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Transferring as an International Student

If you are an F-1 student who is transferring or changing schools, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that you complete a special School Transfer Procedure.

In order to maintain your F-1 status, you must complete this procedure within the first 15 days of starting school at St. John’s University.

How to Complete Your School Transfer/Change Procedure
  • Complete Form I-20 Application along with the required evidence of financial support. Send the form to St. John's Office of International Student & Scholar Services.
  • Complete Part I of the Request for F-1 Transfer Information Form and send it to the international student adviser at your previous school. Your advisor must complete the form and return it directly to St. John’s.  
  • Advise your previous school that you are transferring and that you will definitely attend St. John’s. Your previous school will “release” your record to St. John’s in the SEVIS system.
  • If you indicate on your Application for a Form I-20 that you plan to travel outside the U.S. before school begins, we will get your Form I-20 to you as requested so that you can use it to reenter.
Travel Instructions

You will need the following documents to re-enter the U.S.:

  • Your new St. John’s I-20 Form.
  • A valid passport (unless you are exempt from passport requirements).
  • A valid F-1 Visa (unless you are exempt). 
  • If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean for less than 30 days, you do not need a valid F-1 Visa to return to the U.S. - as long as you are not originally from those places. Instead of a valid Visa, you must have an I-94 departure record that shows you are F-1 for “duration of status” or D/S.

Note: If you have a valid Visa with another school’s name on it, you can still use the Visa. The school name on your Visa doesn’t change until you need to renew it. If you need to renew your F-1 Visa to return, you can only get it at home!  If you need more information about renewing your Visa, contact:

Office of International Student and Scholar Services
St. John’s University
St. Vincent Hall, B19
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, New York 11439
Phone: 1-718-990-6083
Fax:  1-718-990-2070
[email protected]

Evidence of Financial Support

Carry copies of the financial documents you submitted for getting your Form I-20. Your school transfer/change is only complete if USCIS stamps your St. John’s I-20. It is your responsibility to make sure they do.

If you indicate on your I-20 Application that you do not have any travel plans, we will hold your St. John’s I-20 in our office until after you arrive on campus.  Once we receive your Request for F-1 Transfer Information from your previous school, we will complete the school transfer/change procedure for you – after the start of the semester.