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Comprehensive Guide To Day 1 CPT SEVIS Transfer

After you get your Day 1 CPT school's admission offer, what makes the next part confusing is the SEVIS transfer process. Students interested in Day 1 CPT programs, which allow them to work from the first day of their program, must carefully manage their SEVIS transfer to ensure uninterrupted employment and compliance with F-1 visa regulations.

This guide provides a step-by-step overview to help students transition smoothly and maintain compliance with U.S. immigration regulations.

Table of Content

Day CPT Timeline

Step-by-Step Breakdown

Step 0: Apply to a Day 1 CPT School

  • Obtain an offer letter from a school that supports Day 1 CPT, ensuring that you can continue working in the U.S. without significant gaps.

Step 1: Notify Your Current School

  • Contact the International Student Office at the current institution of your intent to transfer. You will likely need to complete specific forms or an online process to initiate the SEVIS transfer.

Eligibility Check: Make sure that your SEVIS record is active. Be mindful of the 60-day grace period post-graduation or post-OPT to remain eligible for transfer.

Step 2: Set a SEVIS Transfer Release Date

  • Coordinate with your current school to determine the SEVIS transfer release date. This date is critical as it affects your OPT status and potential employment continuity.

Step 3: Action Required by Transfer-In School

  • Once the transfer release date has passed, your new school will take over your SEVIS record and issue a new Form I-20. This form is essential for maintaining your nonimmigrant student status.
  • Finalize your transfer and enrollment with the new school's international office. This transition typically requires 5-8 business days.

Travel and Re-entry (If Applicable): If you need to travel abroad during the transfer, ensure you re-enter the U.S. with the new I-20 issued by your new school. Always consult with the international students' office for detailed travel advice.

Understanding the 'Gap' and How to Manage It

The term 'gap' signifies the time between your current school releasing your SEVIS record and your new school completing the transfer process. This gap could potentially lead to a temporary interruption in employment. Once your SEVIS is released, it is crucial to cease working immediately, regardless of your EAD card/OPT end date, as the OPT authorization is tied to the SEVIS record at your previous university.

To manage the gap, you can arrange for unpaid leave during these days. It's advisable to discuss this with your employer or HR in advance to minimize any employment gaps.


Let's consider an example timeline for the July 1 intake at Westcliff University:

- May 24: Start the application and submit all required documents.

- June 3: Receive offer letter from the school.

- June 11: Contact your current school to obtain the necessary forms for the SEVIS transfer and schedule the transfer.

- June 12: Connect with Westcliff DSO, and prepare the CPT agreement.

- June 24: Initiate the SEVIS transfer.

- June 25: Submit all CPT-related documents, including the offer letter and CPT agreement.

- June 29: SEVIS transfer completed and new I-20 issued.

- July 1: CPT starts.

Tips on Choosing Intake Days

When selecting your intake days for SEVIS transfer and Day 1 CPT programs, it is essential to consider the availability of unpaid leave from your employer to minimize any potential gaps in employment. By strategically aligning your intake dates before or immediately after your OPT expiration, you can ensure a smooth transition without jeopardizing your legal status in the U.S.

For instance, if your OPT ends on June 1 and you are debating between enrolling in Summer 1 (May 6) or Summer 2 (July 10), discussing unpaid leave possibilities with your employer is crucial. If your employer agrees to grant you unpaid leave, you can proceed with transferring your SEVIS and obtaining CPT approval before July 10, allowing you to commence work on the same day. However, if your employer does not find unpaid leave feasible, it is essential to initiate the SEVIS transfer before May 6. Once the SEVIS transfer is completed, your previous status will automatically come to an end.


Navigating the SEVIS transfer process and Day 1 CPT programs is essential for international students looking to continue their education and work opportunities in the U.S. By carefully following the step-by-step guide provided and being proactive in managing any potential gaps in employment, students can smoothly transition between schools while staying compliant with F-1 visa regulations. Ensuring a seamless transfer and understanding the importance of timing intake dates can make a significant difference in maintaining legal status and continuity in both academic and professional pursuits. By staying informed and prepared, students can optimize their chances of success in their international educational journey.

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