SEVIS Q&A with SEVP- Questions with Answers Transcripted from the Session Recordings NAFSA Annual Conference May 28, 2008 OPT extension questions 1. What will students with an automatic extension of employment authorization and/or status (under either the cap gap provisions or 180 day period while waiting for adjudication of a STEM EAD) be able to show other government agencies in terms of documenting eligibility for travel, driver’s licenses, I-9 completion, etc.? a. SEVP Response (Track 10, 3:00): There is an FAQ available on the USCIS Web site now that has these answers in it now, so you don’t have to memorize them. A student who’s going for a 17-month extension can show their expired EAD card and a form I20 that shows that they have been recommended for the STEM extension, and on the I-20, it’s going to show that they are applying for a STEM extension, and that STEM extension is going to be for work starting the day after the EAD expired. So they’ll be able to use this combination of documents to fulfill the requirements for the I-9. And the answer in the [USCIS] FAQs [II] goes into what is List A, B, and C so it’s a very complete answer. Rather than me reading it out and you all writing it down, I think it’s easier for you to look at the FAQs. i. NAFSA note: Read the USCIS FAQs II on the NAFSA Web site. b. [Re: DMV issues] One of the things that we are doing within SEVP is we’re pulling together a white paper to talk about the issues with drivers’ licenses and sending that up through DHS because we’d like to get some outreach at the DHS-level to the DMVs on student issues because it’s a problem we hear consistently. It’s not something we can solve just by ourselves within SEVP. But we are very aware that it causes you problems, and when we’re putting documentation together, when we’re looking at some of what we’re doing for SEVIS II, we’re trying very hard to keep in mind how important it is to be able to give DMVs information that includes grace periods and periods of OPT. So I can’t promise you that we have an answer right now, but we’re really aware of the problem and doing the best we can to help all y’all work towards a solution. 2. How will students provide verification of employment authorization to current/prospective employers when: (1) they "timely filed" an I-765 for an OPT STEM Extension, (2) have yet to receive a new EAD Card, and (3) possess an expired EAD from their current OPT period? Will this information be available to employers through E-Verify? a. SEVP Response (Track 10, 3:00): We don’t really have anything that’s written on the I-20 for the STEM extension students. What we do have for the cap gap students is we have written explicitly on page 3 the full time period which the student is allowed to be there. I don’t know if we can do that on the I-20 for the STEM students. That’s something we can look at, but I can’t promise that. We’re limited to how many changes we can make and we have to prioritize them. 3. Several pieces of guidance (from SEVP and USCIS) have indicated varying dates by which a student should apply for a STEM OPT extension. Could SEVP confirm whether a student may apply for a STEM OPT extension anytime during the current period of post-completion OPT or is limited to filing the I-765 in the 120 days before the current OPT expires as long as USCIS receives the application by the day before the current OPT expires? Can SEVP also confirm that the student may continue to work for 180 days after the expiration of the postcompletion OPT EAD while the EAD for the STEM extension is pending and an EAD has not yet been issued by USCIS? a. SEVP Response (Track 11, 1:50): Yes. The student has up to the last day of their current OPT to file for the STEM extension. However, remember: being properly filed means it’s at the Service Center. So I wouldn’t gamble and wait until the last day, midnight the night before, and try to send it FedEx. So the student needs to plan a little bit ahead of time, but if it’s there by the last day of their OPT, they’ve met the filing deadline. 4. Is there a time limit on the earliest possible time they could apply? a. SEVP Response (Track 11, 2:31): There is nothing in the regulation, but right now, [USCIS] practice is they’ll take them up to 120 days in advance. My recommendation would be that you do not file before that time. The problem is, as all of you know, sometimes people file prematurely for OPT. Once you’ve gotten the OPT approved, you have used that allowance. STEM extension is available one time in a lifetime. So if you file 120 days in advance or more, and then the student decides that they do not want to have that STEM extension, perhaps they get an H-1B instead, then that student, if they come back and go to another degree program and want to have STEM, they will have already used their STEM extension. So I would advise students to be very careful when they’re filing far in advance to make sure they don’t think their plans will change. 