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Form I-17 - Initial Certification

Last updated 27-Apr-2018

Overview of the Initial School Certification Process

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is the federal agency that:

  • Administers the immigration regulations for academic (F-1) and vocational (M-1) students.
  • Certifies and oversees the schools authorized to enroll F-1 and M-1 students.
  • Monitors F and M nonimmigrants.
  • Maintains the Student and Exchange Visitor Information Systems (SEVIS), and electronic tracking and reporting system used to monitor nonimmigrant students and their schools.

SEVP is a law enforcement agency within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Schools use SEVIS to:

  • Petition for initial SEVP certification to enroll nonimmigrant students.
  • Create the certificates of eligibility (Form I-20) used by nonimmigrant students.
  • Comply with their reporting responsibilities.
  • Update their Form I-17 petition.
  • Petition for recertification.

Regulations

Before filing for initial school certification, school officials must be familiar with the federal regulations, policies, and procedures that govern SEVP-certified schools. These regulations detail:

  • Processes for filing for initial school certification.
  • Processes for filing for recertification.
  • School’s responsibilities for managing their programs.
  • School’s record keeping and legal reporting requirements.
  • F-1 and M-1 student responsibilities, requirements, and benefits.

Icon - Regulatory or policy resources

School officials must read and understand:

Resources

The following resources provide useful information to guide you through the certification process.

Icon - Helpful tools are availableResources on ICE.gov:

  • www.ice.gov/sevis/schools
  • Initial School Certification Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): This document contains information on special circumstances and processing times.
  • The supporting documents required depend on the type of school and the school’s accreditation status.  For guidance on what evidence is required for initial certification, visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis/schools, or see below:
    • Accredited private K-12 schools
    • Non-accredited private K-12 schools
    • Accredited Post- Secondary schools
    • Non-accredited Post- Secondary schools (F)
    • Non-accredited post-secondary schools (M)
    • Non-accredited post-secondary schools (F/M)
    • Flight Schools

Process Overview

Before you start the process, know:

  • Who will file the petition for the school.

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

  •  SEVP will send all correspondence about the petition to this person.
  • This person does not have to be the same person as the principal designated school official (PDSO).
  • You cannot change this contact person while the petition is pending.

 

  • Who will serve as the school’s PDSO. This person will be responsible for ensuring the school complies with applicable regulations and reporting requirements. You must have a PDSO as part of the initial petition.

Step

Player

Action

1

You

  • Review relevant regulations and materials. (See resource list above.)
  • Collect the information and evidence required to file the petition in SEVIS.

2

You

3

SEVIS

  • Creates a temporary SEVIS account for you.
  • Sends two emails:
    • One contains your temporary SEVIS user name.
    • One contains the SEVIS password standards and a link to create your password. This link is only valid for 30 days.

4

You

  • Create your SEVIS password.
  • Log in to SEVIS.
  • Fill out the Form I-17 to provide information on the school’s:
    • Contact Information
    • Programs of Study
    • Accreditations and Recognitions
    • School Calendar, Costs, and Demographics
    • Campuses and Instructional Sites
    • School Officials
  • Save the petition.
  • Print the Form I-17 and collect the necessary signatures.
  • Scan the signed Form I-17 and supporting evidence.
  • Convert scanned documents into PDF files.
  • Upload supporting documents in SEVIS.
  • Submit the petition in SEVIS.

Note: All supporting evidence must be submitted with the petition.  Cancelling your petition deletes all data on your Form I-17.

5

SEVIS

  • Confirms the submission.
  • Locks the petition, preventing any edits.

6

You

7

SEVP

  • Receives the petition.
  • Confirms:
    • Payment of the filing and site visit fees.
    • Receipt of the submitted evidence.
  • Marks the petition as “Filed” or cancels it.

Note: If the petition is canceled, you must submit a new petition and any supporting evidence, if you want to pursue certification.

  • Schedules the site visit.

8

SEVP

  • Conducts site visit.

9

SEVP

  • Researches your school.
  • Reviews submitted evidence.
  • Emails a request for evidence (RFE). If either:
    • More information or evidence is needed.
    • Edits to the petition are required. SEVP will unlock the petition if edits are needed.

10

You

  • Respond to any RFE received by the response deadline.
  • Edit the Form I-17 in SEVIS, if instructed.
  • Upload supporting documents, if instructed.

11

SEVP

  • Adjudicates the petition.
  • May deny the petition for abandonment, if you fail to respond to an RFE by the deadline.

12

SEVIS

  • Notifies you of the decision.
  • If approved:
    • Assigns user names to the school officials listed in the petition.
    • Emails the officials their user names and instructions for accessing SEVIS.
    • Disables your temporary account.
  • If denied, sends a Notice of Denial to all designated officials listed on the petition. The notice details:
    • Reasons for the denial.
    • School’s appeal rights.

Icon - Pay attention to an important pointSEVIS will delete any draft petition that is not touched for 45 days.

Navigating the Form I-17 in SEVIS

Navigation in the SEVIS Header

The SEVIS header contains links that take you to different SEVIS functionalities:

The SEVIS page header

  • School Application: Takes you to the Form I-17 Petition for Initial Certification.
  • Help: Opens an outdated SEVIS Help system. The field-level help on the Form I-17 pages replaces this functionality.
  • Message Board: Takes you to the Broadcast Messages page.
  • Change Password: Takes you to the Change My Password page.

Navigation Panel on the Form I-17

Each page of the Form I-17 displays a navigation panel.

