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New Student Intake Forms: Selecting your SEVIS Category

When completing ISO's New Student Intake Forms (NSIF) via URcompass, students must accurately indicate their requested SEVIS category and related immigration processing for the Form I-20 or DS-2019 from the University of Rochester. This determination is largely based on 1) your current location [either in the US, or abroad] and 2) your current US immigration status, if any. Please review the options below to make the appropriate determination and collect required documentation in advance of submitting the NSIF online.

  • Initial Attendance

    New UR students who are outside the United States and do not currently have an active SEVIS record.

    Whether this is your first academic program in the United States or you studied in the country previously with a break between your studies that required SEVIS termination, you will need a new SEVIS record to show that you are eligible to study at the University of Rochester. Entry to the United States with an Initial Attendance document typically requires a valid visa listing the same school as your I-20 or DS-2019.


  • Immigration Transfer

    Students who will begin a new UR program following the transfer of their current F-1 or J-1 record via SEVIS from another US school.

    Before ISO can issue your new I-20 or DS-2019, your current SEVIS record must be released to the University of Rochester electronically via SEVIS. Please select the SEVIS Release Date carefully with the international office at your current institution, and request that SEVIS be updated in advance of this date. You must follow all procedures and policies of your current school to request the immigration transfer. SEVIS transfers to UR should be released to 'University of Rochester' under school code BUF214F00034000.

    To qualify for the Immigration Transfer, you may not exceed more than five months between your last authorized activities at the current school (enrollment, post-completion employment, etc.) and the start of your studies at the University of Rochester. Additionally, you must enroll in UR's next available term once your SEVIS record is released.

    Work: Once your Release Date is reached, this triggers the end of your program activities and you will no longer be eligible to pursue activities or receive benefits associated with your previous school, including enrollment, on-campus employment, practical training authorizations, etc. You must not engage in any work or payment until you have completed your Immigration Check-In and received confirmation from ISO that you have valid UR permissions for those activities.

    Travel: If you appropriately transfer your SEVIS record, you may continue to use your unexpired student visa for travel and do not need to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee again. You can also remain in the US if your visa has expired, as usual, but will need to apply for a new visa the next time you travel abroad. In order to renew your student visa following your SEVIS Release Date, you will need the new I-20 or DS-2019 from the University of Rochester for your visa interview.

  • Change of Education Level (COEL)

    Current UR students who will continue in a new academic program (even if at the same educational level). 

    If you have been admitted to a new degree program at the University of Rochester, you will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 to reflect the change in your academic objective(s). Critical updates include your new program dates, funding information, and field of study. As appropriate, this option can be used to matriculate at a higher degree level, transition to a lower level, or even continue at the same level but in a different program or department. You must submit the NSIF and obtain your new document from ISO prior to making any official change in your academic program.

    To qualify for the Change of Education Level, you may not exceed more than five months between your current authorized activities (enrollment, post-completion employment, etc.) and the start of your new UR program. If your program will end soon, ISO must be able to initiate the COEL before the end on any eligible grace period.

    Work: During the transition between programs, your F-1 or J-1 work permissions are based on your active level within SEVIS. For instance, based on your timing, you may be able to maintain previously authorized off-campus work permission until your new program begins, or resume on-campus authorization to begin work activities in anticipation of your new degree level. Completion of your Immigration Check-In will prompt ISO to activate your SEVIS record at the new level, which can be handled strategically in consultation with an ISO Advisor around known work activities.

    Travel: If you plan to travel, please review your plans with ISO in advance. During a transition between programs, it is important that you travel with the new I-20 or DS-2019 once it is available, or that a new document is not issued while you are outside the United States. You have permission to remain in the US between your academic programs under the Change of Education Level.

  • Return from Absence

    Students who are returning to UR following a leave of absence, readmission, or other break in studies, and do not have an active US immigration record.

    Typically, if ISO is unable maintain your SEVIS record during a temporary break in studies and you are absent for more than 5 months, you will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 in order to return to Rochester and resume your studies. You must obtain academic approval first, recommended about three to four months before your intended return to campus. Other arrangements may be needed with other University office as well to coordinate housing, insurance, billing, and more.

    Even though you are returning from an absence, you will be considered a new student for immigration purposes. With a new SEVIS record, you are required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again and may need time to apply for a new student visa while you are still abroad. If your current visa stamp was issued for study at the University of Rochester and is still valid, you can likely use that one again, but please contact your local US Consulate for specific guidance.

    In preparation for your return, you may enter the US no more than 30 days prior to the start date listed on your new I-20 or DS-2019. Additionally, you must be registered as a full-time student by that date (a summer start date cannot be viewed as a vacation term for a returning student).

    Note: For an absence of fewer than 5 months, it may be possible to reactivate your previous F-1 or J-1 record through a request for corrective SEVIS action. Please see additional information on Temporary Leave.

  • Change of Immigration Status (COS)

    New or current UR students within the US who wish to change their immigration status to an F/J student category. 

    If you are currently maintaining a valid US nonimmigrant status (such as H-4, F-2, etc.), you may be able to change to F-1 or J-1 student status in order to pursue your degree at the University of Rochester. The decision whether (and when) to change status is often based on the permissions available in your current status. Some visa categories allow for study, while others have specific restrictions. In some cases, the bigger concern is whether your current status allows you to work during your program, either on-campus or through other authorizations.

    Students may choose to change their status via 1) travel abroad and applying for the appropriate visa stamp at a US Consulate, or 2) submitting an application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There are considerable benefits and challenges between these strategies, and various factors may impact this decision, including your personal and academic goals, necessary timing, and likelihood of success. Please schedule an appointment to discuss your situation with an ISO Advisor by calling the ISO Service Desk (+1-585-275-2866) and review our additional resources on Changing Immigration Status.

  • Non-UR Immigration Sponsorship

    Students who will attend UR with the authorization and immigration sponsorship of another agency (IIE/Fulbright, AmidEast, LASPAU, H-1B/H-4 employer, etc.) – INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY

    When students will obtain or retain immigration sponsorship from another organization, you do not need to request documentation from ISO for your studies. However, many students are often required to partner with ISO or find it helpful to maintain their information with ISO for consultation purposes. Admitting departments are not always aware that a new student does not require an F-1 or J-1 record from the University and will initiate the NSIF based on eligibility for UR sponsorship. In this case, please use the NSIF and the 'Non-UR Immigration Sponsor' SEVIS Category to indicate that you do not require an immigration document from ISO. The additional information you provide on the other student forms will allow us to serve you better during your student enrollment, as needed. This is especially helpful for those students who may ultimately change to UR immigration sponsorship before they graduate. For additional information, please review our section on Studying in Non-University Sponsored Categories.

Return to additional instructions for the New Student Intake Forms.