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Merida - NAFSA Region III

VIEWS: 13 PAGES: 17

									2008 NAFSA Region III
Meeting: Merida Update




         Cory Owen, International Student Advisor
         Rice University
         SEVIS Updates –Release 5.8 4/18/2008
         http://exchanges.state.gov/jexchanges/jexchanges/docs/release_notes/sevis_58_changes.pdf


Form I-20 Modifications. The Primary Major code and description will print for both F-1 and
    M-1 students on page 3. Pending status and current or future Approved status OPT
    Extensions will print for F-1 students in the Current Authorizations section on page 3.

OPT Extension. The PDSO/DSO may use a new Extend link to request a 17-month OPT
    Extension to an approved, post-completion OPT segment with the following required fields:
    Employer Name, Employer Address, and OPT Comments/Remarks.

Secondary Major and Minor. Both the Secondary Major and Minor fields will be required
    when creating or updating an F-1 student record via SEVIS RTI. If the F-1 student does not
    have a secondary major or minor, the school official will be provided the option of selecting
    None.

                          Out of Country for EVs in the Research Scholar and Professor
                          Categories. An RO/ARO will have the ability to enter information
                          concerning a Professor or Research Scholar whose exchange
                          activities require them to travel outside of the United States to
                          participate in collaborative research projects and/or associated
                          program activities for a period of time during their sponsorship. A
                          new link titled Create Out of Country will be available on the Exchange
                          Visitor Information screen.
   SEVIS Updates –Release 5.10 8/8/2008
   http://exchanges.state.gov/jexchanges/jexchanges/docs/release_notes/sevis_510_changes.pdf


Form I-20 Reprint Reason. A new Reprint Reason of “Updated” is available for F/M student
Reprint I-20 events. Therefore, the following new Reprint Code and corresponding Request Reprint
Reason has been added to the Student Reprint Codes lookup table.

OPT Requests. School users may request Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 students up to
and including 60 days beyond the Program End Date. To accommodate this enhancement, the following
current F/M Eligibility Processing Error Code and Description has been modified.

                             F-1 Student Change of Status Requests to H-1B. When an
                             Active status F-1 student record is updated by Computer Linked
                             Application Information Management System (CLAIMS) with a Pending
                             or Approved status Change of Status (COS) request to H-1B, the
                             following information prints on page 3 of the Form I-20:
                                   • Visa Type (i.e., H-1B)
                                   • Request Type (i.e., COS)
                                   • Request Status (i.e., Pending or Approved)
                                   • Receipt Number
                                   • Benefit Start Date (Note: Can be blank for Pending status
                                   requests)
                                   • System Comment (Note: This also displays on the Current
                                   Request/Authorization Details screen as well as with the COS
                                   request under Student Requests on the Student Information
                                   screen)
     SEVIS Updates –Release 6.0 2/20/2009
     http://www.nafsa.org/_/Document/_/sevis_release_6_0_system.pdf


17-Month OPT Extension. Schools may now submit 17-month Optional Practical Training (OPT)
    extensions via Batch for eligible F-1 students.
OPT 6 Month Reporting. Schools are required to report that an F-1 student with an Approved status
    OPT extension is participating in the employment segment. The reporting due dates are 6 months and
    12 months after the employment start date. The schools have two reporting periods; 15 days before
    plus 31 days after each reporting due date. If the school does not report that the student is participating
    in the OPT extension, or does not update the OPT extension information within the reporting period, the
    student’s status is automatically Terminated with a new reason of “Failure to Report while on OPT” 32
    days after the reporting due date. A new alert, Active Students Requiring OPT Reporting, lists the
    students who have not reported, or have not had any OPT extension information updated within each
    reporting period.
                             Pre-Completion/Post-Completion OPT Indicator. When adding
                             or editing an F-1 student OPT segment via Batch, schools must now identify
                             the OPT as either pre-completion or post-completion. If pre-completion is
                             selected, the OPT end date must be on or before the program end date; for
                             post-completion OPT, the OPT start date must be on or after the program
                             end date.
              SEVIS Updates –Release 6.0 (cont)
             http://www.nafsa.org/_/Document/_/sevis_release_6_0_system.pdf

OPT Statement on Dependent Form I-20. When printing a Form I-20 for a dependent whose
associated student has current or future OPT, the system now prints the following statement on page 3
of the Form I-20 and includes the student's request status and OPT dates: Associated principal OPT
Employment: [Request Status] [Employment Begin Date] - [Employment End Date].

Filed/Waitlisted Cap-Gap Extension Indicator. For F-1 students, who are on or after their
Program End Date, schools may indicate either of the following via Batch: Cap Gap Filed or Cap Gap
Waitlisted. A comment will be displayed on page 3 of Form I-20.

