SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System that requires all colleges and universities in the US to report electronically to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) information about F-1 students and J-1 students and visiting scholars.
We have listed the basics below, but if you want to read the complete and legal listing of regulations, you will need to search for 8 CFR, Parts 103, 214, 248, and 274a at this link of the Federal Register.
Or, you can view the website that the government has created to provide helpful information at: http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students/
For a quick overview of your responsibilities as an F or J visa holder, please note that you must inform the International Student Services office BEFORE you:
The ISS office must now report to SEVIS of a student's:
Regulations require all undergraduate students to enroll for 12 credit hours per semester, and graduate students must enroll for 6 credit hours per semester.
ISS must report to SEVIS each semester whether students are full-time or part-time. Those who do not maintain a full course of study will be considered out of legal status by USCIS and must depart the US immediately.
There are, however, six INS approved reasons for students taking less than full-time. They are:
1. initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods, or improper course level placement (allowed only during the first semester, and undergraduates must enroll for at least 6 credit hours);
2. last quarter of study;
3. concurrent enrollment (total combined enrollment at each institution must meet the full-time definitions as stated above);
4. temporary illness or medical condition for a period of time not to exceed an aggregate of 12 months while the student is pursuing a course of study at a particular program level. Documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist is required and must be provided for each new quarter that a student is ill.
Students must notify ISS within 10 days of an address change, which can be done at addresschange.html These address changes should also be reported to the Registrar's Office and, if you are working, to the Business Office as well.
Individuals in F-2 status are no longer able to study for a degree on either a part-time or full-time basis.
Students must obtain an extension of their I-20 PRIOR to the program end-date noted on their current I-20 by coming to ISS. Students who do not obtain a new I-20 prior to the program end-date violate their status.
Students who change their majors can also complete the addresschange.html form to let the ISS office know; we must notify USCIS within 21 days of this event.
F-1 students have a 60-day grace period following completion of study or completion of optional practical training to 1) depart the US, 2) transfer to another institution, or 3) change status.
However, students who terminate their studies before completion of their academic program do NOT receive a 60-day grace period. These students MUST notify ISS BEFORE terminating studies in order to receive a 21-day grace period to depart the US.
F-1 students who do not notify ISS before termination of studies receive no grace period and must leave the US immediately.
Never throw away any I-20 after receiving an updated form. USCIS may request to see these forms in the future.
F-1 students may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and more than 20 hours per week during breaks. F-1 students may not begin on-campus work more than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes. Other employment in the US requires recommendation or authorization by USCIS and/or ISS. Please visit these links for more information on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).
F-1 students may make a request for reinstatement through the ISS office. F-1 students must not have been out of status for more than five months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement and not have a record of repeated or willful violations.
Students and their dependents who fail to timely report a change of address (see above) are not eligible for reinstatement.
Scholars must obtain an extension of their DS-2019 PRIOR to the program end date noted on their current DS-2019 by coming to the ISS office. Scholars who do not obtain a new DS-2019 prior to the program end date violate their status.
After the end-date on Form DS-2019, a scholar has a 30-day grace period following completion of their program to 1) depart the US, 2) transfer to another institution, if eligible, or 3) change status, if eligible.
Scholars must notify ISS prior to leaving Ashland University for another institution. Scholars will not be able to receive a DS-2019 from the new institution unless the following steps are completed:
1. Notify Ashland University of your intent to transfer and provide the name of the new institution to which you intend to transfer, along with that programs Exchange Visitor Program number;
2. Ashland University will update your record in SEVIS as a transfer out and indicate the name of the institution to which you intend to transfer, along with a release date and exchange visitor program number. The release date is usually the date of expected transfer but before the expiration of the current DS-2019;
3. You may request that ISS cancel the transfer out at any time prior to the release date;
4. As of the release date, the new institution will have full access to your SEVIS record and assumes responsibility for you, at which time the new institution will issue you a SEVIS Form DS-2019;
5. Scholar must contact the international office at the new institution within 15 days of the start date listed on the DS-2019 to avoid violating their status; and
6. The new institution will verify the scholars participation in its program and update the scholars address with SEVIS within 30 days of the effective date of transfer, thereby acknowledging that the scholar has completed the transfer process.
Scholars may request ISS to submit an electronic request for reinstatement to DOS through SEVIS. ISS must submit the initial request along with the required supporting documentation justifying the reinstatement and the required, non-refundable fee (paid by scholar), to DOS within 30 calendar days after the SEVIS submission date. Under no circumstances is reinstatement possible after 270 days. If approved, DOS will enter the approval in SEVIS, and ISS will then print the new DS-2019 and notify the scholar.
Exchange visitors and their dependents who fail to timely report a change of address (see above) are not eligible for reinstatement.
J-1 students holding assistantships and associateships may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session.
With prior approval from ISS, J-1 students other than those holding assistantships and associateships may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and more than 20 hours per week during breaks. Ashland University will update the J-1 students SEVIS record to reflect the details of such employment. J-1 students may not begin on-campus work more than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes.
Only J-1 students who can demonstrate to ISS serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring J-1 status may request authorization for off-campus employment. ISS will update the J-1 students SEVIS record to reflect the details of such employment.
J-1 students remain eligible for academic training work authorization as before. However, ISS must electronically report the authorized period of academic training in SEVIS prior to the first date of employment.