New Rule Governing Foreign Student Reporting
As part of the ongoing effort to enhance the United States' Homeland Security, the Justice Department is proposing a new rule to implement significant changes in the means by which information about foreign students and exchange visitors is retained and reported.
The proposed rule will implement the usage of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is an internet-based system providing the government, educational institutions and exchange programs an automated means to exchange timely information about foreign students, exchange visitors and their dependents. The rule will specify that schools use SEVIS to issue documentation to students and report pertinent information to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
"In making these reforms, we remain committed to welcoming and accommodating those who come to America to study in our universities," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "Allowing foreign students to study here is one of the ways we convey our love of freedom to foreign students who will one day return to their countries and take on leadership positions. However, we can no longer allow our hospitality to be abused."
The new regulations will require schools to collect and report information on foreign students to the INS. The data that must be reported includes:
- A student's enrollment at the school;
- The start date of the student's next term or session;
- A student's failure to enroll;
- A student dropping below a full course of study without prior authorization;
- Any other failure to maintain status or complete the program;
- A change of the student's or dependent's legal name or address;
- Any disciplinary action taken by the school against the student as a result of the student being convicted of a crime; and
- A student's graduation prior to the program end date listed on the Form.
INS plans to begin implementation of SEVIS on a voluntary basis with institutions of learning on July 1, 2002. Under the proposed rule, participation will become mandatory by January 30, 2003.
SEVIS will require schools and exchange programs to transmit electronic information, via the Internet, to the INS and the State Department throughout a student's or exchange visitor's stay in the United States.
"Implementation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System is an invaluable asset enabling INS to better control and manage those foreign students and exchange visitors who wish to continue their education in the United States," said INS Commissioner James Ziglar. "SEVIS allows educational institutions and INS to strengthen our partnership by utilizing modern technology to speed the flow and increase the accuracy of the information we share."