Deleting Employer Address. When editing a pending or approved OPT with a future end date,
the user may delete the employer address when a student is not employed.



                         Alternate Between Professor and Research Scholar. The
                         Responsible Officer (RO)/Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) may change
                         an EV's category from professor to research scholar or from research
                         scholar to professor without formal approval from the Department of State.
                         This change in category does not require the RO/ARO to print a new Form
                         DS-2019 for the EV and any associated dependents. The Department of
                         State (DoS) must have authorized the sponsor the use of both categories
                         (research scholar and professor) in order for the sponsor to be able to
                         facilitate a change of these categories on the EV’s SEVIS record. A change
                         in categories does not alter (extend) the EV’s current program duration.
          Changes in Visa Interviews in Mexico
Renewals of F, H, L, J, M, I, O, P and R visas are accepted, as long as original visa obtained in
   home country or at a border post “in the past few years”.

Requires Mexican Visa. Permits are no longer acceptable.

Applicant must speak English or Spanish. Interpreters not allowed.

“List of 26” Applicants can apply but are discouraged due to possible delays based on probable
     security checks. (The list includes males born in or citizen of: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain,
     Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya,
     Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia,
     possibly Turkey, UAE, and Yemen. List is secret!)

PLEASE NOTE: Consuls are sometimes cancelling existing visa(s) and confiscating I 94’s to
   prevent return to US while checks pending.

                                No to B-2 renewals

                                No B-2 or VWP change to any other category

                                No changed status in US change visa into a new category than old visa

                                No overstays

                                No “T-5” Applicants : Sudan, N. Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba

                                No if current visa was not obtained in home country (except border post).
         New SEVIS Fees in Effect

Rule is effective on October 27, 2008

Raises I-901 SEVIS fee for:
   F/M Students to $200 usd
   J Exchange Visitors to $180 usd




                   Information and fee payment can be made at:
                   http://www.fmjfee.com
                          Consequences of OPT
                          Reporting Requirements
If DSO recommends OPT, institution responsible for maintaining SEVIS record
     “DSO must ensure that the student is eligible for the given type and period of
     OPT and that the student is aware of his or her responsibilities for maintaining status while on OPT”

Remember that student may apply for “training directly related to the student’s major area of study”
   [8CFR214.2(f)(10)(ii)(A)(4)] so DSO should inform student
     “A DSO . . . is responsible for updating the student’s record to reflect these
     reported changes [“any change of name or address, or interruption of
     employment”] for the duration of the optional practical training”

                               Student on OPT “is required to report any change of name or address, or
                               interruption of employment to the DSO” within 10 days

                               SEVP considers this to include name/address/e-mail address of student;
                               name/address of employer

                                Students with 17-month STEM extension must make “validation report”
                               to DSO every 6 months during the extension period (10-day deadline)


                                 8CFR214.2(f)(11)(D)(ii), 8CFR214.2(f)(12)(i), 8CFR214.2(f)(12)(i) and
                                 8CFR214.2(f)(12)(ii)
                   Travel and New OPT Rule
To return to US while on initial OPT, student will need to provide: valid OPT card, endorsed I-20,
    employment letter, valid visa. If self employed not advisable to travel.

To return during a “cap gap” extension, student will need to provide the same as above, except card will
    be expired so they will need an endorsed “cap gap” I-20.

COS to H-1B will be considered abandoned if travel prior to approval. Once I-797 Approval is in hand,
   student may travel.

Applying for new F visa while on OPT is not advisable. Furthermore, applying for a visa during “cap
    gap” is not recommended since their OPT card will no longer be valid. In these cases, travel should
    be planned with the start date of the H-1B in mind.


                         If the student whose approved period of OPT has started travels outside of
                         the United States while unemployed, the time spent outside the United States
                         will count as unemployment against the 90/120-day limits.

                         If a student travels while employed (either during a period of leave authorized
                         by an employer or as part of their employment), the time spent outside the
                         United States will not count as unemployment.
                 Preparing for a Recertification
All DSO listings should be up to date    Website: www.ice.gov/sevis/recertification
                                         SEVIS.Source@dhs.gov or schoolcert.sevis@dhs.gov
All DSO contact information,
                                         (Subject: Recertification)
    especially email addresses,
    should be current and verified
                                         General questions: Email sevis.source@dhs.gov or
Ensure that any and all firewalls will   call (800) 561-5294 and press “0”
    not block email from SEVP
Verify that the school mailing address   School certification questions: Email
    in SEVIS is accurate                 schoolcert.SEVIS@dhs.gov
Audit student records for accuracy       or call (202) 305-2346
Watch for broadcast messages             or fax at (202) 353-3723

