TN 23 (07-13)

RM 10211.350 Background Information on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

In 2002, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with assistance from the Department of State (DOS), established SEVIS, an Internet-based electronic system for maintaining information on:

  • foreign students (F1 academic and M1 vocational/non-academic) and their spouses and dependents (F2s and M2s); and

  • exchange visitors (J1s) and their spouses and minor unmarried children (J2s).

SEVIS automates the student and exchange visitor process by tracking participants beginning when they receive their documentation from sponsors, through the visa application process, their admission to the United States (U.S.) by DHS, and until they:

  • conclude or leave the student or exchange visitor programs, or

  • depart the U.S.

A. Use of SEVIS

Schools and sponsors use SEVIS to:

  • generate Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) or Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J1) Status) to send to qualified foreign nationals enabling them to apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate and enter the U.S. as a student or exchange visitor.

  • provide notifications, reports, updates, and data required by DHS regulations on the institutions and programs themselves.

Additionally, DHS and DOS use SEVIS to adjudicate benefits and services, track student and exchange visitor data, and monitor institution and program sponsor compliance with regulations.

B. Activation in SEVIS

When foreign students and exchange visitors enter the U.S., they must report to their sponsors who then activate them in SEVIS. Before DHS can verify immigration status, SEVIS must have an activated status for the student or exchange visitor. In most cases, however, you will not be able to tell from the I-20 or DS-2019 whether the school or sponsor has activated the student or exchange visitor in SEVIS. In those cases when the student or exchange visitor reports new information and the school generates a new SEVIS form, it will:

  • have a date that is after DHS admits the F1, M1 or J1 to the country;

  • reflect the particular change; and

  • indicate the student or exchange visitor activation in SEVIS.

C. References

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
RM 10211.350 - Background Information on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) - 07/29/2013
Batch run: 07/29/2013