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What is a Form I-515A?

This page provides F and M students with information and answers to frequently asked questions about the Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor.” As an F or M student, if you arrive at a U.S. port of entry and do not have all your signed required documents, have not paid the I-901 SEVIS Fee on your current Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” or have a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) status issue, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may deny your entry into the United States. As an alternative, the officer has discretion to issue you a Form I-515A. This document allows you to have temporary admission into the United States for 30 days. To maintain your nonimmigrant student status, you must address your Form I-515A within the time provided to you.

Beginning on April 1, 2016, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will send “Intent to Terminate” notices to students and exchange visitors and their dependents who have failed to comply with the Form I-515A directive by the specified deadline. Recipients of the “Intent to Terminate” notices will have 14 days, as of the date the letter is sent, to respond to the Form I-515A. Failure to comply will result in the termination of their SEVIS record. For more information, please download the Form I-515A Termination Procedure on ICE.gov.

Q: What do I need to do if I receive a Form I-515A?

 

A: It is very important to work with your designated school official (DSO) to address the Form I-515A within the 30 days given to you. It is serious and can become a problem if you do not address the matter. Not taking action could mean that you will not be able to remain in the United States.

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

  1. Alert your DSO as soon as you arrive on campus that you received an I-515A.
     
  2. Review with your DSO the reason why the Form I-515A was issued. For example, this can be because you need to make an I-901 SEVIS Fee payment on your current SEVIS record, your DSO needs to assist you in correcting your SEVIS status through a data correction request or reinstatement, or your Form I-20 or DS-2019, “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status,” is not signed by a DSO. 
     
  3. Once you take proper action and receive the proper documentation needed as proof the issue is resolved, you need to work with your DSO to mail the following to SEVP: 
    • Form I-515A.
    • Form I-20 or DS-2019, with original signatures.
    • Form I-94,“Arrival/Departure Record,” with the identification number or a print-out from the paperless Form I-94 system.
    • Copy of the admission stamp in your passport.
    • I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt for the SEVIS ID used to enter the country. 
  4. Submit your paperwork within 30 days of your entry date. If you fail to complete any required action or send all the necessary documents to SEVP by that date, your SEVIS status may be Terminated. If you fail to take action or send necessary documents and your SEVIS status is already Terminated, you may be required to depart the United States immediately or file for reinstatement. 
     
  5. Mail your required documents to the address below: 

Student and Exchange Visitor Program
DHS/ICE
ATTN: SEVIS/I-515A Processing Team
500 12th Street SW STOP 5600
Washington, DC 20536-5600

SEVP will process your documents and return them to a DSO at your school. If your submission is correct, SEVP will return your documents with a letter of approval, along with the Form I-94 that will have an extended departure date listed. SEVP will return your Form I-20 or DS-2019 to your DSO or alternate responsible officer (ARO), along with a letter that confirms your nonimmigrant student status has been extended. At this point, you can then get the documents back from your DSO. J-1 exchange visitors will have all returned documents sent to their program sponsors at that sponsor’s physical location address listed in SEVIS.

Q: How does SEVP resolve my Form I-515A?

 

A: SEVP updates the government database that shows how long you may be permitted to stay in the United States. This is important because when you are issued a Form I-515A, you are only granted your nonimmigrant student status in the United States for 30 days in order to resolve the issue discovered when you entered the United States. Once you correct any problems and submit the correct and required paperwork, SEVP will update your status in the Form I-94 government database. This record update shows your lawful admission into the United States for the duration of your student status and will help you avoid potential issues when applying for benefits, such as a driver’s license or future employment authorization

Q: If CBP gave me a Form I-515A because I was in another SEVIS status besides Active or Initial, and my DSO requested a data correction to my SEVIS record, do I still need to send in all the required documents to SEVP?

 

A: Yes. Work with your DSO to correct the issue. If your SEVIS status is corrected before your 30-day temporary period of admission expires, send all required documents along with proof that the correction was made. If your DSO cannot obtain correction to your record before your 30 day temporary period of admission expires, you must work with your DSO to submit the ticket number for the data correction request. Once your SEVIS status is correct, send proof (such as your newly issued and signed Form I-20 or DS-2019) of the correction, plus any other required documents to SEVP. SEVP will update your status in the government database and you will be able to obtain your updated Form I-94.

Q: If CBP gave me a Form I-515A, but wrote “D/S” on the stamp on my passport when I came into the United States, do I still need to send in all the documents to SEVP?

