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Press Statement (Revised)
Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 10, 2002

Implementation of the Interim Student and Exchange Authentication System

On September 11, 2002, the Bureau of Consular Affairs will implement the Interim Student and Exchange Authentication System (ISEAS).  The system will verify the acceptance for enrollment of foreign students and exchange visitors and their dependents who wish to enter the United States in F, J or M non-immigrant visa categories.  There will be a 30-day notification period, which will provide adequate time for institutions and exchange programs to enter the required data into the system.  During this period, the Bureau of Consular Affairs will continue worldwide processing of F, J and M visa applications under current procedures and electronic acceptance verification will be permitted by e-mail to the embassy or consulate.  Mandatory worldwide Interim Student and Exchange Authentication System compliance will commence on October 11, 2002.   

The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002 requires that a transitional student and exchange visitor tracking program involving electronic data sharing between schools and sponsors, the Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, be operational by September 11, 2002, and remain in operation until the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is fully operational.  The Act also requires that approved institutions or designated exchange program sponsors electronically transmit, via website at, evidence of student or exchange visitor acceptance to the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs while the system is operational.   

The interim system is designed to contain data on F, J or M non-immigrant visa applicants for which acceptance data have been submitted. The data will then be reviewed by consular officers prior to visa issuance in order to determine the applicants’ acceptance status.  This will also affect students/exchange visitors applying for visas to return to programs they had begun prior to September 11, 2002.  

Visa issuance data on F, J and M non-immigrant categories will be transmitted to the Immigration and Naturalization Service as part of the non-immigrant visa data regularly shared by the Department of State.