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SEVIS Schools

Only schools certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) can enroll F or M nonimmigrant students. A school applies for SEVP-certification to enroll F and/or M students by completing the Form I-17, "Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student," online using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and pays all required fees online at Pay.gov.


Regulations

Helpful Documents

Resources

Technical Guidance & Information

Emergency Information

School Reporting Requirements

How to File an Appeal or Motion

Resources

Policy

Guidance

Selected New Readings for DSOs

Useful Links

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

  • USCIS Forms and Fees — Copies of forms and instructions to use when filing with USCIS for a benefit. This includes links to electronic filing.
  • USCIS — General information on U.S. immigration policies.

Department of State

Social Security

Social Security Administration (SSA) — Information on how and when you can obtain a Social Security Number.

Federal Income Tax Information

Tax Information for Foreign Students and Scholars — Foreigners temporarily present in the United States as students, scholars, teachers, researchers, exchange visitors, and cultural exchange visitors are subject to special rules with respect to the taxation of their income. This web page contains extensive information on the rules and requirements for those individuals.

Department of Education

Postsecondary Educational Institutions and Programs Accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education — The database lists approximately 6,900 postsecondary educational institutions and programs, each of which is accredited by an accrediting agency or state approval agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a "reliable authority as to the quality of postsecondary education" within the meaning of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The database does not include a number of postsecondary educational institutions and programs that elect not to seek accreditation but nevertheless may provide a quality postsecondary education. The U.S. Department of Education recommends that the database be used as one source of qualitative information and that additional sources of qualitative information be consulted.

Immigration Laws and Regulations

  • Federal Register Home Page — Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.
  • Electronic Version of 8 CFR 214 — Links to all CFR(8 CFR 214 is the section of the immigration regulations dealing with nonimmigrant status.)
 

 

Requirements of Schools Seeking Initial F & M Certification

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) maintains the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and oversees SEVP-certified schools and their F and M students and dependents in accordance with governing regulations, found in the following parts of the Code of Federal Regulations. Schools and F and M nonimmigrants are subject to these regulations.

Do not submit any documentation unless your school has received a 180-day notice via the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools must go through the recertification process every two years to ensure they remain eligible for certification and have complied with all record keeping, retention and reporting requirements, and all other requirements, in accordance with the regulations.

One hundred and eighty days before a school’s Certification Expiration Date (CED), designated school officials (DSOs) will receive notice from SEVP through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) that the school is eligible to apply for recertification.

Quick Recertification Filing Tips

  • The Form I-17 must be signed in its entirety. This includes signatures by the principal designated school official (PDSO), all DSOs, the owner, and head of school or chancellors.
  • Successfully filing for recertification consists of submitting for recertification via SEVIS and submitting a complete recertification package via email.
  • Upon receipt of your complete recertification package and submission in SEVIS, you will receive a Notice of Confirmation of Complete Filing from the Recertification Team.
  • If you have not received a Notice of Confirmation of Complete Filing by your school’s Certification Expiration Date your school will be automatically withdrawn.
  • The Recertification Team strongly recommends that you file your package for recertification as soon as possible and no later than 30 days prior to the Certification Expiration Date.
  • Your school’s SEVP certification expires at 12:01 a.m. on the Certification Expiration Date listed in SEVIS.
  • If a package is received on the day prior to the Certification Expiration Date, your school may be temporarily withdrawn from SEVIS.
  • Please submit your recertification package via e-mail only. SEVP no longer accepts submissions via fax or U.S. mail.
  • Recertification forms are located at the bottom of this page.

Recertification Instructions

Once you have been notified via SEVIS that your school is within the 180 days of the Certification Expiration Date, your school must submit a completed recertification package prior to the Certification Expiration Date.

Please review the Recertification Checklist to assist you in completing the recertification process. Do not submit the checklist with your recertification package. This is strictly for your use to ensure all required documentation and procedures are included and completed.

In order to file for recertification, you must electronically submit the following at the same time:

Form I-17

Print a copy of the Form I-17 from SEVIS and sign the petition, including any continuation pages and supplemental pages A and B. Obtain signatures for all designated school officials listed. If the information contained within the Form I-17 accurately reflects your school and its operations, and you are not required to submit additional evidence, submit all documentation via email to: recert.sevis@ice.dhs.gov. In the subject line type in "Recertification Package" followed by your school code. If edits need to be made to the Form I-17, submit a petition update prior to submitting for recertification.

