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Registration

Last updated 13-Mar-2018

General Information

In this document:

  • School session refers to school terms, semesters and/or school sessions.
  • Designated school official (DSO) refers to both principal designated school official (PDSO) and DSO, unless otherwise noted.

DSOs must determine if every active F-1 and M-1 student is still pursuing an academic or vocational program is eligible for registration. SEVIS registration must be completed on all appropriate SEVIS records within 30 days of the start of each session.

Relevant Federal Regulations

Before taking action on a student’s record, DSOs must understand the federal regulatory, full course of study requirements for their type of school.

Registration Terminology

Terminology Description
Program Start Date (PSD) The date by which the student is expected to report to the school.
Note: May be up to 30 days before the Initial Session Start Date.
Program End Date (PED) The date the student should complete the program.
Initial Session Start Date (ISSD) The date the student’s first session will begin.
Current Session Start Date (CSSD) The date the current session begins/began.
  • For Initial records the CSSD reflects the ISSD.
  • For Active records the CSSD reflects whatever was in the field after the previous registration event.
Current Session End Date (CSED) The date the student’s current session ends.
Next Session Start Date (NSSD) The date the student’s next session will begin.
Initial Registration Applies to a student who has either just:
  • Arrived in the United States to attend school for the first time.
  • Arrived in the United States with a newly created Form I-20 issued for Initial Attendance after a SEVIS record termination or break in status.
  • Been approved for a change of status to F or M status.

Registration indicates the student has checked in with the DSO and is enrolled in a full course of studies or has been authorized for a Reduced Course Load (RCL). Noted changes are:

  • Student’s SEVIS record status changes from Initial to Active. 
  • Form Issue Reason field changes from Initial Attendance to Continued Attendance.
Transfer In Completion Registration Applies to a student who has transferred from a previous school to a new school; including students who have graduated from one school and will continue studies at another. The DSO completes the transfer during the registration process. Noted changes are:
  • Student’s SEVIS record status changes from Initial to Active. 
  • Form I-20 Issue Reason changes from Transfer to Continued Attendance.

Note: While U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) process M-1 transfers, M-1 students may enroll in the new school and DSOs must register those M-1 student records in SEVIS.

Code of Federal Regulations: 8 CFR 214.2(m)(11)(ii)(B)

Change of Academic Level Applies to a student who remains at the school, but begins a new course of study. For example, the student switches from a bachelor’s to a master’s degree or if a student begins a second master’s after completing a first. Noted changes are:
  • Student’s SEVIS record status changes from Initial to Active. 
  • Form I-20 Issue Reason changes from Initial to Continued Attendance.
Active Student Registration and Resuming a Full Course Load Applies to a student who has been enrolled for at least one session and already has an active SEVIS record. This indicates the student is enrolled per regulations. 
Note: The Form I-20 Issue Reason does not change.

Key SEVIS Registration Dates

Date Action
30 days before Program Start Date Earliest date that students in Initial status may enter the United States.
Code of Federal Regulations: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(i)
Within 15 days of the Program Start Date Students transferring into the school must report to the DSO within 15 days of the Program Start Date.
Code of Federal Regulations: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(8)(ii)(C)
Program Start Date in SEVIS Deadline for all students in Initial status to report to the DSO. This includes:
  • First-time Initial status students with port of entry (POE) records to the United States.
  • Students transferring in to the institution.

30 Days after Initial Session Start Date (Initial Student Records)

  • DSO regulatory deadline to register all fully-enrolled:
    • Initial status students with POE records.
    • Transfer-in students.
    • Change of level students.
  • DSO regulatory deadline to register all Initial status students authorized for a Reduced Course Load.
  • DSO regulatory deadline to terminate unenrolled Initial status records with POE records – No Show.
  • DSO regulatory deadline to cancel or defer all Initial status records without POE records.

