Schools and Programs
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.
- 8 CFR 214.1 Requirements for admission, extension, and maintenance of status
- 8 CFR 214.2 (f) Academic and Language Students
- 8 CFR 214.2 (j) Exchange aliens
- 8 CFR 214.2 (m) Vocational Students
- 8 CFR 214.3 Petitions for Approval of Schools
- 8 CFR 214.4 Denial of certification, denial of recertification or withdrawal of SEVP certification
- 8 CFR 214.5 Libyan and third country nationals acting on behalf of Libyan entities
- 8 CFR 214.13 SEVIS fee for certain F, J, and M nonimmigrants
- 8 CFR 248 Change of Nonimmigrant Classification
- Definitions of Evidence: Refer to the Definitions of Evidence (PDF) for the list of evidence usually needed for adjudication of an initial certification, petition update or recertification. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and that schools may be required to submit additional evidence or information, which will be outlined in any Request for Evidence sent to the school.
- Adjustments to Designated School Official Limits and Dependent Study FAQ: Read these frequently asked questions for important information that relates to the Final Rule that went into effect May 29, 2015. The rule allows for increased opportunities for study by spouses and minor children of F-1 and M-1 students, as well as offer greater flexibility for SEVP-certified schools in determining how many designated school officials to nominate.
- Postsecondary Schools: These are the Department of Education Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies for postsecondary schools.
- Private Elementary and Secondary Schools: These are the Student and Exchange Visitor Program-identified accrediting agencies for private elementary and secondary schools (Direct questions regarding this list to email@example.com.)
- Dear Colleagues Letter: The letter provides a format for DSOs to confidentially report sensitive information to SEVP. (PDF | 47 KB)
- List of Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Offices
- SEVIS Reporting Requirements for Academic Institutions at the Start of Each Term or Session
- Voluntary Withdrawals: If your school would like to have its SEVIS certification voluntarily withdrawn, you must submit a letter on the school’s letterhead signed by the school President or Owner and Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any nonimmigrant students attending your school they must first transfer or depart the United States before your Voluntary Withdrawal letter is processed.
- Transfers for F-1 Students
Guidance is the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP) interpretation of federal laws and regulations that guide SEVP adjudicators in their decision-making. Guidance is not the same as governing regulations. Governing regulations are developed and instituted by each cabinet-level agency in the Federal Government.
SEVP has issued policy guidance on the following issues:
Use of Electronic Signatures and Transmission for the Form I-20
This guidance establishes SEVP procedures for the use of electronic signatures on the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” and electronic transmission of the form.
Flight Training Providers
This policy addresses requirements for flight schools to receive SEVP certification. Specifically, SEVP requires that flight schools have Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 141 or Part 142 certification.
Form I-20 Issuance and School Use of Recruiters
This guidance clarifies whether recruiters may receive the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status,” directly from a school’s designated school official (DSO) and control the distribution to prospective students
Accreditation of English Training Programs Act (Accreditation Act)
This guidance provides SEVP policy, process and timeline for enforcing the Accreditation Act.
The Accreditation Act requires all English language training programs of study (commonly referred to as ESL programs) to have applied for accreditation before Dec. 15, 2011. This accreditation must be granted by a regional or national accrediting agency that the Department of Education currently recognizes.
Reporting Instructional Sites
This policy addresses the types of instructional sites school officials need to report on the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.”
This guidance interprets the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status,” issuance regulation for prospective F-1 and M-1 students (8 CFR 214.3(k)) to guide SEVP adjudicators.
The Form I-20 and the English Proficiency Field
SEVP regulations and the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” require a designated school official (DSO) to provide information on a school’s English proficiency requirements and whether a prospective F-1 or M-1 student has met those requirements. Consistent use of the English proficiency field by DSOs is important because it directly relates to who is eligible for F-1 or M-1 student status.
|Pathway Programs for Reasons of English Proficiency||
This guidance provides information for SEVP adjudicators regarding pathway programs for F-1 postsecondary students who fail to meet the English proficiency requirements for admission into a certified degree program of study, or need to improve English competencies for that program.
