A new version of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is scheduled to release this spring. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a faction of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is developing the new release as part of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative to address visa overstays by F and M students and J exchange visitors. “Release 6.12” will enable better and more frequent data sharing between SEVIS and the Arrival Departure Information System (ADIS). As a result, SEVIS will now contain I-94 Arrival/Departure Record information, as well as passport information for students and exchange visitors who overstay their visas.

SEVIS is an internet-based system that was launched in 2002. The system allows DHS to track and monitor information related to SEVP-certified schools and international students in F and M status, along with their dependents. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) also uses SEVIS to access information related to DOS-designated visitor program sponsors and J-1 exchange visitors and their dependents. The new information-sharing technology of Release 6.12 will facilitate the efforts of both agencies with respect to overstays.

As part of the DHS initiative, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has also created a visa overstay working group to address the overstay of students and exchange visitors. The group will work towards creating a solution to facilitate the identification, location, and removal of students who overstay their status.

In light of these new initiatives, it is especially important for students and other nonimmigrant visa holders to maintain lawful status for the entire duration of stay in the United States. Overstaying a visa can not only jeopardize one’s eligibility for renewals and extensions, but may also negatively affect eligibility for permanent residence and other immigration options in the future.