5. If the DSO receives "termination or departure" notification from the employer, how can a DSO update SEVIS? Should the DSO contact the student to confirm, and then update the Employer name to “none”? a. SEVP Response (Track 5, ----): The employer, when the student leaves, has to report to the DSO. In that case, what we’re asking is that you’ll update SEVIS and in the employer name field, if you just put “employed [DATE] per [employer name].” We’ll update our guidance with this information because this is not in the guidance yet, but there is extensive guidance, so if you haven’t seen that on our web site, I think we’re up to 30 pages now and I’m sure we’ll be hitting 50 soon. You are not required to contact the students. The student has a requirement to contact you within 10 days. The employer is to contact you within 48 hours. So the student has a little bit longer, and it could be that the student in that 10 days will have found another job. So when the student contacts you, you just record the student’s information. b. NAFSA note: See PG for guidance on how to report. 6. Can SEVP confirm that F-2 dependents will continue to maintain status if the F-1 has received a 17-month STEM OPT extension? a. SEVP Response (Track 20, 1:30): Yes. 7. At what point is SEVIS expected to include a more robust means of recommending the additional 17 months of OPT? a. Will there be a change to batch functionality in that release that will allow for the batching of employer information for students with the OPT STEM extension? b. Will there be batch functionality available for the 17 month OPT recommendation, and if so, when? c. At what point is testing for that functionality expected to be available? i. SEVP Response (Track 16, 1:40): Right now, we’re reviewing all of the new things that were incorporate with the OPT. Like Ann mentioned before, it was kind of a last-minute thing as far as incorporating all of the system enhancements, so we try to incorporate a lot of them in with 5.8, and again, we’re going to incorporate the post-completion grace period with the next release of SEVIS which will be our 5.9 [NAFSA note: correction 5.10], and then beyond that, we do plan to incorporate a lot of the OPT enhancements with batch in the next release which will be in November. But I can’t elaborate on exactly what that will include; whether that’s going to be the alert, whether it’s just going to be simply putting the request in via batch. We’re not sure exactly how much it’s going to take to do that. 8. Will the SEVIS records for those students who apply for the additional 17 month OPT period remain in “active” status while the OPT application is pending with USCIS? Or will the record auto-complete unless the DSO takes some action? a. SEVP Response (Track 20, :50): They should remain active; the only thing that might happen is if a student waits until the very last day; actually that shouldn’t be a problem because we have 60 days of grace period, so I would say that this is unlikely to be a problem. The only time it might be a problem is if for some reason, the CLAIMS interface doesn’t work properly but that should be a rare problem. We will be keeping them active. 9. What happens in SEVIS, as it relates to the 6-month reporting requirement, if the student’s information is the same? Will there be a “confirmed” field or something else that indicates that the student reported in and the information is still valid? a. SEVP Response (Track 19, 2:15): Yes, it’s what we plan to do. Probably for that first six months reporting, because of the timing, we won’t have it, but for subsequent ones after that, it will just be a click “yes, they’ve confirmed.” 10. How should a DSO recommend OPT for those students who have completed all coursework and have only a thesis or equivalent remaining [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(A)(3)]? If a student who meets those criteria completes his program on August 7, 2008 and would like to begin full-time OPT on July 1, 2008, he previously would have applied for pre-completion OPT continuing into post-completion OPT with one application and one fee. Now that there are different codes for pre- and post- completion OPT, what is the appropriate procedure? How can DSOs ensure that students in these pre-completion scenarios be eligible for the STEM extension? a. SEVP Response (Track 5, 1:10): There has to be distinct periods now of precompletion and post-completion OPT. For one thing, if you are on post-completion OPT, unemployment counts. If you’re on pre-completion OPT, unemployment does not count against you. So graduate students who only have their thesis or dissertation remaining are given a choice, and [these] are the consequences of either choice: i. If they have pre-completion OPT, the unemployment will not be counted; they are allowed to work full-time only in this circumstance. Students who have coursework remaining cannot work full-time during their course, but students who have only their thesis or dissertation remaining will be allowed to work full-time. They will not be able to apply for the STEM extension, because the STEM extension is limited to people on post-completion OPT. They’re also NOT eligible for the cap-gap extension. However, if they do not finish their dissertation or thesis by the end of OPT, because it’s pre-completion, they will be allowed to extend their program. One thing that you might recommend to a student is that if they have 12 months of OPT, that they perhaps reserve 2-3 months of that for post-completion OPT, particularly if they have plans to hopefully apply for a STEM extension or if they might be subject to the capgap. ii. Now post-completion OPT, if they take this choice, they are also allowed to do this as well. You can shorten their program end date and they can go on post-completion OPT. Unemployment will count; [they will need to work at least 20 hours per week]. They can also apply for the STEM extension. They are eligible for the cap-gap extension, but if they do not finish their thesis by the end of the OPT, they will not be able to extend their program. E-Verify 11. Has DHS indicated the means by which E-Verify employers will be reporting the required student status information to DSOs? If not, how will that information be communicated to EVerify employers? Is there any protocol for how such notification is to be made (i.e. in writing, by fax, by e-mail, by phone)? a. SEVP Response (Track 19, 2:50): The student is responsible for letting their employer know how the school wants them to report. So if you have a particular way that you want the employers to report to you, give that information to your students. In absence of that, employers have been told to use the contact information on the I20. So if you have a specific methodology that you want employers to use, provide that to the students to give to their employers. b. Follow-up question: When you say that the employers have been instructed to use the information that is printed on the [sic I-20], is that part of some instruction in EVerify that you are aware of? c. SEVP Response (Track 20, :16): No; it’s an FAQ, and if they don’t read it, they don’t know it. But the student is going to be the conduit of information and since the student has to come to you to request the OPT, that’s your opportunity to give them information on how you would like for them to report to you, and how you would like to get in reporting from the employer. 12. Has there been discussion of a mechanism (perhaps an on-line form) that employers could use to report the departure of a student on extended OPT directly to DHS/SEVP, rather than having to report to the DSO? a. SEVP Response (Track 19, :43): No. At this time, there’s really no way because it would be difficult in SEVIS to open it up to a whole new group of people. We’d have to put a lot of resources in it, and you probably would not like for us to go ahead and do that because that means that all of the things you wanted in the way of functionality would go down a level in priority. This might be possible in SEVIS II, but probably not SEVIS II in the first iteration of it, because there’s a lot more things that we want to do in SEVIS II, that you all want to do in SEVIS II as well, that take more priority. So we’ll probably be having employer reporting for some time to come. However, I might mention in SEVIS II, we do plan to have students reporting directly in SEVIS on their employment and their address changes. So that should relieve a lot of the burden off you all. 13. Students applying for STEM majors are indicating that their employers don't want to release their E-Verify numbers. One student indicated that his attorney would enter the number on the I-765 and mail the documents directly. Is there any problem with this? DSOs don't have to see the E-Verify number, right? a. SEVP Response (Track 16, 2:36): There’s no problem with that. DSOs are not required to see the E-verify #. You are not required to verify that the student [has] an E-verify employer. That’s the student’s responsibility. 14. A member reports that E-Verify is "on hold" in New Jersey because of a pending lawsuit related to it. Other states have prohibited the use of E-Verify as well. What will the implication of this be for students eligible for STEM OPT extensions who are employed in those states – will they be ineligible for a 17-month OPT extension because of E-Verify being on hold or not in use? a. SEVP Response (Track 12, :34): Right now, the knowledge that I have, which is not firsthand, is that…there has been either an agreement to wait, but right now, nobody is prohibited from enrolling in E-verify. That may be subject to change, but the lawsuit that was in Illinois,  right now, businesses can apply. While it has not been resolved, there has been some legal action to make sure that if employers want to apply for E-verify they can. The regulation doesn’t have any wiggle room. It absolutely requires that the employer be an E-verify employer. 15. If a student that has been granted the 17 month OPT extension, and changes employers during the extension period to an employer that has not enrolled in the E-Verify program, what action should the DSO take? Is that employment valid? How should the DSO advise the student? a. SEVP Response (Track 12, 1:30): The DSO is required to report what the student reports to them . You do need to let the student know that if they are [not] going to work for an E-verify employer, they are not meeting the requirements. They are therefore going to be out of status and most likely the way that it’s going to be found is we’ll probably do a validation in SEVIS, take a look at those employers, check them against the list of E-verify employers. Also, if they apply for any other type of benefit, for example an H-1B, and it’s shown that they were working for an employer that was not an E-verify employer, it will be the basis for a denial. I would strongly advise them that the regulations clearly require that they work for an E-verify employer. SEVIS 5.8 16. SEVIS Release 5.8 did not include an update to the Batch Schema. Could SEVP provide information regarding when the batch interface schema will be updated to accommodate the changes provided in SEVIS 5.8? a. See # 7. 