Full Course of Study
F-1 students in English language learning (commonly known as ESL) programs must meet 18 clock hours per week if the majority is classroom instruction.
What if you want to transfer to another school/institution?
An F-1 student is eligible to transfer to another school or program of study. To start the process of transferring, you must bring the following to your designated school official (DSO):
- Written confirmation of acceptance to another Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school
- Contact information for the new school’s DSO
- The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) school code for the transfer-in school
Your DSO will then work with you, and the DSO at your new school, to choose a transfer release date. This date is when the DSO at your transfer-in school takes responsibility for your SEVIS record. Several factors go into selecting this date:
- Academic needs
- Travel and employment plans
- Projected start date of your new program
Once your transfer release date arrives, the DSO at your previous school will not have access to your SEVIS record, and your new DSO can create a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status,” for you. It is important to get a new Form I-20 (signed by your new DSO and you) as soon as possible. To maintain your status, register for classes and contact your new DSO within 15 days of the program start date listed on your new Form I-20.
- If you have arrived in the United States but want to transfer to a new school before you begin classes at the school listed on your Form I-20, talk to the DSO at the school listed on that form. You need to inform the DSO that you have arrived in the United States and want to transfer immediately to another SEVP-certified school. You must show proof of acceptance to your new school. You must report to your new school and enroll in a full course of study within 30 days of arriving in the United States.