SEVP is currently reviewing all comments received. Because the guidance is in Interim Final status, it is considered effective and schools are expected to be in compliance during this review period. Once all feedback has been reviewed, the guidance will be available in final form on the SEVP website.
|Form I-20 - Student and Dependent Personal Information Fields in SEVIS||Interprets aspects of the regulations and process for designated school official (DSO) issuance of Forms I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” to F and M nonimmigrants (8 CFR 214.3(k)).
Read the policy guidance.
|Evidentiary Requirements for Schools Not Meeting Eligibility Criteria in 8CFR 214.3(b) and (c)||This guidance interprets the evidentiary requirements for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certification of schools that do not meet one of the three requirements in 8 CFR 214.3(b) and (c) to guide SEVP adjudicators.
Read the policy guidance.
|State Licensure Exemption Evidence||
Clarifies the evidentiary requirements for schools exempt from state licensure.
Read the policy guidance.
|Change of Ownership||Interprets the change of ownership regulation for SEVP-certified schools. The guidance covers change of ownership thresholds, the types of changes requiring reporting and determining the date of change.
Read the policy guidance.
|Practical Training – Determining a Direct Relationship Between Employment and Student’s Major Area of Study||Explains a student’s responsibility to provide a connection between their Major Area of Study and their practical training employment.
Read the policy guidance.
Note: If you have any SEVP policy questions that are not related to guidance documents, please contact the SEVP Response Center at (703) 603-3400 or SEVP@ice.dhs.gov.
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
- Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs — Information on exchange visitors (J visa holders) and exchange visitor sponsors.
- Catalog of State Designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsors
- Obtain a Student Visa
- EducationUSA — Assists nonimmigrant students with finding, applying, and preparing for study at an accredited U.S. college or university.
- Legal Requirements for Foreign Students in Public K-12 Schools — Department of State web page summarizing the legal requirements for foreign students wishing to study in United States public schools at the K thru 12 grade levels.
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.)
The DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List1 enumerates the fields of study that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designates as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for purposes of the 24-month STEM optional practical training (OPT) extension described at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(C).2
What is a CIP code? Developed by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) is a numerical taxonomy used to categorize and report on fields of study offered by educational institutions. CIP codes have a range of specificity in classifying fields of study, with designations from two digits to six digits. A two-digit code encompasses everything within that field of study, while four-digit and six-digit codes break down the field into more specific subcategories. DHS uses CIP codes to identify the STEM degrees that are eligible for the 24-month STEM OPT extension.
Who may nominate a CIP code? Interested parties, including members of the public, may nominate a CIP code for inclusion on or removal from the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List.
How may a nomination be submitted? Nominations may be submitted by email to the SEVP Response Center at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov, with the subject line “Attention: STEM CIP Code Nomination.” Nominations should include the following information:
- Title and six-digit code of the CIP code being nominated.
- The name, email address and telephone number of the nominator; if submitted on behalf of an educational institution or other institutional entity, please indicate the appropriate contact person at the institution.
- If nominating a CIP code for inclusion, a description of how the field of study under this CIP code engages students in research, innovation or development of new technologies using engineering, mathematics, computer science or natural sciences (including physical, biological and agricultural sciences).
- If nominating a CIP code for removal, a description of how the field of study under this CIP code does not engage students in research, innovation or development of new technologies using engineering, mathematics, computer science or natural sciences (including physical, biological and agricultural sciences).
The annual deadline for nominations is August 1. SEVP will review all nominations submitted by August 1 and publish any changes in a future update to the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List. The program will announce any changes to the list via a Federal Register Notice and through its communication channels, including Broadcast Messages, Study in the States blog posts and social media. Nominations submitted after August 1 will be assessed during the next review cycle.
How does DHS assess nominations? Nominations to add or remove degrees from the STEM Designated Degree Program List are assessed consistent with the authorizing regulation at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(c)(2). SEVP evaluates submissions to assess whether the degree is generally considered to be a STEM degree by recognized authorities, including input from educational institutions, governmental entities and non-governmental entities. SEVP also reviews the NCES definition of the CIP code and any supporting material submitted by the nominator such as the required curriculum for the degree and the extent to which it is comprised of core STEM disciplines as well as student involvement in research, innovation and development of new technologies using engineering, mathematics, computer science or natural sciences (including physical, biological and agricultural sciences). The degree requirements and curriculum may be assessed across academic institutions to ensure that the core aspects of the degree are sufficiently consistent among educational institutions.
