Transferring a J-1 Scholar

SEVIS Transfer Instructions

J-1 visa holders have the ability to request transfer of their immigration sponsorship from one U.S. institution to another. Transferring institutions must be authorized to host J-1 Exchange Visitors within the same approved J-1 categories; this is referred to as a SEVIS to SEVIS transfer.

With a SEVIS to SEVIS transfer the J-1’s, including any J-2 dependents’, SEIVS ID number/s would remain the same thus keeping the J status in-tact even if the corresponding J visa is expired. The J visa is an entry document only, and only has to be valid during any entry to the U.S. The corresponding visa may expire while the Exchange Visitor is inside the U.S. as long as the Exchange Visitor maintains a valid DS-2019, a valid passport and in Active SEVIS status. The J-1 must be in and have maintained appropriate status compliance to qualify for a transfer procedure.

Transfer-In

The process for a UF host department for a SEVIS to SEVIS transfer-in (J-1 transferring to UF) would be to conduct the standard process and paperwork of Inviting a Scholar or Inviting a Student Intern. EVS requests a current packet up to 30 days prior to the intended UF program start date.

Additional documents to be included with the EVS standard documents:

  • EVS Transfer-In Information Form
    The U.S. Department of State now prohibits distributed electronic copies of DS-2019s. In order for EVS to determine if a SEVIS to SEVIS transfer is warranted, EVS must have specific information from the J-1’s current SEVIS record. Only program sponsors who control the immigration status of an Exchange Visitor can access and view the Exchange Visitor’s SEVIS record. This form will assist EVS with approval for the SEVIS to SEVIS transfer and must be included in the EVS DS-2019 Request Packet.
  • Transfer-In Form (official)
    This form will be completed by the incoming Exchange Visitor (top portion and sign/date the bottom). The form is then provided the Exchange Visitor’s current institution’s international office. An authorized RO/ARO from the current institution will need to complete the “Current Program Sponsor Information”. Sometimes a program sponsor wants confirmation from the new host institution’s international office prior to completing this form. If this is the case this form would not have to be submitted with the DS-2019 Request Packet, and can be obtained after the Request Packet submission but before the intended UF program start date. EVS can assist with any specifics to help facilitate the completion of our official Transfer-In form. Please note UF’s J program number will be required for the SEVIS to SEVIS transfer. EVS will not give out our J Program Number until we at least have the full DS-2019 Request Packet including our Transfer-In Information Form. The recommended SEVIS release date can be the day before or the day of the UF program start date as noted on the UF invitation/offer letter.

After review of the DS-2019 Request Packet EVS will create the Exchange Visitors profile in our database. If anything is missing, incorrect, or if further information is needed the UF host department will be contacted by email with instructions.

Once our Transfer-In Form is received EVS will contact the noted RO/ARO to confirm by email UF will accept the SEVIS to SEVIS transfer, confirm the date of release for the SEVIS record, and will provide UF’s J Program Number. UF will only release our J Program Number once we have all needed documents for the DS-2019 Request and have determined the transfer-in is warranted and appropriate. EVS will assist with any needs to get our official Transfer-In Form completed. Once all items are received, reviewed and approved, the appropriate EVS advisor will email all parties involved (incoming J-1, J-1’s current Exchange Visitor advisor as noted on our official Transfer-In Form as well as the UF departmental administrator) that all aspects of the transfer-in are complete and UF has authorized the release of the incoming SEVIS record.

Issuing the UF DS-2019

Unlike a DS-2019/s for an incoming Exchange Visitor from outside the U.S., EVS does not issue DS-2019/s in advance. Once the incoming J-1’s SEVIS record is released and after the J-1 arrives to UF and completed EVS’s mandatory check-in, EVS will then accept the record in SEVIS, amended the record to the UF program specifics, validate the SEVIS record and issue the UF transferred-in DS-2019 to the J-1 by the end of the EVS check-in session (including any accompanying J-2 dependents). EVS check-in is required no later than 15-days after the SEVIS record release date (highly recommended to be completed as soon as the incoming J-1 arrives to UF).

Transfer-Out

The process for a current UF J-1 Exchange Visitor to request a SEVIS to SEVIS transfer from UF to another U.S. institution approved to host J-1 Exchange Visitors is completion of EVS’s Transfer-Out Form. EVS’s Transfer-Out form is to be completed by the J-1 (top portion) and signed/dated by the J-1’s current UF faculty host supervisor. The “New Program Sponsor Information” section is to be completed by an approved RO/ARO from the new inbound U.S. institution. Along with our Transfer-Out form the J-1 will need to include a copy of their new institution’s offer or invitation letter which must contain a description of the proposed program activities. Once EVS has determined the SEVIS to SEVIS transfer-out is warranted, the appropriate EVS advisor will email all parties involved (outgoing J-1, new RO/ARO as noted on EVS’s completed Transfer-Out form as well as the UF departmental administrator). EVS can initiate the SEVIS release date in advance. On the date of the recommend transfer released date the international office at the new U.S. institution will have access to the J-1’s SEVIS record. The J-1 should communicate with their new international office for specifics on what is needed for the transfer-in as well as any check-in requirements. On the date of the SEVIS release date the J-1 will be under sponsorship from their new U.S. institution and will no longer have any responsibilities to the UFIC/EVS.

Transfer Requirements and Restrictions

  • Exchange Visitor must pursue consistent program objectives and activities (remain the same).
  • EVS rarely changes the CIP code (field of research) for a transferring-in J-1, however a change is possible as long as the change is inclusive of the original and UF program objectives. EVS will review this information as part of our transfer-in requirements and determines such changes on a case-by-case basis.
  • Transfer will not require an extension of J-1 category status beyond the maximum duration of stay. Maximum durations of stay will be determined from the original program start date. Maximum durations of stay do not start over with a SEVIS to SEVIS transfer.
  • Exchange Visitor must be in Active J-1 status which includes a current and valid DS-2019 which is unexpired and not terminated.
  • Exchange Visitor has sufficient funding for the program period after transfer.
  • EVS does not transfer out or accept expired or terminated SEVIS records for transfer.
  • Exchange Visitor should not travel outside of the U.S. during the transfer-out period until the SEVIS record is transferred and mandatory check-in with their new international office is complete.
  • SEVIS to SEVIS transfers require RO/ARO approval from both U.S. institutions.
  • Exchange Visitor must complete mandatory check-in immediately after the transfer release day (no more than 15-days after transfer release date)