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What Foreign Students Need to Know About the SEVIS System


U.S. colleges use it to let the federal government know whether visiting students are attending classes. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

Last week, we discussed rules for getting permission to enter the United States to study at a college or university. Now, in part seven of our Foreign Student Series, we discuss a computer system that holds information about international students and exchange visitors to the United States. It is called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, or SEVIS. It went into effect in January of two thousand three.

All schools in the United States must enter information about each foreign student they admit. SEVIS brings together more than ten thousand American schools and exchange visitor programs. It links them to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the largest investigation agency in the Department of Homeland Security.

The government uses the system to let a school know when one of the school’s students has entered the country. The school then must report within thirty days whether the student is attending classes. The school must also report if the student leaves school.

In two thousand five, law enforcement officials investigated more than eighty-five thousand possible violators. Almost six hundred of them were later arrested for violating the student and exchange visitor rules. Violations include not attending classes, being expelled or suspended from school, or failing to continue as a full-time student.

The Department of Homeland Security says SEVIS now lists about seven hundred seventy thousand students and exchange visitors in the United States. Family members who travel with them are also listed. SEVIS has records about more than one hundred fifteen thousand family members of those student and exchange visitors.

In two thousand four, the United States began to charge each student and exchange visitor one hundred dollars to help pay for the system. The money also helped pay for the development of the SEVIS Web site. The site now permits students and exchange visitors to examine their SEVIS information and payment record online.

Information about SEVIS can be found on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Web site: www dot i-c-e dot g-o-v. Click on International Students. And you can find our Foreign Student Series at voaspecialenglish dot com.

And that’s the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. I’m Mario Ritter.

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