17. While the regulations only require program and field of study (but not minor), SEVIS 5.8 now requires primary major, secondary major, and minor. Since SEVP quickly eliminated these new requirements for K-12 and other types of schools that don’t traditionally use these fields, it seems that it would be possible to change minor back to a “non-required” field for all schools since it is an extra-regulatory requirement. Is this something that SEVP could consider for SEVIS Release 5.9? a. SEVP Response (Track 14, 1:29): No. It is actually, for most post-secondary schools, colleges and universities, part of the program of study, and it is essential for security requirements so we are gong to continue to require it. b. See also SEVP Response (Track 22, :00); This was a requirement that came from the Homeland Security Council. It has to do with, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the “visa MANTIS,” this is part of the “domestic MANTIS” efforts. So the requirement to put a minor in is going to stay. Now there may be a mechanism later on, probably not in SEVIS I, but in SEVIS II, for you, if you do not have minors at your school, to be able to automatically populate that with “none.” But if you have minors, you are going to be expected to indicate that. SEVIS Functionality 18. A number of members have reported that students’ SEVIS records have been auto-terminated via CLAIMS after having an H-1B petition approved with a start date of October 1, 2008. This was a problem previously, which seemed to have been resolved, but is coming up again. What steps are being taken to resolve these incorrect auto-terminations, and what should DSOs do to ensure that resolution occurs? a. SEVP Response (Track 14, 2:21): This is an issue because the CLAIMS interface failed to populate the benefit dates when they sent us the approval. So if [USCIS] sent it with the benefit dates, it is going to terminate on October 1. If [USCIS] sent it blank, we’re populating them and processing that the same night the update is sent to SEVIS. So the fix for that again is to call the SEVIS Help Desk and we’re going to go ahead and update the benefit dates in the file and re-process and set the records back to active status. 19. Will SEVIS include alert lists for 17 month extension OPT students who need to submit a 6 month validation report? a. SEVP Response (Track 1:20): We will definitely be looking at putting that in the November release; that will be one of things we will look at. Part of what goes into that release depends upon how many things we need to put in it, and the priorities for them. New OPT Regulations Unemployment issues 20. Graduates offered fall teaching positions, say in June/July, should be able to consider themselves employed as of the date they accept an offer, not the employment start date, so they are not accumulating days toward the 90-day unemployment rule. In the case of a student who has a job offer with a start date in the future, would it be possible for SEVP NOT count the days between EAD start date and the job offer’s start date as days of unemployment? For example: A May 15, 2008 graduate has a job offer for a faculty position that does not begin until September 15, 2008. The student applies for OPT to start at the latest possible date, which for her is July 14, 2008. a. SEVP Response (Track 13, 1:28): Our goal is not to put students out of status because they’re unemployed. We realize that this year, it’s planning issues. This was a surprise for everybody. So we want the students to do the best they can; if they have the gaps in the employment, and they are applying for benefits, or we do a validation, or they come to attention for another reason, they may need to be able to explain why they haven’t been employed during that 90 days. We will be a little more forgiving during this transition period, but starting next year, everybody knows that this 90 day unemployment applies. You also can apply now during your grace period, so you can plan the timing of your filing for OPT a little differently. You can also take advantage of volunteer work to fill in that gap time. So it is a new way of looking at OPT. There are new rules. People are going to have to change their planning and adjust it accordingly. 21. Is there a grace period for the student to transfer, depart the US, apply for a change of status or begin a new program of study after the 90th day of unemployment? a. SEVP Response (Track 15, 2:00): No. 90 days of unemployment is a violation of status, so there isn’t a grace period after violation of status. We do not have any reinstatement provisions in the guidance yet, but we are looking at putting reinstatement provisions in there, some guidance for how to handle reinstatement. 