Student & Exchange Visitor Program

This program is the nonimmigrant student and exchange visitor process for F, M and J visa categories. The purpose of this program is to:

  • Maintain accurate files on international students, scholars and exchange visitors.
  • Provide faster forms processing.
  • Provide improved efficiency in adjudications.

SEVIS is a web application that allows users to maintain accurate and current information on:

  • Exchange visitors (J visa).
  • Nonimmigrant students (F and M visa).
  • Their dependents (F-, M-, and J-2).

The use of SEVIS for the issuance of I-20 and DS-2019 forms is mandatory.

SEVIS History

The Student & Exchange Visitor Information System program converted a manual procedure into an automated process.

It has been a collaboration between educational institutions and their representative organizations in conjunction with:

Schools with international programs were already collecting student and exchange visitor data to comply with existing U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement regulations 8 CFR 214.3(g) and U.S. Department of State regulations 22 CFR 62.

SEVIS has system releases currently in development that will offer increased functionality for the user and include interfaces with USICE Ports of Entry and the Department of State.

For additional information, visit the USICS Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act

Section 641 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 mandated the establishment of electronic reporting of F, M, and J visa data.

The original pilot program was referred to as the Coordinated Interagency Partnership Regulating International Students, which tested the concepts associated with new data collection and reporting methods.

Information obtained from this pilot system was incorporated into the national system development effort that resulted in SEVIS.

Enhanced Security & Visa Entry Reform Act

Presidential approval of the Enhanced Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-173) established SEVIS regulations to improve accountability and to implement reasonable and clear standards governing the maintenance, extension and reinstatement of nonimmigrant student status.

Immigration & Nationality Act

Federal Register (Public Notice 4368) Documentation of Nonimmigrants (PDF), published in May 2003, covered rules governing data collection and implementation.

The ruling addressed general SEVIS retention and reporting, and specifically F and M visa processing, guidelines.

USA Patriot Act

The USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56), Section 416, established a January 1, 2003 date as the final deadline for system availability on a national scale.

Both rulings establish January 30, 2003 as the date on which use of SEVIS for the issuance of all future I-20 and DS-2019 forms is mandatory.