[Federal Register: September 18, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 181)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
22 CFR Part 41
[Public Notice 4121]
Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and
Nationality Act, as Amended: Transitional Foreign Student Monitoring
AGENCY: Department of State.
ACTION: Interim rule; with request for comments.
SUMMARY: This rule creates an electronic system known as the ``Interim
Student and Exchange Authentication System'' (ISEAS) for monitoring the
visa adjudication process and visa issuances to foreign students and
exchange visitors who enter the United States in F-1,M-1, or J-1
nonimmigrant visa categories. Recent legislation requires ISEAS to be
operational by September 11, 2002. ISEAS will remain in operation until
the foreign student monitoring system being developed by the INS is
fully operational. The Department, the INS, approved institutions of
higher education or other approved educational institutions, and
exchange visitor program sponsors will use the ISEAS database for the
collection and transmission of information pertaining to foreign
student and exchange visitor visa applicants to ensure compliance with
DATES: Effective date: This interim rule is effective on September 11,
2002. Comment date: Written comments must be submitted on or before
November 18, 2002.
ADDRESSES: Submit comments in duplicate to Chief, Legislation and
Regulations Division, Visa Services, Department of State, 20520-0106.
Comments may also be forwarded via e-mail to VisaRegs@state.gov or
faxed to 202-663-3898.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy Altman, Legislation and
Regulations Division, Visa Services, Department of State, Washington,
DC 20520-0106, 202-261-8040.
What Is the Background for This Action?
On May 14, 2002, the President signed into law the ``Enhanced
Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002'' (Border Security
Act), Public Law 107-173, section 501 of the Border Security Act
addresses the need to improve our ability to track foreign students
while in the United States. Section 501(a) expands the Attorney
General's responsibilities for monitoring and verification requirements
established for students and exchange visitors by the Illegal
Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IRRIRA),
Public Law 101-649. An electronic information collection and tracking
system is being developed by the INS pursuant to these responsibilities
(known as the ``Student and Exchange Visitor Information system''
(SEVIS)) and is required to be fully implemented by January 1, 2003.
Section 501(c) of the Border Security Act requires the
establishment by the Department of an interim program for the
electronic monitoring of foreign student and exchange visitor visa
issuance, admission to the United States, and enrollment until SEVIS is
fully operational. The interim system, known as ISEAS, will be the
means by which the Department, INS, approved educational and vocational
institutions and exchange visitor programs meet the legislative
requirements under 501(c). Subject to a thirty to sixty day phase-in
and testing period, ISEAS will become operational on September 11,
While section 501(c) of the Act only mandates its application to
exchange visitors seeking to attend approved institutions of higher
education, the Department has determined to make ISEAS requirements
identical to SEVIS requirements regarding the participation of all
exchange visitor applicants. The Department also believes that this
determination more accurately reflects the intent of Congress as
expressed in the USA PATRIOT Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and
Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, both of which contain provisions
relating to the electronic monitoring of students and exchange
visitors. Thus, all exchange visitor visa applications will be subject
to ISEAS verification.
Why Is This Action Being Taken?
In light of national security concerns, Congress has mandated an
interim electronic system to monitor aliens seeking to enter the United
States under the F, M, or J nonimmigrant visa categories. Until SEVIS
is fully implemented, ISEAS will facilitate the collection and
transmission of student and exchange visitor applicant data by the
Department, the INS, approved educational and other educational
institutions, and exchange visitor programs to ensure that visa
requirements are met before student or exchange visitor visas are
issued and that students and exchange visitors, in fact, enroll in the
institutions and programs that formed the basis of their visa
When Must Officials Designated by Institutions and Programs Begin To
Will There Be a Phase-in Period?
ISEAS will be available to officials designated by institutions and
programs beginning September 11, 2002. These officials should begin
entering student and exchange visitor data into the ISEAS database on
that date. However, it will not be fully operational for an additional
thirty to sixty days after September 11. Therefore, during this phase-
in and testing period, entry of data into ISEAS may not guarantee that
a consular officer will receive the data electronically. In view of
that fact and because no student or exchange visitor visas can be
issued on or after September 11 unless the Department receives
``electronic evidence of documentation of the alien's acceptance,'' the
Department has devised back-up procedures to ensure that consular
officers receive timely electronic verification of enrollment from the
sponsoring institutions and programs during the first month or two
before ISEAS is fully operational.
