Q: Why do schools and sponsors have to verify their official each year?
A: As a federal database, SEVIS is subject to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). FISMA requires the annual verification that all users who access federal systems have both the business need and the authorization to access the system. To comply with FISMA, PDSOs and ROs must annually verify that every Primary Designated School Official (PDSO), Designated School Official (DSO), Responsible Officer (RO), and Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) who has access to SEVIS:
- Is still regularly employed by the organization and continues to be the designated PDSO, DSO, RO, or ARO.
- Requires continued access to SEVIS.
Q: What is SEVP's definition of a DSO "requiring continued access" to SEVIS? Should all DSOs have a regular need to access SEVIS, or is it all right to have DSOs who are in place for periods of time when the PDSO/DSOs are unavailable?
A: The verification confirms that an individual is still employed at the school and has a business need to be able to access SEVIS. It is perfectly acceptable to have DSOs designated for back-up purposes that are not necessarily making frequent updates. However, anyone who is employed at the school but no longer has a business need to access SEVIS (i.e., no longer serves in that capacity, backup or otherwise) should be designated as “No.”
Q: Can we update a DSO’s email and phone information while we are on the verification page?
A. You cannot update the DSO's email address on the verification page, but you can do it on “Update Officials” page in the Form I-17, if necessary.
Q: If we opt against verifying a DSO, are they automatically removed from our I-17? If a DSO is removed through this process, do we still have to file an I-17 update?
A: A decision must be made for every DSO listed for the school. Every DSO must be verified with either a “Yes” or “No” designation. If you select “No,” that DSO is automatically removed from the Form I-17. There is no need to file a supplementary petition update to remove officials.
Q: Our school has multiple campuses, each with a PDSO. If one PDSO fails to complete the verification process, will all the campuses be affected?
A. Yes, if even one campus remains unverified, the entire school and all officials will be locked out of SEVIS; therefore, any PDSO may verify all of the campuses. If your school has multiple PDSOs, you may want to assign verification to one particular PDSO for all campuses, or you may assign each PDSO responsibility for his/ her own campus.
Q: I work at a community college that has more than one campus. Do we need verification for each campus?
A: Yes, every campus has a PDSO assigned to it – as listed on the Form I-17. Campuses may also have DSOs.
Q: I’m a PDSO at seven different schools. How do I verify these?
A. Different schools must be verified individually. If you are a PDSO at multiple schools, when you log in and access the verification page, you will see on the list all your schools and all your campuses. It will be easy for you to tell when you have verified all of your officials, as the schools/campuses are removed from the list as you verify them.
Q: Does the PDSO need to confirm DSO U.S. national or permanent residency credentials?
A. No, the PDSO does not need to confirm the DSO’s citizenship or residency to complete the annual verification.
Q: What if a school added a campus during the previous year?
A. If the campus is already officially added to the Form I-17, it will appear on the verification screen. If the campus addition has not yet been approved, then it and the associated officials will appear for verification the following year.
Q: We have a new head of school. Should I add him before removing our old head of school from the petition?
A: Yes, especially if your head of school is listed as the PDSO. If the head of school is not the PDSO, the verification process is not affected. Do not delay verification if the head of school is not a PDSO.
Q: I’m a DSO. Our PDSO is in the process of resigning. Can I complete the verification process for our school?
A: No. Before the PDSO resigns, have the outgoing PDSO log into SEVIS and assign you, or another DSO listed on the Form I-17, as the PDSO. The outgoing PDSO can reassign the role, so you will have the ability to complete the verification.
Q: I do not see the link to the verification process. What do I do?
A: There are a few possible reasons that you are not seeing the link to access the verification page. First, if you are a DSO or an ARO, you will not be able to access that page. Only users assigned the PDSO or RO role in SEVIS will be able to complete the verification. If you are a PDSO or RO and you are not prompted to complete the verification, go to your School or Program Information page and locate the Next Verification Date to determine if your school has already completed the verification. All PDSOs at your institution can complete the verification for all campuses. If the Next Verification Date is 3/2/2019, your entire institution has already been verified. However, if the date is 3/2/2018, then your school remains unverified, and you need to contact the SEVP Response Center as soon as possible.
Q: I was asked for a “yes” or “no” answer but was not given that option to reply.
A: Most likely, your institution only has a PDSO for that campus. In this case, there will just be a radio button next to the PDSO. We do want you to verify positively that this person (PDSO) is still there. Click the button for the PDSO and click Submit. If you need to replace your PDSO, you need to do that separately.
Q: Does SEVIS send us an email confirming we have completed the validation?
A: No. You will get an acknowledgement that you have finished a particular campus and then that campus name will be removed from the list. When the verification is completed, users will no longer be prompted to complete the verification when they login. The Next Verification Date will be set to March 2019, and is located on the School or Program Information page.
Q: For multiple campus schools with different PDSOs at different campuses, can we choose to allow each PDSO to do their own verification for their campus?
A: Yes. You can choose whichever method works best for you to get all the campuses verified. Remember, if one campus remains unverified by March 3, the entire school will be unable to access SEVIS until the verification is completed.