 

A: Yes. You are still required to submit all required documents to SEVP. If you do not respond to SEVP, it could negatively impact your nonimmigrant student status. Work with your DSO to submit the required documents to SEVP and include a copy of the passport stamp in the documents you submit. SEVP will let you and your DSO know what further action, if any, is required of you.

Q: If CBP gave me a Form I-515A and I paid the I-901 SEVIS Fee, do I still need to send the documents to SEVP?

 

A: Yes. If you made an I-901 SEVIS Fee payment, it is important to make sure the I-901 SEVIS Fee payment made is for your current SEVIS ID number found on the top of the Form I-20 you last used to enter the United States. If you received a Form I-515A for failure to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, you must do the following: 

  1. You must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee.
  2. You must work with your DSO to provide the proper documentation to SEVP in order to extend your nonimmigrant student status.

Q: If I received a Form I-515A before April 1, 2016, will the termination procedure still apply?

 

A: Yes. The Form I-515A Noncompliance Termination Procedure will apply to any student, dependent or exchange visitor who has received a Form I-515A during their stay in the United States and who has not departed or responded within the 30-day compliance period. 

This means that if a student received a Form I-515A prior to April 1, 2016, but has yet to properly respond to SEVP, they will receive an “Intent to Terminate” letter.  

If a student received a Form I-515A and opted to depart the country rather than to respond to the form, they will not receive a notice from SEVP. 

Q: How do I know if I have properly complied with the Form I-515A?

 

A: If you follow all of the proper steps and submit your corrected documents to SEVP within the 30-day compliance window, SEVP will notify your DSO once it has adjudicated the documents and granted you permission to stay in the United States for “duration of status.” 

When responding to a Form I-515A, students and exchange visitors must include the following documentation to SEVP:

  • Form I-515A.
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019, with original signatures.
  • Form I-94,“Arrival/Departure Record,” with the identification number or a print-out from the paperless Form I-94 system.
  • Copy of the admission stamp in your passport. 
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt for the SEVIS ID used to enter the country. 

Once SEVP completes its adjudication, it will return the original Form I-20 or DS-2019 along with the other documentation to the school or program with a letter indicating compliance. Students and exchange visitors should follow up directly with their school or program sponsor to verify that their SEVIS record is not at risk for termination. 
 

Q: What happens if my SEVIS record gets terminated due to noncompliance with the Form I-515A? 

 

A: If SEVP terminates a student record due to noncompliance with the Form I-515A, the student must file for reinstatement or depart the United States within 15 days.  

If you are interested in applying for reinstatement with USCIS, please visit its website for more information about the applicable fees and process. 

Q: Will I still need to send in all the required documents to SEVP to resolve the Form I-515A even though I visited a Deferred Inspection station?

 

A: No, but you will need to notify your DSO and SEVP of the deferred inspection station that you visited, the CBP officer’s name who worked with you and the date when you corrected the deficiency in documentation. You also need to send SEVP a receipt or proof of visiting the deferred inspection station if you received it from CBP.
 

Q: If SEVP notified my DSO that I received a Form I-515A but I did not receive one, do I still need to respond to SEVP’s request for documents?

 

A:Yes. If you or your DSO do not respond to SEVP, it could negatively impact your nonimmigrant student status. Make sure that you or your DSO informs SEVP that you did not receive a Form I-515A. SEVP will let you and your DSO know what, if any, further action is required of you.

Q: If I forgot, my Form I-20 or DS-2019 and received a Form I-515A for this reason, can I present the Form I-20 to a CBP Deferred Inspection station within the 30 days?

 

A: Yes; however, SEVP recommends you ask for and retain a receipt or proof of taking this action at the Deferred Inspection location.

Q: What should I do to avoid receiving a Form I-515A and help have a smooth entry or re-entry into the United States?

 

A: To avoid receiving a Form I-515A, you should hand-carry the following paperwork with you when you arrive at the U.S. port of entry. Do not put them in your checked baggage as you will not receive your baggage until you are admitted into the United States. You should hand-carry:

  • A valid passport.
  • A signed Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.
  • Evidence of financial support.

You also should hand-carry (not put in checked baggage) the following documentation, if applicable:

  • Evidence of acceptance into your school or exchange visitor program, such as recent tuition receipts or an acceptance letter.
  • Paper receipt for payment of your I-901 SEVIS Fee.
  • Name and contact information for your DSO, including a 24-hour emergency contact telephone number at the school.

Make sure all this paperwork is up-to-date, accurate and signed, as necessary.

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