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How to get a Student I-20/DS-2019

After you are granted admission to Vanderbilt University, you will receive a congratulatory email from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).  In this e-mail, you will receive information about the ISSS Portal, which is where you will request your initial I-20 or DS-2019.  To get a Vanderbilt I-20 or DS-2019 you must submit a copy of your admission letter, a copy of your passport ID page, and financial support documentation.

If you have been admitted but have not received an email from ISSS. please contact ISSS at or 615-322-2753.

I’m a F-1 or J-1 Student currently in the U.S. How do I transfer my immigration record to Vanderbilt?

If you currently hold an F-1 or J-1 visa your immigration record must be transferred to Vanderbilt to that and I-20/DS-2019 can be issued.

According to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), “school transfer” is the process by which an international student leaves one U.S. institution (before or after program completion) to begin attendance at another U.S. institution. School transfer, with regard to immigration, does not refer to the transfer of academic credits or records between institutions.

Transfer Eligibility

Students in F-1 or J-1 status are eligible to transfer to or from Vanderbilt University if they are:

  • Admitted and otherwise eligible for a SEVIS document (I-20 or DS-2019, for F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant status, respectively)
  • Maintaining current non-immigrant status
  • Currently enrolled full-time, between terms, or participating in approved practical/academic training

Transfer to Vanderbilt Process

In order to receive a new I-20 or DS-2019 from Vanderbilt, your current institution must release your SEVIS record to Vanderbilt. When you complete the I-20/DS-2019 request on the ISSS Portal, you will need to provide the name and contact information of an International Student Adviser at your current school.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact ISSS at or 615-322-2753.

Transition to Vanderbilt


  • Will receive the Vanderbilt SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 upon campus arrival; it will not be mailed in advance


  • Request the new SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 before departure from the U.S. If not possible, SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 will be sent to the foreign address
  • If the current visa (F-1/J-1) is valid (unexpired), a new visa is not required even if the visa carries the name of the previous school
  • U.S. re-entry is possible with the Vanderbilt-issued SEVIS I-20/DS-2019, valid passport, and a valid visa
  • If a new visa is needed for reentry, the transfer student must apply using the Vanderbilt SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 and financial documentation

Transfer Timeline and Limitations

Transfers must be done within the deadlines established by USCIS, otherwise the student will be “out of status”

  • Transfer students must enroll at Vanderbilt in the term immediately following previous school’s last term, summer vacation, or practical training
  • F-1 60-Day Grace Period or J-1 30-Day Grace Period: Transfer must be initiated within the grace period following completion a course of study or practical/academic training; the student is eligible for transfer through the end of the grace period
  • 5-Month Start-Date Limit: Student must start new school within 5 months of SEVIS Release Date or program completion date


I’m currently in the U.S. in a different visa type, and need to change my status to F-1 or J-1

Individuals currently in the U.S., who would like to change their immigration status to F-1 or J-1, please contact ISSS at