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INS News Release

September 25, 2002

INS Issues Certification Rule for SEVIS Enrollment
All schools must enroll in SEVIS by January 30, 2003. Schools wishing to accept
new students are strongly encouraged to submit Form I-17 in SEVIS by November 15, 2002.

WASHINGTON –The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is immediately implementing regulations governing the review and certification of schools for enrollment in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). With a 60-day public comment period, this interim rule takes effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register today.

This rule implements Phase II of the transition to SEVIS and provides that all schools not already approved to use SEVIS, including a school that would have been eligible for preliminary enrollment but did not enroll, must undergo a certification review. Phase I enrollment or preliminary enrollment allowed schools that had been INS-certified for at least three years and were accredited by the Department of Education to enroll without paying the certification fee and in advance of a full review. Preliminary enrollment began on July 1, 2002 and ended with the publishing of this rule. The rule’s major requirements include:

  • All schools currently approved for attendance by nonimmigrants are required to apply for INS review for continuation of approval and access to SEVIS no later than January 30, 2003. The present approval of any school that has not filed for enrollment in SEVIS by January 30, 2003 will automatically be withdrawn on January 31 and the school will not be allowed to accept foreign students.
  • Schools must electronically complete a Form I-17 (Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student) in SEVIS and submit a certification fee of $580 at least 75 days (by November 15, 2002) prior to January 30, 2003. Any school wishing to admit new foreign students or issue new forms for existing students must be using SEVIS by January 30, 2003. Schools that file petitions in less than 75 days (after November 15, 2002) may hamper the review process, delaying their approval and ability to electronically submit data on new students.
  • Schools that were approved for preliminary enrollment by the INS must complete the certification review process, including required fee, prior to May 14, 2004.
  • The INS will review the approval of a school every two years.

"We have made significant progress in getting SEVIS up and running since the opening of the preliminary period on July 1,” said INS Commissioner James Ziglar. “This highly anticipated rule will pick up where the preliminary enrollment ended, greatly assisting INS as it works to enroll bona fide schools in SEVIS."

SEVIS is an Internet-based computer system that will enable schools and program sponsors to transmit electronic information and event notifications to INS and the Department of State throughout the stay of a foreign or exchange student in the United States. To date, 2,163 schools are currently in various stages of SEVIS while 483 are awaiting approval to use the system.