ICE Sensitive Locations Policy
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a policy in place that advises against enforcement actions at schools or churches. With that said, Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) personnel often visit SEVP-certified schools or those seeking SEVP certification. Many of these visits are required in order to maintain a school’s SEVP certification.
Please review the statement below for further explanation.
ICE statement on sensitive locations
The ICE sensitive locations policy, which remains in effect, provides that enforcement actions at sensitive locations should generally be avoided, and requires either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action. DHS is committed to ensuring that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so without fear or hesitation. Please visit the ICE Sensitive Locations tab on ICE.gov to learn more about the ICE Sensitive Locations Policy.
In order for schools to enroll nonimmigrant international F and M students, which many educational institutions do, federal law requires that the schools must be certified by SEVP. Federal law also requires SEVP to continuously monitor the schools and nonimmigrant F and M students by collecting data and conducting site visits. Accordingly, schools that fail to comply with these requirements may be deemed ineligible to enroll foreign students or their existing certification to enroll nonimmigrant F or M visa students may be withdrawn.
When will ICE visit your school?
SEVP field representatives visit schools as part of their daily duties. They enhance national security by serving as direct day-to-day liaisons between SEVP and schools certified by SEVP to enroll F and/or M nonimmigrant students. They may also conduct site visits when a school is applying for SEVP certification or recertification. Field representative visits are planned in conjunction with school officials. Field representatives do not engage with the nonimmigrant student population. Please visit DHS’s Study in the States for more information about SEVP field representatives.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations special agents or personnel from SEVP’s compliance section may make unannounced site visits to schools to ensure the school is complying with federal laws and regulations governing F and M nonimmigrant students. If a school wants to continue its SEVP certification, it cannot decline these visits.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program Strategic Communications Team
U.S. Department of Homeland Security | U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement