1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. F and M Students and Designated School Officials: What to do in an Emergency Situation

Please note, this content may be outdated. Visit Study in the States' Students, Schools and Blog pages for more timely information on this topic.

Making a list to prepare for emergencies.

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

August 29, 2012

Being prepared for an emergency, such as a natural disaster, is important. The start of a new school year is an excellent time to 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) 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.

If you need to transfer to another school because of an emergency, check the school search page or call us to make sure your new school is SEVP-certified. Even if there is an emergency, it is still important to maintain your status.


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.

Was This Helpful?
Please provide feedback on this page.