Transfers and Leaving Harvard
Most non-immigrant visa statuses allow students to change schools , although the new school must prepare its own visa sponsorship prior to the change. For F and J visas, moving from one school to another while remaining on the F or J visa is called a SEVIS transfer.
For more information about transfers and leaving Harvard, check on the visa type that is applicable to you below.
Transfer from Harvard to Another Institution
F-1 students who have made a commitment to attend another institution must inform their HIO advisors and request that their SEVIS records be electronically released to the new school. It is advised that students discuss their travel plans and new program start dates with the HIO advisor before settling on a SEVIS transfer release date.
F-1 Grace Period
F-1 students may remain the United State for 60 days following the completion of their academic programs if they have not applied for OPT. Individuals in F-1 status may also remain in the United States for 60 days following the expiration date of post-completion OPT. Students may remain in the United States during the grace period to prepare to leave or to change to another visa status. Students are not permitted to travel outside the United States and return on F-1 status during the grace period. Students are not permitted to work or study during the grace period.
Remaining in the United States
Individuals intending to remain in the United States for more than 60 days after completing their programs at Harvard should take the initiative, during the grace period, to prepare and submit proper paperwork to change to another visa status in order to maintain lawful immigration status in the United States.
Moving from the United States
Individuals are expected to leave the United States at or before the end of the 60 day grace period.
A J-1 student in good standing may request to transfer from one educational institution to another as long as the transfer is to complete the same educational objective for which they were admitted to as a J-1 student. A transfer is processed through updates to the J-1 student's SEVIS record performed by both the current school and the new school. A J-1 student who intends to transfer from one educational institution to another should discuss their plans with the Responsible Officer (RO)/Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) of both schools, provide official evidence of academic admission at the new school, and decide on a specific date of transfer. Since J-1 students are admitted for "duration of status" (D/S), which is defined as the period indicated in item #3 of Form DS-2019, plus a 30-day grace period following the program end date, all transfer requests should be made no later than the end of the 30 day grace period.
A J-1 student who has completed a course of study including any authorized Academic Training following completion of studies is given an additional 30-day grace period for departing the United States, applying to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change J-1 status to another status if they are not subject to the two-year home country residence requirement, or transferring to another educational institution.
Transfer out of Harvard
Harvard sponsored J-1 students who plan to transfer to another J-1 educational institution should contact their HIO advisors immediately after being admitted into a full-time degree program of study at another higher education institution in the United States.
Update Contact Information
J-1 students who are leaving Harvard or plan to transfer to another J-1 educational institution should also update their contact information with the HIO, their Harvard schools/departments and Student Payroll Office before leaving Harvard.