22. How are days of unemployment counted, business days (i.e. Monday-Friday) or calendar days? a. SEVP Response (Track 19, 2:00): Actual Calendar days. 23. In the SEVP Policy Guidance 0801-01 (7.2.1, pp. 14-15), it states that students must work at least 20 hours per week. “Part-time” is currently defined as 20 hours per week or less. What happens if a student is in a position that has variable hours, and works weeks where their hours are less than 20 in a week? Will it be considered unemployment? a. SEVP Response (Track 5, :45): If they have a variable schedule, we ask that within a month, it averages out to 20 hours a week. So if it’s 18 hours one week and 32 hours another week, that would suffice. But the student needs to be keeping careful records of that should they be asked about it. 24. Clarification is requested for cases involving employment changes in the middle of the OPT, STEM OPT and H-1B processes. For example, if a student is working at employer A until the end of his OPT authorization, but has received a job from employer B who has filed an H-1B application for the 2009 fiscal year to begin on 10/1/2008 and which begins his employment (if application is approved) with employer B. The Policy Guidance shows that the student would be eligible to continue working with employer A until October 1 of the following fiscal year, when the H-1B petition for employer B would begin. a. Must he begin working at employer B to benefit from the cap-gap extension? b. OR must he file for an extension under the STEM provision (if he qualifies)? i. SEVP Response (Track 9, 2:50): The student can choose to work for either employer. He can work for the employer he has now, he can work for the H1B employer. 25. Currently it can be difficult to impossible to cancel OPT once it has been approved. Students need to apply early enough to meet current processing times, and be mindful of the changes to pre- and post-completion OPT applications as well as the occasionally uncertain completion dates. Are SEVP and USCIS considering an easier means of cancelling OPT prior to the start date on the EAD? a. SEVP Response (Track 15, :40): We haven’t talked about this is detail, and I don’t think it’s going to be a priority. The problem is not putting functionality in SEVIS to cancel an application. The process is at the Service Center, communicating that that particular file has to be stopped and the processing withdrawn on it. The other problem is that only the person who filed that application can legally ask that processing stop on that application. So it’s something that we can have open for discussion, but I don’t that there is an easy quick fix for it. Again, we can definitely have discussion on it, we’re open to suggestions on it, but the realities of how documents are processed at Service Centers, the massive number of documents that they have to handle, and the legalities of who can actually stop that processing are pretty big hurdles to overcome. 26. The regulations [8 CFR 214.2(f)(11)(iii)] state that “USCIS will adjudicate the Form I–765 and, if approved, issue an EAD on the basis of the DSO's recommendation and other eligibility considerations.” and [8 CFR 214.2(f)(11)(iii)(A)] “[t]he employment authorization for post-completion OPT…ends at the conclusion of the remaining time period of postcompletion OPT eligibility.” In addition, the SEVP Policy Guidance (6.2) states that “A student may request less than 12 months if s/he wishes to retain a period of OPT for another degree at the same academic level.” a. Could SEVP confirm that it is possible for an F-1 student to split OPT between two same-level for a total of 12 months? b. Is USCIS prepared to issue EADs for less than a 12 month period of time? i. SEVP Response (Track 17, :22): Yes. And I’d like to reiterate that the guidance we put out, that was fully staffed with USCIS. We worked in conjunction with them. They have definitely been our partners throughout this and it’s been good teamwork between the two of us. 27. The previous pro-rate language in 214.2(f)(11) seems to have been removed. Can SEVP confirm that part-time pre-completion OPT will continue to be pro-rated at 50%? a. SEVP Response (Track 13, :57): Yes. 28. On Page 26 of the SEVP Policy Guidelines for the Post-Completion OPT, there is a table of events that affect the cap gap. It states that for those students that have receipts, that DSOs should print new I-20s showing the extension. Can SEVP and USCIS confirm that the extension is automatic, and that the I-20 only serves as documentation but is not a requirement for the automatic extension of status and work authorization? a. SEVP Response (Track 7, :00 ): The regulation calls this an “automatic” extension. The automatic part does not happen in SEVIS; it does not happen with the paperwork. The automatic part means that this is an automatic benefit granted to the student that nothing else has to be filed for. So they do not have to file with USCIS to get this. They basically are going to have to give us some evidence so that we know they are one of the people entitled to it, but SEVP and the DSOs have to work together to make sure that the students are able to get documentation to show that they have the cap gap. Technically, they have it, they just won’t have any evidence that they have it unless we are able to give them an I-20 that shows that they are entitled to the cap gap. So that is part of the reason for the elaborate instructions on how to help students who have the cap gap. [Part of the issues are] they get the cap gap unless their application is rejected, denied or withdrawn. There is nothing