SEVIS is a U.S. government database that allows schools and federal immigration agencies to exchange data on the status of international students. Information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 or J-1 student’s academic career in the U.S.
An electronic record is created in SEVIS for you after you are admitted and confirm enrollment at the University of Washington. This allows the UW to issue an I-20 or DS-2019, which you need to gain F-1 or J-1 status. When you apply for a student visa and arrive at a U.S. port of entry, the consular officer or immigration official may consult SEVIS in addition to your supporting documents to verify eligibility for F-1 or J-1 status. International Student Services (ISS) will continue to provide electronic reports throughout your academic career, noting information such as registration, address changes, academic program changes, degree completion, and immigration status violations.
The SEVIS program is funded in part by your SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
SEVIS Registration or Validation
DSOs must determine if every initial or active F-1 student is eligible for SEVIS registration each quarter.
J-1 SEVIS records are validated within the first 30 days of the start of their program. Unlike F-1 SEVIS registration which happens quarterly, J-1 validation happens only at the start of a student’s program.
SEVIS Registration or Validation Requires the following:
- I-901 SEVIS fee payment
- U.S. physical address
- Properly formatted e-mail address
- U.S. or foreign telephone number, or a confirmation that the student does not have a telephone.
- J-1 students must have a contact phone number listed in SEVIS.
SEVIS registration must be completed on all appropriate SEVIS records within 30 days of the start of each session. The statutory basis for the 30-day deadline is:
(4) REPORTING REQUIREMENTS- Not later than 30 days after the deadline for registering for classes for an academic term of an approved institution of higher education or other approved educational institution for which documentation is issued for an alien as described in paragraph (3)(A), or the scheduled commencement of participation by an alien in a designated exchange visitor program, as the case may be, the institution or program, respectively, shall report to the Immigration and Naturalization Service any failure of the alien to enroll or to commence participation.
In its October 17, 2003 memo, ICE clarified that SEVIS registration is linked to a student’s “reporting” to the school, rather than to the state of a student’s registration for classes towards a full course of study,” and that SEVIS Registration must occur no more than 30 days after the program start date (for new students in initial SEVIS status) or the next session start date (for continuing students in active SEVIS status), rather than within 30 days after the deadline for registering for classes. ICE cited its need for “a standard, clearly recognizable means to determine the required reporting date” and “national security interests” as justification for this departure from the plain language of the law.
SEVIS Reporting Requirements
U.S. federal law and regulations require schools to update and maintain the SEVIS records of nonimmigrant students in F and J visa categories. There are certain “automatic functions” that will occur on a student’s record in the SEVIS database system if these updates are not made in a timely manner. For example, if a student’s record is not updated to show enrollment each quarter, that record will automatically “terminate.” A terminated record means that the student is considered to be out of status or illegal in the U.S.
The ISS Office is the designated office on campus to manage SEVIS reports for the University. It is extremely important to keep your email, telephone, and address updated in My UW so that we can contact you in urgent situations where your SEVIS record may be in jeopardy.