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STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISITOR APPLICATION PROCESS

In order to obtain a student visa a student should be properly registered with SEVP.  SEVP collects, maintains, analyzes and provides information so only legitimate foreign students or exchange visitors gain entry to the United States. The goal of such database is an easily accessible information system that provides timely information to DoS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Application process

1. Apply to a school in the United States. The school must be an SEVP-certified school.  Check here SEVP approved Schools. 

2 Form I-20 is required to receive student visa. So obtain form I-20 directly from the school that you are planning to attend.

3. The SEVIS I-901 fee is required for all F and M students as well as J exchange visitors.  Without this fee, you will not be eligible to apply for a visa. Go to SEVP processing website to pay your fee.

4. Apply for visa. F and M student should file Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160).

5. Prepare your documents:

    • SEVIS Form I-20AB, I-20MN, or DS-2019;
    • Visa exempt nationals presenting a SEVIS Form I-20AB, I-20MN or DS-2019 issued on or after September 1, 2004, who are entering the United States for the first time should have a Form I-797, Receipt Notice or Internet Receipt verifying SEVIS Fee payment.
    • Evidence of financial resources, in addition, it is recommended that you also carry the following documents:
      • Evidence of Student/Exchange Visitor status (recent tuition receipts, transcripts);
      • Name and contact information for Designated School Official (DSO) or Responsible Officer (RO) at your intended school or program;

    Passport (including attached envelope of immigration documents) with nonimmigrant visa;

6. You have 30 days to enter the country before your official program start date, which is registered in SEVIS by an official at your school. You must report to your school by your program start date, or you are not maintaining your status.

7. Social Security Number will not be assign to you unless you will have a permission to work.

8. Driver’s License

      Apply at State Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV).

SEVIS SYSTEM

Under SEVIS, the institution  must report when the student commences a full course of study, drops below full a full course of study, transfer schools, extends stay, is reinstated in status, or engaged in employment. The school must also notify DHS of any student who reports or fails to report within 30 days of the institution’s registration deadline. The school must report whether “the student reported to the academic institution as expected” even if the course enrollment process has not been fully determined because that can be reported later.

This is a quick-reference for termination reasons noted in Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) that was prepared by ICE March 17, 2015

DSOs can use the following reasons to terminate F-1 and M-1 Student in SEVIS

Reason                   Condition
Absent from Country for Five MonthsBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The student is known to be outside the United States.
  • The student has been outside the United States for five months or longer.
Authorized Drop Below Full Course Time ExceededBoth of the following statements are true:

  • A reduced course load (RCL) was approved by the DSO for the student.
  • The student did not enroll for a full course of study when the approved RCL period ended.
Authorized Early WithdrawalThe following statement is true:

  • A request to withdraw from an academic program was approved for the student.

This reason is also used if:

  • The student will interrupt studies for the term.
  • The student cannot maintain enrollment at the school during the term.

Note:

  • Student must leave the United States within 15 days of the termination date.
  • Do not use this reason to terminate a student leaving the United States during a period of earned vacation. Use the registration process to record the end‑date of the current term and the start date of the next term they are to attend.
Change of Status ApprovedThe SEVIS record is in Active status and either of the following statements is true:

  • USCIS approved the student’s change of status out of F or M status.
  • The student left the United States and returned in a different immigration status. The student does not plan to travel again to return in F/M status.
Change of Status DeniedF or M status students should not be registered in SEVIS until USCIS approves the change of status to F or M status. The student’s record should be in Initial status. Students Changing out of F or M Status: The SEVIS record is in Active status and all of the following statements are true:

  • The student applied for change out of F or M status.
  • USCIS denied the application to change status.
Change of Status WithdrawnStudents Changing to F or M Status: DSOs should not need to use this reason. F or M status students should not be registered in SEVIS until USCIS approves the change of status to F or M status. The student’s record should be in Initial status. If it does not, cancel the record and explain what happened. Students Changing out of F or M Status: The SEVIS record is in Active status and all of the following statements are true:

  • The student applied for change out of F or M status.
  • The application for the change of status was withdrawn.
DeathThe student died but not if anyone else in the student’s family died.
Denied TransferAll of the following statements are true:

