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Form I-17 - Initial Certification

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Form I-17 - Initial Certification

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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 SEVP-certified 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 record keeping and legal reporting requirements.
  • F-1 and M-1 student responsibilities, requirements, and benefits.
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School officials must read and understand:

Resources

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

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Resources on ICE.gov:

Look at all tabs across the top of page. The required, supporting documentation depends on the type of school and the school’s accreditation status. To see what supporting evidence is required for your school’s initial certification, click the Certification tab on the Schools and Programs page.

Process Overview

Before you start the process, know:

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Before you start the certification process, you need to know:

  • Who will file the petition for the school:
    • This person does not have to be the same person as the principal designated school official (PDSO).
    • You cannot change this person during the process of preparing the petition.
  • Who will serve as the school’s PDSO:
    • This person will be responsible for ensuring the school complies with regulations and reporting requirements.
    • You must have a PDSO as part of the initial petition.

The certification process steps are: 

Step Player Action

1

You

2

You

  • Go to the SEVIS Sign In page. 
  • Register for a new SEVIS account.

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.
  • Pay the filing fee:
    • You can pay the fee at any time before you submit the petition.
    • You must upload proof of payment at the time you submit the petition.

Note: See the Help Hub article, Form I-17 – Pay Fees, for guidance on paying the fee.

  • 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 evidence 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

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.

7

SEVP

  • Conducts site visit.

8

SEVP

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

9

You

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

10

SEVP

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

11

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, SEVP sends a Notice of Denial to all designated officials listed on the petition. The notice details:
    • Reasons for the denial.
    • School’s appeal rights.
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SEVIS 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
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The 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.
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  •  You can resize the box, move it around on your screen, and scroll down for lengthy entries. 
  • It may contain links to more resources.

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

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Plan 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.

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

  • SEVIS will send you two email messages. These emails contain:
    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
  • 12-16 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. 

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.
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SEVIS 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 Information 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 nonimmigr students.
  • Section 101(a)(15)(f) (academic and language students)
  • Section 101(a)(15)(m) (vocational students)

The chart below compares the F-1 and M-1 certifications available from SEVP:

F-1 CERTIFICATION M-1 CERTIFICATION

The following schools may be approved:

  • College or university: Offering recognized bachelor's, master's, doctorate, or professional degrees
  • Community college or junior college: Offering recognized liberal arts or professional associate degrees
  • Seminary
  • Conservatory
  • Private elementary, middle, and/or high school
  • Public high school
  • Institution: Offering one or more of the following: language, professional, liberal arts or fine arts training or instruction

The following vocational or nonacademic institutions may be approved:

  • Community college or junior college: Offering vocational or technical training associate degrees
  • Vocational high school
  • School offering vocational or nonacademic training: Other than language training
  • Certified flight school: Part 141 and/or Part 142

 

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The following schools or programs ARE NOT approved for F-1 or M-1 certifications:

  • Home school
  • Public elementary or middle school
  • Adult education program
  • 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.
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SEVP guidance on instructional sites provides detailed guidance for school systems. To read guidance:

  • Go to the Schools and Programs page.
  • Click the Overview tab.
  • Scroll to Resources section.
  • Click the Policy section.
  • Open the Reporting Instructional Sites final guidance.
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The 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.
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  • SEVIS will validate the address entered.
  • Review the SEVIS Address Guide for information on SEVIS address standards
  • 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.
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Do not enter the individual names of members of a governing board.

  • Owner’s Address: Enter the address for the owner.
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  • 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 Schools

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

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

  • Listed on the Form I-17.
  • 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

school certification page

For section 2.1, 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
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Pre-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. 
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Public high schools:

  • Can seek certification for a specific grade, or grades between 9 and 12.
  • 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 a nonimmigrant student for one year.
  • Will collect the full, unsubsidized per capita cost for providing education at the school.
  • 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 nonimmigrant students. For example, Private Elementary School: grades 4-7.
    • Private middle school: In the text box, enter “Private Middle School” and indicate the grade levels for nonimmigrant students. For example, Private Middle School: grades 6-8.
    • Private high school that will not enroll nonimmigrant students in all four grades: In the text box, enter, “Private High School” and indicate the grade levels you will offer to nonimmigrant students. For example, Private High School: grades 9-10.
    • Public high school that will limit nonimmigrant student enrollment to specific grade(s): In the text box, enter “Public High School” and indicate the grade levels you will offer to nonimmigrant students. For example, Public High School grade 11.
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If you seek certification for a kindergarten through 12th grade school, do not add any of the following educadtion level options to your petition:

  • Vocational or Technical Education (M-1)
  • Flight Training
  • English Language Training
  • Higher Education (Issuing one or more of the following degrees: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD.)

