley from another school in the U.S. requires several steps. It is important that you consult with your International Student Advisors at both your previous school and UCB to make sure the transfer is completed properly.
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 has passed from your last date of attendance OR your 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 who wish to transfer from their current program sponsor to UCB must consult with the International Student Advisors at both schools. To be eligible for a transfer, the J-1 category must remain the same and the J-1 must request a transfer before his or her 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 of your 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 AND
- 51% of your total financial support comes 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.
Steps to Transfer to UC Berkeley:
- Notify the international student advisor at your current school that you intend to transfer to UC Berkeley. The advisor will enter a SEVIS Release Date into your record. On this date, your SEVIS record will automatically transfer to UC Berkeley via the internet. The release date is usually the last day of enrollment at your current school.
- Complete the Non-Immigrant Information Form (NIF). You will need to indicate your SEVIS Release Date as part of your NIF. NIF processing time is 10-15 business days. Please note, students can only receive their transfer I-20 from Berkeley International Office AFTER their SEVIS Release date.
- Complete your mandatory Arrival Confirmation .
- F-1 students will be issued a second transfer I-20 and notified by email to pick it up in Berkeley International Office. This second I-20 is proof that your transfer has been completed successfully and you are an actively enrolled student at UC Berkeley.
Traveling Between Schools
Transfer students may travel and re-enter the U.S. any time between school programs. However, transfer students must re-enter with their UC Berkeley I-20 or DS-2019 and not the previous school's document. F-1 and J-1 students must have valid visa stamps to re-enter the US. F-1 students can use a valid visa stamp issued for their pre-Berkeley institution as long as the SEVIS ID number remains the same. If the J-1 student plans to re-enter the US following the transfer, the J-1 student must 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.
Transfer From UC Berkeley
If you are planning to leave UC Berkeley to go to another U.S. school, you must request a "transfer out" from an Advisor at Berkeley International Office. The Advisor will release your SEVIS record to the new school. The date of your release depends on your program status.