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SEVP Guidance for Comment

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) periodically requests comments from the public on draft and interim final guidance. Guidance is SEVP’s interpretation of federal laws and regulations that guide SEVP adjudicators in their decision-making.

Guidance is not the same as governing regulations. Governing regulations are developed and instituted by each cabinet-level agency in the Federal Government. To read SEVP’s governing regulations, see the following pages:

Types of Guidance

Draft Guidance: SEVP guidance in development, not being used by SEVP adjudicators and open for public comment.   Interim Final Guidance: Official SEVP policy that SEVP adjudicators are using but seeking public comment.  Final Guidance: Official SEVP policy.

Draft or interim final guidance can be downloaded from the tables below during public comment periods, which last 45 calendar days. Draft or interim final guidance may be posted for additional rounds of public feedback. Revision times for each guidance document will vary based on the complexity of the issue.

During designated feedback periods, you can comment on draft guidance and interim final guidance by e-mailing SEVPFeedback@ice.dhs.gov with the title of the guidance in the subject line. SEVP will review and consider all comments when refining its guidance, but will not respond to specific individual comments submitted.

Note: If you have any SEVP policy questions that are not related to guidance documents, please contact SEVP’s Response Center at 703-603-3400 or SEVP@ice.dhs.gov.

Draft Guidance

SEVP develops draft guidance that are interpretations of SEVP governing regulations. Draft guidance clarifies or revises SEVP’s policies on various topics affecting the adjudication process. Draft guidance does not establish standards or requirements and is not official policy. It is intended to ensure public understanding of how SEVP adjudicators apply decisions.

The table below identifies current SEVP draft guidance documents under development. Please refer to the “Comment Period” column to see which draft guidance documents are available for public comment and the number of responses received on those that are closed. When the feedback period ends, SEVP will review all comments received.

 

Title Description Comment Period
Pathway Programs 

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is seeking public comment on a draft policy guidance on pathway programs. SEVP is accepting feedback for 45 days until Nov. 10, 2014. To comment on the guidance, e-mail SEVPFeedback@ice.dhs.gov with the title of the guidance in the subject line. The draft guidance and instructions for submitting feedback are available at Study in the States

Open for comments until Nov. 10, 2014

Download Draft Policy Guidance: Pathway Programs

Download supporting fact sheets: Draft Bridge Programs Fact Sheet, Draft Bridged Degree Programs Fact Sheet

English Proficiency This guidance, the second in a series of related guidance documents on pathways and bridge programs, addresses SEVP and Form I-20 regulations.   

Closed.

24 comments received. 

This guidance is in review by SEVP. 

 

Conditional Admission

 

This guidance addresses the practice where a school issues a Form I-20, "Certificate of Elegibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status," to a student who does not meet all admissions standards. 

Closed.

41 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Timely Filing This guidance explains changes in the amount of time school officials have to respond to notices from SEVP, due to the move from paper-based to electronic administrative processes.

Closed.
4 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Temporary Absence This guidance interprets regulations 8 CFR 214.2(f)(4) and 8 CFR 214.2(m)(4), explaining the process for F-1 and M-1 students leaving the United States for a temporary absence and returning afterward.

Closed.
90 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Annual Vacation This guidance interprets 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(iii) for F-1 students to define annual vacation and clarify when it can be taken and under what conditions. Closed.
115 comments received.

 

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Bridge Programs and Conditional Admission This guidance addresses bridge programs—programs designed to “bridge” the gap between a student’s proficiency gaps and qualification for a full degree program. It also addresses the practice of "conditional admission," where a school issues the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” to a student for admission to a program without the student having met all admission standards.

Closed.
91 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Contractual Relationships This guidance addresses contractual relationships between schools. It specifies how school governance affects these contractual relationships, and which schools should issue the Form I-20, in these relationships.

Closed
9 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Governance This guidance addresses what constitutes shared governance for purposes of schools sharing one Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.” Closed
11 comments received.

 

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

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Interim Final Guidance

SEVP develops interim final guidance that clarifies or revises SEVP policy. Unlike draft guidance, interim final guidance is official SEVP policy that establishes standards or requirements and is used by SEVP adjudicators when it is posted. SEVP will typically issue interim final guidance on issues that require immediate clarification, revision, or are uncontroversial to seek public comment to help inform the final guidance.

The table below identifies current SEVP interim final guidance documents. Please refer to the “Comment Period” column to see which interim final guidance documents are currently available for public comment and the number of responses received on those that are closed. When the feedback period ends, SEVP will review all comments received.

Title Description Comment Period
Academic Year This guidance, issued as interim final, gives the definition of an academic year used by SEVP as it applies to the various types of school sessions.

Open for comments until Nov. 24, 2014. 

Download Interim Final Guidance: Academic Year

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Final Guidance

Final guidance is official SEVP policy that establishes standards or requirements and is used in SEVP adjudications. Final guidance is not open for public comment. It is intended to clarify law or regulation related to SEVP adjudications and does not replace or supersede those laws or regulations.

SEVP has issued final guidance on the following issues:

Title Description
Flight Training Providers This policy addresses requirements for flight schools to receive SEVP certification. Specifically, SEVP requires that flight schools have Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 141 or Part 142 certification.

 

You can read the final guidance on the SEVP website.

Accreditation of English Training Programs Act (Accreditation Act) This guidance provides SEVP policy, process, and timeline for enforcing the Accreditation Act.

 

The Accreditation Act requires all English language training programs of study (commonly referred to as ESL programs) to have applied for accreditation before December 15, 2011. This accreditation must be granted by a regional or national accrediting agency that the Department of Education currently recognizes.

You can read the final guidance on the SEVP website.

Reporting Instructional Sites This policy addresses the types of instructional sites school officials need to report on the Form I-17.

 

You can read the final guidance on the SEVP website.

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