How to Change University After Scheduling a US Visa Appointment?

    Updated on: 12 Sep 2023

    Possible to change uni after usa visa appointment

    Let’s say you book your USA visa appointment on Friday and on Monday morning, there is an acceptance email in your inbox from a better university or maybe your dream college. Now, if you want to attend your dream university, you need to change the university in the VISA application. Worry not! It is possible to change your university after scheduling your USA student visa.

    There are three categories of student visas in the USA namely F1, J1, and M1. 

    • To apply for an F1 (for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees) or M1 (for technical or vocational programs) student visa, you will require a form I-20 document. 
    • To apply for a J1 student visa (for individuals approved to participate in the work-and study-based exchange visitor programs), you will require a form DS-160. 

    The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) of the university generates the required form (SEVIS is the platform through which the USA government tracks and monitors international students.)

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    How to change university after booking US visa?

    The process of changing university varies from situation to situation. Below are some common situations where changing the university requires different procedures:

    Situation 1: The I-901 SEVIS fee is paid, and DS-160 is submitted, but the visa payment is left. 

    In this case, all you need to do is transfer the SEVIS from University A to University B. You do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again for the new university.


    • To transfer the SEVIS fee to another university, go on to the Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVP) I-901 SEVIS fee processing website and fill in the required details for payment status.
    • Click on the transfer button. 
    • The website will prompt you to fill in the SEVIS ID and school code of the new university. Enter the correct details and submit.
    • You will receive an email for the transfer request. 
    • A second email will either confirm your transfer or deny it. If your transfer request is approved, print the new details for later use. In case your request is rejected, the email will have an explanation.

    Once you have the new SEVIS number, follow the steps mentioned below:

    • Since you've submitted the DS-160 for the previous university, you will need to fill out a new form for the new university.
    • Fill out the new DS-160 form with the details of your new university.
    • Submit the new DS-160 and print confirmation.
    • Book an appointment.
    • Take the new DS-160 confirmation page to the scheduled appointment.

    Situation 2: The DS-160 form is submitted, visa payment is done, and the interview slot is booked.

    In this situation, you need to complete the steps mentioned above in situation 1. Create a new DS-160 form, fill in the SEVIS number of the university you want to attend, and submit the form.
    Since you have already paid for the visa and scheduled the interview, you are now required to just log in to your account on the CGI Federal US visa website and change:

    • DS -160 confirmation number
    • SEVIS ID

    Please note that there is no need to pay the visa fee again as you have not attended the interview. 

    If for some reason you are not able to update the SEVIS ID or the DS-160 confirmation number on CGI federal website, carry both the old and new DS confirmation pages to your OFC interview & tell the officials about the university change. 


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    Situation 3: You have appeared for the visa interview.

    If you have appeared for the visa interview, and your F1 visa gets approved. To then change your university, these are the steps to follow:

    • Get the I-20 form from the new university. 
    • Transfer the SEVIS fee as explained in situation 1 above.
    • Fill out and submit a new DS-160 form with the details of the second university. 
    • Pay the visa fees once again. 
    • Schedule and attend the OFC.

    There is one more alternative method to change universities after getting your student visa to the US.

    • Accept admission to University A.
    • Once you reach the USA, tell the university that you wish to transfer the I-20 to University B. You will need written proof of admission to the second university at this point.
    • University A fills out the required forms and then sends them to University B.
    • University B enrolls you, generates a new I-20, and sends it to you.


    It is imperative to keep all your I-20 forms, both from University A and University B, and ensure that your student status is always 'Active' by obeying the M1 or F1 Visa rules. 

    Important: Do not let University A ‘terminate’ your SEVIS status, or else you will have to leave the country and restart the entire process of getting a student visa.

    The procedure of changing universities and SEVIS ID on your student visa application is possible. However, it is highly recommended that you should not rush into booking your visa interview right after receiving the first university acceptance letter. If you think there are chances of a better university accepting your application, then be patient, wait for their acceptance letter and then apply for your visa interview. I hope this helps you. If you have any further doubts, do post them GyanDhan’s Discussion Forum. All the best!

    Read also:

    Frequently asked questions

    How long does it take to get a student visa for the USA?

    After completing all the admission and visa formalities it usually takes around 120 days to get your US visa. You can either get your student visa in 3 days or 3 months, depending on your case.

    How do I change SEVIS from one university to another after scheduling my F1 visa appointment?

    If you have already paid the SEVIS fee, just log in to the Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVP) I-901 SEVIS fee processing website and find the record of the fee paid earlier, there you will find a transfer option where you can change your SEVIS from one university to another.

    How many times can I transfer my SEVIS?

    SEVIS transfers are typically allowed only once, as the record should be maintained by one institution at a time, usually after completing a program or employment.

    Do we get a refund after cancelling visa appointment?

    To be eligible for a refund, applicants must submit a refund request form online within 30 days of canceling their visa appointment.

    What is the FI 5 month rule?

    The F1 5 month rule means the termination of a student's record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) due to their absence from classes or failure to maintain their status for a continuous period of five months.

    What is the validity of SEVIS fee?

    The SEVIS fee is valid till 12 months from the date of payment. If you do not get your visa within 12 months of paying the fee, you will have to repay the SEVIS fee.

    How to download CGI Federal visa appointment?

    To download the visa CGI Federal appointment follow the steps listed below:

    • Visit the CGI Federal US visa website.
    • Log in with your username and password, you will be redirected to the "Dashboard," which serves as the home page.
    • Click on the "Appointment Confirmation" link.

    First published date: 16 Sep 2019

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About author

Salil Singh
Salil has a deep interest in material pursuits and philosophy. He is very fond of Table Tennis and Badminton and can be found playing it at weekends.

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