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Know the Difference Between Public and Private K-12 Schools


January 23, 2018

Like all F and M international students in the United States, international students at the kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) level must attend a school certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). In addition to this certification, there are other rules a school must comply with to enroll international K-12 students. 

K-12 Private Schools

A private school at the elementary and secondary grade levels (i.e., K-12) is eligible for SEVP certification. There is no limit on the length of time an F-1 student may attend a private, SEVP-certified K-12 school. Read these resources for more information about K-12 private schools:

Grade 9-12 Public Schools

A public school at the secondary level (i.e., grades 9-12) is eligible for SEVP certification and may enroll an international student for a maximum period of 12 months. Public elementary schools (i.e., grades K-8) are not eligible for SEVP certification and therefore cannot enroll international students. Read these resources for more information about grade 9-12 public schools:

Looking for more information about K-12 schools eligible to enroll international students in the United States? Check out the Public and Private K-12 Schools: Know the Difference infographic.

Are you a school official looking for more information? Read the Top 10 Questions for Designated School Officials at Kindergarten through Grade 12 Schools.

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