Instructions have been sent to all consular posts advising consular
officers that if no data has been entered into or a consular officer
cannot access data from ISEAS, the officer must send an email inquiry
directly to the sponsoring institution or program office and request
email confirmation of the student's or exchange visitor's enrollment.
Our officers in many cases may be able to obtain email addresses using
internet search engines or from the visa applicant directly. The
Department also is creating lists of institutional and program web
pages, and will be available to assist consular officers in locating
email addresses. If a consular officer cannot obtain the electronic
verification directly, the Visa Office will seek to obtain it from the
sponsoring institution through the Department's internet or email
Thus, admissions offices of all institutions and the acceptance
offices of all exchange visitor program sponsors should be aware of the
despite the fact that they have entered student and program participant
information into ISEAS, they may receive direct email requests for
verification from consular officers or from the Visa Office if
enrollment cannot be verified through ISEAS. These offices should
respond promptly to any such request in order not to delay the issuance
of a visa to the student or exchange visitor.
The Department also is undertaking an extensive media campaign
targeted at institutions and programs that will inform them in detail
about the new requirements.
How Does the Transitional Program Work?
Aliens who wish to obtain visas to study or participate in an
exchange program in the United States must first apply to an
educational institution that has been approved by the INS or to a
program approved by the Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural
Affairs. When a student or exchange visitor accepts an offer to study
or otherwise participate in an exchange program, the approved
institution or program must complete the appropriate form for that
institution or program. Academic or language institutions must complete
the Form I20A-B, ``Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1)
Student Status.'' Vocational schools must complete the Form I-20M-N,
``Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status.''
Designated exchange visitor program sponsors must complete the Form DS-
2019, ``Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.''
Section 501(c) requires the approved institution or program to
electronically transmit evidence of the student's or exchange visitor's
acceptance to the Department. An official designated by an approved
institution or program must enter certain information from the Forms I-
20A-B, I-20M-N or DS-2019 into the ISEAS database. Consular officers
may not issue an F-1, M-1, or J-1 visa unless they have received and
reviewed the electronic acceptance data submitted by the approved
institution or program. The Department, in turn, must notify the INS
upon issuance of an F-1, M-1, or J-1 visa.
The fact that section 501(c) provides that a consular officer may
not issue an F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa until the official designated by a
school or program enters the appropriate information into ISEAS means
that an alien already enrolled in a school or exchange program whose
visa expires may not obtain a new visa until the designated official
makes the ISEAS entries. Therefore, ISEAS requirements do not apply
only to new school and program enrollees. They apply to all principal
aliens seeking student and exchange visitor visas after September 11,
2002, whether or not a visa was previously issued to that student or
exchange visitor for the same program.
Section 501(c) also requires the INS is to notify the approved
institution at the time of the student's or the exchange visitor's
admission to the United States. If the student or exchange visitor
fails to register for classes or an exchange program, the approved
institution must notify the INS of such failure no later than 30 days
after the deadline for registration has passed.
How Will Approved Institutions and Programs Transmit Student Acceptance
Documentation to the Department?
An official designated by an approved institution or exchange
visitor program can enter student or exchange visitor acceptance
documentation for transmission to the Department by going to the State
Department web page, www.iseas.state.gov. The official of the approved
institution or program will follow instructions contained on the web
page for entering student or exchange visitor identification data.
ISEAS checks the list of approved institutions and exchange visitor
programs against the identification data entered by the institution or
program to determine if the institution or program is on the INS or
State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs approved
list, as appropriate. Once ISEAS confirms that the institution or
program is on one of the approved lists, an official designated by the
approved institution or program will enter into the database certain
student or exchange visitor data contained in the forms I-20, IAP-66 or
DS-2019. After each record is entered into the ISEAS database, ISEAS
will return a confirmation number. The institution or program sponsor
user must download and retain the ISEAS confirmation number as part of
the institution's or program sponsor's student or exchange visitor
How Is the Department Amending Its Regulations?
