Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors in the United States. SEVIS is administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The mission of SEVIS is to balance Homeland Security with facilitating foreign student and exchange visitor participation in America's outstanding academic and cultural exchange programs.
SEVIS came online in 2003 to track and monitor the status and activities of nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors (EVs) who enter the United States. This web-based system collects real-time information on nonimmigrant students, Evs, approved schools, and program sponsors. This information is available to a variety of stakeholders. SEVIS also retains information on Exchange Visitor Program sponsors and visitors that are approved by the Department of State (DoS).
SEVIS enables schools and sponsors to transmit information, via the Internet, to DHS, ICE, and DoS throughout a student or exchange visitor's stay in the United States. SEVIS receives event notifications (electronic updates to SEVIS records on students and exchange visitors) and maintains up-to-date information about events involving nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors, such as visa issuance, admission at the Port-of-Entry (POE), registration at the school or validation of an exchange visitor's participation in their exchange program by the sponsor, changes of U. S. address, program extensions, employment notifications, and changes in program of study. SEVIS will also provide system alerts, event notifications, and reports to the end-user schools and sponsors.
SEVIS applies to F, J, and M nonimmigrants and their dependents only. F nonimmigrants are foreign students pursuing a full course of study in a college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, private elementary school, other academic institution, or language training program in the United States that has been approved to enroll foreign students. J nonimmigrants are foreign nationals who have been selected by a sponsor designated by the DoS to participate in an exchange visitor program in the United States. M nonimmigrants are foreign students who are pursuing a full course of study in a vocational school or other recognized nonacademic institution in the United States that has been certified to enroll foreign students.
SEVIS also maintains information on each of the certified schools and designated sponsors and the SEVIS officials administering their programs. This information is used by DHS and DoS to monitor compliance with regulatory requirements. The schools and exchange visitor programs that participate in SEVIS include, but are not limited to, high schools, universities, two-year colleges, vocational training schools, flight schools, language schools, and public and private sector academic organizations. Exchange visitor sponsors can be involved in the following categories of programs: student (high school/college); trainee; teacher; professor; research scholar; short-term scholar; specialist; international visitor; alien physician; government visitor; au pair; camp counselor; and summer work/travel. DHS certifies the schools that are part of SEVIS, while DoS designates the exchange program sponsors.
Information collected by SEVIS is entered by the institution that the student is attending and includes nonimmigrant's name, country of birth, date of birth, country of citizenship, educational background, information on the education/program activity for which the individual is seeking admittance, and passport and visa information. Certified schools must provide specific information regarding the school, the nature and requirements of the educational program, location and contact information, and costs to attend. Designated sponsors must provide similar information regarding their exchange visitor programs.
DHS uses the information collected and maintained by SEVIS to carry out portions of its national security, law enforcement, and immigration control functions. Through SEVIS, DHS can enhance enforcement capabilities by providing accurate and timely information to support informed decisions, data analysis and the identification of status violators. Specifically, SEVIS information enhances enforcement capability by:
- Ensuring the entry of legitimate, eligible F, M and J nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors,
- Providing DHS officers with easy access to real-time SEVIS data to support compliance and adjudicative efforts.
- Enhancing data analysis and intelligence collection for investigators and intelligence analysts.
- Enhancing the capability to identify document fraud and take appropriate actions.
- Facilitating the monitoring and periodic review of certified schools and designated exchange visitor program sponsors.
SEVIS information is also used by other agencies beyond DHS for functions related to nonimmigrants' presence in the United States. For example:
- SEVIS supports the visa process by providing officials at the DoS Bureau of Consular Affairs advance electronic data on nonimmigrant visa applicants prior to visa issuance and prior to a nonimmigrant's entry into the United States.
- SEVIS information supports the efforts of federal law enforcement partners of DHS, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation within the Department of Justice, for enforcement, counter-terrorism and national security purposes.
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