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Important Message: ICE Sensitive Locations Policy

ICE Sensitive Locations Policy

March 15, 2017

General Information

As a reminder to our stakeholders, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a policy in place that advises against enforcement actions at schools or churches. With that said, Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) personnel often visit SEVP-certified schools or those seeking SEVP certification. Many of these visits are required in order to maintain a school’s SEVP certification.

ICE statement on sensitive locations

The ICE Sensitive Locations Policy, which remains in effect, states that enforcement actions at sensitive locations should generally be avoided, and requires either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is committed to ensuring that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so without fear or hesitation. Please visit the ICE Sensitive Locations tab on to learn more about the ICE Sensitive Location Policy.

In order for schools to enroll nonimmigrant international F and M students, which many educational institutions do, federal law requires that the schools must be certified by SEVP. Federal law also requires SEVP to continuously monitor schools and nonimmigrant F and M students by collecting data and conducting site visits. Schools that fail to comply with these requirements may be deemed ineligible to enroll foreign students or their existing certification to enroll nonimmigrant F or M visa students may be withdrawn.

When will ICE visit your school?

SEVP field representatives visit schools as part of their daily duties. They enhance national security by serving as direct day-to-day liaisons between SEVP and schools certified by SEVP to enroll F and/or M nonimmigrant students. They may also conduct site visits when a school is applying for SEVP certification or recertification. Field representative visits are planned in conjunction with school officials. Field representatives do not engage with the nonimmigrant student population. Please visit Study in the States for more information about SEVP field representatives.

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations special agents or personnel from SEVP’s compliance section may make unannounced site visits to schools to ensure the school is complying with federal laws and regulations governing F and M nonimmigrant students. If a school wants to continue its SEVP certification, it cannot decline these visits.

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