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F and M Students and Designated School Officials: What to do in an Emergency Situation

October 4, 2013
Making a list to prepare for emergencies.

Being prepared for an emergency, such as a natural disaster, is important. Review the steps you should take in case of an emergency.

F and M Students

If you need to evacuate your school, there are certain items you must remember to bring with you. Keep the following documents in a safe, easy to access place:

1. Important documents/forms

  • Passport (and visa, if applicable)
  • Form I-20, “Certificate on Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status”
  • Social Security card (if you have one)
  • Financial records
  • Plane tickets, if applicable
  • Form I-766, “Employment Authorization Document,” if applicable
  • Checks, credit cards and some cash

2. Your designated school official’s (DSO's) contact information

  • Be sure you know how to contact your DSO to report your location and health status, to receive further instructions and to ask questions.

3. Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) contact information

  • If you cannot contact your DSO, the SEVP Response Center can answer your questions. Just make sure to let the representative know your contact information and location. You can e-mail SEVP at, or call 703-603-3400.


Before you evacuate, be sure to provide your e-mail address and phone number to your students and to SEVP. Students will need to contact you to report their physical location and health status and to receive further instructions. SEVP may need to contact you in case any issues arise with your F and/or M students during an evacuation.

If you cannot provide such contact information, refer your students to Study in the States for further information. Also, tell them they can e-mail the SEVP Response Center at or call 703-603-3400 for further guidance.

Government Guidance on Emergency Preparedness

Find more information on how to be prepared on, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public service advertising campaign. also provides more specific information on how to prepare for natural disasters, including hurricanes or tropical storms, earthquakes and tornadoes.

Exchange Visitors

If you are a J-1 exchange visitor, directly contact an official with your program. The above guidance may not be suitable for you. An official with your program will assist you.

More Information

Read the following posts for more information about being prepared.

Additional Resources: 

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