Progress Upgrading to SEVIS II10 Jun 2011
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is developing the next generation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The new system, known as SEVIS II, is designed to address the limitations of the current SEVIS system. The timeframe for the phased-in implementation of SEVIS II has not been specified as of this writing.
Background: Information on Students and Exchange Visitors
Following September 11, 2001, Congress mandated the use of an electronic system to collect information on students (F-1 and M-1), exchange visitors (J-1) and their dependents. To meet this mandate, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State (DOS), developed the web-based SEVIS system that includes information on enrollment, graduation, program compliance, and program transfer for the foreign nationals subject to SEVIS.
SEVIS also maintains information on sponsoring schools and authorized exchange visitor program sponsors. This allows U.S. consular officers to confirm information received on the forms issued by the sponsors to the foreign nationals via SEVIS. These are Form I-20 for F-1 and M-1 students and DS-2019 for J-1 exchange visitors.
SEVIS II: Increased Efficiency
While SEVIS II will continue to collect information on students and exchange visitors throughout their periods of authorized stay, it is intended to modernize and improve the current SEVIS system in a number of areas. These are explained below.
SEVIS II will transition to a paperless tracking system. Students, exchange visitors, school officials, and sponsor officials will be able to use digital signatures to sign electronic forms. This will eliminate the need for hardcopies of Forms I-20 and DS-2019.
Government officials also will have the ability to electronically document decisions on visa issuance, change of status, requests for employment authorization, and related matters. After the new system is implemented, it is recommended that students retain their historical hardcopies of Forms I-20 and DS-2019.
Individual User Accounts
SEVIS II will allow students and exchange visitors to create individual user accounts that will permit them to directly access their own records. If information is inaccurate, students and exchange visitors will be able to request that SEVP update their information. This will help ensure that data is accurate and up to date. This is an important feature, as students and exchange visitors frequently do not become aware of problems with their SEVIS registration for some time.
Admissibility Indicator for Each Student or Exchange Visitor
Furthermore, SEVIS II will create an admissibility indicator for each student and exchange visitor that will indicate whether the individual is eligible for admission into the United States in F, M, or J status. This will allow the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official at the port of entry to determine whether the individual may enter as an F, M, or J nonimmigrant and may possibly help avoid long delays.
Creates Unique Immigration Identification Number (IIN)
SEVIS II will also introduce a “one-person, one-record” system that will unify information previously kept by SEVIS in multiple records. Students and exchange visitors will need to apply online for their unique immigration identification numbers (IINs), which will be used for all future F, M, and J visa transactions.
Timeframe for Deployment After 2011
SEVIS II is expected to deploy in two phases. The first will include migration of data and customer account setup for current SEVIS users. The second phase will be the full implementation of the system.
Due to a reevaluation of the project, SEVP does not have a deadline for the completion of SEVIS II and cannot provide a deployment date, but has stated that SEVIS II will not be deployed this year.
While SEVIS II will modernize and improve many areas of the process, it also will transfer more responsibility for the maintenance of status to the foreign national students, themselves, who are in F, M, and J nonimmigrant statuses. As soon as there is better access to one’s SEVIS record, it will be important to monitor that record.
This is important for many students and exchange visitors. We at the Murthy Law Firm will continue to keep our readers apprised of advances related to SEVIS II. For the time being, the current SEVIS system remains in place.
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