Form I-17 navigation panel

The navigation panel allows you to move freely from one page to any of the other Form I-17 pages. SEVIS will save any data you entered, when you leave the page using these links. You must complete every required field on the page before SEVIS will allow you to move to another page.

Navigations at the Bottom of Each Page

The bottom of each page of the Form I-17 contains navigation and action buttons.

The bottom of the Form I-17 navigation and action buttons

  • Save Draft: Saves the data entered into draft petition.
  • Print Draft: Prints a copy of the draft petition.
  • Previous: Takes the user to the previous page in the sequence.
  • Next: Takes the user to the next page in the sequence.
  • Cancel: Deletes the data entered in the petition and returns you to the first page of the Form I-17.

Communications from SEVP

The SEVIS Broadcast Message page is the first page that displays when you log in to SEVIS. SEVP posts important messages about system outages, SEVIS webinars, policy guidance, and resources on the Broadcast Message page.

The SEVIS Broadcast Message page

Icon - Additional information is availableThe Broadcast Messages article details the features of this page.

Field-Level Help

SEVIS provides field-level help directly on the page to assist you in preparing your petition.

SEVIS offering petition help directly on the page
  • Click the hyperlinked question next to the field to access help for that field. The Help modal for that field opens.

The Help modal

  • Help text displays in the modal that is specific to the field.You can resize the box, move it around on your screen, and scroll down for lengthy entries.

 

Icon - Additional information is available

  •  You can resize the box, move it around on your screen, and scroll down for lengthy entries. 
  • It may contain links to more other resources.
 

Create Temporary User Account in SEVIS

To start the Initial Certification process, you must first create a temporary account in SEVIS.

Icon - Pay attention to an important pointPlan carefully. Your school will lose access to the petition, if you leave the school while it is pending. Your temporary role cannot be re-assigned to someone else.

1. Go to the SEVIS Log In page, https://egov.ice.gov/sevis.

the SEVIS Log In page

2.  Click Register for New Account. The Register for a New SEVIS Account page opens.

The Register for a New SEVIS Account page

3. Select the option for Apply for New School Certification by DHS to admit F and/or M Students. The page expands to display additional fields to collect more information.

Register for a New SEVIS Account page with  additional fields to collect more information

4. Enter your name, contact information, and the school’s legal name in the fields:

  • Last Name (required)
  • First Name (required)
  • Middle Name
  • Email Address (required)
  • Telephone Number (required)
  • School Name (required)

5. Click either Submit or Cancel.

  • Submit: Saves the information and creates a temporary SEVIS account for you.
  • Cancel: Returns to the SEVIS login page without creating a temporary account.

 

Create Password

Once you have submitted your information, two things will happen:

  • SEVIS will send you two email messages. These emails contains:
    1. Your user name.
    2. SEVIS’ password standards and a link to the Create Password page for temporary users. This link is valid for only thirty days.
  • SEVIS opens the New User Created page.

the New User Created page

  • Click either Ok or Create Password.
    • Ok closes the page.

Note: You can use the link in the email you received to create your password later.

  • Create Password opens the Create Password page with your user name already entered in the User Name field.

the Create Password page

  • Enter user name you received from the email.
  • Create and enter your password. The password must conform to the password standards below.

Must Contain

Must NOT Contain

  • 8-16 characters
  • At least one alphabetic character
  • One numeric character
  • One of the following special characters:
    @, #, or $
  • Non-numeric characters in the first and last positions
  • Two consecutive identical characters
  • More than three consecutive characters from the previous password
  • Dictionary word or proper noun
  • Same as the User ID
  • Confirm your password.
  • Click Set Password. The Password Set page opens.

The Password Set page

  • Click OK. The SEVIS Log in page opens.

Change Password

To change your password:

the SEVIS Header with Change Password circled

  • Click Change Password in the SEVIS Header. The Change My Password page opens.

The Change My Password page

  • Enter your current password.
  • Enter your new password.
  • Re-enter your new password.
  • Click Change Password or Cancel.
  • Change Password submits your password.
  • Cancel returns you to the main page

Reset Password

If you forget your password, you must call the SEVIS Help Desk (1-800-892-4829) to get your password reset. 

Prepare the Petition

The petition consists of six distinct pages:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Programs of Study
  3. Accreditations and Recognitions
  4. School Calendar, Costs, and Demographics
  5. Campuses and Instructional Sites
  6. School Officials

To move quickly from one page to another use:

  • Navigation panel on the left side of the page.

The navigation panel on the left side of the page

  • Navigation buttons on the bottom of each page.

Navigation buttons on the bottom of each page.

Icon - Pay attention to an important pointSEVIS will:

  • Save your data when you leave a page.
  • Validate the data on the page and prompt you to complete any required fields that lack values

Contact Information Page

The Contact Page collects the information SEVP will need to contact and identify the school.

The Contact Page

1.      Complete the following fields:

  • Approval for Attendance of Students Under: Select the classification(s) that best suit(s) the classification of the programs of study you plan to offer international students.
  • Section 101(a)(15)(f) (academic and language students)
  • Section 101(a)(15)(m) (vocational students)

Icon - Additional information is availableThe F or M Certification Job Aid compares the two types of certifications. Your choice determines the evidence you must submit to SEVP to support your petition. 

  • Name of School or School System: Enter the full legal name of one of the following:
  • Name of the School, if the school is:
  • An individual school or
  • Part of a larger school system, but will manage its own F and/or M program.
  • Name of the School System, if the F or M program for multiple schools will be centrally managed:
  • Public high school (9-12) system should enter the name of the school district.
  • Diocese kindergarten–12 schools should enter the name of the diocese in this field.
  • Public university system where the F and/or M program is centrally managed.

