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SEVIS Help Hub

Form I-17: Upload Evidence

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Form I-17: Upload Evidence

Last updated: April 7, 2020

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Evidence is required when school officials submit the Form I-17 petition for an initial Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certification, submit a petition update, apply for recertification, or respond to a request for evidence (RFE).

Users must submit supporting documentation by uploading documents through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) at the time the school submits their petition.

This article describes the process for uploading supporting evidence for the initial Form I-17 petition, petition updates, recertification, and for RFE responses.

Icon - Regulatory or policy resources

Schools should be prepared in regards to required evidence prior to logging in to SEVIS to submit a petition or to make edits. For guidance on what evidence is required for initial certification, petition updates, and recertification, visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis/schools or see below:

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Documents cannot exceed 10 MB per document and must be in one of the following file formats:

  • .CSV
  • .DOC
  • .DOCX
  • .GIF
  • .JPEG
  • .JPG
  • .PDF
  • .PNG
  • .TXT
  • .XLS
  • .XLSX

Once a user uploads a document, the user cannot remove it from SEVIS.

File names can only be 60 Characters long.

Do not upload encrypted or password protected documents. 

The evidence required for initial SEVP certification depends on the type of school and the school’s accreditation status. Petitioners must provide all required evidence at the time of filing. 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.

Icon - Regulatory or policy resources

For more information about completing initial Form I-17 petitions in SEVIS, read the Form I-17 Initial Certification article on the SEVIS Help Hub.

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

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

Example Petition for Form I-17

2. Click Submit on the left Navigation Pane. The [Initial] Petition for School Certification (Form I-17) page opens with options to Continue [submitting petition], Print Petition, Save Draft, and Cancel.

[Initial] Petition for School Certification (Form I-17) page with options marked to Continue [submitting], Print Petition, Save Draft, and Cancel.

3.    Click Print Petition at the bottom of this page and collect the required signatures.

4.    ENSURE all supporting evidence is ready to upload.

Icon - Additional information is available
  • If the school needs to gather Form I-17 signatures or more supporting documentation:
    • Click a Page… link in the left Navigation Pane to return to the Form I-17.
    • Click Save Draft at the bottom of the page to save the petition as a draft.
    • When all documentation is ready, click Submit in the left Navigation Pane. The [Initial] Petition for School Certification (Form I-17) page re-opens.
  • If you click Cancel, all data will be lost. The user is sent back to the Message Board. To begin a new petition, the petitioner must click School Application link in the Navigation Bar at the top of the page and re-enter the school’s data.

5. 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.

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  • Once the PDSO clicks Continue, the petition is locked. The Print Petition button no longer displays, and the PDSO is no longer able to print the updated Form I-17 for signatures.
  • If the school needs to obtain more documentation and is not ready to provide ALL evidence once they reach the Upload Evidence page, the only option will be to click Cancel Petition.
    • The Cancel Petition function cancels the entire petition and logs the user out of SEVIS.
    • All data will be lost.
    • To begin a new petition, the petitioner must create a new temporary user ID and password, and then re-enter the school’s data.
Upload Evidence: Form I-17

6. Click Upload Evidence. The Upload Evidence modal opens.

Upload Evidence modal with File to Upload Browse button, Evidence Type drop-down list, and Upload button marked.

7.    Click Browse to find the evidence file to upload and select the file.

8.    Click the Evidence Type drop-down list. The Evidence Type options display.

Upload Evidence modal contains: • File to Upload field with Browse button  • Evidence Type drop-down list with evidence type options:    o Evidence regarding finances    o Evidence regarding full course of study    o Evidence for voluntary withdrawal    o Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)    o Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence    o Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation    o Evidence of Federal Aviation Administrat

9.    Select Evidence Type:

  • Evidence regarding finances
  • Evidence regarding full course of study
  • Evidence for voluntary withdrawal
  • Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence
  • Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation
  • Evidence of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification
  • Evidence of payment (tracking ID)
  • Evidence of state licensure, registration or exemption
  • Evidence regarding attendance and grading policies
  • Evidence regarding English language training programs
  • Evidence regarding facilities and instructional sites
  • Evidence regarding ownership or governance
  • Evidence regarding programs of study
  • Evidence regarding teacher qualifications and salaries
  • Other Evidence
  • Record of Flight School Weekly Component
  • School Catalog
  • Signed Form I-17
  • Student Records

10.    Click Upload. The Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page re-opens with evidence filenames added to table.

Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page with evidence added. Evidence table, Submit button, and Cancel Petition button highlighted.

11.    Repeat Steps 6-10 until all files have been uploaded:

  • Confirm that the school does not have any more evidence to provide.
  • Click Submit Petition. A message opens confirming the completion of the filing process. The Broadcast Messages page opens.
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  • When petitioners submit the initial Form I-17 petition in SEVIS, they must provide each piece of required evidence AT THE SAME TIME. Petitioners must ensure that all required documentation is ready at the time of filing the petition.
  • If the school needs to obtain more documentation and is not ready to provide ALL evidence once they reach the Upload Evidence page, the only option will be to click Cancel Petition.
    • The Cancel Petition function cancels the entire petition and logs the user out of SEVIS.
    • All data will be lost.
    • To begin a new petition, the petitioner must create a new temporary user ID and password, and then re-enter the school’s data.
  • Each piece of evidence must be uploaded separately, and NOT as one large document, even if all combined evidence is smaller than 10 MB.

Evidence is required for several types of petition updates. PDSOs must provide evidence at the time of submitting a petition update in SEVIS. SEVP recommends that schools familiarize themselves with the evidentiary requirements before logging in to SEVIS to submit petition updates. After the PDSO submits a petition update, the Upload Evidence page opens. The PDSO can then browse for the evidence files to upload to SEVP. After the PDSO uploads the required evidence, they must affirm that all evidence has been provided. 

Icon - Regulatory or policy resources

 For more information about filing petition updates, visit the Form I-17 Petition Update page on the SEVIS Help Hub.

To upload evidence for a petition update:

1. After entering all Form I-17 Petition Update information…

Update School Information (Form I-17) page with Submit button outlined in red square

2.    Click Submit on the Update School Information (Form I-17) page. The PDSO Attestation page opens.

Edit School Information (Form I-17) Submit page

3. Click View Edits to verify all information is accurate.

4. Ensure all supporting documentation is ready to upload. If the petition update requires a signed Form I-17, click Print Petition at the bottom of this page, and collect the required signatures.

Note: Once the PDSO completes the attestation and clicks Continue, the petition is locked. The Print button no longer displays, and the PDSO is no longer able to print the updated Form I-17 for signatures. If the school needs to gather Form I-17 signatures or supporting documentation, use the left Navigation Pane to return to the form and save the petition as a draft.

5. Complete the PDSO Attestation and enter your SEVIS password to sign the petition update. 

6. 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.

Note: Ensure that your school is ready to submit all evidence before you click Continue. If the school is not ready to provide evidence once they reach the Upload Evidence page, the only option will be to cancel the petition and begin the update process again.

Example Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page

7. Click Upload Evidence. The Upload Evidence modal opens.

Upload Evidence Modal  Upload Evidence modal with browse and upload buttons highlighted

8.    Click Browse to find the evidence file to upload and select the file.

9.    Click the Evidence Type drop-down list. The Evidence Type options display.

Upload Evidence modal contains: • File to Upload field with Browse button  • Evidence Type drop-down list with evidence type options:    o Evidence regarding finances    o Evidence regarding full course of study    o Evidence for voluntary withdrawal    o Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)    o Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence    o Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation o Evidence of Federal Aviation Administration

10.  Select Evidence Type:

  • Evidence regarding finances
  • Evidence regarding full course of study
  • Evidence for voluntary withdrawal
  • Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence
  • Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation
  • Evidence of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification
  • Evidence of payment (tracking ID)
  • Evidence of state licensure, registration or exemption
  • Evidence regarding attendance and grading policies
  • Evidence regarding English language training programs
  • Evidence regarding facilities and instructional sites
  • Evidence regarding ownership or governance
  • Evidence regarding programs of study
  • Evidence regarding teacher qualifications and salaries
  • Other Evidence
  • Record of Flight School Weekly Component
  • School Catalog
  • Signed Form I-17
  • Student Records

11.    Click Upload.

12.    Repeat Steps 7-11 until there are no more files to upload.

Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page with Submit Petition outlined in red rectangle

13. Click either Submit Petition or Cancel Petition on the Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page:

  • Submit Petition: Confirms that the school does not have any more evidence to provide and completes the filing process.

    • Message displays confirming the completion of the submission process.

