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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: July 1, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 126)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 44343-44347]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01jy02-25]                         


[[Page 44343]]

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Part IV





Department of Justice





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Immigration and Naturalization Service



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8 CFR Part 214



Allowing Eligible Schools To Apply for Preliminary Enrollment in the 
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS); Interim Final 
Rule


[[Page 44344]]


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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Immigration and Naturalization Service

8 CFR Part 214

[INS No. 2211-02]
RIN 1115-AG55

 
Allowing Eligible Schools To Apply for Preliminary Enrollment in 
the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

AGENCY: Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Immigration and Naturalization Service (Service), 
consistent with its statutory authority to regulate foreign students 
under sections 101(a)(15)(F) and (M) of the Immigration and Nationality 
Act (Act), will be conducting a review of all Service-approved schools, 
as a prerequisite for enrollment in the Student and Exchange Visitor 
Information System (SEVIS). This interim rule will allow eligible 
schools to preliminarily enroll in SEVIS, beginning on July 1, 2002, 
provided they meet the established criteria. Eligibility for 
preliminary enrollment in SEVIS will continue through August 16, 2002. 
By that date, the Service anticipates publishing a new interim 
certification rule. When the forthcoming interim certification rule 
takes effect, the preliminary enrollment period will end and all 
schools will be required to apply for certification prior to enrollment 
in SEVIS in accordance with the requirements of that rule.

DATES: Effective date. This interim rule is effective July 1, 2002.
    Comment date. Written comments must be submitted on or before July 
31, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Please submit written comments to the Director, Regulations 
and Forms Services Division, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 
425 I Street, NW, Room 4034, Washington, DC, 20536. To ensure proper 
handling, please reference INS No. 2211-02 on your correspondence. 
Comments may also be submitted electronically to the Service at 
insregs@usdoj.gov. When submitting comments electronically, you must 
include INS No. 2211-02, in the subject heading, and any attachments 
must be typed in MS Word format so that the comments can be 
electronically routed to the appropriate program office. Comments are 
available for public inspection at this location by calling (202) 514-
3048 to arrange for an appointment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maura Deadrick, Adjudications 
Division, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 425 I Street, NW., 
Room 3040, Washington, DC 20536, telephone (202) 514-3228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 16, 2002, at 67 FR 34862, the Service 
published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to implement the new 
SEVIS requirements and establish a process for electronic reporting by 
designated school officials (DSOs). That proposed rule, which would be 
codified at 8 CFR 214.2(f), (j), and (m), indicated that the SEVIS 
system would begin operation on July 1, 2002, and proposed a mandatory 
compliance date of January 30, 2003, by which all schools must be using 
SEVIS in order to issue Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for 
Nonimmigrant Student. Schools will only be granted access to SEVIS by 
the Service after a review of the bona fides of the school.
    The Service will allow schools that meet the criteria in 8 CFR 
214.12, as promulgated in the present interim rule, to preliminarily 
enroll in SEVIS after the Service verifies that they meet the 
established criteria. This preliminary enrollment period will close the 
later of August 16, 2002, or until the date the service begins the 
SEVIS full scale certification process, which will be the effective 
date of a forthcoming interim rule (Interim Certification Rule) 
implementing section 502 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry 
Reform Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-173) (Border Security Act).
    In general, 8 CFR 214.12(a) will permit private elementary and 
private secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and language and 
vocational schools, to apply for preliminary enrollment in SEVIS, if 
the school is accredited, and the school has been continuously approved 
by the Service for the last three years for the enrollment of F or M 
nonimmigrant students. Private elementary and private secondary schools 
must be accredited by an organization holding membership in the Council 
for the American Private Education (CAPE) or the American Association 
of Christian Schools (AACS). Postsecondary, language and vocational 
schools must be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the 
United States Department of Education. Proof that a school has been 
determined to be eligible under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 
1965 is sufficient to establish that a school is properly accredited, 
since such accreditation is a prerequisite for recognition under Title 
IV of the latter Act. The specific requirements for Title IV 
eligibility are specified at 34 CFR part 600.
    In addition, public high schools may also be permitted to enroll 
under 8 CFR 214.12(a) if the school provides certification from the 
appropriate public official that the school meets the requirements of 
the state or local public educational system and the school has been 
continuously approved by the Service for the last three years for 
enrollment of F or M nonimmigrant students.
    8 CFR 214.12(b) and (c), as added by this interim rule, describes 
the preliminary enrollment process for eligible schools, which will be 
conducted through the Internet.
    The Interim Certification Rule will establish a review process for 
all of the currently approved schools, including a new SEVIS 
certification fee associated with this review. The Interim 
Certification Rule will govern all schools not eligible for preliminary 
enrollment under 8 CFR 214.12, and all schools that were eligible but 
chose not to participate during the preliminary enrollment period. 
After the close of the preliminary enrollment period, schools 
previously eligible for preliminary enrollment will be required to 
apply for a certification review in accordance with the Interim 
Certification Rule prior to being granted approval to enroll in SEVIS.