Code of Federal Regulations: 8 CFR 214.3(g)(2)(iii)

30 Days after Next Session Start Date (Active Student Records)
  • DSO regulatory deadline to register all active students, who are either:
    • Enrolled in a full course of study.
    • Authorized for a Reduced Course Load.
  • DSO regulatory deadline to terminate records for active students who failed to enroll.
  • DSO regulatory deadline to complete records for all students who have completed their program and will not seek a new degree or Optional Practical Training. 

Note: Code of Federal Regulations 8 CFR 214.3(g)(2)(iii) concerns the approval of schools for enrollment of F and M nonimmigrants.

60 Days after Program Start Date
  • SEVIS terminates record for No Show:
    • All Initial status records for students with POE records.
    • All transfer-in records for students who have not reported to the DSO.
  • SEVIS cancels all initial students without POE records.
90 Days after Next Session Start Date
  • SEVIS terminates for Failure to Enroll all active students who have not been registered by the DSO in SEVIS.

 In spite of the SEVIS auto-termination grace periods, DSOs are expected to comply with the federal regulatory timelines for reporting initial and active students.

Pre-Requisites for Registration

SEVIS will not allow registration for initial and continuing students whose records are missing certain information.

Initial Registration

SEVIS will not allow registration for students in Initial status if the record lacks:

  • I-901 SEVIS Fee (unless they remain on a SEVIS record that was created before September 1, 2004).
  • U.S. Physical Address.

Continuing Registration

To be eligible for continuing registration, the student record must have:

  • I-901 SEVIS Fee payment. (This is not required for students who remain on a SEVIS record that was created before September 1, 2004.)
  • U.S. Physical Address.
  • Properly formatted e-mail address. (This is not required for F-1 students in K-12 or for M-1 students under the age of 14.)
  • U.S. or foreign telephone number, or a confirmation that the student does not have a telephone. (This is not required for F-1 students in K-12 or for M-1 students under the age of 14.)

Registration Flags

I-901 SEVIS Fee

Students who have not paid the I-901 SEVIS Fee will have a red I-901 Fee Due flag on their Student Information page. Once the fee is paid, the flag will change to a green I-901 Fee Paid flag.


SEVIS displays an error message if a DSO tries to register a record with an I-901 flag.

Personal / Contact Information

Continuing students without a valid U.S. address, email address, or confirmed telephone information will have corresponding red flags on their Student Information pages.

SEVIS will not allow the DSO to submit registration until the DSO enters the missing information. U.S. address, telephone and email information can be entered as part of the regular registration process or as an update to personal information. If the I-901 payment is missing, the student must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.

Once the missing information is entered, the DSO can submit registration using either the regular process described in this document or via mass registration.

Finding Students Not Eligible for Registration

The term “not eligible” for registration in this context means simply that the student’s record does not have all the information needed to complete the registration process.

To find students who are not eligible for registration, check the following lists and alerts:

  • Initial Status Students List
  • Active Status Students List
  • Active Students Requiring Registration Alert List

The final column in each of these lists indicates whether the student is eligible for registration or still requires more information. A green check mark indicates registration eligibility. A red X indicates ineligibility. SEVIS displays the ineligibility reason when a DSO rolls his/her mouse over the red X.

After exporting these lists into Microsoft Excel format, the ineligibility reason appears in the final column of each record.

Confirm Session and Break Lengths

When international students are in the United States, their primary responsibility is to attend school. Regular student registration in SEVIS is necessary to track international student regulatory compliance. Therefore, DSOs will have to confirm session dates to particularly long school sessions or breaks.

The ability to confirm SEVIS registration for long sessions and breaks does not mean that it is something DSOs should do regularly.

 SEVIS registration is the tool DSOs use to report full-time enrollment for their F-1 and M-1 students. It is best practice to conduct SEVIS registration at least two times during the school year. If there are not two distinct school sessions that are defined by a school registration or classes beginning and ending, then use the beginning of a common school break to mark the end of one session and the return from that break to mark the start of a new session.

Confirm Session Length

If during student SEVIS registration, DSOs request a session that lasts longer than 183 days, yellow in-line date error messaging and a confirmation check box will appear. The DSOs must either click the box to confirm the entered session dates are correct, or correct the session dates.