Additional Evidence (For Non-Accredited Schools)

If your school is not accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency or an SEVP-identified accrediting agency, additional evidence must be submitted based on your school type. Refer to the Additional Evidence Guide below to determine what evidence is needed. Submit this evidence together with the signed Form I-17. If your school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-identified accrediting agency, you do not need to submit additional evidence.

SEVIS Submission

You must also submit for recertification via SEVIS by clicking the SUBMIT button to send an electronic petition to SEVP. Only the PDSO can file for recertification. The PDSO must submit for recertification via SEVIS at the same time as he/she submits the recertification package.

 

After Submitting the Petition for Recertification

If you correctly submit a complete recertification package, you will receive a Notice of Confirmation of Complete Filing. This notice serves to inform you that SEVP received your petition for recertification and that the petition has entered the queue for review and adjudication.

If your submission is incorrect, you will receive a Notice of Rejection of Complete Filing. This notice will state the errors in your package and request that you make the corrections and resubmit your recertification package. SEVP recommends that you correct any errors and submit a new package as soon as possible.

Remember: You only have a total of 180 days to resubmit a complete package. No extensions will be granted.

Once your recertification package is in adjudication, you may receive a Request for Evidence. You will have 15 days to respond to the request. Failure to respond to a Request for Evidence may result in the denial of your school’s recertification petition. If no additional evidence is needed and your school continues to operate in accordance with the federal regulations governing SEVP, you will receive a Notice of Recertification.

 

Incomplete Package or Failure to File

Federal regulation 8 CFR §214.3 (h)(2)(ii) Consequence of failure to petition. SEVP will serve a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) to the school 30 days prior to a school's certification expiration date. SEVP will no longer accept a petition for recertification from the school and will immediately withdraw the school's certification if the school does not petition for recertification, abandons its petition, or does not submit a complete recertification petition package by the certification expiration date, in accordance with the automatic withdrawal criteria in 8 CFR 214.4(a)(3). The school must comply with 8 CFR 214.4(i) upon withdrawal.

Voluntary Withdrawals

If your school has filed for Recertification and has chosen to voluntarily withdraw certification, please complete the Voluntary Withdrawal Form. The School President or Owner must sign the form. Submit this form-request to recert.SEVIS@ice.dhs.gov.

Updating the Form I-17 and Recertification

  • Petition update adjudications have no effect on an institution’s Recertification Certification Expiration Date (CED). Institutions that have received the 180-day Recertification Notice are advised to file for recertification upon receipt an adjudication decision for the petition update, schools are reminded that they must apply for recertification by their CED or risk withdrawal. If the Form I-17 is submitted for recertification prior to the update adjudication, the pending updates will be automatically canceled.
  • For further information, please review the recertification website at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/getting-started-with-sevp-recertification
  • For questions regarding petition updates and recertification, please contact the SEVIS Response Center (SRC) Monday - Friday at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov or at 703-603-3400 and 1(800)-892-4829

 

Recertification Forms

Updates

Designated School Officials (DSOs) at an institution whose Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” does not match the institutions current operating status must update the petition by reporting all changes.

Regulations require DSOs at Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified institutions to report any material changes to the Form I-17. A material change is any change to any field on the Form I-17.

A school is required to keep all fields of the Form I-17 up to date. Changes to some fields on the Form I-17 require adjudication.

SEVP recommends that DSOs review the institution’s Form I-17 on a regular basis to ensure to ensure it reflects the school’s most up-to-date information.

