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Getting Started with SEVP Recertification

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (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. There is no fee for recertification.

As of the July 2017 SEVIS 6.35 Release, schools may now submit non-substantial Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” edits and upload any required evidence while filing for recertification. Substantial updates such as a change of ownership or a change of location must still be submitted for adjudication prior to filing for recertification.

This means 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.

About Recertification

To begin the recertification process, 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.

Although SEVP will notify all DSOs of the school’s CED, it is the school’s principal designated school official (PDSO) at the main instructional site who must submit their recertification filing in SEVIS before the school’s CED. PDSOs cannot apply for recertification before receiving the 180-day notice but should respond promptly after receiving it. Meaning PDSOs have 180 days to apply for recertification and SEVP recommends PDSOs file no later than 30 days prior to their school’s CED.

A school’s certification expires at 12:01 a.m. on the CED. SEVIS will withdraw the school if the PDSO does not submit their recertification filing in SEVIS by 12:01 a.m. on the CED. If SEVP receives a school’s recertification filing the day before the school’s CED, SEVIS may temporarily withdraw the school.

A school that does not receive confirmation from SEVP of a complete recertification filing before the CED will have its SEVP certification automatically withdrawn on the CED. SEVP will not accept a recertification filing after the CED.

How to File for Recertification

Filing for recertification consists of two essential actions the PDSO must take in prompt sequence. First, the PDSO must complete the recertification petition in SEVIS. The personal SEVIS account of the PDSO at the main instructional site (i.e., campus, in current regulation) must be used to submit for recertification in SEVIS. Second, the PDSO must upload the complete recertification filing (i.e., signed Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” and other supporting documentation) via SEVIS. For more information about this process, please visit the Recertification tab in the Schools and Programs section of ICE.gov/SEVP and visit the SEVIS Help Hub.

Listed below are step-by-step instructions for how PDSOs must file for recertification. 

1. Review the Form I-17.

The PDSO reviews the entire Form I-17 to make sure all information is accurate and updated. The PDSO reviews previous Notices of Recertification for flagged items or discrepancies, if applicable.

2. Update the Form I-17.

Schools are required to keep all information on the information up to date at all times. Per 8 CFR 214.3 g (2)(ii), schools must update SEVIS with current information within 21 days of a change in any of the information on the Form I-17; therefore, recertification should not trigger updates that should have been previously submitted. A school with current school information in SEVIS at the time DSOs receive the 180-day notice of eligibility for recertification is much more likely to be recertified promptly and without problems.

3. Print the Form I-17.

Once the PDSO confirms that the Form I-17 accurately reflects their school’s operating status, they must print the Form I-17, along with any continuation pages from SEVIS and collect the necessary signatures. Signatures are mandatory on Form I-17 Continuation Page, “Certification and Signature by President, Owner, or Head of School,” and the Form I-17-A, “Record of Designated School Officials.”

4. Sign the Form I-17.

Signatures are required from the PDSO, all DSOs and the president, owner or head of a school.

5. Upload evidence in lieu of accreditation.

If an SEVP-certified school is not accredited by a Department of Education (ED)-recognized or SEVP-identified accrediting body, the school must upload evidence in lieu of accreditation. This evidence varies depending on school type. Refer to the Filing Evidence Guide for Non-accredited Schools on the Petition Updates tab as well as the Additional Evidence Guide on the Recertification tab in the Schools section of ICE.gov/SEVP.

6. Complete the recertification petition in SEVIS.

After the signatures are collected and any necessary evidence gathered, the PDSO must complete the recertification petition in SEVIS.
To submit for recertification via SEVIS click 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. This includes the electronic Form I-17 petition and uploading the signed Form I-17 petition and, if applicable, all supporting documentation. Please upload your recertification documentation via SEVIS. You may refer to the Form I-17 Upload Evidence User Guide for instructions on how to use the upload functionality.  SEVP no longer accepts submissions via fax or U.S. mail.

7. Submit the recertification petition in SEVIS.

After you submit your recertification filing in SEVIS, you will receive aNotice of Confirmation of Complete Filing” or a “Notice of Rejection of Filing” within three business days. If a notice is not received within three business days, please email recert.sevis@ice.dhs.gov.

  • A Notice of Confirmation of Complete Filing explains that your school has completed the requirements for recertification submission and there is nothing further needed at this time. The petition is in queue for adjudication.
  • A Notice of Rejection of Filing indicates errors in the package submitted. Your application in SEVIS will be canceled. You will be required to make the necessary corrections stated in the notice and resubmit your recertification package (i.e., resend package via email and submit in SEVIS).

what is being updated, and whether or not the school is accredited. If a school fails to upload evidence at the same time it submits for recertification, SEVP will reject the recertification submission. Refer to the checklists for Accredited and Non-accredited Schools on the Petition Updates tab.depends petition, you must also upload the evidence required for the adjudication of those fields with your recertification filing. The evidence a school needs to provide to SEVP recertificationNote: If your school is making edits to the

Recertification Reference Table

Below is a quick reference table that outlines the two actions for accredited and non-accredited SEVP-certified schools.

 
Reference Table for Filing for Recertification 
Accredited School      

1. Complete the recertification petition in SEVIS.

2. Upload the following in SEVIS :

    • The Form I-17 with signatures on the Form I-17 Continuation page.
    • The Form I-17-A page.
    • And any necessary evidence for non-substantial changes.

    3. Submit the recertification in SEVIS.

    Non- Accredited school   

    1. Complete the recertification petition in SEVIS.

    2. Upload the following to SEVIS:

    • The Form I-17 with signatures on the Form I-17 Continuation page.
    • The Form I-17-A page .
    • Evidence in lieu of accreditation.
    • And any necessary evidence for non-substantial changes.

    3. Submit the recertification in SEVIS.

    Post Filing of Recertification Petition 

    After receiving the Notice of Confirmation of Complete Filing, the school is in queue for adjudication. When a school’s recertification petition is in the adjudication phase, DSOs may receive a request for evidence (RFE). The PDSO has 15 days to respond to the RFE.

    If a material changes occur after a school’s recertification petition is filed, the school should report the changes by email to sevp@ice.dhs.gov with their school name, school code, a brief explanation of what they are requesting to do and any accompanying evidence they may have supporting their request.

    Computing the Filing Time Period 

    When computing the period of time for filing for recertification, SEVP counts every calendar day (including Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) beginning with the first calendar day after the date of notice. If the last day of the filing period falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday, the period to file for recertification runs until the end of the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. See 5 USC 6103 for a listing of legal holidays.

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