What is SEVIS and SEVP?

Participants in the J-1 visa program often get confused about various programs and systems that are used to administer the program. J-1 visa sponsors often talk about SEVIS ans SEVP. Supervisors at Host Organizations will sometimes hear their J-1 participants say that they need “to be activated in SEVIS”. So exactly what is SEVIS? And what does SEVP stand for?

SEVP – Student Exchange Visitor Program
Starting with the latter, SEVP is an abbreviation of Student Exchange Visitor Program. SEVP acts as the bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on foreign students. SEVP helps the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State monitor school and exchange programs in the F, M and J category visitors (SEVP administers the F and M visa categories, while the Department of State manages the J-1 program).

SEVIS – Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
SEVIS is an abbreviation of Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is an Internet-based system that SEVP uses to monitor F, M and J programs. SEVIS maintains accurate and current information on nonimmigrant students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications via the Internet, to the DHS and DOS throughout a student or exchange visitor’s stay in the U.S.

J-1 visa sponsors use  SEVIS to generate form DS-2019, the Certificate of Eligibility to prospective participants of the J-1 visa program. Prospective participants then present form DS-2019 and supporting documentation to a U.S. consular officer. The consular officer verifies the DS-2019 record electronically through the SEVIS system in order to process the exchange visitor visa application.


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