8 CFR 214.3(g) and (h) requires updates to be made within 21 days of the change.

The entire Form I-17 must be kept up to date, however the following fields are adjudicable:

  • Approval of attendance of students under
  • Name of school system
  • Name of main campus
  • Mailing address of school
  • Location of school
  • School type (with name and address of owner)
  • School is engaged in
  • Accreditation and recognitions
  • FAA Certification
  • Areas of Study
  • Degrees available
  • Education levels
  • Courses of study and time necessary to complete
  • Average annual numbers
  • School official additions
  • Instructional site addition
  • P/DSO Information

While SEVP does not adjudicate the following fields, school are still required to keep the Form I-17 up to date:

  • Field 7 – School Sessions
  • Field 8 – Date Registration begins for Each session
  • Field 9 – Date school was established
  • Field 15 – Type of Sessions
  • Field 16 – Requirements for Admission
  • Field 18 – Requirements for Graduation
  • Field 19 – Causes for Expulsion
  • Field 20 – Annual Cost of Room, Board, Tuition, etc. per student

Changing a current DSO to PDSO

If ownership of the school changes, an institution’s SEVP-certification may be automatically withdrawn if the PDSO does not update that information in SEVIS within 60 days of the change.

When petition updates that require adjudication are successfully submitted in SEVIS, the petition is locked for edits pending adjudication.

If the institution believes that there is an error in the submission, the institution has the option of cancelling the pending update and resubmitting. If the institution would like to cancel a pending update, please email update.sevis@ice.dhs.gov. Upon receipt, the Updates team will begin processing the request.

Upon completion of the cancellation request, the institution will receive an automated email from SEVIS, after which time the institution will be able to make any needed updates to the Form I-17 without prejudice.

Fees Associated with Updating the Form I-17

Edits made to the main location address that are determined to be a true change in physical location, there is a fee of $655 and a site visit must be conducted.

Edits made to the owner name that are determined to be a true changes in ownership (control), and there is a fee of $1700.

Required fee payments are paid through Pay.gov.

How to Voluntarily Withdraw

If you have any nonimmigrant students attending your school they must first transfer or depart the United States before your Voluntary Withdrawal is processed.

If your school would like to have its SEVP certification voluntarily withdrawn, you must submit a letter on the school’s letterhead signed by the school President or Owner.  The request must be emailed to update.SEVIS@ice.dhs.gov.

If your school has filed for Recertification and has chosen to voluntarily withdraw certification, please complete the Voluntary Withdrawal Form. The School President or Owner must sign the form. Submit this form-request to recert.SEVIS@ice.dhs.gov.

How to Submit an Update

In order to update the information on the Form I-17, the PDSO must log into SEVIS, make the appropriate edits, go all the way to the end and hit submit, and then wait to be contacted for further information.

The PDSO must be sure to go to the last screen in SEVIS and hit submit (not just save) or the update will be in "draft status.” “Draft status” means that the institution can see the updates made, but the update has not actually been submitted to SEVP for review.

A specific due date will be included in all Requests for Evidence. Institutions should note this date and ensure all evidence is received by the date on which it is due.

Notification of adjudication will be sent via SEVIS email. DSO email addresses in SEVIS must be current in order to receive proper notification and requests for evidence.

Notes:

If there are questions regarding login or use of SEVIS, please contact the SEVIS Help Desk at 1-800-892-4829.

Location and Ownership Updates

Request for Payment

Location Changes:

  • If the institution’s main campus location has changed, a payment of $655 will be required.
  • Payment must be submitted through Pay.gov, a website independent from SEVP’s database.
  • You will receive an email requesting payment. Please respond to the original request email with confirmation of payment, including:
    • Name of Institution
    • Institution Code
    • Pay.gov Tracking ID
    • Reference Location Change
  • If there has not been an actual change of location, please submit evidence that location has not changed.
    • Examples of this evidence include:
      • Approval from the US Postal Service
      • Evidence of ownership or leasing information
      • A current campus map with the appropriate street names. 

These items MUST be scanned and the attachments sent as a response to the original payment request e-mail received.

Ownership Changes:

  • If the institution has changed ownership, a payment of $1,700 will be required.
  • Payment must be submitted through Pay.gov, a website independent from SEVP’s database.
  • You will receive an email requesting payment. Please respond to the original request email with confirmation of payment, including:
    • Name of Institution
    • Institution Code
    • Pay.gov Tracking ID
    • Reference Location Change
  • If there has not been an actual change of ownership, please submit evidence that ownership has not changed from what is currently listed on the Form I-17.
    Examples of this evidence include:
    • Articles of Incorporation
    • Articles of Amendment
    • Bill of Sale
    • Shareholder documents

These items MUST be scanned and the attachments sent as a response to the original payment request e-mail received.