Confirm Break Length

If during student SEVIS registration, DSOs request a school break that lasts longer than 152 days, yellow in-line date error messaging and a confirmation check box will appear. The DSOs must either click the box to confirm the entered session dates are correct, or correct the session dates.

Initial Student Registration

Below is a timeline explaining a breakdown of Initial Registration events. 

To register an initial student in SEVIS:
1.    Navigate to the Student Information page.

Students who have not paid their I-901 SEVIS Fee will not be eligible for registration. Notice the I-901 Fee flags on the Student Information page:

  • Green I-901 Fee Paid flag, as shown below, informs the DSO that the student has paid the required I-901 SEVIS Fee.
  • Red I-901 Fee Due flag warns of non-payment of I-901 SEVIS Fee.

  2. Click Registration. The Registration page opens. 

  3. Enter the registration information:

Fields Relevant Information
Current Session Start Date (CSSD) * Date the school’s current session begins:
  • Allows a date in the past, as long as it is not before the Program Start Date. 
  • Allows a date on or after today’s date, as long as it is not after the Current Session End Date. 
  • Must be in MM/DD/YYYY format. 
  • This is a required field.
Current Session End Date (CSED) *     Date the student’s current session ends:
  • Allows a date in the past, as long as it is not before the Current Session Start Date.
  • Allows a date on or after today’s date, as long as it is not after the Program End Date.
  • If the CSED is more than 183 days from the Current Session Start Date, SEVIS will request DSO-confirmation that the dates are correct. 
  • This is a required field.

 

Next Session Start Date (NSSD) * Date the student’s next session begins:
  • Allows a date on or after today’s date, as long as it is not after the Program End Date.
  • Must by in MM/DD/YYY format.

Note: 

  • If this is the student’s last session, leave this field blank and click the Student is in the last session of his/her program check box.
  • SEVIS uses this date to determine which records appear on various registration alert lists.
  • When entering the NSSD, for data consistency the DSO should be mindful of the session start dates, which the school reported on the Form I-17. The DSO may need to update the Form I-17, if all session dates are not listed.
  • Remember to account for session breaks and annual vacations.
  • If the NSSD is more than 152 days from the CSED, SEVIS will request DSO-confirmation that the dates are correct. 
  • This is a required field.
The student is in the last session of his/her program Click this check box if this is the student’s last session.
Study/Research Abroad Click this check box if the student will be engaged in study and/or research abroad.
Thesis/Dissertation Click this box if the student will be engaged in research or writing for a thesis or dissertation.

Foreign Address*

  • Student’s foreign address. 
  • All nonimmigrant students must have a foreign address, even if they are currently in the United States.
  • This is a required field.

U.S. Address*

Note: If the student is a commuter student whose country of citizenship is Mexico or Canada, click in the Commuter Student check box. A U.S. address is not required for border commuter students.

Remarks
  • Any useful remarks about the student’s situation. This field has a 1,000-character limit.
  • These remarks display on the Student Information page and page 1 of the Form I-20.
  • This is a required field.

Note for transfer students: DSOs should indicate that the transfer was completed and provide the date it was completed. Example: “Transfer completed 08/20/2015.”

There are two auto-filled fields:

  • Length of Session: Calculated from the Current Session Start Date and Current Session End Date. (Requires DSO confirmation if current session is more than 183 days.)
  • Length of the break: Calculated from the Current Session End Date and the Next Session Start Date. (Requires DSO confirmation if length of break is more than 152 days.)

  4. Enter required U.S. Address information through the modal.

  5. Click Submit. Review the information. 

  6. Click one of the following:

  • Cancel: Cancels the action and returns the user to the Student Information page.
  • Update Information: Submits the registration. A message indicates the update was successful.

  • Print I-20: Prints the Form I-20. The Form I-20 Issue Reason changes from Initial to Continued Attendance.

The Form I-20 Issue Reason for M-1 transferring students remains “Transfer” until USCIS approves the Transfer.

