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Address Standards

Last updated 30-Aug-2017


As of July 2015, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) uses a U.S. Postal Service (USPS)-certified software product called Address Doctor to ensure all U.S. addresses in the system are valid. With this page, school officials can:
  • Become familiar with SEVIS address standards. 
  • Apply standards when updating records for F/M students.
Note: It is not necessary for schools to purchase Address Doctor. It runs through SEVIS.

SEVIS Address Fields

The SEVIS Address entry window has six fields: Street Address, Suite/Apt, Other, City, State, and Zip; with only the Street Address and Zip fields being required. The fields are described in the following table:

U.S. Address Field Name Description
Street Address*

* Required field

  • SEVIS validates field text for a valid street name within the Zip Code area
  • Follows USPS street and secondary unit abbreviations
  • 64-character limit
  • Number field used for apartment numbers, suite numbers, etc., which follow the street address
  • 6-character limit
  • SEVIS does not validate Other field text
  • Allows university names, residence names, hotel names, room numbers, PO Box numbers, or any non-standard address designations
  • 64-character limit
Note: If the Street Address is accepted, the Other field text never rejects.
  • SEVIS validates field text for a valid city name
  • SEVIS validates field text for a valid U.S. state or possession name
  • Follows USPS states and possessions abbreviations
Note: The State field is a drop-down list selection.
* Required field
  • Zip code must be five digits
Note: SEVIS will automatically add the plus four zip routing number, where available.
  • If the zip code is incorrect, the address will be considered invalid, even if all the other address fields are correct.

Note: SEVIS will not validate Foreign Address fields.

SEVIS Address Entry

Users can add and edit a student’s U.S. addresses on these pages:
  • Initial Registration
  • Registration
  • Create New Student
  • Update Personal Information
  • Student Reinstatement
After a user enters an address in the Address window, SEVIS will use Address Doctor to check if the address is valid. If the address is valid, the address will display in the U.S. Address section of the Student Information page.
  • Choose the suggested address.
  • Return to edit the address.
  • Use the address as entered and provide a reason. (A valid city, state, and zip code are required.)
  • Cancel the entry.
The “Other” field can be used for school residences or other places with standard U.S. addresses. For example, for a school residence, enter the school name, residence hall, and room number in the "Other" field. (Example: Book University, Random Hall, Room 215.)

Adding SEVIS Address

This user guide uses SEVIS Registration as an example. To add a student’s U.S. address in SEVIS, follow the steps below:

Screen shot of Registration page with the Add Address hyperlink for U.S. addresses circled.

  1. Click Add Address under the U.S. Address section of the Registration page.

Screen shot of the Add Address window

  1. Enter the student’s address in the Add Address window. 
Note: Text may be upper or lower case. Numbers in a street address should always be entered numerically. For example: One Nassau Place should be entered 1 Nassau Place.
Note: Use the Other field to add campus residence information or other special location information.
  1. Click Submit
    a. If the address is recognized, the DSO will have the option to select the Suggested Address (default Address Doctor address format) or override the suggested address for the originally Entered Address.
  • Select: Accepts the SEVIS Suggested Address.
  • Over-ride Suggested Address: Allows the DSO to choose the originally entered address.
  • Edit Address: Changes the address.

Screen shot of the Add Address validation window

Once the address is chosen and the student record is updated, the address displays in the U.S. Address section of the Student Information page.

screen shot of an excerpt of the Student Information page showing how the address displays on the page

b. If the zip code or street address was not entered, an error message displays, “The zip code is required as part of the address.” The DSO must either Cancel the address or enter the Zip code and click Submit.

Screenshot of the  Add Address window with the Zip Code is required error message called out.

c. If the address is not accepted and SEVIS does not suggest an address, it is because the address could not be found. SEVIS displays an Edit Address window. Options include: 
  • Cancel: Allows the DSO to cancel this Edit Address attempt and return to the Registration page.
  • Submit: Allows the DSO to edit the correct City, State or Zip fields.
  • Over-ride Validation: Allows the DSO to maintain the entered address.
Note: The Over-ride Validation link will only be available for addresses with a valid City, State, and Zip code.
Screen shot of the Edit Address window with the error message for an address that could not be found
When choosing Over-ride Validation, the DSO must:
  • Select a reason from the Reason for using address as entered drop-down list:
    • New address, mailing
    • New address, physical location
    • On-campus business address
    • On-campus housing address
    • On-campus mailing address
    • Other 
  • If Other is selected, enter the reason for over-riding the address validation with between 5 and 200 characters.

Screenshot for the Edit Address window displaying the drop-down list of over-ride reasons

  1. Click Submit.
  2. Click Update Information at the bottom of the page to complete updating the nonimmigrant’s address. 
Addresses may be added or edited in one of the following SEVIS process pages:
  • Initial Registration
  • Registration
  • Create New Student
  • Update Personal Information
  • Student Reinstatement

Campus Addresses

Some campus addresses may not be recognized by Address Doctor. Many large schools have their own zip code. The zip code is associated with a specific street address or set of addresses. Typically, this is the main mailing address for the school, the president’s office, or the emergency address used in the 911 system. If one of those “official” street addresses is not entered, the address is not recognized. Campus addresses validate if entered in the following format:

Official street address
Residence hall name and number
City, State Zip code
2131 Frist Center
123 Scully Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
3700 O Street
Georgetown Univ., 123 Kennedy Hall, Box 550077
Washington, DC 20057
negative consequenceNote: Since the Other field does not validate, the school name, the residence hall address, and the mail box can be entered here.
negative consequenceTo find the U.S. Postal Service’s address for your school: 
  1. Go to the USPS web site.
  2. Click Quick Tools.
  3. Click Look Up a Zip Code. The Zip Code look up tool displays.
  4. Click the By Company tab.
  5. Enter:
  6. a. School name 
    b. Street address that you have
    c. City
    d. State
    6. Click Find.


Address Status and Type in Student Records

Once a U.S. address is entered in a student SEVIS record, it will appear on the Student Information screen. There are two additional fields that may classify the address: Address Status and Address Type.

Screenshot of an excerpt of the Student Information page displaying Address Status and Address Type

Address Status

The address status indicates whether the address was recognized immediately by SEVIS as an existing, valid address or if a DSO had to override Address Doctor to enter it. 

Address Status Explanation
  • Address Doctor verified the address upon initial entry


  • Campus business address
  • Campus housing address
  • Campus mailing address
  • New address, mailing
  • New address, physical location
  • Other (When selected, the DSO must enter an override explanation between 5 and 200 characters in length.)
  • DSO requested an override of SEVIS Address Doctor. This confirms that the address is valid based on the chosen reason.
Un-validated; no override
  • Address was entered during an outage of the SEVIS Address Doctor and must be validated later.

Address Type

The Address Type indicates the type of mail receiving facility or dwelling to which the address belongs.

Address Type Definition
B Mailbox at a building
F Mailbox at a company or firm
G General delivery address
H High-rise default address
L Mailbox at a large volume receiver
M Military address
P Post office box in the address
R Rural route mailbox
S Mailbox at a street address