Reminders:

  • Pay.gov is not connected to the SEVIS database.
  • If the institution is governed by a Board of Trustees or a Board of Directors, the ownership field on the Form I-17 should reflect that. SEVP highly recommends all institutions that are governed by a board to list the appropriate governing board in the ownership field.

P/DSO Information

It is strongly encouraged that each new P/DSO should take the DSO web-based training. The free web-based training is available online at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/schools#tab3.

It is also encouraged that each school have one P/DSO, and at least one additional DSO.

Once this evidence is received, the request will be queued for processing. If any of the above listed evidence is missing from the package, the petition will be canceled. Please be advised that SEVP can review a request to add or remove a DSO while the Form I-17 is pending an update or recertification. However, there is no guarantee the request to add or remove a DSO will be processed before the pending petition is adjudicated.

For more information on DSO updates, please refer to the DSO factsheet.

Updating the Form I-17 and Recertification

  • Petition update adjudications have no effect on an institution’s Recertification Certification Expiration Date (CED). Institutions that have received the 180-day Recertification Notice are advised to file for recertification upon receipt an adjudication decision for the petition update, schools are reminded that they must apply for recertification by their CED or risk withdrawal.  If the Form I-17 is submitted for recertification prior to the update adjudication, the pending updates will be automatically canceled.
  • For further information, please review the recertification website at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/getting-started-with-sevp-recertification
  • For questions regarding petition updates and recertification, please contact the SEVIS Response Center (SRC) Monday – Friday at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov or at 703-603-3400 and 1(800)-892-4829

Web-based Training Course for Designated School Officials

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offers a web-based training course titled "SEVIS Training for School Officials." This training provides instruction on the responsibilities and obligations for both school officials and nonimmigrant students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The course provides guidance on completing the various actions required to update and maintain student information in SEVIS for new and veteran designated school officials. Enjoy the course!

SEVP Training for Designated School Officials (PDF | 681 KB)

Field representatives are part of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and serve as direct day-to-day liaisons between SEVP and SEVP-certified schools.

The SEVP Field Representative Unit enhances national security by fostering an understanding of regulatory adherence and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) data integrity.

Additionally, SEVP field representatives:

  • Ensure SEVP-certified schools understand SEVP rules and regulations.
  • Answer general questions related to the nonimmigrant student process.
  • Provide training and assistance to principal designated school officials and designated school officials.
  • Meet with schools in their territories normally a minimum of once per year.
  • Help school officials with the SEVP recertification process by conducting scheduled school visits.
  • Attend conferences and meetings in their territories that pertain to nonimmigrant students.

As a reminder, SEVP-certified schools are subject to on-site review at any time, per 8 CFR 214.3 (h)(3)(iv). Please note that these reviews are not related to the SEVP field representatives and are not part of their duties.

SEVP has now deployed four groups of field representatives for a total of 57. SEVP plans to deploy a total of 60 field representatives nationwide. There are three regional groups — eastern, central and western — comprised of 20 field representatives in each region. Each field representative will spend four days each week in the field with schools and one day in their “home office.” SEVP will continue to provide updates about the field representatives on a regular basis.

Please note that there are three field representative territory vacancies — Arlington, VA; San Jose, CA and Kansas City, MO. If your school falls within either of these three territories, please continue to contact the SEVP Response Center for assistance with questions and concerns by calling (703) 603-3400 or emailing SEVP@ice.dhs.gov.

Information regarding hiring and deployment of the final class will be communicated via a SEVIS Broadcast Message.

To learn more about this program, please read these FAQs about the field representatives.

  • Please provide an email address and/or phone number to students and SEVP – Provide an email address and toll-free phone number, if possible, for displaced students and exchange visitors to report their location and health status and to receive instructions from you. Also, please have an email address that SEVP can use to contact you if issues arise about F, M or J nonimmigrants during or after an evacuation.
  • If you are unable to provide this information to students or exchange visitors – Advise F, M and J nonimmigrants to check SEVP's website and Study in the States for information and guidance and email us at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov, or call us at (703) 603-3400 to report their location and contact information.