Is it Possible to Change University After Scheduling a US Student Visa Appointment?

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    Any Indian student accepted to a US university for further studies requires a study visa. There are three categories of student visas in the USA – F1, J1, and M1. To apply for an F (for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees) or M (for technical or vocational programs) student visa, one needs a document called Form I-20. To apply for a J class student visa (for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs), one needs Form DS-160 form. 
    The college to which you are admitted will send you the I-20 or DS-160 form, depending upon the type of visa you are supposed to apply for. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) of the college generates the required form. SEVIS is the platform through which the US government tracks and monitors international students.

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    What is the USA Visa Application Process?

    • Get accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program certified college in the US
    • Pay the required Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or I-901 SEVIS fee online at fmjfee.com
    • Get I-20 Form from the college admitted to
    • Apply for US student visa using the DS-160 application
    • Pay Student Visa USA Fees
    • Schedule OFC (Offsite Facilitation Center) and visa interview appointment
    • Attend the OFC appointment
    • Attend the Visa interview

    How to Change University in Your US Visa Application Before or After Booking Interview?

    When you fill the DS-160 form (the application required for a visa to the US), you will have to give details such as the SEVIS number. Now here arises a common scenario - students realise that they need to change the university mentioned in their visa application. 

    When do you Need to Change University After Booking Visa Appointment?

    Let’s say you book your US visa appointment on a Friday. Come Monday morning, there is an acceptance email in your inbox from a better university or maybe your dream college. If you want to attend the better or your dream university, you need to change the university in the VISA application. 
    Another reason for switching universities after scheduling a visa appointment is financial aid. For example, you get the Form I-20 from college X. You apply for a student visa and book the interview. Two days later, you get an offer from University Y along with financial aid. Since studying in the US is not a cheap affair, you are likelier to pick school Y (as long as the ranking is not too far below college X).

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    How to change universities after visa appointment booking?

    Either of the above two scenarios necessitates a change of the university in your student visa application. The process of doing it depends upon your situation, which can be anyone out of the below three:

    A. The SEVIS is Paid, DS-160 is Submitted, But Visa Payment is not Made

    The simplest procedure of the three; all you need to do is transfer the SEVIS from college A to College B. You do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again for the new college. 

    • The fmjfee website is used to pay the I-901 fee. To transfer the fee to another college, go onto the website and fill in the required details for payment status.
    • If there is a valid record of your 1-901 fee, you will see the transfer button. Click on it.
    • The website will prompt you to fill 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 the transfer is approved, print the new details for later use. In case the request is rejected, the email will have an explanation.

     

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    Once you have the new SEVIS number, take the following steps:

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

     

    B. The DS- 160 is Submitted, Visa Payment is Made, and the Interview Date is Booked

    In the second situation, you need to complete steps i to v we’ve explained in scenario A above. Create a new DS-160, fill it with the SEVIS number of the second university and submit it. Since you have already paid for the visa and scheduled the interview, the only extra steps to take are:

    • Log on to your account on the CGI Federal website. Update the information on it by changing the
      • DS -160 confirmation number
      • SEVIS ID
    • There is no need to pay the visa fee again because you have not attended the interview. 

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

     

     

    C. You’ve Appeared for the Visa Interview

    Changing universities in the third situation can get a little tricky. Let’s say you've appeared for the interview, and your F1 visa gets approved. After that, a top university in the US accepts you. To change your college, these are the steps to follow:

    • Get the I-20 form from the new school. 
    • Transfer the SEVIS fee as explained in steps i to v in Scenario A above.
    • Fill and submit a new DS-160 with the details of the second university. 
    • Pay the visa fees once again. 
    • Schedule and attend the OFC and visa interview appointment a second time.

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

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

    It is imperative to keep all your I-20 forms, the one from college A and the one from College B. Moreover, ensure that your student status is always 'Active' by obeying the M1 or F1 Visa Rules. Do not let university A ‘terminate’ your SEVIS status, or else you will have to leave the country and re-start the entire process of getting a student visa.

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    Is there a condition when changing universities may not be possible?

    As long as you’re changing the university for yourself, you can always change the university after scheduling a US student VISA appointment.

    Is it easy to change universities after visa appointment booking?

    It is apparent that the procedure of changing universities and the related SEVIS ID on your student visa application can range from being easy to not-so-convenient. If you’ve not booked the appointment, the steps are simple. If you’ve booked and attended the interview, then the process is a bit cumbersome.
    The best course of action is to take a calculative step rather than blindly applying for a visa right after receiving the first college acceptance letter. Do not rush into booking your visa interview. If you think the chances of another, better university accepting your application are high, then wait for their letter.
    Simply put, it is only after you have received an answer from all your preferred US colleges, you should book the student visa interview.

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