Why Is the Service Allowing Preliminary Enrollment?

    In the interest of implementing use of SEVIS by schools in a timely 
manner, the Service has developed a process whereby schools may enroll 
in SEVIS beginning on July 1, 2002, in advance of the new certification 
review process. This process necessitates that the Service have some 
means of assuring that schools allowed preliminary enrollment are in 
fact bona fide institutions. To be accredited by an agency recognized 
by the Department of Education, CAPE, or AACS, a school must establish 
and maintain compliance with rigorous standards of operation. 
Therefore, accreditation by such an agency is considered to be 
preliminary establishment of evidence that the school meets the Service 
requirements for a bona fide institution outlined at 8 CFR 214.3(e). 
Maintenance of three consecutive years of Service approval to admit 
nonimmigrant students, evidenced by a valid school code, provides at 
least a preliminary assurance of the school's familiarity and

[[Page 44345]]

compliance with the Service Form I-20 issuance and reporting 
requirements.

How Does a School Apply for Preliminary Enrollment?

    Eligible institutions must request preliminary enrollment by 
accessing the Internet site, http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/sevis. Upon 
accessing the site, the president, owner, head of the school or 
designated school official will be asked to enter the following 
information: The school's name; the first, middle, and last name of the 
contact person for the school; and the email address and phone number 
of the contact person. Once this information has been submitted, the 
Service will issue the school a temporary ID and password, which will 
be forwarded to the email address listed. When the contact person 
receives this temporary ID and password, the school will again access 
the Internet site and will electronically enter the school's 
information for its Form I-17.
    Once a school has electronically submitted the Form I-17 
information, a Service officer will review the school's eligibility to 
verify that the school meets the preliminary enrollment eligibility 
requirements. If the officer determines that the school is eligible for 
preliminary enrollment, the officer will update SEVIS and enroll the 
school. Once SEVIS has been updated by the officer, permanent user IDs 
and passwords will be automatically generated and issued via email to 
the DSOs listed on the Form I-17. Schools that are not approved by the 
Service for preliminary enrollment must apply for certification in 
accordance with the Interim Certification Rule.

Will There Be a Fee for Preliminary Enrollment?

    A school that applies for preliminary enrollment will not have to 
pay a fee at this time. The Service, however, plans to impose a 
certification fee on all schools, including those granted preliminary 
enrollment, in the Interim Certification Rule. Section 502 of the 
Border Security Act requires the Service to conduct a periodic review 
of compliance of all Service-approved schools by May 14, 2004. This 
periodic review will require an on-site visit to help determine whether 
a school is in compliance with various recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements. As a result, all schools that are granted preliminary 
enrollment in SEVIS under the terms of 8 CFR 214.12, will be required 
to apply for a certification review under the Interim Certification 
Rule, and pay a certification fee, prior to May 14, 2004.
    Any school that is ineligible for preliminary enrollment, or that 
applies after the close of the preliminary enrollment period, will be 
required to pay the certification fee in accordance with the Interim 
Certification Rule before it can be enrolled in SEVIS.

What if a School Is Not Eligible for Preliminary Enrollment?

    If a school falls under one of the following categories, it is not 
eligible for preliminary enrollment: (1) Schools that are not 
accredited by CAPE, AACS, or an agency recognized by the Department of 
Education; (2) schools that have not been participating as a Service 
approved school for three years; and (3) flight schools even if they 
have been accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of 
Education and have been participating as a Service approved school for 
three years. Schools that do not meet the criteria for preliminary 
enrollment will not be eligible to apply for access to SEVIS until they 
apply for certification under the Interim Certification Rule and 
undergo a full-scale review by the Service. Prior to this review, such 
schools must continue to comply with the recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements as provided in 8 CFR 214.2(f) and (m) and 8 CFR 214.3.