                                         Technical questions: Call the SEVIS HelpDesk at
                                         (800) 892-4829 between 8 AM and 8 PM, EST or email
                                         SEVIShelpdesk@eds.com (Subject: Urgent),

                                         Technical issues: Email Toolbox.SEVIS@dhs.gov

                                          I-901 fee questions:
                                         Check the web or email SEVP at
                                         fmjfee.SEVIS@dhs.gov or call the hotline at
                                         (314) 418-8833 (Country code 001)
Recertification Timeline

              Initial notice sent via email from SEVIS
 180
 days    {    @Alert appears in SEVIS
              Recertification petition function activated
              School able to submit recertification petition


 90
 days    {    2nd Notice sent via email
              School able to submit recertification petition


  60
  days   {    A Notice of Intent to Withdraw issued
              School able to submit recertification petition


  30
  days
         {    3rd Notice sent via email
              School able to submit recertification petition


  Exp.       { Automatic Withdrawal from SEVIS if petition is not submitted
  Date
                                   H-1Bs
“Cap-gap relief” and university H-1B petitions: While nothing in the regulations prohibiting this, it may be
    risky

Effective 10/1/08, you must be a “registered user” to submit LCAs

January 2009 DOL integrates ETA-9035 and ETA-9089 systems--expect LCA processing time to go from
    “instant” to 7 days

DOL proposed a rule that would shift responsibility for H-1B, H-1B1, E-3 and permanent labor certification
   prevailing wage determination responsibility from SWAs to DOL’s National Processing Centers in
   Chicago and Atlanta
                                Employers would file a PWD request directly with the National
                                Processing Center

                                  DOL indicates process will eventually be “performed electronically
                                  between
                                  the NPC and the employer” but “initially [will] be a manual paper
                                  process”

                                  Apparently employers would still be able to utilize other wage
                                  information,
                                  such as the OES and ACWIA databases, for LCAs

                                  This is just a proposed rule and not yet in effect
                        Petition Information
                    Management System (PIMS)
PIMS is a Consolidated Consular Database (CCD) report to provide posts with official, inter-agency,
   notification of H, L, O, P, Q petition approvals

INTENDED to end consular posts' reliance on paper USCIS approval notices supplied by visa
   applicants and enhances fraud detection

Post must confirm petition approval in PIMS before issuing visa based on it

USCIS sends to DOS Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) a duplicate petition and exhibits supplied by
   petitioner and then PIMS does a full scanned copy for consular posts

Petitioner submits a duplicate original petition, with attachments/exhibits under separate cover
     sheet (CSC requests “goldenrod”) stating "Duplicate original - Please forward approval to KCC for
     entry in PIMS" in big, bold type

Not possible to send a petition directly to KCC or verify PIMS record

                           Visa applicant may not be directly informed that a delay is related to PIMS

                            Disregard USCIS notice to file I-824 Application for Action on an Approved
                            Application or Petition (common from CSC)

                            Filing of an I-824 will not get petition to KCC for scanning into PIMS
                                   PIMS, ctd.
If no record in PIMS, the officer e-mails KCC, which will research USCIS' CLAIMS3 system and confirm
     approval and make the details available through the CCD

DOS has instructed posts to check PIMS for H, L, O, P, and Q visas before interview

DOS says KCC confirmation takes two working days, but may take longer

Applicants still should take original approval notice to consulate, as required in the past and may need
    original approval notice at POE

Advise of possible delays in visa approval and/or issuance

Especially if COS, EOS or amended petition approved prior to late March 2008

Especially if petitioner did not file a duplicate original with USCIS




                                       http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1271.html#pims
                               USCIS -TSC
OPT Maintenance Job:
    SEVIS Records will auto-complete 180 days after OPT Request, if Requested is not updated
       by CLAIMS to Approved (even if actually approved)
    Use SEVIS Alert: Students w/ Requests in Requested Status Over 90 Days
    Use SEVIS Corrections, add SRC # in remarks
Chemical Engineering STEM Denials:
    Students or DSOs email SEVP at sevis.source@dhs.gov with "STEM Denial review -chemical
       engineering" in the subject Email should include the student's full name, SEVIS ID, USCIS
       receipt number for the Form I-765, and a brief description of the issue



                                     Inquiry Procedures Email Inquiry (preferred):
                                     tsc.schools@dhs.gov

                                     Fax NAFSA Inquiry Form at (214) 962-1450
                                     National Customer Service Center : 1-800-
                                     375-5283
                               NAFSA Resources

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