New requirements for students studying in the United States
By Rob Taylor
As of August 1, 2003, foreign students studying in the United States, including Canadian students, must be registered in the American government's Homeland Security database. The database will check the identities of students and track their movements while in the US. Also new is a US State Department rule requiring that every foreign visitor between the ages of 16 and 60 have an interview before being granted a visa. This includes student visas, though the US State Department has asked officials at consulates to give priority to students and scholars who are in danger of missing classes or other deadlines. Both requirements stem from policies put in place to guard the United States from terrorist attacks, such as the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.
School and US government officials will update the Homeland Security database, refereed to as the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS. When students arrive in the United States, they will be met by immigration officials who will verify their documentation. When they arrive on campus, the school is required to update SEVIS to indicate that they are now at the school. SEVIS is also updated when a student drops a course, goes on leave, gets a part-time job or changes his or her address.