One requirement for a school to be Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified is that the school must have dedicated employees for assisting and overseeing enrolled F and M students:
- Designated school officials (DSO)
- Principal designated school official (PDSO); a DSO with added responsibilities
The school’s president, owner or head of a school or school system must nominate these officials by signing Form I-17A, “Record of Designated School Officials.” Each instructional site location must have at least one PDSO who also serves as the main point of contact related to SEVP-certified schools can nominate an appropriate number of DSOs based on the school’s specific needs. Read more about this in the Adjustments to Designated School Official Limits Frequently Asked Questions.
A DSO must be either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States. To prove this status to SEVP, school officials can provide one of the following with Form I-17A:
- Copy of U.S. passport (current or expired)
- Copy of a U.S. civil-issued birth certificate
- Copy of an alien registration card
- Copy of a naturalization or citizenship certificate
Federal law requires DSOs to update and maintain student records in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. For more information on specific reporting requirements, please read the SEVIS Reporting Requirements for Designated School Officials fact sheet.