These options are for post-secondary programs of study only. You must file a separate petition to cover these programs, if you plan to offer them to nonimmigrant students.

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If 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.

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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.

Areas of Study

check boxes for all areas of study your school offers

For section 2.2, 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, as listed in Field 2.1 above.

  • Liberal Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • English Language Training

Note: This applies to any school planning to issue Forms I-20 for English training programs including ESL programs or pathway 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.

Icon - Specific text within a document applies only to elementary and secondary schools or students

K-12 schools are not eligible for certification in:

  • English Language Studies
  • Professional Studies
  • Vocational or Technical Training
  • Flight Training
  • Engineering

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

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K-12 schools should only select from the following options:

  • High School 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.
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The Form I-17 Petition Update - Select 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 you offer to nonimmigrant students.

Courses of Study and Time Necessary to Complete Each

Courses of Study and time necessary to complete each field on the Programs of Study page  Excerpt of the Programs of Study page showing field 2.4 where the petitioner must describe the time and credit/clock hours needed to complete each course of study

1.  By education level, enter in this required field 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 the grade levels for which the school is petitioning to enroll nonimmigrant students, to include the time necessary to complete each grade level in years.
  • Public High Schools: List the grade levels for which the school is petitioning to enroll nonimmigrant students, to include, the time necessary to complete each grade level in years.
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If an individual program has different requirements for completion from the standard program requirements, then list those programs separately, by: 

  • Education level
  • Name of Program of Study
  • Total credit/clock hours needed to complete the degree. 
  • Time necessary to complete the program in weeks, months, or years. 
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Do 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 Schools

The Programs of Study page collects information about the programs of study your school will offer nonimmigrant 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

school certification

For section 2.1, click the checkbox for all types of education your school will offer to nonimmigrant students. 

  • 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).
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If 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 occupation 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).

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Special notes for flight and flight-related programs:

  • SEVP guidance on flight training: Go to Schools and Programs’ Overview tab. Scroll down to the resources section and click Policy to view the Flight Training Providers guidance.
  • You may need to select multiple boxes to cover all the programs offered at your school.
  • SEVP does not accept provisional FAA certification. Your school must certified as Part 141 or Part 142 by the FAA.
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If you select Flight Training, SEVIS displays the following statement:

Vocational/Technical/Flight: This school does does not qualify its graduates for employment in the occupation 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.

English Language Training: Select this option only if your school:

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Do 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.
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If you select Higher Education, SEVIS displays the following statement:

Higher Education: This school 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

For section 2.2, 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 as listed in Field 2.1 above.

  • Liberal Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • English Language Training

Note: This applies to any school planning to issue Forms I-20 for English training programs including ESL programs or pathway 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. 

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 degrees and certificates your school will offer nonimmigrant students. SEVIS gives you a list of available degrees and certificates from which to choose.

Icon - Best Practice

This 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.
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The Form I-17 Petition Update - Select 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

Screenshot: Courses of study and time necessary to complete each field  Excerpt from the Programs of study page that shows field 2.4 which captures the time necessary to complete the courses of study.

1. By degree name, enter in this required field the time in weeks/months/years and total credits/clock hours needed to complete each program of study at your school. You must list and do this for every degree program you have chosen for Section 2.3 of the Form I 17:

  • Non-degree related programs or English Language training programs: List the program names for which the school is petitioning to enroll nonimmigrant students, to include:
    • Clock hours per week or credit hours per term of instruction.
    • Total clock/credit hours needed to complete the program.
    • Time necessary to complete the program in weeks, months, or years.
  • Flight Training: List the courses of study/rating for which the school is petitioning to enroll nonimmigrant students.
    • Total clock hours needed to complete the program.
    • Time necessary to complete the program in weeks, months, or years.
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Use the name of the course as it appears on the List of Approved Courses, issued by the FAA.

  • Higher Education: List the degree names selected in Section 2.3 of the Form I-17 to include:
    • Total number of programs under that degree type.
    • Total credit/clock hours needed to complete the degree.
    • Time necessary to complete the program in weeks, months, or years.
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If an individual program has different requirements for completion from the standard program requirements, then list those programs separately, by: 

  • Education level
  • Name of Program of Study
  • Total credit/clock hours needed to complete the degree. 
  • Time necessary to complete the program in weeks, months, or years. 

