This PowerPoint Presentation from the NAFSA 2008 Annual Conference Session SEVIS Q&A with SEVP includes the following highlights:


Recertification Proposed Rule

  • Fee/recertification rule is proposed and open for comment until June 20, 2008
  • Links to the rule on Web site at
  • First recertifications start April 2009
    • 2 year cycle to complete
    • At least 6 months notice

 Three parts to recertification review

  1. Remain a bona fide school
  2. Up-to-date, accurate I-17 information
  3. Complete, accurate, and timely student recordkeeping
    * No site visit; but schools with unresolved issues may be visited by a compliance team


 Prepare for Recertification

  • Keep Form I-17 updated
  • Keep student information in SEVIS current and accurate
  • Maintain student records

 During Recertification

  • Submit Form I-17 for recertification with any recent updates (if applicable)
  • Respond to any requests for student records
  • Respond to any RFE
    • Support Form I-17 updates
    • Explain anomalies in student records

Optional Practical Training

 Interim Final Rule

  • Part of President’s Policy Agenda
  • Fast-tracked
  • Effective April 8, 2008
  • Comment period until June 9, 2008
  • SEVP Policy Guidance available at

 OPT: Changes for All

  • May apply for post-completion OPT during grace period
  • Must file application with USCIS within 30 days of requesting a recommendation for OPT
  • Must specify pre or post completion OPT
  • 90 day limit on unemployment for post-completion OPT plus an added 30 days of unemployment for students with STEM extension

 OPT: Graduate students who have only thesis or dissertation remaining

    Pre-Completion OPT Post-Completion OPT
    • Unemployment is not counted
    • Allowed to work full-time
    • Cannot apply for STEM extension
    • No cap gap extension
    • May extend program if extra time is needed
    • Unemployment counts
    • Can work full-time
    • Can apply for STEM extension
    • Eligible for cap gap extension
    • Cannot extend program


OPT: 17-Month STEM Extension

  • Requirements
    • Student is on post-completion OPT for a STEM degree
    • Degree is on the STEM list
    • e-Verify employer
  • Employer reports to DSO
    • DSO updates SEVIS
    • In employer name field: Unemployed [date] per [employer name]
    • Not required to contact student

OPT: Cap Gap

  • Allows F-1 students who are the subject of an H-1b application to remain in the United States in past the expiration of their original F-1 status until Sep 30 unless the application is:
    • Rejected
    • Denied
    • Withdrawn
  • DSO Responsibilities
    • Check OPT end date in SEVIS
    • If more than 10 days in the future, wait
    • If less, ask for a data fix Print Form I-20 for student
  • Evidence needed (in order of preference)
    • If student has a receipt number, provide it
    • Wait list notice from USCIS naming the student (must be prior to July 28)
    • Letter from employer with delivery receipt to USCIS Service Center

SEVIS Updates

  • SCR to support rapid data fixes
  • Emergency release in July
  • Larger release in November – will add batch functionality