The University of MichiganNews & Information services
The University Record Online
search Updated 1:00 PM December 20, 2002



news briefs


UM employment

police beat
regents round-up
research reporter


Advertise with Record

contact us

contact us
Preparations for implementing SEVIS are progressing

The federal government recently enacted legislation to implement the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is an Internet-based system through which universities and colleges are required to maintain and report information to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Secretary of State regarding people on F (academic students) and J (exchange visitors and other visitors and scholars) visas, as well as their accompanying dependents. The system is intended to improve oversight of student and scholar visa programs and to identify those who are not in compliance with the terms under which their visa has been issued. About 5,000 U-M students and scholars, and approximately 2,000 dependents, will be affected by this new legislation and SEVIS.

The first implementation deadline for SEVIS is Jan. 30. By this date, the University will be required to use SEVIS to issue I-20s (for F-1 and F-2 visas) for all newly admitted international students and DS-2019s (for J-1 and J-2 visas) for newly invited University-sponsored visiting scholars and students, and to confirm through SEVIS when these persons arrive on campus. The University also must provide reports through SEVIS each term on the registration status and other information for all international students, scholars and dependents. Although the system for reporting information to INS will be different, the information reported primarily will be the same as in the past. SEVIS will allow information to be transmitted to INS more quickly than in the current paper format, and information will be more readily available for sharing electronically to authorized entities than it has been in the past.

In order to prepare the University to comply with the new legislation, Provost Paul N. Courant appointed a steering committee to oversee the development of business processes and software solutions to ensure that SEVIS reporting will be done efficiently and accurately. Committee co-chairs are Rudie Altamirano, director of the International Center, and John Godfrey, assistant dean for International Education at the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Members include Karen Kuffner (Michigan Administrative Information Services); Paul Robinson (Registrar); Donica Varner (Office of the General Counsel); and Monique Washington (Rackham Admissions, Records and Dissertations).

"The provost emphasized the importance of ensuring that the University develop procedures that allow us to comply fully with SEVIS reporting requirements," Godfrey says, "and one that safeguards against mistakes that could affect the visa status of our students and visitors."

Godfrey says a great deal of planning and work continues to take place with the various stakeholders at the University. The steering committee is collaborating with the Flint and Dearborn campuses to assist them in developing their own SEVIS programs. While assuming responsibility for their SEVIS document processing represents a change on those campuses, Rackham's involvement in the admissions process will continue as in the past.

In addition to visa information and registration status reports, the University also will be required to provide regular updates through SEVIS when a variety of events occur that may affect the visa status of students and visitors. These can include a student's change in enrollment status, change in course of study and change of address. The M-Pathways Student Administration system provides a centralized means for gathering this information and reporting to INS. INS will require the University to report on impacted current students and visitors by fall 2003.

The International Center will play a lead role in providing reports through SEVIS. Altamirano, as director, is the University's primary designated school official to INS. As such, he is solely authorized to give final review and to submit reports to SEVIS. In addition, the University will have a limited number of designated school officials who will be authorized to review, approve or reject the input of or changes to SEVIS information.

Detailed and accurate dissemination of information about the new regulations is essential, and international students and scholars are advised to contact the International Center directly with questions regarding immigration issues. "The International Center has always served as an advocate for our international students and visitors," Altamirano says. "Our role is expanding now to advocate for and educate our students about the new SEVIS rules and regulations."

Information is being prepared that will help faculty and administrators deal with the new practices and procedures, and it will be available shortly on the Web sites for the International Center (, Rackham (, the Office of the General Counsel ( and the Office of the Registrar ( The Undergraduate Admissions Web site ( provides a link to the International Center Web site. In addition, admitting offices will receive information and training about SEVIS in December and early January, and the International Center will host information sessions for international students, scholars and administrators.

More stories