July 19, 2002

Deadline for New Student Visa Program Is August 16, 2002

Holland & Knight Alert
Paul G. Lannon

By January 30, 2003, all schools must be using the new Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), but the opportunity to do so with relatively little effort will expire soon.  The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is now allowing eligible schools to apply for preliminary enrollment in SEVIS.

Schools that are accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and which have been approved by the INS for the last three consecutive years for the enrollment of “F” or “M” non-immigrant students, will be allowed to enroll preliminarily in SEVIS through August 16, 2002.

After the preliminary enrollment period, schools will be required to apply for a certification review in accordance with INS Interim Certification Rules before being granted approval to enroll in SEVIS.  Schools that do not apply for preliminary certification will be required to undergo a full-scale review by the INS.  For this reason, the preliminary certification process that ends August 16, 2002, makes it much easier for eligible schools to apply for an INS Form I-17, the Petition For Approval Of School For Attendance By Non-Immigrant Student.

Eligible institutions may request preliminary enrollment by accessing the Internet site http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/sevis.  Upon the entry of some identification information, the INS will issue the school a temporary user name and password.  When the school receives the temporary user name and password, the school will be able to access SEVIS and enter electronically the school’s information for its Form I-17.

A school that applies for preliminary enrollment does not have to pay a fee at that time.  However, all schools that are granted preliminary enrollment in SEVIS will be required to apply for a certification review under the Interim Certification Rules and pay a certification fee before May 14, 2004.

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