SEVIS is an internet-based system that allows schools, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and other relevant government agencies to exchange data on the immigration status of international students. Accurate and current information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 or J-1 student's academic career in the United States. U.S. embassies and consulates also have access to SEVIS.
How does SEVIS work?
- After CSU admits an international student, a SEVIS I-20 is issued by the university and later sent to the new student.
- The student visits the U.S. consulate/embassy in his/her home country, and the consulate confirms through SEVIS that the I-20 the student is carrying is a valid document.
- A DHS officer at the airport reports to SEVIS the student's entry into the U.S.
- When the student arrives on campus, he/she reports to the Center for International Services and Programs, and the school confirms through SEVIS the student's enrollment. The University continues to provide regular electronic reports to DHS such events like practical training, extension of stay and off-campus employment and academic progress throughout the student's academic career.
- Finally, SEVIS records the student's departure from the United States.
What data does SEVIS Collect?
- Enrollment Status for Fall/Spring Semester
- Student's Completion Date
- School Transfers
- Employment Authorizations
- Reinstatement of Status
- Change of the Student or Dependent's Legal Name/Address
- Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to criminal conviction.
- Students who Drop Below a Full Course of Study without Prior Authorization from the DSO (Designated School Officials; AKA: International Student Advisers)
- Termination Date and Reason for Termination
- Any Student who Fails to Maintain Status or Complete his/her Program
- Other data generated by standard procedures such as program extensions, school transfers, changes in level of study, employment authorizations (including practical training), and reinstatement.
What is full-time enrollment?
"Full-time" enrollment is 12 credits per semester for undergraduates, and 8 credits for graduate and professional students. Only the DSO at the CISP has the authority to authorize a reduced credit load! This approval must be obtained prior to dropping below full time status.
What are the acceptable reasons for under-enrollment?
- Student's Last Semester: International students can drop below full-time enrollment during the last semester of their studies at CSU.
- Documented Medical Reason: Students who are seriously ill and who cannot pursue a full-time course load will be allowed to drop below full-time enrollment or no enrollment after CISP is provided with a letter from physician/doctor.
- Pregnancy: Female students who are expected to deliver during a semester will have the privilege to drop below full-time.
- Academic Difficulties: One semester only during a program of study. For example, unfamiliarity with American teaching methods or difficulty in English in the first semester.
- Thesis or Dissertation
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
What does "fail to maintain status" mean?
Failure to maintain status includes:
- Dropping Below Full-Time Enrollment without Prior Approval from the DSO.
- Failure to Apply for a Timely Transfer, I-20 Extension or Change in Level of Study
- Unauthorized Employment
- Failure to Report a Change of Address within 10 Days After Moving to a New Residence
What are the consequences if the student fails to maintain status?
The student's record is updated with SEVIS every semester. Students who fail to maintain status lose the privileges of their student status and may become subject to deportation. Specific consequences may include denial of re-entry to the U.S., inability to move from undergraduate to graduate status, denial of requests for Practical Training, denial of requests to change visa status, and possible denial of all future visa applications.
Can a student who is "out-of-status" regain legal status?
If a student failed to follow the regulations regarding his/her status, he would be reported to DHS, via SEVIS, and he or she is considered to be "out of status." The student may apply to DHS for reinstatement if the violation resulted from circumstances beyond his or her control. Reinstatement is intended to be a rare benefit for exceptional cases. The student may not apply for reinstatement if he or she is out of status longer than five months. If DHS does not reinstate the student, he or she may not appeal that decision.
How will CISP at CSU help students comply with the immigration laws?
The University is committed to assist students in ways that prevent status violations from ever occurring.
F-1 and J-1 students new to CSU must physically check in with the Center for International Services and Programs prior to registering for classes.
All F-1 and J-1 students who intend to register for less than a full course of study (other than Summer Term) will be required to complete the "Below Full-Time Enrolment Form." You can download the form in PDF format or in MS Word format from CISP website.
What happens if CSU fails to comply with the SEVIS regulations?
The DHS is required to audit the University's compliance with these new requirements every two years. Failure to comply with the federal regulations could result in the loss of the University's ability to accept international students.
What should students do to maintain "Good Status"?
- Enroll full time before the ending date of the registration period and maintain a full time load for the duration of your studies at CSU.
- Obtain prior permission by completing the form before dropping below a full-time load if you think your reduced course is justifiable and acceptable by DHS.
- Apply for Optional Practical Training at CISP before the end of your last semester comes if you are interested in doing practical training after graduation.
- Keep in touch with CISP if you changed your name, address or any other changes.
- Request to transfer if you are transferring to another institution while you are still enrolled at CSU using the "Transfer Out" form available online, in MS Word and PDF formats.
- Read any updates on the CISP web site. Information is posted as soon as we have reliable facts.
- Understand the immigration regulations and learn how to maintain lawful status in the U.S., and refer any questions or problems immediately to the professionals at CISP. The four words we hate to hear are: "But my friend said."
Feel free to come to the Office of International Students & Scholars for assistance. CSU is a better place because you are here, and we are committed to your success!