Icon - Pay attention to an important pointSEVP guidance on instructional sites provides detailed guidance for school systems. 

Icon - Best PracticeThe school name entered here must be consistent with the name on state licenses and/or accreditations. If the school has a name that includes “doing business as” (DBA), include it in this field, preceded by “DBA.” For example, ABC Corp DBA 123 Academy.

  • Name of Main Campus: For most schools this is the location of the principle administrative offices.
  • For individual schools, enter the full name of your main instructional site. This may be the same as the name of the school.
  • For school systems, enter the name of the location. For example, District Office.
  • Mailing Address of the School: Enter the mailing address for your main instructional site. This may include a P.O. Box number.
Icon - Pay attention to an important point
  • Telephone: Enter the telephone number for your main instructional site.
  • Fax Number: Enter the fax number for your main instructional site.
  • Physical Location of the School (No P.O. Boxes): Enter the physical address of your main instructional site. Click the checkbox of the physical address is the same as the mailing address. If the addresses differ:
    • For an individual school, enter the physical address for the main instructional site.
    • For a school system, enter the physical location of the main administrative offices.
      • For a private kindergarten-12 system with record keeping centralized at a main office or school, enter the address of the main office or school.
      • For a public school system (grades 9-12), enter the address of the district office.
  • School Type: Click the radio button that best describes your school.
    • Select Private, for profit, if your school is privately owned and operated for profit.
    • Select Private, non-profit, if your school is privately owned and is classified as a non-profit organization.
    • Select Public, if your school is not privately owned.

Note: If you choose either of the private options, SEVIS will display additional fields to collect information about the owner. Publicly owned schools will not see these fields.

 

Private school Contact Page information

  • Private School Owner:
  • If an individual owns the school, enter the name of the person who owns the school.
  • Private, not for profit schools: List the name of the non-profit and the controlling structure that oversees the operations and decisions of the school. For example, SEVP Non Profit – Member Board.
  • Private for profit schools: Enter the corporation name and the governing body. For example, SEVP School for Advanced SEVIS Study – Board of Directors.

Icon - Pay attention to an important pointDo not enter the individual names of members of a governing board.

 

  • Owner’s Address: Enter the address for the owner.
Icon - Pay attention to an important point
  • SEVIS will validate the address entered.
  • Review the SEVIS Address Guide for information on SEVIS address standards.

2. Click one of the following:

  • Save Draft: Saves the draft.
  • Print Draft: Prints a draft of the Form I-17.
  • Next: Saves the data and takes you to the Programs of Study page of the Form I-17.
  • Cancel: Deletes the data you entered.

Programs of Study – Kindergarten through Grade 12

Skip to Programs of Study – Post-Secondary F and M Institutions

The Programs of Study page collects information about the programs of study your school will offer international students. You should not include any programs of study you will not offer to nonimmigrant students.

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

School officials cannot issue any certificates of eligibility (Forms I-20) for any programs of study that are not:

  • Listed on the Form I-17 and
  • Approved by SEVP

The Programs of Study page collects information on:

  • Type of education the school offers.
  • Areas of study.
  • Degrees available.
  • Time needed to complete the programs of study.

Types of Education Offered

Petition for School <span class=Certification Types of Education Offered page" src="/sites/default/files/Form%20I-17%2019_0.jpg" />

Click the checkbox for all types of education your school will offer to nonimmigrant students.

  • Private Elementary School: Select this option if your school is a private:
    • Kindergarten and/or
    • Elementary school

Icon - Negative consequencePre-kindergarten programs are not eligible for certification to enroll F- or M- students. Do not include them in your petition.

  • Private Middle School
  • Private High School (Grades 9-12)
  • Public High School (Grades 9-12): Select this option if your school:
  • Is a public high school.
  • Seeks certification for grades 9-12.

Icon - Negative consequencePublic schools are not eligible for certification to enroll F- or M- students in grades kindergarten-8, per the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996. 

  • Will only admit international students for one year.
  • Will collect the full, unsubsidized per capita cost for providing education at the school.

Icon - Specific text within a document applies only to elementary and secondary schools or studentsIf you seek certification for a kindergarten through 12th grade school, do not add any of the options below to your petition. The options below are for post-secondary programs of study. You must file a separate petition to cover those programs, if you offer them.

Icon - Additional information is availableIf you select any of the K-12 options, SEVIS displays the following statement:

K-12: This school  does  does not quality its graduates for acceptance by accredited schools at a higher education level.

You must select one of the radio buttons in the statement. You cannot leave the page without completing this section.

Icon - Additional information is available

If you select Public High School, SEVIS displays the following statement:

Public High School: This school  does  does not charge the full per student cost for tuition and restricts students to one year of study.

You must select one of the radio buttons in the statement. You cannot leave the page without completing this section.

Other: Select this option if your school:

  • Is a private elementary school. In the text box, enter “Private Elementary School” and indicate the grade levels for internationals students. For example, Private Elementary School: grades 4-7.
  • Is a private middle school. In the text box, enter “Private Middle School” and indicate the grade levels for internationals students. For example, Private Middle School: grades 6-8.
  • Is a private high school that will not enroll international students in all four grades. In the text box, enter “Private High School” and indicate the grade levels for internationals students. For example, Private High School: grades 9-10.
  • Is a public high school that will limit international student enrollment to specific grade(s). In the text box, enter “Public High School” and indicate the grade levels for international students. For example, Public High School grade 11.

