US Student and Exchange Visitor Information System

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) acts as the bridge for varied government organizations which have an interest in information on foreign students. SEVP uses web-based technology, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents, throughout the duration of approved participation within the US education system.

The SEVIS system is a federal government program that will link every US embassy and consulate with every port of entry into the US and with every institute of higher learning that has been authorized to issue I-20s. It is meant to track F-1 (and J-1 and M-1) visa holders from the time that they are admitted to a school and issued an I-20 to the time that they end their studies. Schools, ports of entry, and embassies/consulates process the bulk of the work involved with SEVIS.

UIS has been approved and entered into the SEVIS system. As of Feb. 15, 2003 we are required to issue the form I-20 for any new students as well as for any current student when there is a reportable event such as requests for practical training, extension of program, reinstatement, etc. Current students who will be traveling out of the US and who need to obtain a new visa will need to have a form I-20.

Reporting to USCIS

UIS is required to report to the USCIS through SEVIS:

  • New students who have entered the US on an I-20 issued by UIS who enroll or who don’t enroll for the first semester of their study.
  • Every reportable action – practical training applications, students who fall out of status, etc.
  • Students who drop below a full course of study or who fail to register for a full course of study.
  • Students who have not registered for the current semester. Under this provision it will no longer be possible to postpone registration until the end of the semester, as some students have done in the past. You will need to be registered by the end of the second week of classes, when the university runs its term enrollment report.
  • Student mailing/living address changes. You must inform our office of a change in address within 10 days of the change. We will then have 21 days to enter this information into SEVIS. We suggest that you submit your change of address by email or in written form so that there will be a hard copy for your files. Do not submit your change of address verbally either in person or through the telephone.
  • Students who have completed their degrees.

SEVP collects, maintains and provides the information so that only legitimate foreign students or exchange visitors gain entry to the US. The result is an easily accessible information system that provides timely information to the Department of State, US Customs and Border Protection, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Recordkeeping and Reporting

The US government requires that all schools keep records containing certain information about all students to whom they issue forms I-20 (for F-1 students and their dependents) and DS-2019 (for J-1 exchange visitors and their dependents) and that this information or any changes be reported to the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of State. These reports are made at regular intervals and anytime there are important changes.

Our records include all of the information that you provided in order to gain admission and to certify your financial support. They also include your current address, your academic status, the date you began your studies, your degree program and field of study, whether you have been certified for practical training and the beginning and end dates of that certification, the number of credits that you have earned each semester, a photocopy of your I-20 or DS-2019 (and all the information included on that form), and a record of termination if applicable.

If you have transferred from another school, changed your educational level at UIS, shortened or extended your program, been authorized a reduced course load, enrolled concurrently at another school, or brought family members to the US to live with you, these are also part of your file.

We report certain data to the US government as required by federal regulations. Some of this information is reported periodically on all students and exchange visitors. Some of it is reported on individual students as events occur necessitating the report.

The primary information reported on all students:

  • You have arrived at UIS for the first time, have enrolled in a full course of study, and your current physical address.
  • You have continued each semester to maintain a full course of study and to make progress toward your educational goal and any change of address.
  • You have completed your program.
  • Or, you have failed to do one of the above and have been terminated.

In addition, each of the following events is reported at the time that it occurs for each individual student:

  • Each SEVIS update done to request an immigration benefit such as an extension of stay, a transfer, employment, practical training, a reduced course load, a change of level of study, the addition of dependents, etc.
  • Any student who has failed to maintain status or complete his or her program.
  • A change of the student or dependent’s legal name.
  • A change of the student or dependent’s US address.
  • Any disciplinary action taken by the school against the student as a result of the student being convicted of a crime.
  • Any other notification request made by SEVIS or by DHS with respect to the current status of the student.
  • Any updates or changes to OPT and 6 month validation reports for OPT STEM.