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SEVIS update vs recertification

Recertification Series: Updates vs. Recertification

April 25, 2019

Updates to the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” and school recertification are two very different processes in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) school certification life cycle. Below, learn the differences between filing for recertification and submitting updates to the Form I-17.


SEVP-certified schools must go through the recertification process every two years to ensure school officials are following regulations when enrolling F and M students. Keep in mind:

  • SEVP notifies designated school officials (DSOs) 180 days before a school’s certification expiration date (CED) that the school is eligible to apply for recertification.
  • DSOs will receive this notification from SEVP through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  • Schools should not attempt to file for recertification unless your school has received its 180-day notice via SEVIS.

For more information on how to file for recertification, visit the Getting Started with SEVP Recertification page or the Recertification tab under the Schools and Programs section of

Form I-17 Updates

Regulations require SEVP-certified schools to report any changes to their Form I-17. Schools are required to keep all Form I-17 sections up to date in order to ensure the Form I-17 reflects the school’s current operating status. Keep in mind:

  • DSOs are responsible for ensuring that information on their school’s Form I-17 is up-to-date. Any changes to the information on a school’s existing Form I-17 require an update to the form within 21 days of the change. Failure to do so may result in withdrawal of a school’s SEVP certification.
  • Updates to the Form I-17 can be made at any time, except while a school is pending recertification. 
  • Once a Form I-17 petition update is submitted in SEVIS, the petition is then locked for most edits while pending adjudication. If the petition is locked and a material change occurs, the school should report these changes by email to
  • Schools may 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 more detailed information about the Form I-17 petition update process, please visit the Updates to Form I-17 page or the Petition Certification tab under the Schools and Programs section of

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