Areas of Study

check boxes for all areas of study your school offers

Click the checkbox for all areas of study your school will offer to nonimmigrant students. Your choices should relate to the type of educational programs your school offers, as listed in Field 2.1 above.

  • Liberal Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • English Language Training: This applies only to stand-alone English language training programs.
  • Religious
  • Professional Studies
  • Vocational or Technical Training
  • Flight Training
  • Science
  • Education
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Other: If you select this option, enter the name of the area(s) of study into the text box. For example, elementary and secondary education.

List the Degrees Available from This School [Degrees/Certificates/Diplomas]

The form where yo select all diplomas and certificates your school will offer nonimmigrant students.

Schools cannot issue Forms I-20 to students for programs of study if SEVP has not approved them on the Form I-17. Select all diplomas and certificates your school will offer nonimmigrant students. SEVIS gives you a list of available diplomas, degrees, and certificates from which to choose.

Icon - Best PracticeKindergarten through twelfth grade schools should only select from the following options:

  • K-12 Certificate
  • K-12 Diploma
  • K-12 Other
  • Change the list of degrees displayed on the screens by:
  • Changing the number of degrees displayed on the page.
  • Searching for specific degrees or levels.
  • Sorting by any of the column headings.

Icon - Additional information is available The Form I-17: Add/Remove Program Degrees article on the SEVIS Help Hub describes how to use the features in this field.

  • Click on the degree you want to add to your petition. SEVIS will highlight the line of any degree selected. If you leave the page, SEVIS will save your selections. Upon your return to the page, SEVIS displays any selected degrees at the top of the list.
  • To de-select a degree that you had already selected, click on that degree. SEVIS will remove the highlight.
  • Select each degree that will be available to nonimmigrant students.

Courses of Study and Time Necessary to Complete Each

Where you enter enter the time in weeks/months/years and total credits/clock hours needed to complete each program of study at your school

1. By education level, enter the time in weeks/months/years and total credits/clock hours needed to complete each program of study at your school.

  • Private K-12 schools: List each grade level for which you seek certification and the amount of time it takes to complete each grade level. For example, grades K‑7: 1 year per grade.
  • This field is required.

Icon - Negative consequenceDo not refer to your school’s website or catalog

2. Click one of the following:

  • Save Draft: Saves the changes made to the Form I-17.
  • Print Draft: Prints a draft of the Form I-17.
  • Previous: Saves changes and takes you to the School Contact page.
  • Next: Saves changes and takes you to the Accreditations and Recognitions page.
  • Cancel: Deletes the entire petition and returns you to the School Contact page. You will be asked to confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data.

Programs of Study – Post-Secondary F and M Institutions

Skip to Programs of Study – Kindergarten through Grade 12

The Programs of Study page collects information about the programs of study your school will offer international students. You should not include any programs of study that are not offered to nonimmigrant students.

School officials cannot issue any certificates of eligibility (Forms I-20) for any programs of study that are not:

  • Listed on the Form I-17 and
  • Approved by SEVP

The Programs of Study page collects information on:

  • Type of education the school offers.
  • Areas of study.
  • Degrees available.
  • Time to complete the programs of study.

Type of Education Offered

the checkboxes for all types of education your school will offer to nonimmigrant students

Click the checkbox for all types of education your school will offer to nonimmigrant students, but note that some combinations may require you to file two separate certification petitions.

  • Vocational or Technical Education (M-1): Select this option if your school:
  • Is a community college, junior college, or other school that provides technical or vocational training.
  • Offers airplane maintenance training, simulator training, and/or related operations that do not involve flight training. These programs must hold Part 142, Part 165, Part 147, etc. certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Icon - Additional information is availableIf you select Vocational or Technical Education (M-1), SEVIS displays the following statement:

Vocational/Technical/Flight: This school  does  does not qualify its graduates for employment in the occupartion for which preparation is offered. 

You must select one of the radio buttons in the statement. You cannot leave the page without completing this section.

Flight Training: Select this option if your school engages in flight training that requires Part 141 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA

Icon - Pay attention to an important pointSpecial notes for flight and flight-related programs:

  • Review the SEVP guidance on flight training.
  • You may need to select multiple boxes to cover all the programs offered at your school.
  • SEVP does not accept FAA provisional status as certification. Your school must be Part 141 or Part 142 certified by the FAA.

Icon - Additional information is availableIf you select Flight Training, SEVIS displays the following statement:

Vocational/Technical/Flight: This school  does  does not qualify its graduates for employment in the occupartion for which preparation is offered.

You must select one of the radio buttons in the statement. You cannot leave the page without completing this section.

Language Training: Select this option only if your school:

Icon - Negative consequenceDo not check this box for English training that is part of a vocational or technical program, such as, flight training or a medical specialty. Include this English training as part of the program itself.

 

  • Higher Education: Select this option if your school:
  • Is a community college, junior college, college or university that issues one or more of the following degrees:
  • Associate
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Doctorate
  • Professional degrees
  • Is a community or junior college that provides vocational or technical training and awards recognized associates degrees.
  • Is engaged in aviation-related higher education.

Icon - Additional information is availableIf you select Higher Education, SEVIS displays the following statement:

Higher Education: This school  does  does not confer recognized Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctor’s, Professional, or Divinity degrees. Its credits  are  are not recognized by and transferable to institutions of study which confer degrees

You must select one of the radio buttons in the statement. You cannot leave the page without completing this section.

  • Other: F-1 post-secondary and M-1 schools should not use this field.

Areas of Study

the checkboxes for all areas of study your school will offer to nonimmigrant students

Click the checkbox for all areas of study your school will offer to nonimmigrant students. Your choices should relate to the type of educational programs your school offers, as listed in Field 2.1 above.