in a system to show us that an application has been rejected. The only way that we know that an application has been rejected is that it has not been receipted, and that’s why when you look at our guidance, we have some dates as to when you have to do certain things. That’s because, for those particular applications, we don’t have any data in CLAIMS that can be shared with SEVIS. So we have to have a workaround for those. Now, once the application is receipted, the information does go into CLAIMS and we can do an interface with SEVIS. We don’t have all of that worked out yet because we have to take the time. SEVIS is getting this information, but we have to have some new programming done to tell SEVIS what to do with the information because it’s never had to do this before. So it’s going to take us some time to update SEVIS so that SEVIS will take the proper action. SEVIS will also know if the application has been denied or withdrawn. b. SEVP Response (Track 13, :03): Basically, this would be the only documentation that this person is here legally, so most of the students are going to need this I-20, because otherwise they will be an “undocumented legal alien.” 29. Under Section 9.3.1 in the 'SEVP Policy Guidance 0801-01', the DSO needs to request a data fix and provide evidence that the student is entitled to the extension. However, as of May 1, 2008, the Help Desk does not know how to process the data fix under this guidance. They have requested information from SEVP and have not received an answer. Could SEVP clarify HOW DSOs should request a data fix for the SEVIS records of students who are eligible for the ‘cap-gap’ extension and their authorizations have not been updated in SEVIS? a. SEVP Response (Track 7, 2:52): The first thing you do if a student asks you about their cap gap and whether or not they can get a cap gap I-20, first check to see if their regular OPT end date is more than 10 days in the future, you may want to wait because we could possibly have a workaround by then that works better, or we may have SEVIS updated to do some of this functionality. However, if it’s less than 10 days, you need to ask for a data fix and then print the I-20 for the student. About how long is it taking now to get that data fix done Yvette? (Yvette) The longest is 2 weeks. b. SEVP Response (Track 18, 1:05): When you call the SEVIS Help Desk, we have to open up a ticket first, and then we require the required documentation before we process your actual ticket. So if we do it this way, it’s going to be actually longer than just submitting the correction request itself…it’s a whole lot faster for you to submit the correction request and get it over. Make sure your correction request also has the receipt number for the benefit and it will be processed a lot faster than you calling the SEVIS Help Desk. You get an email from Tier 2 about your documentation, you get your documentation in, and then you get called by an analyst about the data fix actually being processed. 30. Processing times are at or within 90 days now for some Service Centers but have taken more than 90 days in the past. Even if processing times are slightly under 90 days, the new rule prevents students from having OPT start immediately after program completion (if mail time and EAD processing time are included). Would USCIS and SEVP consider not restricting students from applying prior to 90 days before the estimated program completion date for post-completion OPT applications? a. SEVP Response (Track 17, 2:08): Unfortunately this is in the regulation, so we’ll have to change the regulation in order to do that, but that is quite possible that we will do that. Other issues 31. Considering all of the datafixes that DSOs will be required to request in the coming months (i.e., OPT requested after graduation, cap gap fixes, H-1Bs terminating the F-1 record on the date of adjudication rather than the date the benefit begins, etc.) will the Help Desk be hiring more staff because of the increased workload? a. SEVP Response (Track 18, 3:16): Have enough resources to meet the 30-day turnaround time. 32. DSOs often encounter students and scholars who have no official “family name”. They may have one or in many cases several first/given names, but their passport has no family name listed. The information on the ICE website is quite confusing, as it conflicts itself: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/faqs/data_integrity.htm How should names be entered into SEVIS? Name submissions must be consistent on all official travel documents (passports, Forms I-20, and Forms I-94). The earliest official document sets the standard. For most nonimmigrant students, this is the SEVIS record that creates the initial Form I20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status. When you create an initial record in SEVIS, use the name exactly as it appears on the nonimmigrant’s passport. If no passport is available use the name on the birth certificate (and marriage certificate if applicable). If neither of these documents is available, instruct the nonimmigrant to carefully verify spelling and name sequence. If the student’s language uses an alphabet other than English, use the name provided by the student on his or her application. Be certain that the student understands the United States standards