The Immigration Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) recently announced that it is postponing the commencement of the SEVIS recertification process. SEVP previously announced that the recertification process would begin in January 2009. SEVP is mandated by Congress to reevaluate schools through the recertification process to determine whether or not they continue to meet the requirements to admit F, M or J students or exchange visitors.
SEVP stated that it is delaying the recertification process for three reasons. First, SEVP stated that it has received an “overwhelming number” of update requests in recent months from institutions preparing for recertification. SEVP stated that by delaying the recertification process, it will permit additional time for all institutions to update their SEVIS records. Second, SEVP stated that the postponement will better equip SEVP to ensure a complete migration of accurate critical data elements in SEVIS I to the new SEVIS II which is supposed to be introduced later this year. Third, SEVP stated that it would like to allow further discussions with the academic community regarding recertification and refinement of other key topics, such as the definition of instructional sites.
Although not stated by SEVP in its announcement, it is believed that recertification has also been postponed in order to allow the new leadership in both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE to review the current structure of SEVP and how it planned on implementing the recertification process. Therefore, it is believed that the earliest that SEVP will commence the recertification process will be during Summer 2009. However, SEVP has not provided any official timeline about when it will commence the recertification process.
Finally, SEVP has established a SEVP Response Center (SRC) which is staffed by three SEVP representatives. The SRC representatives may be contacted at 703-603-3400. SEVP stated that it would like to establish a toll free number for the SRC but has not yet been able to do so. SEVP did not state that schools should first use the SEVIS Help Desk before contacting the SRC. SEVP also did not explain the difference between the SEVIS Help Desk and the SRC