  • Liberal Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • English Language Training:  This applies only to stand-alone English language training programs.
  • Religious
  • Professional Studies
  • Vocational or Technical Training
  • Flight Training
  • Science
  • Education
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Other: If you select this option, enter the name of the area(s) of study into the text box. For example, elementary and secondary education.

List the Degrees Available from This School [Degrees/Certificates/Diplomas]

Checklist of all diplomas, degrees, and certificates your school will offer nonimmigrant students

Schools cannot issue Forms I-20 to students for programs of study if SEVP has not approved them on the Form I-17. Select all diplomas, degrees, and certificates your school will offer nonimmigrant students. SEVIS gives you a list of available diplomas, degrees, and certificates from which to choose.

Icon - Best PracticeThis list may not exactly match the names of the degrees offered at your school. Work with your school’s registrar or chief academic officer to identify the appropriate degrees. You can export the list of available degrees.

  • Change the list of degrees displayed on the screens by:
  • Changing the number of degrees displayed on the page.
  • Searching for specific degrees or levels.
  • Sorting by any of the column headings.

Icon - Additional information is availableThe Form I-17: Add/Remove Program Degrees article on the SEVIS Help Hub describes how to use the features in this field.

  • Click on the degree you want to add to your petition. SEVIS will highlight the line of any degree selected. If you leave the page, SEVIS will save your selections. Upon your return to the page, SEVIS displays any selected degrees at the top of the list.
  • To de-select a degree that you had already selected, click on that degree. SEVIS will remove the highlight.
  • Select each degree that will be available to nonimmigrant students.

 

Courses of Study and Time Necessary to Complete Each

 

Where enter you enter the time in weeks/months/years and total credits/clock hours needed to complete each program of study at your school

1. By education level, enter the time in weeks/months/years and total credits/clock hours needed to complete each program of study at your school. This field is required.

  • List exceptions to and differences from that standard by program of study name, education level, and time necessary to complete (in years, months, or weeks) with total credit/clock hours required.

  • Flight training schools: List each certificate/rating for which your school seeks certification.

  • Use the name of the course as it appears on the list of FAA-approved courses.
  • Enter the time it takes to complete each course in week, months, or years.
  • If your programs of study incorporate multiple certificates/rating, list each of them individually.

 

  • Private elementary/middle and/or high schools: List each grade level for which you are applying for certification (e.g. grades K-7), as well as the amount of time it takes to complete each grade level.
  • Non-degree related programs or English language training programs: List the hours per week of instruction and the total hours/weeks required to complete the program.

2. If you selected “Other” program of study on field 2.3, use this field to specify the following information for each program: 

  • Education level.
  • Name of program of study.
  • Time needed to complete (in years/months/weeks).
  • Total credit hours or clock hours to complete the program.

Icon - Negative consequenceDo not refer to your school’s website or catalog.

Icon - Additional information is availableExamples:

  • Bachelor’s Degrees: Four years/120 credits; Except: Bachelors of Science in Nursing: five years/140 credits
  • Master’s Degree: Two Years/60 credits; Except: Executive MBA: 18 Months/60 credits; Master’s in Psychology: 3 years/60 credits plus one year clinical practicum
  • ESL: Levels 1-4: 10 weeks/300 clock hours; Level 5: 5-weeks/100 clock hours
  • Master’s Certificate in Conflict Resolution: 9 months/20 credits

3. Click one of the following:

  • Save Draft: Saves the changes made to the Form I-17.
  • Print Draft: Prints a draft of the Form I-17.
  • Previous: Saves changes and takes you to the School Contact page.
  • Next: Saves changes and takes you to the Accreditations and Recognitions page.
  • Cancel: Deletes the entire petition and returns you to the School Contact page. You will be asked to confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data.

Accreditations and Recognitions - Kindergarten through Grade 12 Schools

Skip to Accreditations and Recognitions – F-1 Post-secondary and M-1 Schools

The Accreditations and Recognitions page collects information about any accreditation and state licensure or exemption that your school holds for its educational programs. Kindergarten through grade 12 schools must provide information regarding their accreditation and state licensure status.

Icon - Additional information is availableFor detailed information on accreditations and recognitions, refer to the Accreditations and Recognitions page of the SEVIS Help Hub.

 

Icon - Regulatory or policy resourcesRefer to these resources for additional details:

SEVP Identified Accrediting Agencies

Icon - Best PracticeCheck with your registrar's office to confirm the types of accreditations, state licensures, or exemptions your school has:

  • SEVP-Identified Accrediting Agencies
  • State Recognitions

Accredidations and Recognitions Page

1. Complete the fields on the page:

  • Date School was Established: Enter the date the school was founded. (Format – MM/DD/YYYY)
  • Department of Education Recognized Accrediting Agencies: Only accredited post-secondary schools should use this list. Kindergarten through grade 12 schools should select None in this field.
  • SEVP Identified Accrediting Agencies: Only accredited private K-12 and public high schools should list an accreditor in this field. Select None, if your school is not accredited.
  • Click None to de-select that option. This activates the Add function.
  • Click Add. The SEVP Recognized Accrediting Agencies modal opens.

