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SEVP Guidance for Comment

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) periodically requests comments from the public on draft and interim final guidance. Guidance is SEVP’s interpretation of federal laws and regulations that guide SEVP adjudicators in their decision-making. Guidance is not the same as governing regulations. Governing regulations are developed and instituted by each cabinet-level agency in the Federal Government.

SEVP accepts public comments on draft and interim final guidance from individuals, regardless of affiliation. This means that SEVP does not limit participation to SEVP stakeholder institutions. Any individual, organization, institution or other entity has the opportunity to review and provide feedback on draft guidance and interim final guidance. Furthermore, SEVP invites individuals who are affiliated with SEVP-certified institutions, but who may not want to provide comments on behalf of their respective institution, to comment on draft guidance independently. 

To read SEVP’s governing regulations, see the following pages:

Types of Guidance

 Official SEVP policy.

Draft or interim final guidance can be downloaded from the tables below during public comment periods, which last 45 calendar days. Draft or interim final guidance may be posted for additional rounds of public feedback. Revision times for each guidance document will vary based on the complexity of the issue.

During designated feedback periods, you can comment on draft guidance and interim final guidance by e-mailing SEVPFeedback@ice.dhs.gov with the title of the guidance in the subject line. SEVP will review and consider all comments when refining its guidance, but will not respond to specific individual comments submitted.

Note: If you have any SEVP policy questions that are not related to guidance documents, please contact SEVP’s Response Center at 703-603-3400 or  SEVP@ice.dhs.gov.

Draft Guidance

SEVP develops draft guidance that are interpretations of SEVP governing regulations. Draft guidance clarifies or revises SEVP’s policies on various topics affecting the adjudication process. Draft guidance does not establish standards or requirements and is not official policy. It is intended to ensure public understanding of how SEVP adjudicators apply decisions.

The table below identifies current SEVP draft guidance documents under development. Please refer to the “Comment Period” column to see which draft guidance documents are available for public comment and the number of responses received on those that are closed. When the feedback period ends, SEVP will review all comments received.

TitleDescriptionComment Period
Secondary Postgraduate Year ProgramsThis guidance provides SEVP’s interpretation of the school eligibility regulation (8 CFR 214.3(a)-(c)) as it relates to secondary postgraduate year programs of study to guide SEVP adjudicators.

Closed.

Seven comments received. 

F-1 Off-campus Employment 

This guidance, part of a series of employment-related guidance documents, gives SEVP’s interpretation of the off-campus employment regulation for F-1 students.

Closed.

48 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

F-1 Emergent Circumstances

This guidance gives SEVP’s interpretation of the emergent circumstances regulation for F-1 students.

Closed.

22 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

F-1 On-campus Employment

This guidance, part of a series of employment-related guidance documents, gives SEVP’s interpretation of the on-campus employment regulation for F-1 students. 

Closed.

73 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

F-1 and M-1 General Employment

This guidance, part of a series of employment-related guidance documents, gives SEVP’s interpretation of general content found within employment-related regulations for F-1 or M-1 students.

Closed.

78 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

F-1 Internship with an International OrganizationThis guidance gives SEVP’s interpretation of the internship with an international organization regulation for F-1 students.

Closed.

20 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Pathway Programs 

This guidance explains a postsecondary program of study combining nonremedial and remedial coursework to prepare a student who is unable to meet the requirements for admission into a degree program. 

Closed.

35 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

 

English ProficiencyThis guidance, the second in a series of related guidance documents on pathways and bridge programs, addresses SEVP and Form I-20 regulations.   

Closed.

24 comments received. 

This guidance is in review by SEVP. 

Conditional Admission

This guidance addresses the practice where a school issues a Form I-20, "Certificate of Elegibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status," to a student who does not meet all admissions standards. 

Closed.

41 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Timely FilingThis guidance explains changes in the amount of time school officials have to respond to notices from SEVP, due to the move from paper-based to electronic administrative processes.

Closed.

Four comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Temporary AbsenceThis guidance interprets regulations 8 CFR 214.2(f)(4) and 8 CFR 214.2(m)(4), explaining the process for F-1 and M-1 students leaving the United States for a temporary absence and returning afterward.

Closed.

90 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Annual VacationThis guidance interprets 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(iii) for F-1 students to define annual vacation and clarify when it can be taken and under what conditions.

Closed.

115 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Bridge Programs and Conditional AdmissionThis guidance addresses bridge programs—programs designed to “bridge” the gap between a student’s proficiency gaps and qualification for a full degree program. It also addresses the practice of "conditional admission," where a school issues the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” to a student for admission to a program without the student having met all admission standards.

Closed.

91 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

Contractual RelationshipsThis guidance addresses contractual relationships between schools. It specifies how school governance affects these contractual relationships, and which schools should issue the Form I-20, in these relationships.

Closed

Nine comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

GovernanceThis guidance addresses what constitutes shared governance for purposes of schools sharing one Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.”

Closed

11 comments received.

This guidance is in review by SEVP.

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Interim Final Guidance

SEVP develops interim final guidance that clarifies or revises SEVP policy. Unlike draft guidance, interim final guidance is official SEVP policy that establishes standards or requirements and is used by SEVP adjudicators when it is posted. SEVP will typically issue interim final guidance on issues that require immediate clarification, revision or are uncontroversial to seek public comment to help inform the final guidance.

The table below identifies SEVP interim final guidance documents currently open for public comment. When the feedback period ends, SEVP will review all comments received and place the closed interim final guidance on SEVP’s website. Specifically, stakeholders can find interim final guidance documents not open for public comment under the Policy menu on the Schools page of ICE.gov/SEVP.

TitleDescriptionComment Period
State Licensure Exemption Evidence

Clarifies the evidentiary requirements for schools exempt from state licensure.

Closed. 
Change of Ownership

Interprets the change of ownership regulation for SEVP-certified schools. The guidance covers change of ownership thresholds, the types of changes requiring reporting and determining the date of change.

Closed.

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Final Guidance

Final guidance is official SEVP policy that establishes standards or requirements and is used in SEVP adjudications. Final guidance is not open for public comment. It is intended to clarify laws or regulations related to SEVP adjudications and does not replace or supersede those laws or regulations.

Specifically, stakeholders can find final guidance under the Policy menu on the Schools page of ICE.gov/SEVP.

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