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Get to Know SEVP: An Introduction to Working with International Students


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In this webinar, Kimberly Large, field representative at the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), provides an introduction to working with foreign students and exchange visitors. SEVP is part of the National Security Investigations Division and acts as a bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on nonimmigrants whose primary reason for coming to the U.S. is to be students. Kimberly provides a program overview and talks about ways campus law enforcement can incorporate international students into emergency preparedness, hot topics and the latest updates on F-1/M-1 students, and resources available to NCCPS stakeholders. A discussion of the international student life cycle offers a better understanding of processes for schools and students, as well as the government forms required to maintain status in the U.S.

This is a beginner level webinar appropriate for senior administrators, campus safety and security officers/law enforcement, emergency managers, and international education officials. Other audiences that may benefit include staff from residential life and student conduct and affairs.

Published in: Education
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Get to Know SEVP: An Introduction to Working with International Students

  1. 1. 1 Get to Know SEVP: An Introduction to Working with International Students June 11, 2019
  3. 3. 3 SEVP BASICS
  4. 4. 4 Key Terms and Definitions SEVP BASICS Term Definition Principal designated school official (PDSO) and designated school official (DSO) Employed members of the school that provide recommendations to students regarding maintenance of status, and to support timely and complete record keeping and reporting Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) An internet-based application that facilitates timely electronic reporting and monitoring of F and M students and exchange visitors, as well as their dependents, in the United States
  5. 5. 5 Important Forms SEVP BASICS Form Definition Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student” Submitted and maintained by school officials electronically in SEVIS for SEVP certification to enroll F and/or M students Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status” Issued to accepted students from their SEVP-certified school and is required for certain actions in the F and M student process
  6. 6. 6 F&M Student Status: Know the Difference F-1 INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Are in an academic program, often with a core academic curriculum. Are eligible for annual vacation. Can change their major or program of study. Can transfer anytime during their program or begin a new program after completing one. Can work during and after their program of study, with permission. Can participate in up to four types o employment and training, including on-campus employment, off-campus employment for economic hardship, CPT and OPT. Can remain in the United States for the duration of their program of study. Can stay in the United States for up to 60 days after their program or OPT end date. For more information visit
  7. 7. 7 F&M Student Status: Know the Difference M-1 INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Are in a vocational program, typically without a core academic program. Are not eligible for annual vacation. Cannot change their major or program of study. Can only transfer in the first six months after arrival and must apply to USCIS for transfer by filing the Form I-539. Can only work after their program of study ends and with permission. Can only participate in practical training, receiving one month for every four months of their program. Can only remain in the United States for up to one year unless they apply for an extension. Can stay in the United States for up to 30 days after their program or practical training end date. For more information visit
  9. 9. 9 SEVP Mission SEVP OVERVIEW SEVP provides integrity to the United States immigration system by collecting, maintaining and analyzing information so only legitimate nonimmigrant students or exchange visitors gain entry into the United States. SEVP ensures that the institutions accepting nonimmigrant students are certified and follow the federal rules and regulations that govern them.
  10. 10. 10 SEVP within DHS SEVP OVERVIEW
  11. 11. 11 • Monitor school and student compliance • Administratively enforce rules and regulations • Certify and recertify schools • Develop policy for SEVP-certified schools and students • Perform site visits • Conduct outreach to ensure stakeholder compliance and understanding • Manage SEVIS, a internet-based information system that maintains and monitors the records of: – SEVP-certified schools – F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant students and their dependents – Exchange visitor program sponsors – Exchange visitors and their dependents – ROs and AROs – PDSOs and DSOs About SEVP SEVP OVERVIEW
  12. 12. 12 About SEVIS • Schools use SEVIS to: – Petition for certification, update information and file for recertification – Issue Forms I-20 to prospective F and M students – Fulfill the school’s legal reporting responsibilities – Transfer SEVIS records to other SEVP-certified schools – Report on employment and practical training for F and M students • SEVIS users include: – PDSOs and DSOs – ROs and AROs – ICE – USCIS – CBP – U.S. Department of State SEVP OVERVIEW
  13. 13. 13 Compliance and Enforcement • SEVP monitors schools for red flags that may indicate fraudulent activity – Red flags may include certain trends in the school’s international student population • SEVP has been working to unveil new tools to crack down on fraud in the U.S. international education industry – Implemented a risk assessment tool to review SEVP-certified schools for compliance issues – Increased coordination and information sharing with: • HSI special agents across the United States • Department of State and U.S. consulates abroad SEVP OVERVIEW
  14. 14. 14 Q&A BREAK
  16. 16. 16 About SEVIS by the Numbers • Annual report that showcases SEVIS data – Released on • Offers snapshot of information about SEVP-certified schools and international students • Highlights international student trends SEVIS BY THE NUMBERS
  17. 17. 17 Overview SEVIS BY THE NUMBERS Student and School Data Active students (F-1 and M-1) F and M 1,149,251 Schools and programs Certified schools (F & M) 8,355 Data as of May 2019 International students contributed $42.4B to the U.S. economy in 2017 Source: Institute of International Education’s 2018 Open Doors Report
