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As of Oct. 1, 2016 The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) requires principal designated school officials filing an initial or update to the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” to submit the evidence required for adjudication at the same time they submit their request in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

The SEVP recertification process already requires schools to submit the necessary evidence when filing, and thus the recertification process will not be changing at this time.

The evidence a school needs to provide to SEVP depends on the type of petition (i.e., initial, update or recertification), the program of study offered and the school’s accreditation status.

Below is more information to help school officials determine the necessary evidence to submit for adjudication.

Initial Form I-17 Submission

If you are a school official filing an initial Form I-17 petition, please find the appropriate Definition of Evidence guide for your school type under the Certification tab in the Schools and Programs section.

Updates to Existing Forms I-17

If you are a school official filing an update to your school’s existing Form I-17 petition, please find the appropriate filing evidence guide for your school under the Petition Updates tab in the Schools and Programs section.

Recertification of Form I-17

If you are a school official filing for SEVP recertification, please go to the Recertification tab under Schools section of ICE.gov for the most up to date information for filing.

In March 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published amended F-1 nonimmigrant student regulations on optional practical training (OPT) for certain students with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education. The amended regulations, which provide for an extension of the OPT period by 24 months (a STEM OPT extension), will go into effect on May 10, 2016.

Interested F-1 students must apply for and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The 2016 final rule that reinstates the 24-month STEM OPT regulations increases the educational benefits that F-1 students receive from their practical training experiences by requiring the submissionof a formal training plan that clearly articulates the STEM OPT student’s learning objectives and affirm the employer’s commitment to helping the student achieve those objectives. To fulfill this requirement, a student and their employer must complete and sign Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” and submit it to the student’s DSO.

STEM OPT students and their employers are subject to the terms and conditions of the 24-month STEM OPT extension regulations, the Form I-983 instructions and the completed Form I-983, effective as of the employment start date requested for the associated STEM OPT period, as indicated on the Form I-983.

STEM OPT students may participate in entrepreneurial ventures where the student is an employee. However, they may not act as their own employer or as the signatory for the employer for the purposes of the form.

Visit Study in the States’ STEM OPT Hub for more information.

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