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I Received a Form I-515A, Now What?

March 30, 2015

You just returned to the United States from spring break and forgot to pack your passport. Or, perhaps you traveled to the United States for the first time to start at a U.S. school, but do not have your Form I 20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” with you or you have not paid your I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. If you arrive at a U.S. port of entry without all of your required documents, or with unsigned or missing information, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may deny your entry into the United States.

As an alternative, the CBP officer has discretion to issue you a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor.” This allows you temporary entry into the United States for 30 days so that you may provide the required documents.

It is very important that you address your Form I-515A in a timely manner. Not doing so will jeopardize your ability to remain in the United States.

If you receive a Form I-515A, you must follow the steps below to remedy the issue:

  1. Alert your designated school official (DSO) as soon as you arrive on campus.
  2. ​Make note of what documents, signatures or information is missing or incomplete. You will need to submit the correct paperwork to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Your DSO should help you submit all relevant information in one package to SEVP. The package must contain all necessary forms and documentation, including the following:
  3. Submit your paperwork before the “admit until” date on your Form I-94, as your nonimmigrant status ends on that date. If you fail to complete and send all necessary documents to SEVP by that date, you will need to depart the United States immediately.
  4. Finally, once you have the correct information, mail your documentation to:
Student and Exchange Visitor Program
ATTN: SEVIS/I-515A Processing Team
500 12th Street SW STOP 5600
Washington, DC 20536-5600

If your submission is correct, SEVP will return your documents to your DSO, along with a letter of approval and extend your departure date.

To avoid receiving a Form I-515A, remember the required documents you must have with you upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry. Read the Getting to the United States page for more information on how to prepare to arrive in the United States.

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