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The SEVIS Status Verification at Ports of Entry

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  • The SEVIS Status Verification at Ports of Entry

    imagesCATDQ037.jpgThe SEVIS Status Verification at Ports of Entry

    Summary

    Based on news accounts, and preliminary contact with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it appears that DHS is instituting an interim policy of referring arriving F, M, and J nonimmigrants to secondary inspection, to ensure that individuals whose SEVIS records have been terminated are not readmitted without a thorough review of the students’ situation.

    This is an evolving issue. NAFSA is in contact with the relevant DHS components to verify the details of the procedures, and will update this page as more information becomes available.

    If you would like to tell NAFSA of specific experiences your students have had, log in to the NAFSA website and submit to NAFSA's

    Report and Issue in IssueNet.

    If you would like to talk with your colleagues about how they are responding to this on their campuses, log in to the NAFSA website and engage with them in NAFSA's International Student Advising Forum (ISTA).

    Background

    Current law requires all arriving travelers to be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry (POE) before being admitted to the United States.

    Immigration inspection at a POE consists of two inspections levels: primary and secondary. All arriving visitors pass through primary inspection, where a CBP inspector determines admissibility to the United States by reviewing the results of government database queries, examining travel documents, and conducting a brief interview. If the CBP officer at primary determines that there are no admissibility issues, and any other issues that might have arisen are successfully resolved, then the traveler will be admitted to the United States and permitted to proceed to collect their baggage.

    If the CBP inspector cannot determine admissibility in the limited time available in primary inspection, the arriving visitor is referred to secondary inspection, where other CBP officers can take more time to investigate, perform additional information system queries, more thoroughly examine documents, and interview the traveler in greater detail, without delaying the flow of travelers in the primary inspection area. http://www.greencardapply.com/news/n...ews13_0517.htm

    In the case of individuals tracked in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the status of the traveler's SEVIS record is relevant to CBP’s decision regarding admissibility to the United States. CBP would ideally be able to see in primary inspection whether a traveler's SEVIS record has been terminated, and if so, refer the traveler to secondary inspection where a thorough review of the case could be done to determine whether or not the SEVIS record termination is an accurate indication of the traveler's current status and admissibility.

    Although SEVIS is updated with record terminations in real-time, the “lookout” that should be generated in CBP systems as a result of the termination may not be immediately available to CBP systems, and in most cases the workstations in primary inspection do not have direct access to SEVIS itself. DHS plans to bridge this gap by better integrating its information systems, and providing all CBP inspectors with access to SEVIS data. In the meantime, based on news accounts and preliminary contact with DHS, it appears that DHS has instituted an interim policy of referring all arriving F, M, and J students, including students who have never had a SEVIS record termination, to secondary inspection where SEVIS can be accessed, to ensure that individuals whose SEVIS records have been terminated are not readmitted without a thorough review of the students’ situation.

    NAFSA has inquired with the relevant DHS components to verify the details of the procedures, and will update this page as more information becomes available.
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