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INS News Release on SEVIS, July 2, 2002

INS SEVIS Fact Sheet, July 2, 2002

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Student Visas

Students from other countries can come to the United States to begin and complete their course of study. The F visa category includes students from elementary school to college and beyond. It is not important what the level of education of a foreign student is for that student to get a successful admission to the F visa category. The F visa requires students to meet two special conditions. First, a foreign student must be enrolled in a full-time course of study, part-time study is not allowed. Second, foreign students must have enough money to support themselves while living in the United States.

Unlike other visas, The F visa category does not have a fixed time limit for a foreign student to stay in the United States. A foreign student with an F visa may continue his or her studies in the United States as long as the student remains "in status"; full time study, during any number of academic programs.

Due to the events of September 11, 2002, the INS has recently begun preliminary implementation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System ("SEVIS"). SEVIS is an Internet-based computer system that will enable schools and program sponsors to transmit electronic information and event notifications to INS and the Department of State throughout a foreign student’s or exchange visitor’s stay in the United States. If the student fails to attend class or withdraws from the full-time course of study, that also must be immediately logged into the new computer system so that INS will be aware that the individual is now out-of-status. This makes the participation of an experienced immigration attorney extremely important in order to make certain an F-1 visa will be issued to legitimate students.

Some students are permitted to work in certain situations both during their course of study and after graduation. This offers foreign students the opportunity for practical training up to one year. However, unauthorized employment may result in immigration proceedings, and the possibility of removal from the U.S. Although you will definitely need a lawyer in court, you would be considerably better off by checking with one before such a need arises.