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:
Eligibility: In order to be eligible for the extension procedure, you must meet both of the following criteria:
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, you must have a new I-20 issued for an master'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 when you receive your official offer of admission to the new program.
How to Apply:
Submit the required documents listed below as a single PDF file attached to an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scan your documents into ONE file in PDF format only. Submissions in any other format will not be accepted and reviewed. Do not send individual files (I-94 arrival record as one file, faculty advisor letter as another file, etc.). Do not take photos with your phone and send .jpg or .tiff files. Do not email a link to Dropbox, Google Drive or any other cloud site. You will receive an automated reply from the ISSO confirming that your email was received. Put your legal name, UNI and New Program in the subject line. Example: Joe Boxer jb1234 New Program
The International Students and Scholars Office will:
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: 4 June 2015
Last modified: 4 June 2015