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

  • Education level.
  • Name of program of study.
  • Total credit hours or clock hours to complete the program. 
  • Time needed to complete (in years/months/weeks).
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Do not refer to your school’s website or catalog. 

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Examples:

  • AA: 14 programs, 60 credits, 2 years
  • BA: 25 programs, 120 credits, 4 years
  • BSN: 140 credits, 5 years
  • MBA: 60 credits, 2 years
  • Executive MBA: 60 credits, 18 months
  • ESL:
    • Levels 1-4: 30 hours/week, 300 clock hours, 10 weeks
    • Level 5: 20 hours/week, 100 clock hours, 5 weeks

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 petition update and returns you to the School Contact page. You will be asked to confirm the action before SEVIS deletes your data.

If you are a post-secondary school, 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.

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For detailed information on accreditations and recognitions, refer to the Form I-17 Petition Update - Accreditations and Recognitions article on the SEVIS Help Hub.

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Check 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

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 section. 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. Also, use this field to explain when one agency accredits all instruction sites, but the sites have different accrediting expiration dates.
  • 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.

If you are are a Kindergarten through grade 12 school, return 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)
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For detailed information on accreditations and recognitions, refer to the Form I-17 - Accreditations and Recognitions article on the SEVIS Help Hub.

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Check 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.

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. 

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

Icon - Regulatory or policy resources

Review the following regulations and policy guidance:

  • 8 CFR 214.3(a)(1)

SEVP Policy Guidance for Adjudicators1003-03: Reporting Instructional Sites

The Form I-17 Petition Update - Instructional Sites (Campuses) 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.

This page collects information on the school officials who will manage the information in SEVIS for the school and F/M SEVIS records. These personnel are the only ones who can legally access SEVIS at your school. SEVP will communicate with them when necessary.

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Review 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).

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Review the resource PDSO and DSO Functions.

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When 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.
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Only 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  
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  • 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.

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Review 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.

3.    Click Add:

  • If this user matches any other SEVIS active school, or exchange visitor sponsor official, SEVIS will display this validation error:
Validation Error if a newly added SEVIS user matches any other SEVIS active school official or exchange visitor sponsor.
  • Confirm with your new school official if they have an existing active SEVIS role.
    • If yes, click Cancel. Using the school official’s SEVIS username, add as an existing official.
    • If not, click Add again on the Edit School Information (Form I-17), Add Official page. The Update School Information (Form I-17), School Official page opens with the new official listed.

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.
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The 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
SEVP upload user guide
  • 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.
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Be 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.

The last steps to file for initial certification are complicated, and you should follow them closely. The final steps include:
  • Paying fees.
  • Printing petition.
  • Uploading evidence.
  • Submitting petition.

Before you submit the Form I-17 in SEVIS, you must have the following in electronic up loadable file format:

  • Fee payment receipt.
  • Printed and signed Form I-17.
  • All additional supporting evidence.

Pay Fees

You must pay your certification fees before you submit the Form I-17 petition. Your fee payment receipt is part of your supporting documentation. Pay your initial certification fees at Pay.gov.

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See the Help Hub article, Form I-17 – Pay Fees, for details on fee amounts and how to pay the fee.

Print and Sign the Petition

When you are satisfied that all fields in your Form I-17 are filled in correctly:

Petition For School Certification (Form I-17) page is displayed. The Print Petition button is highlighted.
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This is the last page from which you can print your Form I-17. If the you do not print the form before leaving this page, you will be unable to upload a signed Form I 17. If you need to gather more supporting documentation, use the far left button to Save Draft.

1. Click Print Petition.

2. Gather signatures from all parties listed on the Forms I-17 and I-17A. This includes the head of school, all principal designated school officials, and designated school officials.

3. Scan the signed Form I-17, so that it is ready for upload.

Upload Evidence and Submit the Petition in SEVIS

Once you have scanned the signed paper version of the Form I-17 and the additional supporting documentation, you can upload supporting evidence. You should know the filing requirements before logging in to SEVIS to upload evidence and submit the petition.

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See the Help Hub article, Upload Evidence: SEVP Initial Certification, for step-by-step procedures for uploading SEVP Initial Certification evidence.

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 will describe what you need to do.

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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 all school officials listed on the Form I-17 of the approval.
  • Email the PDSO and all the DSOs with:
    • Their user name(s).
    • 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, SEVP will:

  • Email all school officials listed on the Form I-17 with the reason for the decision and any appeal options, if available.
  • Terminate your temporary user role. You will no longer be able to use your temporary user name and password to log in to SEVIS.
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See the Help Hub article, Filing an Appeal, for more information on appealing SEVP certification denials.

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