I'm an international applicant and I'm not very familiar with the routines of admissions in United States. I was wondering if I get admitted from a university and accepting their offer and while trying to get F-1 visa for it, I get another admission from another university, would I be eligible to accept the admission offer of the latter university or not?

  • Most universities will issue an F-1 visa for introduction students (some can issue J-1, if requested by your funding agency/government/institution). I didn't get you point on Visa?
    – The Guy
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 12:59
  • I meant while our application is being processed in embassy. As I know the applicant themselves must apply for visa and pursue it. Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 17:49
  • 2
    I think that would make things very complicated. You do not want to start your process and change schools while your application os being processed. This might raise red flags and keep your application on hold. Usually, you go for an interview but the school has to provide you (and embassy) with needed information and forms (I believe I-20, etc). Everything need to be crossed checked multiple times over many levels. By the way, I meant "international" students in my previous comment and not "introduction".
    – The Guy
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


You are only allowed to accept admission at one university. As soon as you do so, you should contact all other universities to which you applied, and tell them you have chosen another school and are withdrawing your application.

If you accept admission at University X, then withdraw it and accept admission at University Y instead in the same year, it's considered unethical behavior, and Y might rescind your admission if they find out.

Most US universities use coordinated acceptance deadlines, so you should know exactly which schools have admitted you before you have to choose one.

  • 5
    I think when visas are involved things go from being frowned upon to being impossible, if not illegal. For example, I don't know if you can have two I-20s at the same time.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 18:49
  • I've come up with a new situation. If one of the offers is for Spring and the other one is for Fall, we are still forbidden from withdrawing our previous accepted offer, especially when our previous I-20 is issued? I've heard the universities may accept to repeal your last I-20 and issue a new one with the same SEVIS. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 6:54
  • @user3070752: I don't know about visa rules so I am not addressing that part. But I would say withdrawing to go to a different university is still inappropriate even if they start in different semesters, and rescinding admission could happen in that case as well. Basically, the issue is that if you accept admission and later withdraw, it will probably be too late for the university to admit someone else in your place, so a seat is wasted and some other student loses an opportunity. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 13:22
  • I don't see how unethical this is. Universities opt to have earlier deadlines because they want to attract better students and force them to accept an admission offer, they have to accept the risk. Be fair to students, they are choosing a place to stay for the next few years and the credentials follow them for the rest of their life. The Universities can charge higher deposit fee if they want students commitment. They, instead, already find the right balance between a smaller deposit amount and having a waitlist. It's just business. No one is committing to anything here.
    – boh
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 2:50

I've asked this question from a university in U.S. and they provided me this answer:

This is probably do-able, but you would likely end up losing the deposit (if you made one) at the other institution.

Ethically, this might be a gray area. But that would be up to you to determine what you are comfortable with.

Another university said:

Yes, as long as you do withdraw from consideration to the other PhD program in March/April, then you would most certainly be eligible for our CS PhD program.

So I think however this is not very ethically a correct action but is not forbidden and those who have previously accepted an offer would have this chance to change their mind.

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