7 FAQ’s About How to Transfer to New University ( and Credits ) in U.S.A?

I received several emails from a few blog readers asking questions about the process involved in transferring universities.

These questions include:

  1. How long would it take to transfer between universities for international students?
  2. What is the process involved in university transfer for international students?
  3. How many course credits can be transferred?
  4. Do we need to fill out any special application forms?
  5. How to apply for admission while transferring?
  6. What additional requirements are needed for international student transfers?
  7. When can I get a transfer?

1) How long would it take to transfer between universities for international students?

It doesn’t take long. After you get an admit from the university (you’ll transfer to), it would take less than 1 day for the paper work and few extra days  for the entire transfer process to complete. Some schools it might just take a few hours to finish.   It’s possible to transfer university before first semester and after F1 visa stamping.

2) What is the university transfer process for international students?

  1. Step 1: Apply for admission to different universities
  2. Step 2: New University issues Official Admission Letter. Take that letter to your current school International Office and apply for a transfer.
    You will be typically asked to fill out a form and submit a copy of your admission letter.
  3. Step 3: After transfer is approved in your current school, they will do a Student Exchange Visitors Information System (SEVIS) transfer to your new school and send confirmation by mail or fax to the new university’s international student office.
  4. Step 4: After the new University gets the SEVIS Transfer confirmation, they will issue you a new I-20.

This procedure might vary with universities, but its simple process. It’s like Hand Shaking Mode ( Network Protocol ).

3) How many course credits can be transferred?

This depends on the school. Some school will allow up to 9 credits of grades above B can be transferred. Talk to you school to find about the credits transfer policy.

4) Do we need to fill out any special application?

Applying for an international student transfer is the same as the application process when you applied for the first time.

During the application process, you will fill out additional information like your current school, GPA, courses completed, etc.

Since you are already here in the U.S., you can apply even after the deadline. They will be flexible with the deadline. However, some schools might ask you to pay additional fees to process late application.

5) How to apply for admission while transferring?

See Question 4 for the answer.

Also, it’s always good to contact the graduate adviser of the department you are applying at and talk to him/her before the application or during the application process.

That might increase your chances of getting admission. A personal touch always adds more  value.

6) What additional requirements are needs for an international student transfer?

Some schools would require you to write an additional statement of purpose (SOP) explaining why you are requesting for a transfer.

Here few reasons :

  • Not satisfied with course quality
  • No part time jobs or RA/TA is unavailable
  • Less job/internship scope after graduation
  • Personal problems in the school environment

Most universities are considerate about the transfer process. And if you give genuine/compelling reason for your transfer request, they will likely consider you application.

Let’s suppose this: you have a low GPA from your current school due to personal problems or health reasons or if you don’t like to study in that particular environment, which made you perform less than you actual capacity.

And if you state these pressing and clear reasons, supported by good undergraduate records and GRE, they will be happy to give you admission (i.e., transfer).

7) When can I get transferred?

Usually, you can get transferred right after entering U.S.A or whenever you want to. But, longer you wait, expensive it will be for you.  Before first semester or After 1 semester would be ideal scenario.

If you plan to transfer after F-1 Visa stamping, but before starting your college in first semester, you need to be very careful. Read for yourself : Student’s Worst Nightmare – Denied Entry into America. Sent Back to India.


  1. Hadi on March 20, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    Hello HSB

    This is Hadi from Iran. I follow your good blog posts and appreciate for your good information. I'm on a dilemma and need to your help. I have master's degree in Applied Mathematics and want to apply for PhD in a good university (like Uni of Minnesota, Uni of Washington, and Chicago and …) but I found that this is hard to reach. So, I thought it is better for me to get another MSc in a same major from a less prestigious university in US (like Kent state Uni., Colorado State Uni., …) and after getting good results and presenting some papers (that I expect) apply for PhD in those good and even top universities (like Stanford, MIT, and Princeton, ….). I know this is time consuming but it is rather secure since I can prove my good capabilities as I did in my home university. However, my friends believe that this is wasting my time and it is better to apply for PhD in less prestigious universities and after 1 year and getting some good results and proving my capabilities transfer to a good university. They believe that it is so easy to get admission in good universities from US therein rather than from a strange country because of good communication channels with professors like having academic email from a US university and ability to travel to universities and talk to them, and of course, having recommendation from American professors. They say I can travel to my favorite university and talk to my favorite professors and ask them to support me in admission. However, I don’t know that passing some courses during first year of PhD can prove my capabilities or not. On the other hand, many good universities have early deadline on December and waiting for completion of first year of PhD leads to miss deadlines and I have to transfer after passing 3 semesters (during 2end year). You may say that you can transfer after first semester but is it enough to prove my capabilities (probably by passing only two PhD courses)? I'm really a good student with 5 national and international paper presentations and good grades and challenging spirit and there in no doubt that I can get good grade in PhD courses at US universities.

    I don’t want to get only a PhD since I can do that in my home country. I'm seeking for knowledge and standing on the edge of the science which is hard to find in a developing country like Iran, even though I love it so much.

    Please help to a citizen in global village,

    Thanks a lot

  2. bhargav on May 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM


    Thanks for the information on transfer.

    I am just going to join coleman university in san diego on 17th of this month.I have an other university i-20 also.I would like to move to the new university.Can i transfer to new university before enrolling to coleman or should i enroll and then transfer to new university or should i wait for 1 semester.

    If i change to new university without enrolling to coleman then will that effect on long term like when filling H-1B

    Plz help me in this issue as i m confused as i dont have any help and even idead to move further



  3. Nikhil on July 14, 2009 at 8:52 AM

    Is it possible to transfer university just after joining the college

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