S. SEVIS: Stay in Status and Stay in Touch

SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System) is the government database tracking system that requires GSSS to report specific events in the lives of all international students on a regular, frequent, and ongoing basis.  Due to this close tracking, it is vital that you stay in status by following all nonimmigrant regulations and stay in touch with your immigration advisor so that you can avoid accidental violations.   

  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 is issued using the SEVIS system and your SEVIS record is “real time” information regarding your status (like a snapshot of that moment). 
  • SEVIS deadlines are based on specific dates, and are automatic and inflexible. In many cases, SEVIS prevents certain actions (like extensions) if they are submitted even a single day late.Talk to your immigration advisor early and often, and know that the deadlines are firm. 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. GSSS makes every attempt to communicate changes to students.However, it is your responsibility to know immigration 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. 
  • Read your student email ( every day.This is where formal immigration notifications will be sent to you.
    • If you get immigration information in your student email – READ IT. If you have any questions – come in and talk to your immigration advisor.

Dependents: F-2 and J-2 dependents (spouses and children) have their own rules.

  • F-2 Status is for a spouse or child of the F-1 principal; J-2 status is for a spouse or child of J-1 principal Exchange Visitor.
  • Status for F-2s and J-2s is dependent on the F-1 or J-1 Exchange Visitor principal alien’s status –dependents are required to depart from the United States "upon the termination of the status of the principal alien” unless the F-1is applying for reinstatement.Dependents are subject to arrest, detention, and deportation based on the actions of their F or J – principal visa holder.
  • Study in F-2 status:
    • F-2 spouses may not engage in full-time study, but may enroll in classes or a degree program part time.
    • 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-1 visa abroad and re-entering in F-1 status.Contact an immigration advisor in GSSS for assistance and current information.
    • F-2 children may only engage in full-time study at the K-12 level (elementary and secondary).In Washington State, any child 8-18 years old must be enrolled in school by law (RCW 28A.225.010).
  • NO employment of any kind is ever allowed in F-2 status; this includes casual employment and working from home, even if the employer remains outside the U.S.F-2s may volunteer under some circumstances, but check with an immigration advisor first.
  • For additional dependent information for J-1 Exchange Visitor visa holders, please see a GSSS immigration advisor.
  • Note that universities are not permitted to issue I-20s or DS-2019s for any U.S. citizens, including U.S. born dependents of non-immigrants.Spouses and children with U.S. citizenship or dual citizenship should obtain U.S. passports and travel as U.S. citizens.