Monitoring Foreign Students in the United States: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) [Updated October 20, 2004]   [open pdf - 59KB]

"There has been increased interest in monitoring foreign students while maintaining the long tradition of permitting international scholars to study in the United States. There are three main avenues for students from other countries to temporarily come to the United States to study, and each involves admission as a nonimmigrant. The three visa categories used by foreign students are: F visas for academic study; M visas for vocational study; and J visas for cultural exchange. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented an electronic foreign student monitoring system. Prior to the implementation of SEVIS it was difficult to know when foreign students overstayed their visas. Through SEVIS, DHS should be able to identify students who have violated the terms of their visas; however, some question whether DHS has the staff to locate all student visa violators, and whether it is a beneficial use of DHS resources to do so. Others are concerned that clerical errors will lead to unwarranted enforcement actions. This report will be updated as needed."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32188
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