Overview

Student Immigration Definitions

Obtaining F-1 Student Status at Columbia

Important Information for Students Fully Funded
by Columbia University


Transfer of F-1 Supervision

Change of Status to F-1

Message for Canadian Students

Potential Delays in Visa Issuance

Dependents

Student Tax Information

Maintaining F-1 Status

I-20 Recertification

Academic Certification for Travel

F-1 Travel Information

Govt Q & A for F-1 Travel

DHS Information on Arrival Problems

F-1 Extension of Stay (Current Program)

F-1 Extension of Stay to Begin New Program

F-1 Reinstatement

F-1 Work Opportunities

F-1 Practical Training (PT) Overview

F-1 Curricular Practical Training

F-1 Optional PT Before Degree Completion

F-1 Optional PT After Degree Completion

STEM 17-month OPT extension

F-1 Internship with an International Organization

F-1 Leave of Absence, Suspension or Withdrawal

Student Departure Information

F-1 Last Term Authorization

Inviting Relatives/Friends to Visit You

Address Change Form


Applying for a Social Security Number

F-1 Extension to Begin a New Program

If you are moving from one program at Columbia to another, you must obtain a new I-20 and have your SEVIS record updated. By processing a new I-20, the Department of Homeland Security is notified of a student's new program of study and an extension of the time permitted to stay in the U.S., as required. Note that failure to complete the procedure in a timely manner is considered a violation of F-1 student status, necessitating an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for reinstatement.

You must obtain an extension and new I-20 when you move from:

  • a degree program to a joint degree program
  • a bachelor's degree program to a master's degree program
  • a master's degree program to a doctoral degree program
  • a language program (ALP) to an academic program at Columbia
  • special student status to any degree program
  • any degree program to special student status
  • a bachelor's degree program to another bachelor's degree program
  • a completed master's degree program to another master's degree or a professional degree program
The above are some of the typical (but not the only) situations in which a new I-20 and extension is necessary. If you have any questions about whether or not you need to obtain an extension of stay, you should consult an adviser at the ISSO.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for the extension procedure, you must meet both of the following criteria:

  1. you must currently be in lawful F-1 status under the visa supervision of Columbia University
  2. you must have been admitted to a new full-time program of study at Columbia

Deadline: The new I-20 can be issued any time after admission to the new program, but not later than 60 days following the completion of the current program. For example, if you are completing a bachelor's degree on May 17, 2006, you must have a new I-20 issued for an M.S degree by July 16th. If not, your SEVIS record will automatically be completed and inactivated after the 60th day. You may apply for the new I-20 as early as your official offer of admission.

Procedure: Once you have been admitted to a new program of study at Columbia, you need to have a new I-20 issued. Specifically, you must provide the ISSO with the following information:

  • A copy of your admission letter to the new program of study
  • Financial documentation which shows that you have adequate resources to meet the tuition, fees, and living expenses for at least the first year of your new program of study
  • Copies of all of your previously-issued I-20s
  • Your passport and I-94 card
An ISSO staff member will review your application and issue a new I-20 if it is determined that you are eligible. This will put you in "initial" status for the new program; your SEVIS record will need to be made active some time between the completion of the current program and the beginning of the new program. The timing of this may depend on whether you will be on Optional Practical Training or traveling abroad in the intervening time— the ISSO adviser will discuss this with you.

Special Considerations: If you are planning to pursue another program at a school other than Columbia University, you must follow procedures for Transfer of F-1 Supervision.

Last Reviewed: 9 March 2011 Last modified: 9 March 2011
International Students and Scholars Office
Columbia University