SEVIS screenshot
  • Click Ok. The School Information page opens
  • Cancel Petition: When the school needs to obtain more evidence and is not ready to submit the petition at this time, this function cancels the petition update and returns the user to the School Information page. 
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  • PDSOs must provide each piece of required evidence AT THE SAME TIME, when they submit the petition update in SEVIS. School officials must ensure that all required documentation is ready at the time of filing the petition update.
  • Each piece of evidence must be uploaded separately, and NOT as one large document, even if all combined evidence is smaller than 10 MB.

When applying for Recertification, schools must upload a complete recertification package in SEVIS after completing the electronic recertification attestation, and providing any changes to the information on the petition. SEVP recommends that schools familiarize themselves with the evidence requirements before logging in to SEVIS to apply for recertification.

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 For more information about applying for recertification, read the Form I-17: Recertification article on the SEVIS Help Hub.

To upload evidence for a recertification petition: 

1. After completing the Recertification Application

Edit School Information (Form I-17)

2. After making the requested edits for the Form I-17 Petition RFE, click Submit on the Update School Information (Form I-17) page. The PDSO Attestation page opens. 

Update School Information (Form I-17) Submit page

3. Click View Edits to verify all information is accurate. 

4. Ensure all supporting documentation is ready to upload. If the petition update requires a signed Form I-17, click Print Petition at the bottom of this page, and collect the required signatures.

Note:  Once the PDSO completes the attestation and clicks Continue, the petition is locked. The Print button no longer displays, and the PDSO is no longer able to print the updated Form I-17 for signatures. If the school needs to gather Form I-17 signatures or more supporting documentation, use the left Navigation Pane to return to the form and save the petition as a draft.

5. Complete the PDSO Attestation and enter your SEVIS password to sign the recertification petition. 

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

Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page with Upload Evidence and Submit Petition buttons outlined in red rectangle

7. Click Upload Evidence. The Upload Evidence modal opens.

Upload Evidence Modal window

8. Click Browse to find the evidence file to upload and select the file. 

9. Click the Evidence Type drop-down list. The Evidence Type options display.

Upload Evidence modal contains: • File to Upload field with Browse button  • Evidence Type drop-down list with evidence type options:    o Evidence regarding finances    o Evidence regarding full course of study    o Evidence for voluntary withdrawal    o Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)    o Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence    o Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation    o Evidence of Federal Aviation Administrat

10.    Select Evidence Type:

  • Evidence regarding finances
  • Evidence regarding full course of study
  • Evidence for voluntary withdrawal
  • Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence
  • Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation
  • Evidence of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification
  • Evidence of payment (tracking ID)
  • Evidence of state licensure, registration or exemption
  • Evidence regarding attendance and grading policies
  • Evidence regarding English language training programs
  • Evidence regarding facilities and instructional sites
  • Evidence regarding ownership or governance
  • Evidence regarding programs of study
  • Evidence regarding teacher qualifications and salaries
  • Other Evidence
  • Record of Flight School Weekly Component
  • School Catalog
  • Signed Form I-17
  • Student Records

11. Click Upload

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Once a file is uploaded, the user cannot remove it.

12. Repeat Steps 7-11 until there are no more files to upload.

Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page with Submit Petition button outlined with red rectangle

13. Click either Submit Petition or Cancel Petition:

  • Submit Petition: Certifies that the school has provided all evidence.
    • Recertification confirmation page opens confirming the submission of the recertification application.
Recertification - Recertification Application Has Been Submitted page
  • Click Return to School View. The School Information page opens.
  • Cancel Petition: When the PDSO is not ready to provide evidence at this time, this function cancels the recertification petition.
Icon - Pay attention to an important point
  • PDSOs must provide the complete recertification package, along with each piece of evidence to support any petition edits AT THE SAME TIME, when they apply for recertification in SEVIS. School officials must ensure that all required documentation is ready at the time of filing.
  • Each piece of evidence must be uploaded separately, and NOT as one large document, even if all combined evidence is smaller than 10 MB

When SEVP reviews initial petitions, petition updates, and recertification petitions, school officials may receive requests for evidence (RFEs) requiring an additional upload of supporting documentation. The SEVP School Certification Unit (SCU) may request changes to the submitted petition, as well as additional supporting documentation. In other cases, the SCU may only require additional supporting documentation.

