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Student and Exchange Visitor Information System

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-based system that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information on Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools and the F and M students who come to the United States to attend those schools. SEVIS also maintains information on Department of State-designated exchange visitor program sponsors and J-1 visa exchange visitor program participants. It is a critical tool in our mission to protect national security while supporting the legal entry of the more than one million F, M, and J nonimmigrants to the United States for education and cultural exchange.

For F and M nonimmigrants, SEVIS is used to:

  • Petition SEVP for certification that allows the school to offer programs of study to nonimmigrant students
  • Update school information and apply for recertification of the school for continued ability to issue Certificates of Eligibility (Forms I–20) to nonimmigrant students and their dependents
  • Issue Forms I–20 to specific individuals used by nonimmigrants to obtain F or M status while enrolled at the school
  • Fulfill the school’s legal reporting responsibility regarding the student’s address, course of study, enrollment, employment, and compliance with the terms of the student status
  • Transfer the student SEVIS record to another institution

For J nonimmigrants, SEVIS is used to:

  • Petition the Department of State for designation that allows the sponsor to offer educational and cultural exchange programs to exchange visitors
  • Update sponsor information and apply for redesignation every two years
  • Issue Forms DS-2019 to specific individuals to obtain J status
  • Fulfill the sponsor’s legal reporting responsibility regarding the exchange visitors address, site of activity, program participation, employment, and compliance with the terms of the J status
  • Transfer the exchange visitor’s SEVIS record to another institution

 

SEVP is working to improve SEVIS to make it a more effective and efficient system for users. In the coming months, SEVIS users can look forward to the following enhancements:

  • Improved system performance and peak time responsiveness for school and program users
  • Standardized information requirements for enhanced searching, reporting, and data matching, allowing schools and programs to generate reports from SEVIS on their F, M and J nonimmigrants and print the information as a PDF or export it to an Excel file
  • Alert lists that allow users to click on a specific nonimmigrant name, take action on the record (e.g., registration, etc.), then go back to the alert list directly without having to go back to the SEVIS main page and retrace their navigation before being able to take an action on another student record on the list
  • Address validation that will provide consistency and accuracy and ensure U.S. addresses are complete and real
  • Improved ways to identify and correct incorrect data in SEVIS and eliminate duplicate records
  • New fields that enable school users to provide accurate, standardized, and detailed information about all of the following:
  • Accreditations
  • Federal Aviation Administration certifications
  • Other forms of recognition and licenses

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 authorized the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to create an electronic system to collect information on F, M, and J nonimmigrants to address the problem of F, M, and J nonimmigrants who are out of status and remain in the United States without authorization. The system was intended to support INS’ efforts to determine how many F, M, and J nonimmigrants are in the country, where they are, and what they are studying. After September 11, 2001, Congress updated the legislation to mandate the use of an electronic system to collect information on all F, M, and J nonimmigrants.

To meet this mandate, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State deployed SEVIS in January 2003. SEVIS is a web-based information system that tracks and monitors F, M, and J nonimmigrants and dependents throughout the duration of approved participation within the U.S. education system or designated exchange visitor program. SEVIS maintains records on these nonimmigrants and receives updated information from schools and sponsors, such as changes of domestic address and in program study. SEVIS also maintains information on the schools, exchange visitor program sponsors, and their representatives (i.e., designated school officials, responsible officers, and alternate responsible officers).