A proposed addition does not have to have all supporting elements to be added to the STEM list. DHS assesses the totality of a submission and may approve a proposed CIP code if it presents sufficient evidence and reasoning to establish that the regulatory definition of a STEM field encompasses the degree under consideration.
CIP Eligibility. Under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(C)(2), a STEM field of study is a field of study “included in the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) taxonomy within the 2-digit series containing engineering, biological sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences, or a related field. In general, related fields will include fields involving research, innovation, or development of new technologies using engineering, mathematics, computer science, or natural sciences (including physical, biological, and agricultural sciences).”
- Accordingly, DHS designates all CIP codes in the following four series to be STEM:
- Engineering (14)
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences (26)
- Mathematics and Statistics (27)
- Physical Sciences (40)
All CIP codes in these four series automatically qualify for the 24-month STEM OPT extension. If a CIP code is from one of these four series, it does not need to be nominated as it is already approved.
- DHS has designated select qualifying degrees from the following CIP code series at the six-digit level as related fields because these specific fields of study were deemed to sufficiently engage students in the core STEM disciplines. However, CIP code nominations are not restricted to these fields:
- Agricultural/Animal/Plant/Veterinary Science and Related Fields (01)
- Natural Resources and Conservation (03)
- Architecture and Related Services (04)
- Communication, Journalism and Related Programs (09)
- Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services (10)
- Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services (11)
- Education (13)
- Engineering/Engineering-Related Technologies/Technicians (15)
- Military Science, Leadership and Operational Art (28)
- Military Technologies and Applied Sciences (29)
- Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies (30)
- Science Technologies/Technicians (41)
- Psychology (42)
- Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services (43)
- Social Sciences (45)
- Transportation and Materials Moving (49)
- Health Professions and Related Programs (51)
- Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services (52)
2. Most recently updated in a DHS rule, “Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students”. | return to text
As of Oct. 1, 2016, all schools seeking initial certification with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) must upload the evidence supporting their Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” via the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Petitions belonging to schools that fail to submit evidence with their petition filing will be canceled. Failure to submit all of the required evidence for filing may also result in the cancelation of the petition.
The evidence needed for filing is broken down below by school type and accreditation status. It is the responsibility of the school to determine which document applies to their school. Any questions can be directed to email@example.com.
For details regarding the definitions of the required evidence outlined in each checklist, refer to the Definition of Evidence (PDF).
Public High School
The document below contains a checklist for the evidence required to file a Form I-17 petition for public high schools (i.e., grade nine through grade 12). Public high schools must upload the evidence supporting their petition via SEVIS. Petitions belonging to schools that fail to upload evidence will be canceled.
Accredited, Private Kindergarten through Grade 12
The document below contains a checklist for the evidence required to file a Form I-17 petition for private, accredited kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) schools. Private K-12 schools must upload the evidence supporting their petition via SEVIS. Petitions belonging to schools that fail to upload evidence will be canceled.
Non-Accredited, Private Kindergarten through Grade 12
The document below contains a checklist for the evidence required to file a Form I-17 petition for private, non-accredited K-12 schools. Private K-12 schools must upload the evidence supporting their petition via SEVIS. Petitions belonging to schools that fail to upload evidence will be canceled.
Accredited, F and/or M Post-Secondary
The document below contains a checklist for the evidence required to file a Form I-17 petition for accredited post-secondary schools. Schools must upload the evidence supporting their petition via SEVIS. Petitions belonging to schools that fail to upload evidence will be canceled.
Non-Accredited, F and/or M Post-Secondary
The document below contains a checklist for the evidence required to file a Form I-17 petition for non-accredited post-secondary schools. Schools must upload the evidence supporting their petition via SEVIS. Petitions belonging to schools that fail to upload evidence will be canceled.
The document below contains a checklist for the evidence required to file a Form I-17 petition for flight schools. Flight schools must upload the evidence supporting their petition via SEVIS. Petitions belonging to schools that fail to upload evidence will be canceled.