for first and last name, and enters this information correctly on application forms. If the nonimmigrant has only one name, this must be used as the last name. o Nonimmigrants with one name should be aware that some government officials enter the acronym FNU (first name unknown) in the first name block. o Conversely, some officials are not familiar with this acronym and look for the nonimmigrant to show that his or her first name is Fnu. The nonimmigrant should be able to explain the acronym if it is causing validation problems with any government process. o Do not use FNU in SEVIS. First, DSOs are told to use the name as it is indicated in the passport. The information then states that if the students have only one name, it should be noted as their last name in SEVIS. Obviously the idea is to have all documents matching (i.e. passport, I-20, visa, I-94 card). Consular officers often use “FNU” on the visa stamp. Students and scholars aren’t sure what to do on the I-94 card. This issue becomes steadily more pertinent with REAL ID on the horizon. We realize that this issue needs to be carefully resolved by numerous agencies, but immediate clarification will benefit agencies, students, EVs and schools. Is SEVP actively discussing this matter with DOS, DMV and SSA? What is the anticipated date for resolution of this issue? a. SEVP Response (Track 13, 3:07): If they only have one name, we would like you to put that in the last name field. We realize that names are a critical issue. It’s how most of the systems interface with each other, and one of the things we’ll be doing as part of SEVIS II is looking at data standards for names. We have to work with Department of State and all of our other partners in DHS whenever we’re setting these standards, but one of our goals is to do this as fast as possible so we can get that information out to you as quickly as we can. But definitely, if all you have is a first name, put it in the last name field. b. NAFSA note: This question was also forwarded for the July 2008 teleconference to confirm that the DSO should leave the first name field blank. 33. If a student is temporarily residing in a country other than his/her home country (working, studying abroad), which address should we put in SEVIS – the home country address, or the foreign address where the student currently lives? a. SEVP Response (Track 17, 2:37): The foreign address where the student currently lives, and then you need to note in the remarks that the student is abroad and this is their address while they are abroad. Then we would prefer that when the student returns that you put their home address back into it. 34. Currently it is time consuming to check a student’s record, check the status of their USCIS case and request a correction in SEVIS. Is there a plan to have SEVIS and CLAIMS interface with each application submitted to USCIS? Why do some SEVIS records have CLAIMS interface while others do not? a. SEVP Response (Track 18, :19): The plans are that SEVIS II and CLAIMS will talk and share information about all of the applications. One of the reasons right now though that the interfaces do not work is the algorithms that match them are based on names and dates of birth, and if that information is not consistent, the student uses different information on their application that they have in SEVIS, then there are going to be problems with matching. 35. Does the SEVIS Help Desk have access to CLAIMS? If so, would it be possible to simply call in a request for a datafix that the Help Desk could then pursue without requiring documentation to be faxed in from the DSO/ARO? a. SEVP Response (Track 18, 1:05): There are personnel at the Help Desk that have access to CLAIMS. The issue with this question is that if you’re asking whether they can look in CLAIMS and just make your update, it’s not that simple. M-1 Questions 36. Could SEVP and USCIS consider eliminating the requirement that M-1 transfers be adjudicated? a. SEVP Response (Track 17, :50): We can consider this, but we cannot do it without making a change to the regulation. So we are looking at making some changes to the M-1 regulations, and that’s something we can take into consideration when looking at the reg[ulation]s. 37. Have SEVP and USCIS considered removing the requirement that an M-1 student must file an I-539 extension to cover their practical training period? This seems to be a bit of an unreasonable expense considering that M-1 practical training period is so short. a. SEVP Response (Track 17, 3:05): Yes, we will strongly consider that, but again, because it requires a regulatory change, we can’t just change it in policy guidance. We have to make an update to the regulation before we can do this. Recertification Questions 38. In the Proposed Fee/Recertification Rule, a change is being proposed to 8 CFR 214.3 which would require the school to keep the “[d]ate of the last entry into the United States” and the “most recent Form I-94 number and date of issue” for each student. Since this information is collected at the port of entry when a student arrives to the US, and is often entered into SEVIS, why is the proposal to make schools collect this information? a. SEVP Response (Track 16, :52): Based on all of the comments, we’re strongly considering removing that part, changing that requirement.