Dec 10, 2023  
2021-2022 International Student Handbook 
2021-2022 International Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



What is SEVIS?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-based system that the United States (US) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information regarding:

  • Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools.

    • F-1 and M-1 students studying in the US (and their F-2 and M-2 dependents).

      • Please note M visas are for vocational programs, which are not offered at Florida Poly, so the M visa will not be referenced hereafter.

  • US Department of State (DoS)-designated Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) sponsors.

    • J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program participants (and their J-2 dependents).

On behalf of the DHS, SEVP manages SEVIS, and Designated School Officials (DSOs) must monitor and report F students’ status in this system.

The system is a critical tool in SEVP’s mission to protect national security while supporting the legal entry and stay of the more than one million F and J nonimmigrants coming to the US for educational and cultural exchange programs.

What does SEVIS do?

  • SEVIS maintains the records of nonimmigrant admissions and continued participation in these educational programs by tracking and monitoring students’ statuses:

    • F status is awarded to international students accepted into SEVP-certified schools. 

    • J status is awarded to international students accepted into DoS-verified EVP.

  • SEVIS enables SEVP to ensure proper reporting and record-keeping by SEVP-certified schools and EVPs, ensuring data currency and integrity.
  • SEVIS also provides a mechanism for identifying student and exchange visitor status violators; if this occurs, the appropriate enforcement is taken (i.e., denial of admission, denial of benefits, or removal from the US).

SEVIS Violations

If you are an F or J student, you must remain compliant with immigration and university regulations.

The International Student Compliance & Records Specialist in the University Registrar’s Office provides information and services to ensure that you are aware of these requirements and remain compliant.

Maintaining contact with and reading your university student email regularly throughout your time here will help ensure you stay in status.

If you are not compliant with regulations, we may be forced by law to terminate your SEVIS record.

  • Termination of a SEVIS record is severe and can have many negative consequences for you.

  • It can end your ability to stay in the US, attend school, and apply for work authorization. 

  • SEVIS termination means that you are not in legal status (“out of status”) according to the DHS.

  • Staying in the US beyond your allowable grace period is also a violation of F-1 regulations.

Important Concepts

  • Unlawful Presence: The period when you are in the US without being admitted or paroled or when you are not in a “period of stay authorized by the secretary.”

    • If your SEVIS record (or I-20) is terminated OR you overstay your grace period, you could be accruing unlawful presence. 

    • This can lead to arrest and deportation proceedings.

    • Accruing an unlawful presence may result in being barred from the US for many years or even permanently.

  • Barred from Entry: Being banned from the US means that you cannot enter the US in any immigration status for a specified length of time.

    • You can receive a 3-year or 10-year bar from the US if you have more than 180 days or one year of unlawful presence, respectively.

  • Accrual of Unlawful Presence: This means you accumulate or grow days of unlawful presence every day beyond your status violation or end of your lawful grace period.

Reasons for SEVIS Termination

  • Unauthorized employment (employment without advanced authorization from ISS or USCIS).

  • Unauthorized withdrawal from classes (dropping all your classes without advance permission from ISS).

  • Unauthorized drop below the entire course of study (dropping below full-time enrollment without advance authorization from ISS).

  • Expulsion and suspension.

  • Failure to enroll in classes.

  • Enrollment in too many online classes.

  • Failure to report OPT employment (automatic action by SEVIS, the database that produces your I-20).

  • Accrual of 90 days of unemployment while on OPT (automatic action by SEVIS, the database that produces your I-20).

In most cases, the termination of your SEVIS record means that you must make plans to depart from the US immediately; this means there is no grace period after termination. Days of unlawful presence begin when your SEVIS record is terminated unless ISS has indicated a grace period for departure from the US. Staying after any grace period will also result in days of unlawful presence.

If you have an F-2 spouse or children, they will also begin accruing days of unlawful presence if your SEVIS record is terminated. F-2 dependents can also violate status separately from your F-1 group. This will also result in your dependents accruing days of unlawful presence and perhaps being barred from entry to the US.

The Best Ways to Ensure That You Stay in Legal Status 

  • Check your university student email at least once per day.

  • Always stay enrolled full time.

  • Contact ISS before you drop any courses.

  • Do not break any university rules or US laws.

  • Only work with proper authorization.

  • Do not let your I-20 expire.

Please see the SEVIS Termination Guide for more information and if you are or are in jeopardy of being out of status, contact us immediately to learn about your options.