- Initial Petition Evidence Checklist – Flight School (PDF)
- Programs of Study – Flight School Worksheet (PDF)
- SEVP Policy Guidance 1207-04: Flight Training Providers (PDF)
For more information SEVP Certification Frequently Asked Questions page.
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. There is a $1,250 fee for SEVP-certified schools submitting a petition for recertification.
One hundred and eighty days before a school’s certification expiration date (CED), designated school officials (DSOs) will receive notice from SEVP through Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) that the school is eligible to apply for recertification. Please note: Your school will not be able to submit for recertification unless your school has received its 180-day notice via SEVIS.
Schools may submit non-substantial Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” edits while filing for recertification. Substantial edits such as a change of ownership, a change of location or the addition of a location must be submitted as an update prior to submitting for recertification.
For example, a school may submit the recertification petition with a request to add a program of study to the Form I-17. In this circumstance, SEVP will adjudicate both the school’s eligibility for recertification and approval for the new program of study at the same time. However, the school would not be allowed to enroll new students into the requested program of study until adjudication is complete and an approval is granted for the new program.
Quick Recertification Submission Tips
- The Form I-17 must be signed in its entirety. This includes signatures by the principal designated school official (PDSO), all DSOs, the president, owner or head of school.
- Successfully filing for recertification consists of submitting for recertification via SEVIS and paying the $1,250 recertification filing fee. This includes electronically submitting the petition and uploading all evidence in SEVIS.
- Upon receipt of your complete recertification 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 CED, your school will be automatically withdrawn.
- The Recertification Team strongly recommends that you submit your complete recertification filing in SEVIS as soon as possible and no later than 30 days prior to the CED.
- Your school’s SEVP certification expires at 12:01 a.m. on the CED listed in SEVIS.
- If a recertification submission is received on the day prior to the CED, your school may be temporarily withdrawn from SEVIS.
- Please submit your recertification filing via SEVIS only. All evidence must be uploaded to SEVIS. Effective March 8, 2018, SEVP no longer accepts submissions via email. SEVP does not accept submissions via fax or U.S. mail.
- If a school is pending recertification adjudication and a material change occurs during that time that requires an update to the Form I-17, the school should report the change(s) by email to SEVP@ice.dhs.gov.
- Recertification information is located at the bottom of this page.
Once you have been notified via SEVIS that your school is within the 180 days of the CED, your school must submit a completed recertification filing prior to the CED.
Please review the Recertification Checklist under the Recertification Information 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 for recertification via SEVIS.
You must submit for recertification via SEVIS by clicking on the link to Apply for Recertification. Only the PDSO at the main instructional site can file for recertification. The PDSO must submit for recertification via SEVIS and upload all evidence in SEVIS.
Print a copy of the Form I-17 from SEVIS and sign the petition, including any continuation pages. Obtain signatures from the president, owner, or head of school and all designated school officials listed on the Form I-17.
If the information on the Form I-17 accurately reflects your school and its current operations, and no updates are needed , then no additional evidence needs to be submitted along with the signed Form I-17 and proof of payment of the recertification fee. U pload all documentation for recertification via SEVIS.
If the information on the Form I-17 does not accurately reflect your school and its current operations, you may submit non-substantial updates to the Form I-17 as part of the school’s petition for recertification. Schools must submit all the applicable evidence for these updates along with the signed Form I-17 and proof of payment of the recertification fee . Upload all documentation for recertification via SEVIS.
Please note that substantial updates, such as a change of ownership, a change of location or the addition of a location require filing a Form I-17 update. Petition update adjudications have no effect on the institution’s certification expiration date.
If your school is not accredited by a U.S. Department of Education (ED)-recognized accrediting agency or an SEVP-identified accrediting agency, additional evidence must be submitted based on your school type. Refer to the Filing Evidence Guides for Non-accredited Schools evidence guides below and on the Petition Updates section. Upload this evidence together with the signed Form I-17.
