SEVIS Narrated Training New Users (Part 1)

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Welcome to the SEVIS Training for new sponsor officials. If you recently became a Responsible Officer or an Alternate Responsible Officer, this training is for you. It is designed to facilitate your understanding of SEVIS in regards to the maintenance and management of the J-1 program information at your organization and your exchange visitor and spouse/dependent records.

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Three presentations have been developed. Included in this presentation (Part I), we will describe data related to both the Program Information and Exchange Visitor Information page. We will also explain the stages exchange visitors go through during their stay in the United States on the J-1 visa, and how their SEVIS records are affected. And finally, we will show how to create an exchange visitor record. The second presentation (or Part II) will begin with describing how to maintain records that have already been created. This includes looking at records in both Initial and Active status, and the actions associated with each status. And finally, in the third presentation, (Part III), we will introduce useful features for finding records, such as Alerts, Search, and Lists. We will also show Reports and the Download feature. We will talk about other systems that interface with SEVIS, and finally, we will talk about account maintenance rules and resources to get additional information.

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Disclaimer: This presentation provides guidance for using SEVIS. It does not replace the Exchange Visitor Program regulations found in 22 CFR Part 62. To obtain administrative guidance on the Exchange Visitor Program, the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, or program or exchange visitor issues and concerns, contact the Department of State’s Office of Designation, Private Sector Exchange.

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Let’s talk about J-1 program information.

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The Responsible Officer and Alternate Responsible Officer must maintain information about their J-1 program, including its mailing and business addresses, information about the CEO and sponsor officials. Additionally, an RO or an ARO may submit requests to the Department of State for review, such as amendment, redesignation, requests for additional Forms DS-2019, or a change to the name of the sponsoring organization.

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Program information is accessed by clicking the link with the program name on the Listing of Programs page.

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This is the Program Information page, where the user can view and manage program information. The top of the page shows the Program Number, Status and Next User Verification Date. Organization information and the Approved Categories are displayed in the center of the page. You can see how many Forms DS-2019 are remaining and the Annual Reporting Cycle. It can be Fiscal, Academic or Calendar. Information about the sponsor officials is at the bottom of the page. The menu on the left includes Actions, Edits, Lists/Reports and View. The link to Add/Update Officials is located in the Edits section. Clicking the link opens the Official Information page.

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The Official Information page opens and all officials associated with the program are listed. There are two ways to add an official: Add New Official is used to add an official that does not currently have access to SEVIS, or Add Existing Official, which is used to add an official that currently has a role in SEVIS as an RO, ARO, PDSO or DSO. First, let’s add an existing official by clicking the Add Existing Official link. The Add Existing Official page displays. Enter in the SEVIS user ID of the official and click the Add Official button. Information about the official displays. Review the information. If any information is changed, it will change for each school and program the official is affiliated with. If the user is a PDSO or DSO at a certified school, the request will be sent to the Department of State for review. If the official is a current RO or ARO, the official will immediately be added as an official to the program when the Add Official button is clicked.

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Now let’s add a new official by clicking the Add New Official link. The Add Official page displays. Enter in the required information and click the Add Official button. The addition of a new official requires review by the Department of State. On the Request Submitted page, click the Print DS-3037 button to open up a pdf of the Form DS-3037. The Form must be signed and documentation must be sent to the Department of State so that the review can be conducted.

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To make additional program updates, you must return to the Program Information page. One data element on this page is the date the program was last redesignated. To submit a redesignation application, click the Redesignation link.

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The Redesignation page displays. Enter data into the fields and click the Submit button. The application must be reviewed by the Department of State. Click the Print DS-3036 button to open a pdf of the Form DS-3036. The Form must be signed and submitted to the Department of State along with supporting documentation. A fee must also be paid before the application can be reviewed. You can pay the fee by accessing the website.

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From the Program Information Page, you can view program related events by clicking on the Event History link on the View menu.

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The Event History page displays. All the actions taken on a program will display with the most recent events at the top. Some events have a plus sign to the left of the event name. Clicking on the plus sign expands the event so the user can see the details related to the event. Click the minus button to collapse the event. The Expand All button expands all the events that can be expanded so the user does not have to click on each plus sign. The user can also search for events. Click the up and down arrows associated with the column heading to sort by that column.

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SEVIS will display alerts associated with actions that must be taken to maintain program information. Alerts will display before a redesignation application is due. An alert will also display when the number of Forms DS-2019 remaining is getting low as a reminder to submit a request for additional forms. There are alerts for the Annual Report as well. They will let you know that the report due date is approaching, and another will display if the report has not been received by the Department of State by the report due date.

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To access the Alerts, click the radio button next to the program name on the Listing of Programs page and click the Alerts button.

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Now let’s talk about exchange visitor information.