What if a School That Is Eligible for Preliminary Enrollment Chooses 
Not To Enroll During the Preliminary Enrollment Period?

    Schools that are eligible for preliminary enrollment in SEVIS, 
under 8 CFR 214.12(a), but do not apply for such enrollment before the 
close of the preliminary enrollment period will be required to apply 
for certification and pay the certification fee, just as for schools 
not eligible for preliminary enrollment. The fee for certification is 
the same for all schools whether eligible for preliminary enrollment or 
not. However, in recognition of the status of schools that are properly 
accredited and have been recognized by the Service for the last three 
years, the Service, after a review of the application, will be 
authorized to approve the enrollment of such a school in SEVIS prior to 
completion of the required on-site visit. If such schools are granted 
enrollment in SEVIS without undergoing on-site review, they will be 
required to complete the on-site visit prior to May 2004, in accordance 
with the mandate for school review set forth in the Border Security 
Act.

Must Schools Use SEVIS Once They Have Been Approved for Preliminary 
Enrollment?

    Once a school is approved for preliminary enrollment in SEVIS, the 
school will be required to utilize SEVIS to generate any new Forms I-20 
for new students, as well as in any circumstance where a currently-
enrolled student must be issued a new Form I-20 (for example, for an 
extension of the student's approved program of study). Schools 
enrolling in SEVIS should refer to the provisions of the proposed rule 
published by the Service at 67 FR 34862 (May 16, 2002), for information 
on the requirements that will be applicable to SEVIS, once that rule is 
adopted in final form.
    Schools that preliminarily enroll in SEVIS prior to the final SEVIS 
compliance date are not required to enter all data for their current 
students into SEVIS at that time, but may do so until the use of SEVIS 
is mandatory. However, any action taken on the part of a current or a 
new student that involves a change or update to the information on the 
Form I-20 must be done using SEVIS.

Good Cause Exception

    This rule is effective on publication in the Federal Register. The 
Service finds that good cause exists both for adopting this rule 
without the prior notice and comment period ordinarily required by 5 
U.S.C. 553, and for making this rule immediately effective, rather than 
having it enter into force 30 days after publication. The USA Patriot 
Act, Public Law 107-56, mandates that the SEVIS be fully implemented 
and expanded prior to January 1, 2003. Further, the Border Security Act 
requires the Service to review all schools within 2 years of its 
enactment. In order to meet the mandate for complete functionality of 
SEVIS while maintaining the integrity of data in SEVIS, a timely review 
of all schools is necessary prior to allowing a school to access SEVIS. 
To accomplish this action, the Service must allow a portion of eligible 
schools to preliminarily enroll in SEVIS. The provision for review of 
all approved schools is an important part of helping to safeguard 
against the abuse of the traditional American openness to foreign 
students by foreign terrorists. Because of the vital national security 
concerns that underpin the USA Patriot Act, and the Border Security 
Act, it would be contrary to the public interest to observe the 
requirements of 5 U.S.C. 533(b) and (d).

[[Page 44346]]

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Commissioner, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 605(b), has reviewed 
this regulation and, by approving it, certifies that this rule does not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Preliminary enrollment is voluntary and applies to those 
schools that have the capability to electronically enroll in SEVIS. The 
information a school must submit is information that should be readily 
available to the school. In addition, any expenditure required by the 
school can easily be recouped by the school in student fees. 
Accordingly, any economic impact will not be ``significant.''

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed 
necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 
1995.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996. This rule will not 
result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a 
major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on 
the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-
based companies in domestic and export markets.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule is considered by the Department of Justice, Immigration 
and Naturalization Service, to be a ``significant regulatory action'' 
under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), Regulatory Planning and 
Review. Under Executive Order 12866, section 6(a)(3)(B)-(D), this rule 
has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review.

Executive Order 13132

    This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, 
on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or 
on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 
levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of 
Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have 
sufficient Federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
federalism summary impact statement.

Executive Order 12988 Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) 
and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The information collection requirement to electronically enroll in 
SEVIS has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 
accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. The OMB Control number for 
this collection is 1115-0252.