  18. 18. 18 School Data SEVIS BY THE NUMBERS Number of Schools By Active Student Enrollment Data as of May 2019 # of Schools # of Active Students 38 >5,000 195 1,001–5,000 167 501–1,000 839 101–500 719 51–100 1,985 11–50 2,688 1–10 1,724 0 77% of SEVP-certified schools enroll fewer than 50 international students
  19. 19. 19 Student Data SEVIS BY THE NUMBERS Top 10 Countries Sending Students to the United States Country # of Active Students China 361,695 India 206,147 South Korea 61,169 Saudi Arabia 38,859 Vietnam 30,208 Canada 28,834 Brazil 27,893 Taiwan 23,451 Japan 22,471 Nigeria 15,519 Data as of May 2019
  21. 21. 21 Government Partners • U.S. Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Customs and Border Protection – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement • U.S. Department of State • U.S. Department of Education • The White House • Congressional members and staff INTRAGOVERNMENTAL OVERVIEW • Office of Management and Budget • Social Security Administration • Departments of Motor Vehicles
  22. 22. 22 • Overview – Project Campus Sentinel partners with educational institutions to improve collaboration and communication between DSOs and HSI • Project Campus Sentinel can assist DSOs by: – Providing training to help identify suspicious activity • Mechanism to report SEVIS exploitation and fraud schemes – Opening lines of communication between international student offices, campus law enforcement entities and HSI • Coordinate campus emergency planning – Assisting with certain international student issues HSI Outreach Program INTRAGOVERNMENTAL COLLABORATION Project Campus Sentinel REMEMBER: SEVP field representatives are not the same as Project Campus Sentinel
  23. 23. 23 HSI Outreach Program Project Shield America INTRAGOVERNMENTAL COLLABORATION • Overview – Project Shield America establishes partnerships between HSI and academia to ensure compliance with U.S. export control laws and protect controlled technology • Project Shield America can assist DSOs by: – Providing training on red flag indicators of potential export control violations – Opening lines of communication between international student offices and campus export control offices
  24. 24. 24 POLL BREAK
  26. 26. 26 Questions to Consider Before an Emergency • Is the campus open or closed? • How do campus and local law enforcement interact? • If social media is utilized as part of a campus alert system, is the school aware of student social media preferences? • Does the school have translations as part of its alert system? • Do international students use cellular service while on campus? • Does the school communicate with the families of nonimmigrant students? • Is the school prepared to comply with federal reporting requirements during an emergency? CAMPUS EMERGENCY PLANNING
  27. 27. 27 Emergency Planning • Students often grouped into a general emergency plan – Continuity of Operations Plan or Emergency Operations Plan • Nonimmigrant students and dependents have distinct steps to follow during an emergency – Keep important documents on person, including: • Passport with visa foil inside • Form I-20 – Report to DSO as soon as possible – Maintain communication with DSO and international student office CAMPUS EMERGENCY PLANNING
  28. 28. 28 Special Considerations • Communication barriers – Work with DSOs to determine best ways to notify nonimmigrant students of a campus emergency • Language barriers – DSOs can help ensure nonimmigrant students understand any emergency messages sent to the student body • Cultural perceptions of law enforcement – Work with DSOs to help students understand the “here to help” culture of U.S. law enforcement • For campus-based international students; – Urban versus rural settings and available services – Geographic areas prone to flooding, earthquakes or other natural disasters CAMPUS EMERGENCY PLANNING
  29. 29. 29 Questions to Consider During and After an Emergency • Can nonimmigrant students maintain status during and after an emergency? • Campus security, school administration and DSOs should work together to immediately advise SEVP of the following: – Are nonimmigrant students and dependents accounted for? – Does the school anticipate immediate recovery that will enable students to resume their course of study for the session? – Does the campus have an alternate plan if immediate recovery is not possible? CAMPUS EMERGENCY PLANNING
  30. 30. 30 Working with Nonimmigrant Students • DSOs are resources for campus law enforcement • Disaster preparedness – Institutions are obligated to continue providing services during an emergency – Nonimmigrant students often grouped in a general emergency plan for campus • Potential scenarios: – Natural disasters (Hurricanes Katrina, Maria, Irma, Florence and Michael; California wildfires) – Active shooter – Evacuation – Campus power outages – Quarantine (campus-wide illness) – Cyber events (phishing, scams, etc.) CAMPUS EMERGENCY PLANNING
  31. 31. 31 Emergency Planning Resources • DHS webpages – – • – Emergency Information page – Campus Resilience at SEVP-certified schools page • Study in the States – Schools • SEVP Ask the Experts: Campus Emergency Planning webinar – – Pre-submitted questions and responses document CAMPUS EMERGENCY PLANNING
  32. 32. 32 Emergency Planning Resources • FEMA resources – Guide on Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education – Campus Emergency Management Resources webpage – Emergency Management Institute • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – • Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council • Embassies and consulates CAMPUS EMERGENCY PLANNING
  33. 33. 33 Q&A BREAK
  35. 35. 35 Study in the States HELPFUL RESOURCES
  36. 36. 36 Resource Library HELPFUL RESOURCES
  37. 37. 37 • SEVP InFocus Webinars – Provide program news and updates to the academic community • SEVP Ask the Experts Webinars – Focus on a specific topic or trend in international education – Past webinars include: • K-12 Spotlight • Behind the Scenes of the Form I-20 • Government Voices Webinars – Discuss joint topics affecting SEVP and government partners – Past webinars include: • Exploring the International Student Life Cycle • What to Expect at a U.S. Port of Entry Free Stakeholder Webinars HELPFUL RESOURCES REMEMBER: View upcoming and past webinars on the Stakeholder Webinars page
  38. 38. 38 Engage with SEVP HELPFUL RESOURCES Stay Connected KEY NEWS AND CONTENT Publications Available through GovDelivery SEVP Spotlight SEVP Outreach Bulletin ENGAGE THROUGH CONFERENCES Fill out the SEVP Event Request Form at
  39. 39. 39 PHONE 703-603-3400 800-892-4829 EMAIL Case-specific questions Technical issues Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, except federal holidays Additional contact information at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tip Line 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) SEVP Contact Information HELPFUL RESOURCES
  40. 40. 40 Q&A