DSOs are not required to print the Form I-20. If you choose to print the form, remember to sign it before giving the form to the student. The student should also sign the Form I-20.

  • Return to View Record: Returns the user to Student Information page. The newly added information is now listed. 

Active Student Registration

Below is a timeline explaining a breakdown of Active Student Registration events.

DSOs report active student registration the same way they report initial registration. The following information is required upon continuing registration:

  • U.S. Physical Address.
  • Email address. (This is not required for F-1 students in K-12 or M-1 students under the age of 14.)
  • U.S. or foreign telephone number, or confirmation that the student does not have a telephone. (This is not required for F-1 students in K-12 or M-1 students under the age of 14.)

Records missing the above information will have a flag at the top of the Student Information page.

 

DSOs can register active students (continuing registration), with E-mail address and/or Telephone number flags by entering the email address and telephone number:

  • Into the Personal/Contact information and then registering the record.
  • Directly into the Registration: Active Student page at the point of registration. (See below.) 

To register an active student in SEVIS:
  1. Navigate to the Student Information page.
  2.    Click Registration. The Registration: Active Student page opens.

When registering an active student, the Current Session Start Date will be whatever the DSO entered in previous registration action.

  7. Enter the required registration information:

  • Current Session Start Date – Date the student’s current session begins.
  • Current Session End Date – Date the student’s current session ends.
  • Next Session Start Date – Date the students next academic session begins.
  • Telephone information, if necessary; and the field is not already completed.
  • Email information, if necessary; and the field is not already completed.

  8. Enter any other information that may have changed.
  9. Click Update Information. The Update Successful message displays.
  10. Click Return to view record, or Print I-20.

Mass Registration

It is possible to register groups of students simultaneously. For information on Mass Registration, see the SEVIS Help Hub on Study in the States.

Between School Sessions

If the break between school sessions is more than 152 days, SEVIS will request DSO-confirmation that the dates are correct.

Annual Breaks

Schools have different annual breaks. These periods generally occur during school sessions, like Thanksgiving in the fall or spring breaks. These breaks can be included in school sessions without creating another registration event around them. F-1 and M-1 students are in legal status during annual breaks.

Here is an example of fall registration that includes a winter break:

Annual Vacations

Annual vacations vary between schools. F-1 students are in legal status during annual vacations, once they have been enrolled for a full academic year. In addition to being eligible for annual vacation, the F-1 students must plan to register for the next session.

M-1 students do not have annual vacation periods. They must stay fully enrolled, except for any periods between back-to-back sessions.

Annual vacations can also be included in registration dates. Here is an example of an F-1 summer vacation that is calculated into spring registration:

Manage Registration

Student Alerts

SEVIS generates alert lists for schools with student records that need attention. Several of these alerts are related to the registration process.

DSOs are strongly encouraged to check the alert lists on a regular basis.

Alert Name Description Possible Actions to Be Taken
Active Students Requiring Registration
  • Continuing students whose records are in Active status.
  • Next Session Start Date is in the past.
  • Today’s date is prior to the student’s Program End Date.
  • Transfer students wishing to transfer to another SEVIS school.
  • Register students enrolled in a full course of study and those authorized for a Reduced Course Load.
  • Terminate or complete the remaining SEVIS records for students who are not enrolled.
Students in Initial Status with Port of Entry Records

Students in Initial status who have U.S. port of entry records and are attending your school. 

  • Transfer students wishing to transfer to another SEVIS school.
  • Register students enrolled in a full course of study and those authorized for a Reduced Course Load.
  • Terminate the Initial status records for No Show.
Students Past Program Start Date Awaiting Change of Status

Students whose change of status to F-1 or M-1 is pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Note: DSOs must know which nonimmigrants are allowed to study while waiting change of status to F-1 or M-1

Defer the Program Start Date to the next available session.

Note: DSOs should not register students in SEVIS until their change of status to F-1 or M-1 has been approved. However, SEVIS will auto-cancel records in Initial status within 60 days after the Program Start Date. Therefore, these pending change of status records should be deferred until the next available session.