List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 214

    Administrative practice and procedures, Aliens, Employment.

    Accordingly, part 214 of chapter I of title 8, Code of Federal 
Regulations, is amended as follows:

PART 214--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 214 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101, 1103, 1182, 1184, 1186a, 1187, 1221, 
1281, 1282; sec. 643, Pub. L. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-708; Section 
141 of the Compacts of Free Association with the Federated States of 
Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and with the 
Government of Palau, 48 U.S.C. 1901, note and 1931 note, 
respectively; 8 CFR part 2.

    2. Section 214.12 is added, to read as follows:


Sec. 214.12  Preliminary enrollment of schools in the Student and 
Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

    (a) Private elementary and private secondary schools, public high 
schools, post-secondary schools, language schools, and vocational 
schools are eligible for preliminary enrollment in Student and Exchange 
Visitor Information System (SEVIS), beginning on or after July 1, 2002, 
but only if the school is accredited by an accrediting agency 
recognized by the United States Department of Education, CAPE, or AACS, 
or in the case of a public high school, the school provides 
certification from the appropriate public official that the school 
meets the requirements of the state or local public educational system 
and has been continuously approved by the Service for a minimum of 
three years, as of July 1, 2002, for the admission of F or M 
nonimmigrant students. A school may establish that it is accredited by 
showing that it has been designated as an eligible school under Title 
IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
    (b) Preliminary enrollment in SEVIS is optional for eligible 
schools. The preliminary enrollment period will be open from July 1, 
2002, through August 16, 2002, or, if later, until the Service begins 
the SEVIS full scale certification process. The process for eligible 
schools to apply for preliminary enrollment through the Internet is as 
follows:
    (1) Eligible institutions must access the Internet site, http://
www.ins.usdoj.gov/sevis. Upon accessing the site, the president, owner, 
head of the school or designated school official will be asked to enter 
the following information: the school's name; the first, middle, and 
last name of the contact person for the school; and the e-mail address 
and phone number of the contact person.
    (2) Once this information has been submitted, the Service will 
issue the school a temporary ID and password, which will be forwarded 
to the e-mail address listed. When the contact person receives this 
temporary ID and password, the school will again access the Internet 
site and will electronically enter the school's information for its 
Form I-17.
    (c) The Service will review the information by a school submitted 
as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, and will preliminarily 
enroll a school in SEVIS, if it is determined to be eligible under the 
standards of paragraph (a) of this section. If the officer determines 
that the school is eligible for preliminary enrollment, the officer 
will update SEVIS and enroll the school and permanent user IDs and 
passwords will be automatically generated via e-mail to the DSOs listed 
on the Form I-17. Schools that are not approved by the Service for 
preliminary enrollment will be notified that they must apply for 
certification in accordance with the Interim Certification Rule. A 
school that is granted preliminary enrollment will have to use SEVIS 
for the issuance of any new Form I-20 to a new or continuing student.
    (d) Schools granted preliminary enrollment in SEVIS will not have 
to apply for certification at this time. However, all such schools will 
be required to apply for certification, and pay the certification fee, 
prior to May 14, 2004.
    (e) Eligible schools that meet the standards of paragraph (a) of 
this section, but do not apply for preliminary enrollment in SEVIS 
prior to the close of the preliminary enrollment period will have to 
apply for certification review under the Interim

[[Page 44347]]

Certification Rule and pay the certification fee before enrolling in 
SEVIS. However, once a school meeting the standards of paragraph (a) of 
this section applies for certification review, the Service will have 
the discretion, after a review of the school's application, to allow 
the school to enroll in SEVIS without requiring an on-site visit prior 
to enrollment. If the Service permits such a school to enroll in SEVIS 
prior to completion of the on-site visit, the on-site visit must be 
completed prior to May 14, 2004.
    (f) Schools that are not eligible to apply for preliminary 
enrollment in SEVIS under this section--including flight schools--will 
have to apply for certification under the Interim Certification Rule, 
pay the certification fee, and undergo a full certification review 
including an on-site visit, prior to being allowed to enroll in SEVIS.

    Dated: June 27, 2002.
James W. Ziglar,
Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service.
[FR Doc. 02-16676 Filed 6-27-02; 4:23 pm]
BILLING CODE 4410-10-P




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