The SEVP Recognized Accrediting Agencies modal

  • Select an agency from the drop-down list.
  • Enter the Effective Date of the accreditation (Format – MM/DD/YYYY). This date:
    • Cannot be more than 100 years earlier than today.
    • Cannot be in the future.
    • Should reflect your most recent accreditation.
  • Enter the Expiration Date of the accreditations.
  • Click one of the following:
    • Cancel: Returns to the Accreditations and Recognitions page without adding an agency.
    • Add Another: Adds another accrediting agency, if you have one.
    • Done: Adds the agency to your petition and returns to the Accreditations and Recognitions page.
  • State Recognitions:
    • Click None to de-select that option. This activates the Add function.
    • Click Add. The State Recognitions modal opens.
      • Schools licensed by a state educational oversight body: Choose the body from those listed.
      • Schools exempt from licensure by a state educational oversight body: Choose the Exempt option for your state from the list.
      • Schools neither licensed nor exempt from licensure by a state educational oversight body: Choose None.

The State Recognitions modal

  • Select an agency from the drop-down list.
  • Enter the Effective Date of the accreditation- (Format – MM/DD/YYYY). This date:
  • Is required for state recognitions.
  • Must be on or after July 4, 1776.
  • Cannot be in the future.
  • Enter the Expiration Date of the state recognition- (Format – MM/DD/YYYY). If there is no expiration date, click N/A.
  • Click one of the following:
  • Cancel: Returns to the Accreditations and Recognitions page without adding an agency.
  • Add Another: Adds another accrediting agency, if you have one.
  • Done: Adds the agency to your petition and returns to the Accreditations and Recognitions page.
  • Optional Comments: Enter any comments about the school’s accreditations and recognitions that are relevant to the petition. For example, use this field to explain the multi-campus schools with different accrediting agencies for different campuses.
  • FAA Certifications: Select None.

2. Click one of the following:

  • Save Draft: Saves the changes made to the Form I-17.
  • Print Draft: Prints a draft of the Form I-17.
  • Previous: Saves changes and takes you to the Programs of Study page.
  • Next: Saves changes and takes you to the School Calendar, Costs, and Demographics page.
  • Cancel: Deletes the entire petition and returns you to the School Contact page. You must confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data.

 Accreditations and Recognitions – F-1 Post-secondary and M-1 Schools

Skip to Accreditations and Recognitions – Kindergarten through Grade 12 Schools

The Accreditations and Recognitions page collects information about any accreditation and state licensure or exemption that your school holds for its educational programs. Schools must provide information regarding their accreditation, state licensure status, and FAA certification status for each of the following categories:

  • U. S. Department of Education Recognized Agencies
  • State Recognitions
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Icon - Additional information is availableFor detailed information on accreditations and recognitions, refer to the Accreditations and Recognitions page of the SEVIS Help Hub.

Icon - Regulatory or policy resourcesRefer to these resources for additional details:

  • 8 CFR 214.3(h)(3)

Education website for a list of the Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies

Icon - Best PracticeCheck with your registrar's office to confirm the types of accreditations, state licensures, exemptions, or FAA certifications your school has:

  • U.S. Department of Education Recognized Agencies
  • State Recognitions
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The Accreditations and Recognitions page

1. Complete the fields on the page:

  • Date School was Established: Enter the date the school was founded - (Format – MM/DD/YYYY).
  • Department of Education Recognized Accrediting Agencies: Only accredited post-secondary schools should use this list.
  • State Recognitions:
  • Schools licensed by a state educational oversite body: Choose the body from those listed.
  • Schools exempt from licensure by a state educational oversite body: Choose the Exempt option for your state from the list.
  • Schools neither licensed nor exempt from licensure by a state educational oversite body: Choose None.
    • Click Add. The State Recognitions modal opens.

The State Recognitions modal

  • Select an agency from the drop-down list.
  • Enter the Effective Date of the accreditation - (Format – MM/DD/YYYY). This date:
  • Is required for state recognitions.
  • Must be on or after July 4, 1776.
  • Cannot be in the future.
  • Enter the Expiration Date of the state recognition - (Format – MM/DD/YYYY). If there is no expiration date, click N/A.
  • Click one of the following:
  • Cancel: Returns to the Accreditations and Recognitions page without adding an agency.
  • Add Another: Adds another accrediting agency if you have one.
  • Done: Adds the agency to your petition and return to the Accreditations and Recognitions page.
  • Optional Comments: Enter any comments about the school’s accreditations and recognitions that are relevant to the petition. For example:
  • Use this field to explain the multi-campus schools with different accrediting agencies for different campuses.
  • Schools with FAA certifications other than Part 141/142.
  • FAA Certifications: Select the appropriate radio button:

Radio buttons

  • Select FAA Certified – Part 141 and/or 142, if your school offers flight-training programs that require Part 141 and/or 142 certification from the FAA.
  • Select None, if your school does not offer flight training or if the flight-related training does not need Part 141 or 142 Certification from the FAA.

2. Click one of the following:

  • Save Draft: Saves the changes made to the Form I-17.
  • Print Draft: Prints a draft of the Form I-17.
  • Previous: Saves changes and takes you to the Programs of Study page.
  • Next: Saves changes and takes you to the School Calendar, Costs, and Demographics page.
  • Cancel: Deletes the entire petition and returns you to the School Contact page. You must confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data.

School Calendar, Costs, and Demographics

The School Calendar, Costs, and Demographics page collects information about your school’s sessions, the size, costs, and requirements for admission.

