SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System)
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a government database created to keep track of students in F-1, J-1 and M-1 status. (Note: UWG is not certified to accept M-1 status students.) Before you can apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa, a DSO/ARO (designated school official, alternate responsible officer) from UWG will need to issue an I-20 or DS2019 for you. This document is generated from SEVIS and has personal information, such as your name, your program of study and your finances. SEVIS is used to communicate information from your school to government entities. This information is used by the government for different reasons, such as visa issuance, driver’s license issuance, to track down immigration status violators, for criminal investigations, etc. Full implementation of SEVIS was mandated after September 11, 2001.
Who has access to SEVIS?
- The school that issued your I-20 or DS-2019
- ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), http://www.ice.gov/
- USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), http://www.uscis.gov/
- CBP (Customs and Border Protection), http://www.cbp.gov/
- Department of State Embassy and Consular offices
How does SEVIS work?
Once your I-20 or DS-2019 is used, SEVIS starts collecting data about you, so events like class registration, changes in program of study, changes in major, work authorizations, etc, are saved in this database. The school database communicates with SEVIS to ensure the transfer of relevant information. This is why it is very important that you update your address in PAWS and that you request a new I-20 every time there is a significant change, such as a change in your name or your program of study (please see Maintaining F-1 Status).