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Sponsor officials create and maintain records for exchange visitors and on their accompanying spouses and dependents. ROs or AROs must create Forms DS-2019 – Certificates of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, for the exchange visitors and their spouses and dependents by entering all required information into SEVIS. They must also maintain the records by updating them in a timely manner and recording any changes to their biographical information, U.S. addresses, sites of activity, and funding. Additional data is required for specific categories. Sometimes, exchange visitor program dates must be updated. SEVIS allows users to amend program, shorten program, or extend the program within maximum duration of participation. The status of the exchange visitor’s record changes throughout the program and must be updated in SEVIS. Some updates are allowed in the system immediately, and some require review by the Department of State. Such requests must be submitted through SEVIS.

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Let’s take a look at the lifecycle of an exchange visitor.

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Most exchange visitors follow the same lifecycle. When the RO or ARO obtains all required information about the prospective exchange visitor, he or she creates the Form DS-2019. The Form is then sent to the exchange visitor. The exchange visitor pays the SEVIS fee and then uses the Form to apply for a visa in his or her home country. After acquiring a visa, the exchange visitor enters the United States and begins participation in their program. Exchange visitors must report their physical address, email and phone number to the sponsor official. The sponsor official validates the exchange visitor record. The RO or ARO updates the exchange visitor’s information in SEVIS throughout the program. When the program ends, the exchange visitor departs the U.S. and returns to their home country.

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Now we will look at a timeline that demonstrates how various events affect the status of an exchange visitor’s record in SEVIS. External events, SEVIS events, and system, sponsor and exchange visitor actions will all be shown on the diagram. We will consider several possible scenarios a record can undergo and trace them on the diagram. In the first scenario, the exchange visitor’s program would follow the lifecycle outlined on the previous slide. When the record is being created, its status is Draft. Upon submission, the status changes to Initial. When the exchange visitor pays the I-901 fee, receives a J-1 visa or applies for Change of Status to J-1, enters the United States or is approved for a Change of Status to J-1 and reports to the program, the sponsor official validates the record, and its status changes to Active. It will remain Active throughout the duration of the program and changes to Inactive the day after the program end date. If the exchange visitor’s program will end more than 30 days before the Program End Date, the RO or ARO can shorten the program’s duration.

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Now, let’s consider possible deviations. If the Draft status record does not get submitted, the system automatically deletes the record 45 days after the record was last updated. The RO or ARO can also manually delete the record. If the exchange visitor’s record is not validated within 30 days of the Program Begin Date and there is no port of entry on the record, the status will be changed to Invalid. If the RO or ARO knows that the exchange visitor will not be participating in the program, they can cancel the record, which also changes the status of the record to Invalid. When there is Port of Entry data on the record, indicating that the exchange visitor entered the U.S., and the record is not validated within 30 days of the Program Begin Date, the system will automatically change the status to No Show. This can also be done manually by the RO or ARO. When the nonimmigrant’s class of admission changes from J, the system changes the status of the record to Inactive the day after the Benefit Start Date. When the exchange visitor transfers to another program, the record’s status becomes Transferred at the transfer-out program and the record becomes visible at the transfer-in program. The sponsor officials at the transfer-in program are now responsible for maintaining the record. If the exchange visitor violates the program regulations, the sponsor official can terminate the record. Changing the status to Terminated can have negative consequences for the non-immigrant.

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In summary, the status of an exchange visitor’s record normally changes from Draft (the record has not been submitted and does not have a SEVIS ID) to Initial (where the record has been submitted and assigned a SEVIS ID). At this point the allotment of Forms DS-2019 is decremented by 1. The status changes to Active when the record is validated. This will be the status of the record for the remainder of the participant’s program. The status changes to Inactive when the exchange visitor’s program ends either because the Program End Date was reached or the exchange visitor changed to another class of admission.

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Other statuses the record might have are:
  • Invalid – the status of a record will change to Invalid if the record has not been validated within 30 days of the Program Begin Date and does not have Port of Entry information, or has an approved change of status. At this point the allotment of Forms DS-2019 is incremented by 1.
  • No Show – the status of a record may change to No Show for a variety of reasons, depending on the current status of the record. If the record is in Initial status, the status change occurs when the record has not been validated within 30 days of the Program Begin Date and has either Port of Entry information or an approved change of status. If the record has an approved change of status, the status will change to No Show if the record has not been validated 30 days after the Benefit Start Date or the Program Begin Date, whichever is earlier. In a transfer situation, the status of the record will change to No Show if the record has not been validated within 30 days of the Effective Date of Transfer.
  • Terminated – an exchange visitor’s record will change to Terminated when the exchange visitor’s program was terminated by a sponsor official due to a negative reason.
  • And finally – Transferred, the status of the record will change to Transferred at both the transfer-in and transfer-out sponsor on the Effective Date of Transfer. The status will remain Transferred at the transfer-out program indefinitely. The status will change to Active at the transfer-in sponsor when the record is validated.

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Now let’s take a look at how to create a record for a new exchange visitor. The diagram shows how the system will navigate you through the creation process by highlighting the steps. We start by adding biographical information, entering contact and program information, then adding sites of activity. Spouse and or dependent information can then be added. The final page of the create process involves adding financial information. Finally, the record can be submitted when all required information has been entered.