The School Calendar, Costs, and Demographics page

1. Complete the fields on the page.

  • This school’s sessions are based on: Choose the option that best describes how your academic year is organized.
  • Date Registration begins for each session during a calendar year: Enter the month and day each academic term/session begins.
  • Sessions are held: Click the appropriate checkbox(es) to indicate if your school holds day and/or evening sessions.
  • For each of the following categories list the average annual number:
  • Average Annual Number of Classes
  • Average Annual Number of Students at your school (not just nonimmigrant students)
  • Average Annual Number of Teachers or Instructors
  • Average Annual Number of Non-Teaching Employees
  • Approximate Annual Costs of room, board, tuition, etc. per student:
  • Public High Schools: List the per capita cost of education in this field.
  • All other schools: List the approximate annual costs of room, board, tuition, etc. per student.
  • Requirements for Admission: Enter the requirements for admission for the programs of study included in this petition.

2. Click one of the following:

  • Save Draft: Saves the changes made to the Form I-17.
  • Print Draft: Prints a draft of the Form I-17.
  • Previous: Saves changes and takes you to the Campuses and Instructional Sites page.
  • Next: Saves changes and takes you to the Programs of Study page.
  • Cancel: Deletes the entire petition and returns you to the School Contact page. You must confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data. 

Campuses and Instructional Sites

You must enter all instructional sites you want to include in this petition. List only locations where international students will attend.

Icon - Regulatory or policy resourcesIcon - Additional information is availableReview the following regulations and policy guidance:

  • 8 CFR 214.3(a)(1)

SEVP Policy Guidance for Adjudicators1003-03: Reporting Instructional Sites

The Adding Instructional Sites article provides detailed guidance on instructional sites.

SEVIS will display the name and address of the main campus entered on the Contact Information page.  

The Contact Information page.

  • If your school does not have any other instructional sites, click Next.
  • If your school has additional instructional sites, click Add Campus. The Add/Update Campus modal opens.

The Add/Update Campus modal opens.

1. Enter information about the instructional site:

  • Campus Name: Enter the name of the site.

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

  • Do not enter the exact same name for each of your instructional sites.
  • If your instructional sites share the same name, such as, XYZ University, modify their names to make them unique. For example, XYX University – Arlington, XYZ University 5th Avenue, XYZ University – Evansville.
  • Mailing Address: Enter the mailing address for the instructional site. This may include a P.O. Box number.

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

  • SEVIS will validate the address entered.
  • Review the SEVIS Address Guide for information on SEVIS address standards.
  • Physical Address:
  • Enter the physical address of the instructional site.
  • Click the checkbox if the physical address is the same as the mailing address.
  • Telephone Number: Enter the telephone number for the site.
  • Fax Number: Enter the fax number of the site.

2. Click either Cancel or Submit:

  • Cancel: Returns you to the Campus and Instructional Sites page without making any changes.
  • Submit: Adds the instructional site to the petition, but does not submit the petition.

 the Campus and Instructional Sites page

3.  Click one of the following:

  • Save Draft: Saves the changes made to the Form I-17.
  • Print Draft: Prints a draft of the Form I-17.
  • Previous: Saves changes and takes you to the School Calendar, Costs, and Demographics page.
  • Next: Saves changes and takes you to the School Officials page.
  • Cancel: Deletes the entire petition and returns you to the School Contact page. You must confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data.

School Officials

This page collects information on the people who will manage the F/M program at your school These are the only people who will legally be able to access SEVIS. SEVP will communicate with them when necessary.

Icon - Regulatory or policy resourcesReview the regulations that describe the responsibilities of the school and the principal designated school official (PDSO) and the designated school official (DSO) – 8 CFR 214.3(l)

Icon - Additional information is availableReview the resource PDSO and DSO Functions.

Icon - Best PracticeWhen appointing school officials, it is best to:

  • Add only people who will actively use SEVIS to create or maintain student records on a daily basis and keep the Form I-17 up to date.
  • Have more than one official for each instructional site for adequate coverage.
  • Consider people who have the time needed to:
  • Create and manage student records.
  • Update school record.
  • Stay current on regulations and SEVP policies.
  • Maintain the Form I-17.

Icon - Negative consequenceOnly SEVP-approved DSOs are authorized to access SEVIS. Federal law forbids the sharing of usernames and passwords to access the system.

The School Officials Page

Add New Official

Click the Add a New Official button to add someone to the petition, who is not currently an active school official elsewhere. The Add Official modal opens.

The Add Official modal

Enter information about the new official:

  • Last Name: Enter the official’s legal family or surname.
  • First Name: Enter the official’s legal given name, no nicknames.
  • Middle Name: Enter the official’s legal given middle name, if applicable.
  • Suffix: Select the appropriate suffix from the drop-down list, if the official has one.
  • The official is: Indicate whether the official is a:
    • United States Citizen
    • Legal Permanent Resident:
      • If selected, SEVIS displays a field for the A-Number.

a field for the A-Number

  • Enter the official’s A-Number.
  • Title: Enter the official’s title at your school.
  • Address: Enter the address for the official’s work site  

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

  • SEVIS will validate the address.
  • Refer to the SEVIS Address Guide for information on SEVIS address standards  
  • Email Address: Enter the official’s work email address. Do not enter an email address shared by other people.

Icon - Pay attention to an important pointReview the SEVIS Email Standards for information on the standards for email addresses in SEVIS.

  • Telephone Number: Enter the official’s work telephone number.
  • Assign Role: Select the instructional sites the official will serve.

Add Existing Official

Where to add an existing official

To add an existing official:

  • Enter the official’s current SEVIS User Name.
  • Click Add an Existing Official. The Add an Existing Official modal opens

The Add an Existing Official

  • Select the campus(es) where the official will serve.

Icon - Pay attention to an important pointThe official’s role for each campus can be changed in a different location, if needed.