RFE When Petition Must Be Edited

After the PDSO submits the requested edits to the petition, the Upload Evidence page opens. The PDSO can then browse for the RFE files to upload to SEVP. After the required documentation has been uploaded, the PDSO must affirm that all evidence has been provided.

Icon - Regulatory or policy resources

For more information about filing petition updates, visit the Form I-17 Petition Update  page on the SEVIS Help Hub.

To upload RFE files when editing the petition:

1. Go to your School Information page. 

Form I-17 with RFE=Update School Information (Form I-17) button RFE-Update School Information button outlined in red rectangle

2.    Click RFE-Update School Information (Form I-17) to access the petition. The Update School Information (Form I-17) page opens.

Update School Information (Form I-17) with submit button outlined in red rectangle

3. After making the requested edits for the Form I-17 Petition RFE, click Submit on the Update School Information (Form I-17) page. The PDSO Attestation page opens. 

Update School Information (Form I-17) page submit page

4.  If the RFE requires a signed Form I-17, click Print Petition at the bottom of this page, and collect the required signatures.

Note: Once the PDSO completes the attestation and clicks Continue, the petition is locked. The Print button no longer displays, and the PDSO is no longer able to print the updated Form I-17 for signatures. If the school needs to gather Form I-17 signatures or more supporting documentation, use the left Navigation Pane to return to the form and save the petition as a draft.

5.    Click the PDSO Attestation checkbox and enter your SEVIS password to sign the update.

6.    Click Continue. The Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page opens.

Upload Evidence Form I-17 page with Upload Evidence button and Yes and No upload evidence certification buttons outlined with red rectangle

7. Click Upload Evidence. The Upload Evidence modal opens.

Upload evidence modal box

8.    Click Browse to find the evidence file to upload and select the file.

9.    Click the Evidence Type drop-down list. The Evidence Type options display.

Upload Evidence modal contains: • File to Upload field with Browse button  • Evidence Type drop-down list with evidence type options:    o Evidence regarding finances    o Evidence regarding full course of study    o Evidence for voluntary withdrawal    o Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)    o Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence    o Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation    o Evidence of Federal Aviation Administrat

10.  Select Evidence Type:

  • Evidence regarding finances
  • Evidence regarding full course of study
  • Evidence for voluntary withdrawal
  • Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence
  • Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation
  • Evidence of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification
  • Evidence of payment (tracking ID)
  • Evidence of state licensure, registration or exemption
  • Evidence regarding attendance and grading policies
  • Evidence regarding English language training programs
  • Evidence regarding facilities and instructional sites
  • Evidence regarding ownership or governance
  • Evidence regarding programs of study
  • Evidence regarding teacher qualifications and salaries
  • Other Evidence
  • Record of Flight School Weekly Component
  • School Catalog
  • Signed Form I-17
  • Student Records

11.  Click Upload.

12.  Repeat Steps 7-11 until all files have been uploaded.

13.  Click either Yes or No on the Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page:

  • Yes: Evidence uploads. The School Information page opens.
  • No: Stops the upload evidence process, when the PDSO is not ready to submit supporting documentation at this time.
    • Official returns to the School Information page.
Sample School Information page with Upload Evidence link outlined with red rectangle

Upload Evidence link displays on page to provide evidence later.

Icon - Pay attention to an important point
  • PDSOs must provide each piece of required evidence AT THE SAME TIME, when they submit the petition update in SEVIS. School officials must ensure that all required documentation is ready at the time of filing the petition update.
  • Each piece of evidence must be uploaded separately, and NOT as one large document, even if all combined evidence is smaller than 10 MB.
  • SEVP’s SCU sets deadlines for responses to RFEs. The link to provide evidence will only remain on the School Information page during the response window set by SCU

RFE Only Requires Additional Supporting Documentation

When SCU only requests additional supporting documentation, there is a link on the School Information page to upload evidence. The official can then browse for files to send to SEVP.

1. Go to the School Information page.

Sample School Information page with Upload Evidence link outlined with a red rectangle

2. Click Upload Evidence. The Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page opens. 

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

The Upload Evidence link will only appear on the School Information page, when there is a request for additional documentation from SEVP.