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To start creating a new record, select the program on the Listing of Programs page, by clicking the associated radio button, and then click the New Exchange Visitor button.

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The first page contains biographical information fields. This is the top half of the page. The left side of the page contains the name fields and the right side of the page provides instructional text to help with populating the fields.

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The next part of the page contains the demographic fields. After entering the Birth Date, the system spells out the date and calculates the age as of the current date. There is a type-ahead feature for each of the country drop down lists. Begin typing letters into the field and the system will display the countries that match the letters that were entered.

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The last part of the Biographical Information page contains fields for the Foreign Address. Click the Save Draft DS-2019 button to save the record as a draft. This button displays at the bottom of each page in the create process. Once a record is saved, you can leave the create process and return to the record later if needed. Click the Next button to move to the next page in the process. The Next button also saves the date entered on the current page.

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The second page in the create process is the Contact and Program Information page. The top half of the page contains contact information. If the exchange visitor’s addresses in the United States are known, they can be entered at this time by clicking the Add Address link.

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The bottom half of the Contact and Program Information page contains the program fields. To enter a Subject/Field Description, click the Select button. Use the Search field on the Acceptable CIP Codes window to enter either text or a number to narrow down the list of CIP codes. Click the correct code. The subject/field code and description will display. If you know the code you want to enter, type it into the Subject/Field Description text box. There is no need to use the search feature if the code is known. The corresponding description will display below the code. Enter a Program Begin Date and a Program End Date. There is a Delete Draft button at the bottom of the page. Click this if you know that the record should be deleted. Click the Next button to open the Site of Activity Menu page.

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We will now add a site of activity. On the Site of Activity Menu page, click the Add Site of Activity button and the Add Site of Activity page will display.

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Enter the Site of Activity Name and Address and click the Submit button.

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The following are some rules about adding sites of activity:
  • at least one site of activity must be entered;
  • multiple sites of activity may be added for each exchange visitor;
  • the primary site of activity will print on the Form DS-2019.

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The Site of Activity Menu page displays all sites that have been added. We see that two sites have been added to this record. The first site entered is marked as the primary site of activity by default. To edit the information about a site, click the associated Edit link. To delete a site, click the associated Delete link. Click the Next button to continue.

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The next step is to enter information about spouse and/or dependents if any need to be added. Clicking the Next button will allow you to skip this page. In our case, the exchange visitor has dependents, so we will click the Add Spouse/Dependent button.

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The Add Spouse/Dependent page displays. On the top half of the page, enter the dependent’s name. Just like on the Biographical Information page, there is instructional text to the right of the name fields.

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On the second half of the page, enter the Birth Date and the age will be calculated. Indicate the gender and then choose the relationship to the exchange visitor – spouse or child. When all required data is entered, click the Submit button.

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Multiple dependents may be entered from the Exchange Visitor Spouse/Dependents Menu page by clicking the Add Spouse/Dependent button. Dependent information can be edited or deleted using the corresponding links. Click the Next button to continue to the next page.

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The final step of creating a record is to add financial information. No commas or decimal points are allowed in the dollar amount fields. Only digits are accepted. Remember to select whether the program has or has not received any U.S. government funding. The page will provide an indication of whether the system thinks the person is subject to 212(e), making the exchange visitor subject to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence requirement based on government funding. If government funding is not entered, the 212(e) indicator will display Not Subject. However, if government funding is entered, the 212(e) indicator will update to Government Financing. The Total Funding will update as funding amounts are added or removed. Click the Submit DS-2019 button to finish the process of creating the exchange visitor’s record. The status of the record is now Initial.

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The next page shows that records were successfully created for the exchange visitor, spouse and all dependents and a SEVIS ID was generated for each. The allotment of forms is decreased by one. The creation of spouse and dependent records does not affect the allotment. The SEVIS ID generated for each record is a link to the individual’s record. Click the Print Final DS-2019 button to generate a PDF file of the Forms for the exchange visitor and all spouse and dependents. The Forms open in a new browser window. Click the Create New Exchange Visitor button to go to the first page of the create new exchange visitor record process.

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Some exchange visitors are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence requirement, Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. They are subject based on: Government Funding, the category of Alien Physician or the Skills list. The skills list is not incorporated in SEVIS. Once SEVIS marks an exchange visitor as subject to 212(e), the indicator cannot be removed. The final decision on 212(e) is made by Consular Affairs. There will be an annotation on the nonimmigrant’s visa. If the J-1 is subject to 212(e), any associated spouse and dependents are also subject.

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We have shown the process of creating a record for an exchange visitor. This process is the same for most categories but there is additional data collected for certain categories. This table lists the additional fields for those specific categories. If you are creating a record for an exchange visitor with the category of Intern, Trainee or Student Intern, the additional fields for the creation of the Form DS-7002 will be collected at the same time as those for the DS-2019.

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This is the end of Part I. Watch and listen to Part II to learn about maintaining exchange visitor records. Watch and listen to Part III to learn about other available features in SEVIS.