US flag   Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Study in the States

View Disclaimer


Manage Initial Program and Session Dates

Last updated 5-Feb-2020

General Information

Once a designated school official (DSO) creates a certificate of eligibility (COE), the DSO must maintain the record. Sometimes, a DSO must edit the dates associated with the student’s F-1 or M-1 program of study in SEVIS because:

  • Student is going to start the program of study at a later term
  • Student is coming for an earlier term
  • DSO entered the wrong dates
  • Student’s application to change status to F or M status is still pending with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

negative consequence

  • Students with a pending change of status application – other than those in B-1 or B-2 status – may enroll in classes at the school, but DSOs should not register them in SEVIS until the students actually hold F-1 or M-1 status. F-2s changing to F-1 status can only study part time until the change of status is approved.
  • All program and session dates entered in SEVIS must correspond to your school’s academic calendar.

DSOs can change the Initial Session Start Date, the Program Start Date, and Program End Date, as long as:

  • Record is in Initial status.
  • Initial Session Start Date is in the future.
  • Record does not have any port of entry information.

It does not matter if the DSO created the COE for an initial student, a student changing educational level, or a transfer student.

Icon - Additional information is available 

If the Initial Session Start Date has passed, you will need to request a correction. See the Program Dates article in the Correction Requests section on the SEVIS Help Hub for further guidance. 

Key Terms

Term Definition
Initial Session Start Date The first day of class for the student’s first term or session at the school.
Program Start Date

The date the student is expected to begin his/her program.

Note: The Program Start Date may be the date of any required orientations or other activities before the start of classes.

Program End Date

The date the student is expected to complete the academic or vocational program.

Note: The Program End Date does not include any grace periods or future employment authorizations.

Changing Dates

To change a student’s Initial Session Start Date, Program Start Date or Program End date:

  1. Navigate to the Student Information page for the student record you need to change.

  2. Click Manage Initial Program and Session Dates link. The Manage Initial Program and Session Dates page opens.

  3. Edit the field(s) that need to be changed:

  • Initial Session Start Date:
    • This field is pre-filled with the original Initial Session Start Date.
    • Edit the date, if needed.
    • This is a required field.
  • New Program Start Date:
    • SEVIS will not allow entry of a date more than 30 days before the Initial Session Start Date.
    • This is a required field.
  • New Program End Date: This is a required field.
  • Remarks about the Student:
    • Enter any remarks to explain the update to the record. Any remarks entered here will print on page one of the Form I-20.
    • This field is limited to 1,000 characters.
    • This field is optional.

  4. Click either Update Information or Cancel:

  • Update Information: An Update Successful message opens with two option choices; either Return to View Record or Print I-20:

  • Return to View Record: If chosen, choose Reprint I-20 button once on the Student Information page.
  • Print I-20: If chosen, a Form I-20 prints that contains the change in Program Information.
negative consequence When information on the Form I-20 changes, it is best to print and sign a new Form I-20 for the student before returning to view the student record.

negative consequence​Students are expected to keep all Forms I-20 issued during their academic career.


  • Cancel: Returns the user to the Student Information page without making any changes.

Icon Guide

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