Immigration Status

It's important that you understand the registration and enrollment confirmation requirements of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and what the International Services Office (ISO) does to confirm to the federal government that you are officially registered and enrolled at GW.  Most importantly, you should review what you can do to help the ISO send timely, accurate registration and enrollment reports to SEVIS confirming your continuing study.

Summary

In order for you to maintain lawful F-1 student status, the ISO must tell the federal government that you are registered for and enrolled in classes each semester.  The following is what you should do in order to have us register you with the government:

  1. Visit the ISO when you first arrive on campus to begin your studies and have us perform an immigration status check.
  2. Register for the required amount of credits before the GW deadline to add/drop courses.
  3. Maintain a valid "Current" local/living address (no PO Boxes) in your GWeb Information System record.
  4. Maintain a valid "Permanent" address (address in a country other than the U.S.) in your GWeb record.
  5. Maintain lawful immigration status by complying with all F-1 student requirements.

SEVIS Registration and Enrollment Confirmation Requirement

Federal regulations require the ISO to notify SEVIS when you first enroll in classes.  The regulations also require a registration and enrollment report each fall and spring semester while you continue your studies.  A summer term report is required only if you are not eligible for a summer vacation.  (Most F-1 students who have completed a "full course of study" during spring semester are eligible to take the following summer as a vacation period.)

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Reporting Deadline

New Students: SEVIS must receive your registration and enrollment report from the ISO no later than 30 days from the "reporting date" in Item 5 on your Form I-20.

Continuing Students: SEVIS must receive your registration and enrollment report from the ISO no later than 30 days from the first day of classes each fall and each spring semester.

We encourage you to consult with your GW academic advisor and register for classes during the pre-registration period before each semester starts.  This will have no effect upon your SEVIS registration/enrollment report.

When a new semester begins, we download your registration information from the GW student records system to our internal database on a daily basis.  As soon as the download indicates that you are officially registered for classes, we send your registration/enrollment report to SEVIS.  This report must be completed within 30 days of the beginning of classes.

What You Need to Do:

  • Maintain your lawful immigration status by complying with all F-1 requirements.
  • Consult with your GW academic advisor and register for classes each semester.
  • If you believe you may not be able to register within the first 30 days of classes for any fall or spring semester, please contact us immediately.

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Address Updates

Current/Local Address: Your current, local, living address, as defined by SEVIS, is the physical address of the place where you live.  A postal box (e.g., PO Box 1234) is not a living address and will not be accepted by SEVIS.  We will download your "Current" address from the GWeb Information System at the same time we download your registration information.  If an acceptable current address is downloaded, we will send it to SEVIS as part of your registration and enrollment report.  If you do not have a current address in GWeb or if you have one but it is a postal box, we cannot send a registration report on you to SEVIS.

The federal government requires that you inform them of your U.S. address and any changes in it.  One of the benefits of being a GW international student is that if you maintain your "Current" address properly in GWeb, we will fulfill this responsibility for you!  As a part of the data download from the GWeb system each work day, we can see if you address changes and report it to SEVIS.

What You Need to Do:

  • Make certain that your current local living address appears as the "Current" address in your student record in the GWeb Information System.
  • Be sure this address is your physical living address (not a postal box).
  • If you move, update that address within 10 days of your move.

Permanent Address: Your permanent address must be outside the U.S.  A U.S. address will not be accepted by SEVIS.  We will download your "Permanent" address from the GWeb Information System at the same time we download your registration information.  If you do not have a "Permanent" address in GWeb or if you have one but it is not acceptable to SEVIS (e.g., it is a U.S. address), we cannot send a registration report on you to SEVIS.

What You Need to Do:

  • Make certain that your permanent foreign address appears as the "Permanent" address in your student record in the GWeb Information System.
  • Be sure this address is in another country (not a U.S. address).
  • Update that address in GWeb, as necessary, to maintain its accuracy.

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Failure to Comply with Registration and Reporting Requirements

If SEVIS does not receive a timely report each semester confirming that you are enrolled, your SEVIS record will be automatically terminated by the government, you will be ineligible for any F-1 benefits, and you will be expected to either apply for reinstatement to lawful F-1 status or leave the U.S. as soon as possible.  We would like to work with you to avoid this situation.

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More Information

If you would like more information on SEVIS registration and enrollment confirmation reports, or on any other topic that relates to your immigration status, please contact the ISO.  The staff of this office is always pleased to provide you with information, counseling, and assistance to help you achieve your educational goals at GW while maintaining a lawful immigration status.

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