Upload Evidence: Form I-17 with Upload Evidence button and yes and no buttons under "I certify that all evidence has been uploaded" statement outlined with red rectangle

3. Click Upload Evidence. The Upload Evidence modal opens. 

Modal box

4.    Click Browse to find the evidence file to upload and select the file.

5.    Click the Evidence Type drop-down list. The Evidence Type options display.

Upload Evidence modal contains: • File to Upload field with Browse button  • Evidence Type drop-down list with evidence type options:    o Evidence regarding finances    o Evidence regarding full course of study    o Evidence for voluntary withdrawal    o Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)    o Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence    o Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation    o Evidence of Federal Aviation Administrat

6.    Select Evidence Type:

  • Evidence regarding finances
  • Evidence regarding full course of study
  • Evidence for voluntary withdrawal
  • Evidence in lieu of accreditation (letters, agreements, etc.)
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence
  • Evidence of Department of Education-recognized or SEVP-Identified accreditation
  • Evidence of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification
  • Evidence of payment (tracking ID)
  • Evidence of state licensure, registration or exemption
  • Evidence regarding attendance and grading policies
  • Evidence regarding English language training programs
  • Evidence regarding facilities and instructional sites
  • Evidence regarding ownership or governance
  • Evidence regarding programs of study
  • Evidence regarding teacher qualifications and salaries
  • Other Evidence
  • Record of Flight School Weekly Component
  • School Catalog
  • Signed Form I-17
  • Student Records

7.    Click Upload.

8.    Repeat Steps 3-7 until all files have been uploaded.

9.    Click either Yes or No on the Upload Evidence: Form I-17 page:

  • Yes: Evidence uploads. The School Information page opens.
  • No: Stops the upload evidence process, when the PDSO is not ready to submit supporting documentation at this time.
    • Official returns to the School Information page.
Upload evidence outlined in red line

Upload Evidence link displays on page to provide evidence later.

Icon - Pay attention to an important point
  • PDSOs must provide each piece of required evidence AT THE SAME TIME, when they submit the petition update in SEVIS. School officials must ensure that all required documentation is ready at the time of filing the petition update.
  • Each piece of evidence must be uploaded separately, and NOT as one large document, even if all combined evidence is smaller than 10 MB.
  • SEVP’s SCU sets deadlines for responses to RFEs. The link to provide evidence will only remain on the School Information page during the response window set by SCU

Users may encounter errors when attempting to upload files. If you encounter an error when attempting to upload a file, try again: 

Icon - Pay attention to an important point

If the error persists, contact the SEVP Response Center at (703) 603-3400.

Errors that users may see when uploading files:

  • File too large: The file exceeds the maximum file size of 10 MB allowed for upload evidence.
Alert Pop Up - An error occurred while uploading the evidence. The file exceeds the maximum file size of 10 MB allowed for upload evidence.
  • File name too long: There is a 60-character limit for file names for files uploaded through SEVIS. Attempting to upload a file with a name longer than 60 characters will result in the following message
Alert popup - An error occurred while uploading the evidence. The filename exceeds the maximum limit of 60 characters
  • Invalid file extensions: User attempted to upload a file that is not one of the allowed file types. (Allowed types: DOCX, .DOC, .PDF, .XLS, .XLXS, .JPG, .JPEG, .PNG, .GIF, .TXT, .CSV)

Upload Evidence modal popup with Choose File outlined in red rectangle dashes because document with an invalid file extension was uploaded

"File was empty” or Browser Error: There may be times when documents fail to reach SEVIS from the user’s browser. If you encounter this error, try again, try using another internet browser (The optimal browser for SEVIS is Internet Explorer). If the error persists, submit your petition without evidence, and contact the SEVP Response Cetner at sevp@ice.dhs.gov, notifying them that you encountered technical issues attempting to upload. 

Alert popup - File upload was not received or file was empty. Try again and, if the problem persists, call the SEVIS help desk.

Error while saving evidence: During system outages, documentas may not be saved. If you encounter this error, try again. If the error persists, submit your petition without evidence, and contact the SEVP Response Center at sevp@ice.dhs.gov, notifying them that you encountered technical issues attempting to upload. 

Alert popup - An error occurred while saving the evidence. Try again and, if the problem persists, call the SEVIS help desk
  • Malware: SEVIS scans all uploaded files for harmful malware. If SEVIS returns this message, it will not accept the file. If you encounter this error, try uploading again after virus scanning the file. 

Alert popup - Your document appears to contain malware. Check the document and try again.

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