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The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-based system that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information on F and M students in the United States and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools that enroll them. SEVIS also maintains information on Department of State designated exchange visitor program sponsors and J-1 visa exchange visitor program participants. SEVIS is a critical tool in our mission to protect national security while supporting the legal entry of the more than one million F, M and J nonimmigrants to the United States for education and cultural exchange.

For F and M nonimmigrants, SEVIS is used to:

  • Petition SEVP for certification that allows the school to offer programs of study to nonimmigrant students
  • Update school information and apply for recertification of the school for continued ability to issue Certificates of Eligibility (Forms I–20) to nonimmigrant students and their dependents
  • Issue Forms I–20 to specific individuals used by nonimmigrants to obtain F or M status while enrolled at the school
  • Fulfill the school’s legal reporting responsibility regarding the student’s address, course of study, enrollment, employment, and compliance with the terms of the student status
  • Transfer the student SEVIS record to another institution

For J nonimmigrants, SEVIS is used to:

  • Petition the Department of State for designation that allows the sponsor to offer educational and cultural exchange programs to exchange visitors
  • Update sponsor information and apply for redesignation every two years
  • Issue Forms DS–2019 to specific individuals to obtain J status
  • Fulfill the sponsor’s legal reporting responsibility regarding the exchange visitors address, site of activity, program participation, employment, and compliance with the terms of the J status
  • Transfer the exchange visitor’s SEVIS record to another institution

SEVIS Enhancements

SEVP is improving SEVIS to make it a more effective and efficient system for users. In the coming months, users can look forward to the following SEVIS enhancements:.

  • Improved system performance and peak time responsiveness for school and program users
  • Standardized information requirements for enhanced searching, reporting, and data matching, allowing schools and programs to generate reports from SEVIS on their F, M and J nonimmigrants and print the information as a PDF or export it to an Excel file
  • Address validation that will provide consistency and accuracy and ensure U.S. addresses are complete and real
  • Improved ways to identify and correct incorrect data in SEVIS and eliminate duplicate records

SEVIS Release 6.18

Implementation Date: 10/31/2014

SEVIS Release 6.18 contains enhancements that implement an annual verification of school and sponsor officials who access SEVIS. The Federal Information System Management Act requires the annual review and verification that all users who access federal systems have both the business need and the authorization to access the system. To comply with FISMA, Primary Designated School Officials and Responsible Officers must annually verify that every PDSO, Designated School Official, Responsible officer and Alternate Responsible Officer is still employed by the institution and requires access to SEVIS.

SEVIS Verification of PDSOs, DSOs, ROs, and AROS
Frequency of Verification Annually
Length of Verification Period 90 days
Verification Period December 2 to March 2
First Verification Window December 2, 2014 to March 2, 2015
Failure to verify school/sponsor officials by March 2 will result in the following:
  • DSOs at unverified schools or sponsors will lose access to SEVIS.
  • Unverified schools and sponsors will be unable to use batch processing
  • Unverified schools will be considered out of compliance with recordkeeping and reporting regulations.
Direct any questions regarding SEVIS release 6.18 to
Release Resources

SEVIS Release 6.17

Implementation Date: 8/1/2014

SEVIS Release 6.17 contains enhancements that address several concerns from a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Audit surrounding Optional Practical Training (OPT). This release also lays the groundwork for several major initiatives, including the Name standardization. Release 6.17’s system enhancements include:

  • OPT will show three distinct sets of dates in SEVIS, including:
    • Principal designated school official (PDSO) and designated school official (DSO) Recommended Start and End Dates,
    • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services-approved Start and End Dates, and
    • Actual Start and End Dates for OPT.
  • OPT status indicator will indicate if a student is actively engaged in OPT.
  • SEVIS Name Standardization Impact Report will allow school officials to see how the name standards will be implemented and provide feedback on concerns.
  • Search Result Enhancements will display more information in easy to read columns.
  • Exchange Visitor Validation Alerts will be streamlined.
  • Multiple Addresses for Exchange Visitors can include both physical and mailing addresses for J Exchange Visitors.
  • Enhance Password Security rules.

Direct any questions regarding SEVIS release 6.17 to

Archived Resources:

To view previous SEVIS enhancements, please see the SEVIS Archive page.

Release Resources:

Address Validation, Email and Name Standards Resources

Updating School Accreditation

More Resources


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