  • Click Cancel or Submit:
  • Cancel: Returns to the School Officials page without saving any information.
  • Submit: Adds the official to the petition and returns you to the School Officials page.

Assign PDSO Role

Each campus must have an official who holds the PDSO role for that site. If you have multiple instructional sites, you can assign the PDSO role to the same person for all the instructional sites, or you can divide the role of PDSO at the instructional sites among multiple people.

Roles are assigned and updated by instructional site

Where "roles" is located on the instructional site

  • Click Roles to the right of the campus name. The Update Roles modal opens.

The Update Roles modal

  • Select the appropriate role for the people listed.
  • Click Cancel or Submit:
  • Cancel: Returns to the School Officials page without saving any information.
  • Submit: Changes the official’s role and returns to the School Officials page.

the School Officials page

Edit Official’s Information

If needed, you can edit information about officials listed in your petition.

How to edit information about officials listed in your petition 

To edit a potential official’s information:

  • Click on the official’s hyperlinked name. The Update Official page opens

  • Update the information, as needed.
  • Click either Cancel or Update:
    • Cancel: Returns you to the School Officials page without saving any information.
    • Update: Adds the official to the petition and returns you to the School Officials page.

Delete Official

To delete an official from your petition:

Where to find the delete official button

  • Click the Delete Official hyperlink. The Delete Official modal opens.

The Delete Official modal

  • Click either Cancel or Submit.

Icon - Additional information is availableBe sure you select the correct official. Clicking Submit deletes the official from all the campuses.

  • Click one of the following:
  • Save Draft: Saves the changes made to the Form I-17.
  • Print Draft: Prints a draft of the Form I-17.
  • Previous: Saves changes and takes you to the Campus and Instructional Sites page.
  • Next: Saves changes and takes you to the Submit page.
  • Cancel: Deletes the entire petition and returns to the School Contact page. You must confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data.

 

Final Steps - Upload Evidence and Pay Fees

Submit the Petition in SEVIS

On the Submit Page:

  • Click one of the following:

Print Petition: Prints a draft of the Form I-17 for signature by the Head of School and all designated school officials.

Note:  If the petitioner does not print the form before leaving this page, schools will be unable to upload a signed Form-I-17.

Continue: Opens the Upload Evidence page where schools provide supporting evidence.

Icon - Pay attention to an important point Petitioners must provide all required evidence at the same time that they submit the initial petition update in SEVIS. Petitioners must ensure that all required documentation is ready at the time of filing the petition. Click Continue only when the school is ready to submit the petition along with ALL required supporting evidence.

Cancel: Deletes the entire petition and returns you to the School Contact page. You must confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data.

Upload Evidence

Once you submit the petition in SEVIS, you must upload the scanned Form I-17 and supporting evidence to SEVP. Petitioners must provide all required evidence at the time of filing. The evidence required for initial SEVP certification depends on the type of school and the school’s accreditation status.

SEVP recommends that schools familiarize themselves with the requirements before logging in to SEVIS to submit the petition.

Petitioners reach the Upload Evidence page after completing the petition. The petitioner can then browse for files to upload to SEVP. After the petitioner has uploaded all required documentation, they must affirm that all evidence has been provided.

To upload evidence for an Initial Form I-17 petition:

 1.     After completing the Form I-17 Petition for Initial Certification

2.     Click Submit on the left Navigation Bar. The Submit page opens.

3.     Ensure all supporting documentation is ready to upload. Click Print Petition at the bottom of this page, and collect the required signatures.

Note:  If the petitioner does not print the form before leaving this page, schools will be unable to upload a signed Form-I-17. If the school needs to gather more supporting documentation, use the left navigation pane to return to the form and save the petition as a draft.

4.     Click Continue only when the school is ready to submit the petition along with ALL required supporting evidence. The Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page opens.

5.     Click Upload Evidence to browse for evidence files to upload and select the file.

6.     Choose the Evidence Type from the drop-down list.

7.     Repeat Steps 5-6 until all files have been uploaded:

  •  Confirm that the school does not have any more evidence to provide by selecting Submit Petition. A message opens confirming the completion of the filing process. The School Information page opens.

  • If the petitioner needs to obtain more documentation and is not ready to submit the petition at this time, select No, and then Cancel Petition. This cancels the petition and logs the user out of SEVIS. To begin a new petition, the petitioner must obtain a new temporary password.

 

Pay Fees

Pay the fees via a separate website  for:

  • Filing the petition for initial school certification
  • Site visit

Icon - Additional information is availableMore detailed information on the fees is available for:

SEVP Processing

SEVP processes the petitions for initial certification in the order received.

Request for Evidence

If SEVP needs additional information, you may receive a request for evidence (RFE).You may be asked to provide additional evidence or to edit the Form I-17 petition during the adjudication process. RFEs describe what you need to do.

Icon - Time-sensitive action

  • RFEs have a strict response deadline. SEVP may deny your petition, if you do not respond to the RFE by the deadline.

Decision

SEVP will adjudicate your petition and notify you of the result.

Approval

If approved, SEVIS will:

  • Email you and the PDSO of the approval.
  • Email the PDSO and the DSO with:
    • Their user name.
    • Link for creating their password.
  • Terminate your temporary user role. You will no longer be able to use your temporary user name and password to log in to SEVIS.

Denial

If denied, SEVIS will:

  • Email you and the PDSO the decision.
  • Terminate your temporary user role. You will no longer be able to use your temporary user name and password to log in to SEVIS.
 

Icon Guide

See the SEVIS Help Icons on the SEVIS Help Hub for a quick-reference of the icons used in this user guide.