  • The student is an M-1 student.
  • The student filed Form I-539 with USCIS to transfer to new school.
  • USCIS denied the Form I-539.
  • The program end-date at the old (transfer-out) school is in the past or the student began studying at the new (transfer-in) school.
  • The SEVIS record is in Active status.
ExpulsionThe student was expelled.
Extension DeniedAll of the following statements are true:

  • The student is in M-1 status.
  • The student filed Form I-539 with USCIS to extend the program.
  • USCIS denied the Form I-539.
  • The program end-date is in the past.
  • The SEVIS record is in Active status.
Failure to EnrollAll of the following statements are true:

  • The student is a continuing student.
  • The student is not in a period of earned vacation.
  • The student did not enroll at the school.
Failure to Report While on OPTThe following statements are true:

  • The student is in a period of active 17-month OPT extension.
  • The student has not filed the validation report with the DSO (required at 6 and 12 months).
No Show – Manual TerminationAll of the following statements are true:

  • The student is in Initial status.
  • The student is not a Transfer student.
  • The SEVIS record shows the student entered the United States.
  • The student did not report to the school.

Note: If a student is a transfer student – use Transfer Student No Show.

Otherwise Failing to Maintain StatusBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The student has not maintained status.
  • None of the other terminations reasons applies.
School Withdrawn SEVIS notes this reason when it auto-terminates student records because a school loses SEVP certification.
SuspensionThe student is suspended.
Transfer Student No ShowBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The student transferred from another school.
  • The student failed to report to the transfer-in school as required.

Note: SEVIS also notes this termination reason when it auto-terminates a record because:

  • The student was not registered in SEVIS.
  • The date is 60 days after the program start date.
Transfer WithdrawnAll of the following statements are true:

  • The student is an M-1 student.
  • The student filed Form I-539 with USCIS to transfer to a new school.
  • The student withdrew the transfer application with USCIS.
  • The program end-date is in the past.
  • The SEVIS record is in Active status.
Unauthorized Drop Below Full CourseBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The student is not currently enrolled in a full course load.
  • A reduced course load was not approved by the DSO in advance.
Unauthorized EmploymentBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The DSO has evidence the student is or was employed.
  • The DSO knows the student does or did not have work permission for all or part of that employment.
Unauthorized WithdrawalBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The student withdrew from school or stopped attending classes in the middle of a term.
  • The student did not get prior approval for the withdrawal.
Violation of Change of Status RequirementsBoth of the following statements are true:

  • USCIS approved a student’s change of status from B-1, B-2, or F-2 to F-1 or M-1 status.
  • The student began studies before the change of status was approved.

 

Dependent Termination Reasons Available in SEVIS to School Officials

ReasonConditions
Child Over 21All of the following statements are true:

  • The dependent is a child of a student.
  • The dependent is 21 years old.
  • The SEVIS record is in Active status
DeathThe dependent died.
DivorceBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The dependent is the spouse of a student.
  • The student and the spouse are divorced.
OtherBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The dependent’s record must be terminated.
  • None of the other termination reasons applies.
Principal Status CompletedBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The student’s record is in Completed status.
  • The dependent record is in Active status.

Note: SEVIS automatically terminates dependent records when a DSO completes a student’s record.

Principal Status TerminatedBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The student’s record is in Terminated status.
  • The dependent’s record is in Active status.

Note: SEVIS terminates any dependent records when a DSO terminates a student’s record.

Status changed due to J-1 Change of StatusDSOs should NEVER use this reason.
Unauthorized EmploymentBoth of the following statements are true:

  • The DSO has reliable evidence the dependent is or was employed.
  • The DSO knows the dependent does not or did not have any form of work permission.

 

System-Only Termination Reasons

ReasonCondition
Failure to Report While on OPT – System TerminationSEVIS notes this termination reason if the following apply:

  • The student is in a period of active 17-month OPT extension.
  • The SEVIS record was not updated to reflect the validation report.
  • The date is 32 days after the reporting deadline.
No Show – System TerminationSEVIS notes this termination reason if the following apply:

  • The student transferred from another school.
  • The student failed to report to the transfer-in school as required.
  • The date is 60 days past the program start date.
  • The record was not terminated in SEVIS.