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Tufts University has three international offices whose mission is to help foreign students and research scholars during their stay at Tufts and to assist them with immigration matters. The international offices at Tufts serve a broad constituency. Therefore, for the purposes of this summary, the name, Tufts, will be used to refer to ALL of the schools and programs at Tufts University as well as other affiliated hospitals and programs. The term, student, will refer to both undergraduate/graduate level students on either F or J visa status. Research scholar, will refer to anyone on a J-1 visa for the purpose of research or teaching.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created this internet-based system in order to maintain current information on non-immigrant students and J exchange visitors (J students and J research scholars) and their dependents (all those with either F, M or J visa status). SEVIS will track F, M and J visa holders from the time they receive their visa documents (Form I-20 or Form DS-2019) until they complete their programs. Under SEVIS, universities are required to provide regular electronic reports to the DHS. SEVIS will link with colleges and universities, US embassies and consulates, U.S. ports of entry, the Department of State, and exchange visitor programs.

Is SEVIS new?

Yes and no. The requirement that schools provide the federal government with information about each studentís or research scholarís status is not new. Most of the information that will be reported to SEVIS has been required by the DHS for many years. But the existing paper-based system precluded widespread coordination among schools and governmental agencies. In 1996, Congress passed legislation directing the DHS to move to an electronic data collection system. This program came to be known as SEVISóthe Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Technical challenges and lack of funding delayed the program for several years. However, in October 2001, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act that authorized additional SEVIS funding and required nationwide compliance by January 30, 2003.

Tufts University, Student Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

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