The Department is amending its regulations at 22 CFR 41.61 and
41.62 regarding students and exchange visitors by adding the
requirement that approved institutions or program sponsors transmit
electronic evidence of the foreign student's or exchange visitor's
acceptance documentation to the Department. An F-1, M-1, or J-1 visa
may not be issued unless a consular officer has received and reviewed
the student or exchange visitor acceptance documentation.
Regulatory Analysis and Notices
Administrative Procedure Act
The Department's implementation of this regulation as an interim
rule with request for comments is based upon the ``good cause''
exceptions found at 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d)(3). The Border Security Act
requires that the transitional program be operational no later than
September 11, 2002. Considerable time was required to develop a program
to implement Section 501(c) of the Border Security Act. The Department
has determined that there is insufficient additional time to issue a
proposed rule with a request for comments, given the need to promulgate
regulations in compliance with the statutory deadline of September 11,
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Department, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act
(5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed this regulation and, by approving it,
certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on
a substantial number of entities.
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 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
The Department of State does not consider this rule to be a
``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, section
3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review. In addition, the Department is
exempt from Executive
Order 12866 except to the extent that it is promulgating regulations in
conjunction with a domestic agency that are significant regulatory
actions. The Department has nevertheless reviewed the regulation to
ensure its consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles
set forth in that Executive Order.
Executive Order 13132
This regulation 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 require consultations or warrant
the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.
Paperwork Reduction Act
This rule does not impose any new reporting or record-keeping
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Chapter
List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 41
Aliens, Nonimmigrants, Passports and visas.
Accordingly, for the reasons discussed in the preamble, 22 CFR part
41 is amended as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 41 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1104; Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 et
2. Amend Sec. 41.61 by revising paragraph (b)(1)(i) and by adding
paragraph (d) to read as follows:
Sec. 41.61 Students--academic and nonacademic.
* * * * *
(b) * * *
(1) * * *
(i) The alien has been accepted for attendance solely for the
purpose of pursuing a full course of study in an academic institution
approved by the Attorney General for foreign students under INA
101(a)(15)(F)(i) or a nonacademic student institution approved under
INA 101(a)(15)(M)(i), as evidenced by submission of a Form I-20A-B,
Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status--For
Academic and Language Students, or Form I-20M-N, Certificate of
Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status--For Vocational
Students, properly completed and signed by the alien and a designated
school official, and the Department also has received from an official
designated by the academic or nonacademic institution electronic
evidence documenting the student's acceptance as provided in paragraph
(d) of this section;
* * * * *
(d) Electronic submission. A student's acceptance documentation
must be submitted to the Department via the State Department's WEB page
at http://www.iseas.state.gov. An official designated by an approved
Academic, Language or Vocational school must follow the instructions in
the electronic submission process, which include the requirement to
enter data from the I-20A-B or the I-20M-N into the ISEAS database and
download a copy of the confirmation number issued by ISEAS after each
student record is successfully stored. The approved Academic, Language
or Vocational school shall retain the ISEAS confirmation number as part
of that institution's student data.
3. Amend Sec. 41.62 by revising paragraph (a)(1) and adding
paragraph (a)(5) to read as follows:
Sec. 41.62 Exchange visitors.
(a) * * *
(1) Has been accepted to participate, and intends to participate,
in an exchange visitor program designated by the Department of State,
as evidenced by the presentation of a properly executed Form IAP-66 or
DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for exchange visitor status, and
the Department has received from an official designated by the exchange
visitor program electronic evidence documenting the student's
acceptance as provided in paragraph (a)(5) of this section;
* * * * *
(5) Electronic submission. An exchange visitor's acceptance
documentation must be submitted to the Department via the State
Department's WEB page at http://www.iseas.state.gov. The designated
official from the approved exchange program will follow the
instructions in the electronic submission process, which include the
requirement to enter data from the previously issued IAP-66 or the DS-
2019 into the ISEAS database and download a copy of the confirmation
number issued by ISEAS after each student or exchange visitor record is
successfully stored. The Exchange program is responsible for retaining
the ISEAS confirmation number as part of that program's student or
exchange visitor data.
* * * * *
Dated: September 6, 2002.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 02-23625 Filed 9-17-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-06-P
Share this page
Bookmark this page
The leading immigration law publisher - over 50000 pages of free information!
© Copyright 1995- American Immigration LLC, ILW.COM