CBP National issued a memorandum on May 2, 2013 instructing CBP officers at the ports of entry to verify that every international student arriving in the United States has a valid SEVIS record. This new procedure is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) initial security change directly related to the Boston terrorist bombings. The memorandum was released one day after DHS acknowledged that a student from Kazakhstan accused of hiding evidence from one of the Boston bombing suspects was allowed to return to the United States in January 2013 without a valid SEVIS record. Under the new procedures, CBP officers will verify the student’s status before the student arrives in the United States using information provided in the flight manifest through the APIS system which is part of the TECS system. However, currently, information from the SEVIS system is not integrated automatically into the TECS system. Therefore, until DHS is able to integrate the SEVIS system into the TECS system so that flight manifest information can be automatically cross-referenced against the SEVIS records and so that CBP officers have access to the SEVIS records in primary inspection, CBP officers will have to refer students to secondary inspection so that the students’ visa status may be manually checked against the SEVIS system. Therefore, students will have to plan to spend potentially a couple of hours in the secondary inspection process and plan flight connections accordingly. Additionally, students who have had their SEVIS records terminated and are traveling internationally in order to reinstate their records should be prepared to provide detailed information and evidence as to why their initial SEVIS record was terminated. Please note that this new procedure has already been applied to F and M nonimmigrant students and may be expanded to J students in the future.
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CBP National orders CBP ports of entry to verify that every international student has a valid SEVIS record
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