S. Sevis: Stay in Status and Stay in Touch

  • SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System) is the government tracking system that requires OGI to report specific events in the lives of all international students via the Internet on a regular and frequent basis.  Due to this close tracking, it is vital that you stay in status by following all nonimmigrant regulations and stay in touch with the OGI so that you can avoid unintentional violations.Your I-20 or DS-2019 is issued via the SEVIS system, and your record is "real time" information regarding your status.
  • Be aware of any new federal regulations when they are released by the USCIS. New regulations and guidance  may dramatically change any of the above requirements or add others. OGI makes every attempt to communicate changes to students.  However, it is your responsibility to know your program requirements, by attending orientations, public information meetings on campus, following the EWU Global  website and Facebook page, and visiting the USCIS website, or the Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States website regularly.
  • Dependents: Note that spouses and children born in the US are not eligilbe for J-2 or F-2 status. They should obtain U.S. poassports and travel as U.S. citizens.
    • F-2 Status for spouse or child of the F-1 principal; J-2 status for spouse or child of J-1 principal.
    • Status for F-2s and J-2s is dependent on the F-1 or J-1 principal alien’s status –dependents are required to depart from the United States "upon the termination of the status of the principal … alien“ unless you are applying for reinstatement.
    • Study in F-2 status:
      • F-2 spouses may not engage in full-time study
      • If an adult F-2 wishes to engage in study full time, the F-2 must change status to F-1 through a change of status with USCIS or obtaining an F-2 visa abroad and reentering in F-2 status. Contact a DSO in OGI for assistance
      • F-2 children may only engage in full-time study at the K-12 level (elementary and secondary); by law in Washington state, any child 8-18 years old must be enrolled in school (RCW 28A.225.010).
    • NO employment of any kind is ever allowed in F-2 status; this includes working from home, even if the employer remains outside the U.S.
    • For additonal dependent information for J-1 visa holders, please see an OGI immigration advisor


What Happens if I Forget or Ignore the F-A-C-T-S and Violate my Nonimmigrant Status?

  • If you violate nonimmigrant visa regulations, you become subject to arrest, detention, and deportation.
  • You may become subject to “visa overstay” and “unlawful presence” provisions of U.S. law. See the chart below.
  • There will be a “flag” on future visa applications and applications to enter the U.S., even in a new legal status. This will follow you around for years, possibly forever.
  222(g) 212(a)(9)(B)

Visa Overstay; overstay

Cancellation of Visa

Visa Shopping

Unlawful presence

3- and 10- year bars
Triggers Entered on nonimmigrant visa and remained “beyond the period of stay authorized by the Attorney General”

Present “after the expiration of the period of stay authorized by the Attorney General”


Entered without being admitted or paroled


Remained unlawfully present for more than 180 consecutive days, and Departed as described above

Cancellation of visa

Permanently restricted to applying for visas in country of nationality

3-year bar to readmission if voluntarily departing between 180 days and 1 year of unlawful presence

10-year bar to readmission if departing after unlawful presence of 1 year or more
  • So what does that really mean if you’re “out of status”? 
    • You could be subject to arrest, detention, and even removal (also known as deportation). Contact an Immigration Advisor immediately if you are out of status.
    • Sometimes there is no solution, but sometimes OGI can help you resolve/correct the situation. Determining the next step to take depends on your specific circumstances. Discuss your options directly with OGI immigration advisors as soon as possible.
  • Potential Ways to Re-Establish Your Status:
    • F-1 Travel -- OGI issues a new, “initial” I-20, you pay a new SEVIS I-901 fee (currently $200), leave the U.S., and return.  This can be expensive and time consuming, especially if you need a visa. Your time "in status" starts again at zero when you return, so benefits like CPT, OPT, or Economic Hardship work authroization will not be available for a full academic year after you return. You may also face difficulties with Customs and Border Protection on any future attempt to re-enter the U.S> There is no guarantee that you will be allowed back in. 
    • F-1 Reinstatement -- for minor F-1 violations, reinstatement is adjudicated by USCIS.  Reinstatement requires a fee (currently $290) paid to the U.S. government, a new I-20 issued for reinstatement purposes, and takes about three months to get a decision.  Reinstatement is not an option if you have worked illegally or are otherwise deportable; there is also risk of a status violation being recorded on your record and subsequent consequences.
    • J-1 corrections -- Discuss with Koda Hendrickson. Technical and minor infractions can be corrected by .  A/RO within a certain time frame.  Other problems may require you to return home or apply to the Department of State for reinstatement.