The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a government managed program that monitors U.S. based schools and foreign nationals in F, M or J status. It uses the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to ensure only legitimate foreign students or exchange visitors can participate in the U.S. education system. SEVP acts as a bridge for multiple government organizations, including DOS, USCIS, CBP and ICE.
A school must be SEVP approved in order to accept international students. However, a school may lose its SEVIS certification at any time, although not common, as a result of SEVP audit or re-certification process. If you are currently enrolled in a school that is no longer SEVP certified, you need to take immediate actions.
First of all, stay in touch with your school’s Designated School Official (DSO). Make sure your contact information is up to date with your DSO. Discuss potential options and your plans.
You are allowed to finish your current semester or quarter as long as you maintain their active status in a manner required by regulations.
If your school’s SEVP Certification is being re-instated, you may continue to enroll at your current school.
If your school’s withdrawal from SEVP stands, you will be notified by letter from SEVP with further instructions. Usually, you will have three options in this case:
- Transfer to another SEVP certified school and maintain your F, M or J status;
- Change your status to another non-immigrant category; or,
- Depart the United States.
Throughout the process, keep in touch with your school’s DSO. Every step you take will likely require his/her approval or assistance.
Lastly, below is one example of such incident involving University of Northern Virginia Students earlier this year:
SEVP-certified schools are subject to a review of their certification at any time based on regulations. On July 28, 2011, pursuant to a review of UNVA certification, a SEVP representative served school officials at UNVA with a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) the school’s SEVP-certification.
UNVA students have two choices (click the links to learn more):
- Continue to attend classes at UNVA and maintain their active status in a manner required by regulations.
- Seek transfer to another SEVP-approved institution.
UNVA students must immediately depart the country if they are unable to continue to attend classes and maintain their active status in a manner required by the regulation or if they are unable or do not wish to seek transfer to another SEVP-certified institution.