If your school is making edits to the recertification petition, you must also submit the evidence required for the adjudication of those fields with your recertification filing. The evidence a school needs to provide to SEVP depends what is being updated, and whether the school is accredited or not. If a school fails to upload evidence at the same time it submits for recertification, SEVP will reject the recertification submission. Refer to the Filing Evidence Guides for Accredited and Non-accredited Schools on the Petition Updates section and the Additional Evidence Guide below to determine what evidence is needed.
After Submitting the Petition for Recertification
If you correctly submit a complete recertification filing, 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 filing. SEVP recommends that you correct any errors and submit a new filing as soon as possible.
Remember: You only have a total of 180 calendar days to resubmit a complete filing. No extensions will be granted.
Once your recertification filing is in adjudication, you may receive a Request for Evidence (RFE). You will have 15 calendar days to respond to the request. Failure to respond to an RFE 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.
Per 8 CFR §214.3 (h)(2)(ii), SEVP will serve a Notice of Intent to Withdraw 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 filing 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.
If your school has been notified for recertification or has filed for recertification and wants to voluntarily withdraw certification, please submit a letter on the school’s letterhead signed by the president, owner, or head of school and primary designated school official. Submit this request to recert.SEVIS@ice.dhs.gov.
For further information, please review the recertification website at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/schools/submit/getting-started-with-sevp-recertification.
For questions regarding petition updates and recertification, please contact the SEVIS Response Center Monday-Friday at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov or at 703-603-3400.
Regulations require Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified institutions report any material changes to the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.” SEVP-certified institutions are required to keep all Form I-17 sections up to date in order to ensure the Form I-17 reflects the institution’s current operating status.
Principal designated school officials (PDSOs) at an institution with a Form I-17 that does not match the institution’s current operating status must update the petition in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 21 days of the change(s).
Note: Once the petition update is submitted in SEVIS, the petition is then locked for edits while pending adjudication.
SEVP recommends that designated school officials (DSOs) review the institution’s Form I-17 on a regular basis to ensure it reflects the school’s most up-to-date information.
8 CFR 214.3(g) and (h) requires that updates are made within 21 days of any changes.
The entire Form I-17 must be kept up to date; however, the following sections when updated must be adjudicated:
- 1.1: Approval of Attendance of Students Under
- 1.2: Name of School or School System
- 1.3: Name of Main campus
- 1.4: Mailing address of school
- 1.7: Location of school
- 1.8: School type (with name and address of owner 1.8 & 1.9)
- 2.1: School is engaged in
- 2.2: Areas of study
- 2.3: Degrees available
- 2.4: Courses of study and time necessary to complete
- 3.2, 3.3 & 3.4: Accreditation and recognitions
- 3.6: FAA Certification
- 4.4, 4.5, 4.6 & 4.7: Average annual numbers
- School official additions
- Instructional site addition
- PDSO or DSO information
While SEVP does not adjudicate the following sections, schools are still required to keep these sections of the Form I-17 up to date:
- 3.1: Date school was established
- 4.1: School Sessions
- 4.2: Date Registration begins for EACH session during a calendar year
- 4.3: Type of Sessions (Day/Night)
- 4.8: Approximate Annual Cost of Room, Board, Tuition, etc., per student
- 4.9: Requirements for Admission
With the SEVIS 6.35 Release, schools may now submit non-substantial Form I-17 edits while filing for recertification. Substantial updates such as a change of ownership or a change of location should still be submitted for adjudication prior to filing for recertification.
- For example, a school may submit the recertification petition with a request to add a program of study to the Form I-17. SEVP will adjudicate both the school’s eligibility for recertification and approval for the new program of study at the same time. However, the school cannot enroll new students into the requested program of study until adjudication is complete and an approval is granted for the new program.
In order to update the information on the Form I-17, the primary designated school official (PDSO) must log into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), make the appropriate edits and click Submit.
The PDSO may choose the right side navigation box to go to the Submit page at any time. They may also Save Draft by using the button on the bottom of each screen. However, if they use the Cancel button, all changes will be wiped and their draft will be erased. “Draft status” means that the institution can see the updates made, but the update has not been submitted to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for review.
