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DSO Checklist for Accepted Students

DSOs: find out what to do with your accepted students.

Designated schools officials (DSO) have responsibilities to their F and/or M students, their school and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). As a DSO, you must take certain steps to help students maintain nonimmigrant status. Do you know what to do?

After your students receive acceptance to your school, you need to do the following:

  • Continue to maintain your school’s SEVP certification. To stay in status, an F or M student only has permission to attend an SEVP-certified school. You must continue to make updates when necessary, to your Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.” Examples of updates include changing the principal designated school official or adding a new program of study.
  • Get proof of financial ability from your students to show that they have the financial ability to pay for tuition and living expenses.
  • Issue each potential student a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” so the student can pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee and make a visa appointment with the Department of State.
  • Issue a Form I-20 to each dependent of a potential student who would like to accompany the student as an F-2 or M-2.
  • When a student arrives on campus, you may register that student in SEVIS and manually activate the record within 30 days of the program start date. If SEVIS does not show that the student arrived in the United States, you should cancel the student’s record with 30 days of the program start date. The student’s records will automatically cancel in SEVIS after 60 days.
  • If the student arrives in the United States and SEVIS shows that the student has entered the United States but does not report to the school within 30 days of the program start date, you must terminate the student’s SEVIS record as “no show.” This will automatically alert U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the student has violated the visa status and is in the United States unlawfully.
  • If a student does not arrive in the United States within 30 days of the program start date, and there is no evidence in SEVIS that the student has passed through the port of entry to attend your school, it is likely the student chose not to study in the United States or selected another school and is entering on another SEVIS record. You should cancel the student’s SEVIS record within 30 days of the program start date.
  • Register each enrolled student in SEVIS within 30 days of each term start date (“session start date” in SEVIS). Failure to do so will cause a student’s records to terminate automatically in SEVIS after 90 days for “failure to enroll,” and the student should not re-enter or remain in the United States (as applicable).
  • Give students your professional emergency contact information so they can contact you while traveling or during emergencies.
  • Advise your students on steps they must take to maintain their nonimmigrant status, like attending and passing classes and only having employment that is authorized.
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