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What is SEVIS and what do I need to do with it?

By: Julia Rabin, Greenheart Exchange Cultural Outreach Assistant

As an Exchange Visitor in the United States, you are responsible for maintaining your visa status. Failure to do so may put your visa status in jeopardy. You can always find more detailed resources about how to maintain your visa in the Resources section of your online account (GEO)! These resources are provided to help you maintain a positive SEVIS status throughout your program and stay in compliance with the Department of State regulations. This is very important and crucial to your program!

What is the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a part of the National Security Investigations Division and acts as a bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on nonimmigrants whose primary reason for coming to the United States is to be students. Find more information about SEVP here. On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), SEVP manages schools, nonimmigrant students in the F and M visa classifications and their dependents. The Department of State (DoS) manages Exchange Visitor Programs, nonimmigrant exchange visitors in the J visa classification and their dependents. Both SEVP and DoS use the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to track and monitor schools; exchange visitor programs; and F, M, and J nonimmigrants while they visit the United States and participate in the U.S. education system.

What is SEVIS?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-accessible database for monitoring information about exchange visitors, international students and scholars subject to the Work and Travel program. It was originally established by the Department of Homeland Security and is administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). There are 5 different statuses with SEVIS, defined as follows:

  • INITIAL: Participant has not yet started the Work and Travel program. This status will remain until the participant is validated in SEVIS.
  • ACTIVE: Participant who has validated their program and has adhered to all Greenheart Exchange procedures.
  • NO SHOW: This participant is no longer sponsored by Greenheart Exchange because they failed to report their host organization and housing addresses on time. This may have a negative effect on the participant’s future chances of returning to the U.S., even if on a different visa.
  • INACTIVE: This participant is no longer sponsored by Greenheart Exchange. This status can mean that the program end date has passed, that the participant has received permission to leave the job before their Department of State end date to travel or to return home in case of an emergency. Further, an Inactive status signifies that the participant does not plan on working for the rest of the program. There are no negative consequences involved with this status. However, the participant will no longer be allowed to work and earn money.
  • TERMINATED: This pertains to participants who are no longer sponsored by Greenheart Exchange. This can be for numerous reasons but is usually because they were found guilty of a crime or they plead guilty to any criminal charges. Another common reason for program sponsorship termination is if the participant does not stay in contact with Greenheart Exchange (i.e. while on Additional Monitoring, not maintaining monthly check-ins, working for a non-verified host organization, working without a Self-Arranged Job Offer, or not updating SEVIS). A Terminated status may have a negative effect on the participant’s future chances of returning to the U.S. on any type of visa. When terminated, the participant is required to leave the U.S. immediately and is not eligible for a program refund.

What is expected of you?

During your Work and Travel program, you are responsible for staying in touch with Greenheart Exchange, as we are your visa sponsor. These responsibilities are not limited to solely validating your program in SEVIS, but other important program requirements as well!

This simple timeline will help you to plan out each step you need to take from the second you arrive in the U.S. to the moment you board the plane to go back to your home country.

  • Arrive in the United States: This typically happens before the DS-2019 Start Date. Once you arrive, contact Greenheart Exchange immediately to report your arrival. You must do this NO LATER THAN 3 days after the DS-2019 Start Date.
  • DS-2019 Start Date: Your program begins! You should have already reported your arrival in the United States to Greenheart Exchange and you should be ready to work at the job which you have agreed to before arrival and has been approved by Greenheart Exchange.
  • Validate your program in SEVIS: You must do this NO LATER THAN 7 days after the DS-2019 Start Date.
  • First Monthly Check-In Date: This must be done no later than 30 days after program validation. Log on to Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) and click on “Complete My Check-In Now”.
  • Second Monthly Check-in Date: No later than 30 days after your first check-in date. Log on to Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) and click on “Complete My Check-In Now”.
  • Third Monthly Check-in Date: No later than 30 days after your second check-in date. Log on to Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) and click on “Complete My Check-In Now”.
  • Fourth Monthly Check-in Date: No later than 30 days after your third check-in date. Log on to Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) and click on “Complete My Check-In Now”.
  • DS-2019 End Date: Your program officially ends! Contact Greenheart Exchange to report your departure flight information.

Excited for your Greenheart Exchange Work and Travel experience?! Make sure to read all of the resources available to you and understand the program requirements. We can’t wait to spend the program together!