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FAQ for DHS Certified Schools Impacted by Hurricane Katrina

This FAQ will be updated regularly as we are able to answer more questions. Please contact us at or at (202) 305-2346 if you have any questions we have not addressed.


1.1. Contact SEVP with information on your situation and needs

If you are associated with an impacted school, please contact us and let us know the situation at your school:

  • How best to communicate with you.
  • Any information you would like for us to post on our Web site.
  • Your schoolís plans for future operations and approximate timelines. We realize these plans may be evolving, so we would appreciate it if you send as much detail as you can and send updates as they develop.
  • If you plan to have a Fall term
  • If you cannot access SEVIS, please give us a point of contact we can use to coordinate transfers of students.

If you do not have answers for all these questions, please let us know what you can and get back to us when you have more information.

1.2. Accessing SEVIS

If you have no SEVIS access or limited access, please contact us so we can assist you. If you have access but need to add/change DSOs, let us know this as well.

1.3. Accounting for Students

We are maintaining a list of F and M students enrolled in the impacted schools.

If F or M students or other schools contact us, we will update the list. We need your help in keeping the list current. As you are able,please give us the name and SEVIS number (if easily available) or DOB (if the SEVIS number is not available) of students who have contacted you. If students are not in the local area, please get an address for them.

1.4. Course loads

We will be working with USCIS to develop some guidance on how to handle course load issues for impacted or affected students and schools and will keep you posted.


2.1. Accepting continuing students as transfers from impacted schools

While our normal practice is that schools must coordinate transfers, we realize that this is not possible or practical in all cases in this emergency situation.

If you have international students arriving from impacted schools who wish to transfer to your school, you may accept them if you are DHS certified. If you can, use the normal procedures to transfer the student. Both the user manual and the web-based training have instructions about how to transfer students in SEVIS.

If you cannot use the normal procedure, contact the SEVIS help desk at 1-800-892-4829 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. Open a help desk ticket. Ask that it be marked as a Hurricane Katrina ticket. Provide the studentís name, SEVIS number, and current school. If you do not have the studentís SEVIS number, we will need the studentís date of birth. SEVP will initiate the transfer. We will make every effort to coordinate with the transfer out school prior to transferring the studentís record.

Do not, in any case, create a new SEVIS record.

2.2. Accepting newly arrived students as transfers from impacted schools

While our normal practice is that a newly arrived student must report to the school on their initial Form I-20, this requirement is temporarily lifted for students that had intended to go to a school in the impacted area that is not operational.

Please use the process described above to transfer these students.

2.3. Other status related issues

We realize that additional questions will arise concerning course loads, employment, etc. We are coordinating answers to these questions and will post them as we resolve the issues. In the meantime, if you have any issues that need immediate answers or that you want to ensure we have identified, please contact us at or at (202) 305-2346.