Transfer-In Students Not Registered By Program Start Date

Students who have transferred to your school and whose records have been changed from Draft to Initial status.

  • Transfer students wishing to transfer to another SEVIS school
  • Register students enrolled in a full course of study and those authorized for a Reduced Course Load.
  • Terminate remaining Initial status records for Transfer Student No Show.

Students Lists

Each school has several lists that categorize their F-1 and M-1 students. The following lists are related to the registration process. The lists give an idea of how many students may need attention at the next registration process.

DSOs are strongly encouraged to check the student lists on a regular basis.

List Name Description/Explanation
Initial Status Students
  • Students in Initial status.
  • Students who have not registered for the current session.
Active Status Students Students who are registered and are in status.
Students With a Pending Change of Status Request Students with a pending change of status to F-1 or M-1.
Students With a Requested or Pending Extension Request
  • M-1 students with a Requested or Pending extension request. 
  • These students are registered and in status.
Students Authorized to Drop Below Full Course
  • Students on a reduced course of study.
  • These students are registered and in status.
Students Transferring In

Students in the process of transferring into your school.

Note: This list may contain both completed Forms I-20 and Forms I-20 still in Draft status.

Students Requesting Reinstatement

Students waiting for reinstatement adjudication.

Defer Initial Students and Students with Pending Change of Status Applications

DSOs may need to defer a student’s Program Start Date to a later date, in order to avoid SEVIS auto-cancellation for certain records in Initial Status. The Manage Initial Program and Session Dates topic on the SEVIS Help Hub describes how to do this. For example:

  • Student is not able to arrive in time to begin the program as scheduled.
  • USCIS has not approved the student’s change of status to F or M status in time to begin the session. 
  • Deferring the Program Start Date allows the student to continue to use the same SEVIS ID and I-901 SEVIS Fee payment.

DSOs cannot defer the program for transfer-in students. This requires a request to Change to Program Dates.

Cancelling Initial Students

  • DSOs should cancel a student’s SEVIS record if:
    • Student will not attend the school.
    • Student has not entered the United States.
  • Cancelling a student’s SEVIS record prevents the student from using that particular Form I-20 to enter the country at a later time.

Reduced Course Load

Before registering students who are not taking a full course load, determine whether those students are eligible for a Reduced Course Load. DSOs must know the school’s full course load policy, as it relates to federal regulations. If a student needs a Reduced Course Load, the DSO should process an Authorization to Drop Below Full Course for the student’s record at the point of registration.

Full-time Enrollment 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)-(ii)

Full-time Enrollment 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9)(i)-(v)

View Current and Past Registration Actions

When DSOs need to see any previous registration actions, they can view the action in the student’s Event History. The DSO uses the following, sortable Event History columns to get details about a specific registration event:

Column Description
Event Name Registration, either Initial or Active.
Event Date Date and time the action (registration) was conducted.
Resulting Status Student’s record status after the action was taken.
Performed By School official who took the action (registration).

To open the correct registration action, click the green plus sign to open the field. SEVIS displays the old (previous) value and the new (current) value for the following fields:

  • Current Session End Date.
  • Next Session Start Date.
  • Last Session – Indicates if the student is/was in the last session of the program.
  • Thesis/Dissertation – Indicates if the student is/was working on a thesis or dissertation.
  • Study/Research Abroad – Indicates if the student is/was studying or conducting research outside of the United States.
  • Length of Next Break/Vacation.

Correcting Registration

DSOs can correct or update registration session dates by entering another registration. 
However, if a DSO finds a student record that is in the wrong status, there are several ways to correct this data in a student record. 

  • If an initial student record was registered or canceled within the last 15 days, PDSO Correction Requests allow the PDSO to return the record to Initial status.
  • DSOs may also request a Change to Student Status.
  • For more complicated data fixes, the P/DSO can submit a SEVIS Help Ticket (Data Fix) by calling the SEVIS Help Desk (1-800-892-4829).

Icon Guide

See the SEVIS Help Icons on the SEVIS Help Hub for a quick-reference of the icons used in this user guide.