The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, known as SEVIS, is a real-time electronic system used to maintain records for individuals in F or J status. Every F-1 student and J-1 exchange visitor has a unique SEVIS record. This record was created by the ISSO prior to issuing your immigration document. You can find your SEVIS number in the upper right corner of your immigration document.

The SEVIS system allows BU to provide up-to-date information to related government agencies regarding your program at BU, as required by regulations regarding the sponsorship of F students and J exchange visitors. Any time we update or extend your program or issue a document, it’s done through SEVIS.

Immigration regulations pertaining to SEVIS records require:

  • New F-1 students, J-1 exchange visitors, and F-2 and J-2 dependents to complete Initial ISSO check-in remotely through the by answering a few questions and uploading copies of their immigration documents within 15 days after their arrival in the US or the start date of their academic program.
  • All continuing F-1 students to register for classes each semester so that the ISSO can report the student’s continued attendance to the US Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS.
  • The ISSO to keep updated records on each student and exchange visitor within the SEVIS database (see list of reportable events below).

Reportable Events in SEVIS

What does BU report to the government? Only the information required by federal law. This includes all data fields listed on your immigration document (I-20 or DS-19), including your personal information, information about your program or affiliation at BU, information about accompanying dependents, and financial information.

BU is also required to report information on academic, disciplinary, or other events that affect the nonimmigrant status of a student or exchange visitor.

For F-1 students, these reportable events include, but are not limited to:

  • Registration/enrollment each school term
  • Leaves of absence, suspensions, or withdrawals from school
  • Authorized and unauthorized drops below a “full course of study”, as defined by USCIS regulations
  • Employment off campus
  • US residential address changes
  • Changes in major, program of study, or expected completion date
  • Transfer to a new college or to a new degree level
  • Periods of authorized and unauthorized employment
  • Termination of F-1 status due to degree completion, change of status, failure to maintain status, or other reason

For J-1 visa holders, reportable actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Extensions
  • Changes of status
  • Replacement of a lost form
  • Amendments and corrections
  • Change in school or sponsor
  • Completion of studies or participation in an exchange program
  • Change in funding

Incoming F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors must pay a SEVIS fee prior to obtaining the appropriate visa and entering the US for the first time in this status. Additional SEVIS information can be found on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) website.