Student and Exchange Visitors Information System

The SEVIS program is an Internet-based system that provides schools and the United States government with access to accurate and current information on nonimmigrant foreign students, exchange visitors, and their dependents. It requires schools and exchange programs to transmit electronic information and notifications via the Internet to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration throughout a student’s stay in the United States.

This program was authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), and subsequently authorized on Oct. 25, 2001, through the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act, and the Enhanced Border Security Act on May 14, 2002. It calls for 100 percent compliance by institutions certified to accept nonimmigrant students. For detailed information, visit the Homeland Security website.

FAQ Regarding SEVIS

What student information will SEVIS collect?

  • Student and dependent’s full name (as they appear in passport)
  • Student/dependent’s current address (may not be a Post Office Box, also any changes to your home or local address must be reported to NU’s Records and MISA offices)  
  • Classification and date of visa issue
  • Academic status (full-time/part-time)
  • Country of birth and birth date
  • Country of citizenship
  • Port of entry and date of entry
  • Date you begin your studies
  • Degree program and level
  • Whether you enroll each semester or fail to enroll
  • Number of credits completed each term
  • Change in status from full-time to part-time (for Canadian Commuters only)
  • Drop below full-time status with authorization
  • Withdrawal from studies
  • The completion date of the program
  • Any curricular/optional training
  • Disciplinary action due to criminal convictions
  • Termination date and reasons

What does “fail to maintain status” mean?

Some examples of failure to maintain status include dropping from full-time to part-time enrollment without prior approval from the DSO; attending a school other than the one a student is authorized to attend; failure to apply for a timely transfer or I-20 extension or change in level of study; unauthorized employment; and failure to report a change of address.

What are the consequences if a student fails to maintain status?  

Students who fail to maintain status lose the privileges of their student visa and become subject to deportation. Specific consequences may include denial of re-entry to the U.S., inability to move from undergraduate to graduate status, denial of requests for practical training, denial of requests to change visa status and possible denial of all future visa applications.

Students who fail to maintain status and whose I-20 document is terminated would be required to pay the $200 SEVIS fee again if they apply and qualify, for a new I-20 document.

What can students do to assure they are in compliance with SEVIS?

  • Check the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration website frequently for updates.
  • Check the Niagara University website. Changes in immigration or visa procedures sometimes happen quickly. Information is posted as soon as we have reliable facts. You also may be notified by email to your Niagara University email account.
  • Be certain you understand the immigration regulations and how to maintain lawful status in the U.S. Refer any questions or problems immediately to Sarina Munzi.
  • Be proactive. Students should plan their course schedules carefully so they maintain full-time enrollment.
  • Make travel arrangements early and anticipate delays at consulates and border crossings.
  • Keep all documents up-to-date.
  • Changes in degree level, extensions, and travel validations must be done in a timely manner and on SEVIS documents through the Records Office.
  • Allow time for processing new forms.
  • Be sure that your finances are in order. You will not be able to register for classes if you have an outstanding tuition balance.
  • Register for classes in a timely manner. If you are not registered for fall or spring semester (summer registration is optional), you are required by regulations to depart the United States.
  • Make certain you comply with your immigration responsibilities as outlined by the SEVIS system, or you may lose your student's status and thus not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F-1 students. In some situations, you may be subject to deportation.
  • Feel free to come to us for assistance. Niagara University is a better place because you are here, and we are committed to your success!

What to do if you change your address:

The United States Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services requires “non-citizens” of the U.S. (other than diplomats on “A” visas or international organization representatives on “G” visas) who are present in the U.S. for more than 30 days, to register any change of address within t10 days of the change. This is particularly important for students in F-1 visa status who may lose their visa status if they do not follow this mandate.

If you are an international student in F-1 status and you move to a new address, make sure you stop by the Records Office to have your new address recorded with the Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services.