SEVP to Issue Student Noncompliance Notice: Form I-515A

Starting April 1, 2016, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will begin issuing 14-day termination notices to students who fail to submit requested additional documentation within the 30 days allowed following their admission to the United States. This information comes via an official notice issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Background: Paperwork Required by Foreign National Students Upon Entry

Students admitted in F-1 or M-1 status, exchange visitors entering in J-1 status, and their respective dependents in F-2, M-2, and J-2 statuses, must comply with specific documentary requirements upon entry to the United States. These requirements include properly endorsed, original I-20s for F-1 students and F-2 dependents. Those entering in J-1 or J-2 status must have properly endorsed DS 2019 forms. Other required documents include evidence of payment of the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee and valid SEVIS records.

Students, exchange visitors, and their dependents, who appear at U.S. ports of entry and do not have all of the required travel documents, may be admitted for up to 30 days. These individuals receive form I-515A, which is a notice to a student or exchange visitor that contains instructions on submitting the required or missing documents to SEVP within the 30-day period.

Pre-April 1, 2016 Practice of SEVP

SEVP previously indicated that the school and program officials would be notified of the I-515A issuance. This notification was intended to result in termination of the foreign national’s SEVIS record for noncompliance if the proper document was not submitted within the 30-day period. However, a recent audit of SEVIS records revealed that many active SEVIS records should have been terminated for failure to submit the required documents.

14-Day Termination Notices

In order to achieve better compliance levels, SEVP will inform the school and exchange program officials within 20 days of the entry of an individual based on incomplete documents and the issuance of an I-515A. Thereafter, if the foreign national does not submit the required documentation to SEVP within 30 days of entry, SEVP will begin issuing termination notices. Those receiving these notices will have 14-days to comply with the documentation requirements. If the 14-day deadline is still not met, the foreign national’s SEVIS records will be terminated and the individual will need to either apply for (the often difficult and elusive) reinstatement or depart the United States.


It is important for F-1 and M-1 students, J-1 exchange visitors, and their dependents in F-2, M-2, and J-2 statuses to make sure that their travel documents are in order when they enter the U.S. SEVP has been taking an increasingly strict approach to monitoring and administering the F, M, and J programs to assure compliance with its rules and requirements. It is advisable, therefore, to consult with school and program officials and/or an immigration lawyer, when in doubt, to avoid costly mistakes that may result in termination of one’s SEVIS record.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.