School officials also must upload the evidence required for adjudication at the same time they submit their updates in SEVIS. The evidence a school needs to provide to SEVP depends on what section(s) is being updated, and whether or not the school is accredited. If a school fails to upload evidence at the same time it submits the update in SEVIS, SEVP will cancel the request and ask that the school resubmit the request with the required evidence.
SEVP may ask your school to provide additional evidence for adjudication through a Request for Evidence (RFE) notice that will be sent via a SEVIS-generated email. A specific due date will be included in all RFEs. Institutions should note this date and ensure all evidence is emailed by the date on which it is due.
Notification of adjudication will also be sent via a SEVIS-generated email. Therefore, designated school official (DSO) email addresses in SEVIS must be current in order to receive proper notifications and requests for evidence.
- Processing times for updates vary depending on the type of submitted update.
- Upload all supporting documents via SEVIS at the time the school submits its petition update. For more information about the required evidence a school needs to submit with an update, see the appropriate evidence tabs below (i.e., accredited school or program of study filing evidence or non-accredited school or program of study filing evidence).
- For PDSO or DSO updates to unlocked petitions, please upload supporting evidence to SEVIS with the update.
- For PDSO or DSO updates to locked petitions, please submit supporting evidence to FormI17SupportingEvidence@ice.dhs.gov.
- If the petition is locked due to pending updates, and a material change occurs, the school should report the changes by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If the institution believes that there is an error in the submission, the institution has the option of canceling the pending update and resubmitting. If the institution would like to cancel a pending update, please email email@example.com. Upon receipt, the Updates Team will review 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.
If there are questions regarding login or use of SEVIS, please contact the SEVP Response Center at 703-603-3400.
Site Visit Fee
- There is a $655 site visit fee when an SEVP-certified school submits a true change to the main location, approved physical locations, or adds a new additional location to its Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.” Once the Student and Exchange Visitor Program receives proof of payment, the school will be contacted to schedule a site visit at the new location.
Change of Ownership Fee
- There is a $3,000 fee for changes to the ownership of an SEVP-certified school. For more information on a what constitutes a change of ownership (control) refer to the SEVP Policy Guidance S4.3: Change of Ownership guidance document.
Required fee payments are paid through www.pay.gov. For detailed instructions on how to pay these fees, please see the “Physical Location of the School” and “Private School Owner” sections in the documents found under the appropriate evidence tabs below (i.e., Accredited school/Physical Location of the School evidence or Non-Accredited School/Physical Location of the School evidence).
The documents below outline the required evidence needed to file your edits to the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” section being updated by an accredited school. The documents divide the evidence by the page number of the Form I-17 on which the updated section can be found. For example, edits made to any sections beginning with a one (1) are found on page one (1) of the Form I-17 in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Edits made to any section beginning with a two (2) are found on page two (2) of the Form I-17 in SEVIS, and so forth. Please identify each section your school is updating and provide the evidence listed to support it. For a detailed explanation of the evidence requirements refer to the Definitions of Evidence (PDF).
- Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Section 1 Edits (PDF)
- Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Section 2 Edits (PDF)
- Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Section 3 Edits (PDF)
- Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Section 4 Edits (PDF)
- Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Sections 5 and 6 Edits (PDF)
- Filing Evidence for Flight Schools (PDF)
Note: The evidence listed is not all inclusive and additional evidence may be required upon review of a school’s Form I-17 petition update.
The documents below outline the required evidence needed to file your edits to the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” section being updated by a non-accredited school. The documents divide the evidence by the page number of the Form I-17 on which the updated section can be found. For example, edits made to any sections beginning with a one (1) are found on page one (1) of the Form I-17 in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Edits made to any section beginning with a two (2) are found on page two (2) of the Form I-17 in SEVIS, and so forth. Please identify each section your school is updating and provide the evidence listed to support it. For a detailed explanation of the evidence requirements refer to the Definitions of Evidence (PDF).
- Non Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Section 1 Edits (PDF)
- Non Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Section 2 Edits (PDF)
- Non Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Section 3 Edits (PDF)
- Non Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Section 4 Edits (PDF)
- Non Accredited Schools Evidence Checklist for Form I-17 Sections 5 and 6 Edits (PDF)
Note: The evidence listed is not all inclusive and additional evidence may be required upon review of a school’s Form I- 17 petition update.
The Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVP) process for submitting new primary designated school officials (PDSOs) and designated school officials (DSOs) and changing PDSO or DSO information requires a complete submission. This includes submitting the PDSO or DSO update request and supporting evidence all at once.
If documentation is missing at the time of submission, the PDSO or DSO submission will be considered incomplete and may be subject to cancellation. For more information about this process, including required evidence your school must submit, please refer to SEVP Fact Sheet: Designated School Official Submissions.
To make PDSO or DSO updates to your school’s locked Form I-17, a school must submit the update requests, as detailed in the SEVP Fact Sheet 8.1: Designated School Official Submissions, to SEVP by sending an email to FormI17SupportingEvidence@ice.dhs.gov.
If your school would like to have its Student and Exchange Visitor Program certification voluntarily withdrawn, you must submit a letter on the school’s letterhead signed by the school’s president or owner and principal designated school official. The request must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEVP External Training Application
The SEVP External Training Application (SETA) is an online learning management tool for current and prospective school and sponsor officials that teaches the rules and regulations governing the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program (EVP).
Current and prospective school and sponsor officials are encouraged to take this training to boost understanding of the rules and regulations governing SEVP and EVP. SEVP expects to continually evolve the application and intends to add additional courses as part of an ongoing effort to educate and train school and sponsor officials.
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 53. 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 six field representative territory vacancies in Milwaukee, WI; Norfolk, VA; Orlando, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Seattle, WA; Miami, FL; and Columbia, SC. If your school falls within any of these territories, please 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 these vacancies will be communicated via a SEVIS Broadcast Message.
To learn more about this program, please read these FAQs about the field representatives.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) understands that Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools may face emergency situations ranging from natural disasters to manmade catastrophes.
SEVP follows a standard operating procedure for communicating with F and M students and SEVP-certified schools before, during and after emergency events. Specifically, during an emergency event:
- SEVP will post Broadcast Messages with important information pertaining to the emergency events on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) message board. When appropriate, the program may also send these messages via email to impacted SEVIS users.
- The Field Representative in the impacted areas will work to disseminate information from SEVP to the appropriate school officials.
- The SEVP Response Center will monitor and track requests for assistance from impacted stakeholders.
- The Study in the States website and social media accounts will push out important programmatic reminders and breaking news alerts to keep stakeholders informed.
It is important that designated school officials (DSOs) understand their role in emergency operations and keep their SEVP-certification responsibilities in mind when planning their response to campus disruptions. Specifically, we advise DSOs to:
- 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 to you as well as receive additional instructions from you.
- If you are unable to provide this information to students or exchange visitors – Advise F and M nonimmigrants to check SEVP's website and Study in the States for information and guidance and to contact SEVP via email (SEVP@ice.dhs.gov) or telephone [(703) 603-3400] to report their location and contact information as soon as possible. Our offices are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET, except holidays.
- Please advise F and M nonimmigrants to keep all relevant documents on their person – Advise students that in the event of an evacuation of the area, they bring with them their passport, student visa, Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status” and any other supporting documents that they possess to verify their legal status.
- Understand the critical record keeping requirements to keep in mind during emergency events. Specifically:
- Record Keeping: 8 CFR 214.3(g).
- Student Reporting: 8 CFR 214.3 (3)(g).
- Online Training: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6) for F students; 8 CFR 214.2(m)(9)(v) for M students.
- Transfers: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(8).
DHS urges all to plan for the unexpected, as emergencies can disrupt operations and affect the safety of your faculty, staff and students. However, the effects of a crisis can be lessened by planning, and a continuity of operations plan (COOP) will allow your school to continue critical operations until the crisis situation normalizes. SEVP and DHS strongly encourage schools to review the basic tenets of resiliency planning and use to the below resources to create a plan that works for your campus:
- Study in the State’s Campus Resilience at SEVP-certified School and Maintain F and M Status in Emergency Events.
- DHS’s emergency preparedness, continuity planning and training information: https://www.ready.gov.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Management Institute offers additional resources and training at https://www.fema.gov/training.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information and resources, regarding emergency preparedness and response, online at http://emergency.cdc.gov/.