Updates on Planned SEVIS Batch Schema Change

Title: Updates on Planned SEVIS Batch Schema Change
Author: Kee Chang, Cal State LA

Blog Series Overview: 
The General Blog Series is sponsored and hosted by the HEUG Campus Community Advisory Group, with the intention to alert the user community about general topics from the Advisory Group, Alliance, and Oracle.  To view other articles in the series, please go to the Article Index for the General Blog Series.

Article Overview: 
This article aims to provide just-in-time information on the planned schema changes that can affect SEVIS batching to all F/M/J visa types.  

Article: 
The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced planned changes to the batch schema.  These  are targeted to be released on February 28, 2020.  According to the September SEVIS Batch User and Vendor meeting, new fields and changes to existing fields are expected.  SEVP provided an estimated timeline that includes user testing.  It is important to note that  testing will be conducted in the Alpha environment, and the City of Birth field is the only required field for the F and M visa type, whereas remaining fields are optional.  But, due to the nature of such major releases, we need to wait until the final schema is released to verify this. 

 Oracle has opened a Service Request (SR 30298831 - SEVIS - BATCH PROCESSING UPDATES FOR BIRTH CITY) to track the planned changes.  SEVIS Working Group will be meeting with Oracle in early December to discuss and plan on how to advise our community. 

Summary of Changes
Based on the SEVP Batch User and Vendor meeting notes, details of the planned schema changes are listed below. 

New fields

  • City of Birth: To be included on the F-1/F-2 and M-1/M-2 side for both students and dependents.  This already exists for J1/J2.
  • US Mailing Address: For Dependents (F-2/M-2/J-2)
  • US Physical Address: For Dependents (F-2/M-2/J-2)
  • US Phone Number: For Dependents (F-2/M-2/J-2)
  • Foreign Telephone Number/Country Code: J-1
  • EV ID Number (organization ID number): J-1
  • EV Remarks (General remarks for EV Creation): J-1

Changes to existing fields

  • City of Birth field will be modified to 100 characters.
  • Last Name field length will be increased to 80 characters.
  • Exchange Visitor (J1 and J2) will have a new Gender type of “OTHER.”
  • Description for Gender type of “OTHER” will change from “UNKNOWN/OTHER” to “OTHER” for F-1/F-2 and M-1/M-2.

New Validations
Following validation changes are expected to reflect policy changes in the J Exchange Visitor (EV) program. 

  • Restrict program officials from adding J-2s for Au Pairs, Secondary School Students or Summer Work Travel participants
  • Allow program officials to amend the Program Begin Date to a date that is no more than 30 days in the past.
  • Create a DS-2019 for 12 months if the EV is part of the Australia/ New Zealand Summer Work Travel pilot program.
  • Limit the Country of Citizenship for the Korea WEST pilot program.
  • Limit the position and subject/field code selections for Secondary School Students.

Timeline:

  • 11/15/2019: Batch schema/API targeted to release
  • 11/29/2019: Migrate batch changes to the Alpha environment
  • 11/29 thru 02/2020: 90 days batch testing.  Concurrent functionality development on RTI while testing
  • End of 12/2019: Migrate RTI change to Alpha environment

Helpful Tips

Alpha Environment
The schema changes will need to be tested in the Alpha environment.  The Alpha environment is a clone of the Beta Test environment, which was built back in 2013.  Each of the three instances, RTI (production), Alpha and Beta, are unique individual instances with their own unique User IDs and School Codes. 

It is important to note that all test environments mirror production in functionality but should not contain any production PII (Personally Identifiable Information). 

If your institution does not have an Alpha account, please see Requesting access to SEVIS Alpha and Beta Environments document.  For any issues regarding the Alpha or Beta environments, please contact SEVIS Batch Help (Sevis.Batch@ice.dhs.gov). 

The City of Birth field is a required field for J1/J2, so this only applies to F1/F2 and M1/M2. If your Institution does not collect City of Birth, it's advisable to start populating this field as it's now required going forward. 

References 
Below is a list of useful links.  Unless you receive email updates from SEVP, it is highly recommended you visit the enhancements list for information on all past and scheduled releases.  

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Updates on Planned SEVIS Batch Schema Change