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Everything You Need to Know About The SEVIS Mechanism

SEVIS Mechanism

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, abbreviated as SEVIS, is used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to preserve the following information:

  • SEVP certified schools.
  • F-1 and M-1 students studying in the US and their dependents.
  • U.S. Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors.
  • J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program participants and their dependents.

F-1: Academic students 

F-2: Dependents of F-1 visa holders

M-1: Vocational students

M-2: Dependent of M-1 holder

J-1: Au-pairs exchange visitors

J-2: Spouses and dependents of J-1 exchange visitors

In plain terms, SEVIS Mechanism is a U.S. government database that requires foreign students’ status records to be shared between colleges and federal immigration authorities. Input is submitted electronically during the college career of F-1 or J-1 students in the U.S. Along with the reasons for your U.S. journey, it stores your info. The department allows the supporters to enroll properly (in the case of foreign students, the department is the university). In effect, when they give you entry, the university does the same thing and provides you with the SEVIS number on I-20.

The SEVIS fee, which is ~$350, must be charged by any foreign student. Usually, before filling in your visa application form (DS 160), you can pay this fee as this will take some time to enter the appropriate agency. But this method would be somewhat different in terms of evaluating the actual situation in the U.S. Only after your visa request has been approved should you pay this charge.

How Does Your SEVIS Mechanism ID Work?

The SEVIS ID applies, including CPT and OPT, during the international student life cycle in the region. The Designated Student Officer (DSO) must enroll you with an F-1 visa on SEVIS at the beginning of each school session within 30 days of the start date of the session. To keep your student status, you have to sustain a full-course load. Registration for students whose documents do not have a relevant U.S. address and/or payment of I-901 SEVIS fees would be blocked by the system.

In addition, educational institutions need to amend and retain the SEVIS Mechanism records of non-immigrant applicants in the F and J visa groups, as per U.S. federal law and regulations. Suppose the record of a student is not changed every year, so the record will expire indefinitely, which ensures that the student will forfeit his identity and therefore become an undocumented alien. The office of International Student Services or ISS is the designated campus branch for the management of SEVIS reports for universities.

New Guidelines Declared By Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)

The U.S. during the month of March 2020 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the department administering the SEVP, announced that by the fall semester of 2020, foreign students on F-1 and M-1 visas attending schools that will run exclusively online would not be able to stay in the US. The announcement emphasizes the fact that in order to stay in legal status, foreign students in the U.S. enrolled in online programs must either leave the country or move to an educational institution that has an in-person instruction module. This law has been protested about by many universities and administrative bodies.

Therefore, the government had to rethink this decision, and, again, new rules and provisional exemptions were issued in July 2020.

On March 9, 2020, students actively enrolled at any U.S. school who subsequently took online courses while outside the country will re-enter the country even if their school is primarily engaged in distance learning. But F and M will not be eligible to access the U.S. to enroll for the fall term to follow a 100 percent online coursework in current and original status until March 9, 2020. Also, in any SEVP-certified educational entity, designated school officials can not issue Form I-20 for students in new/initial status to take 100 percent online courses.

We hope that this pandemic’s health issues will quickly be alleviated and questions will be addressed at the earliest. Please do not take tension as this phase shall too pass.

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SEVIS Mechanism

Everything You Need to Know About The SEVIS Mechanism

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