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Guidance for Changes to Schools’ Business Structures

Background

Stakeholders requested that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) provide clearer guidance on how to handle changes to a school’s business structures, such as change of ownership and school or campus “spinoffs” on the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.”

Government Response

SEVP recognizes that the business structures of certified schools may evolve over time and seeks to provide guidance for how schools can properly comply with federal guidelines. In response to stakeholder requests and to provide clearer guidance, SEVP issued relevant policy guidance documents to help schools remain compliant with changes in business structure.

Most recently, in January 2017, SEVP released the Change in Ownership guidance, which covers change of ownership thresholds, the types of changes requiring reporting and determining the date of change. Currently, SEVP is reviewing the public comments it received on this guidance. However, because it was released in interim final status, it is considered official SEVP policy during the review period.

In October 2016, SEVP implemented a new Form I-17 filing process and updated its information on ICE.gov to include specific guidance about what constitutes the minimum evidence required for update requests, along with detailed instructions on how principal designated school officials must submit that evidence. This provided greater transparency to all updates processes. Also during October, SEVP released interim final guidance that outlines Evidentiary Requirements for Schools Not Meeting Eligibility Criteria in 8 CFR 214.3(b) and (c).

In March 2013, SEVP released final guidance addressing the types of instructional sites school officials need to report on the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.” This guidance has a threefold purpose:

  • Define what constitutes an instructional site and a separate record location.
  • Clarify schools’ reporting requirements to SEVP.
  • Narrow the scope of which instructional sites school officials must report at public schools and/or schools accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
Timeline

The timeline below illustrates the steps taken to communicate SEVP's progress to date. 

2013
March 2013

To minimize stakeholder confusion, SEVP releases final guidance addressing the types of instructional sites school officials must report on their Form I-17.

2016
Oct. 2106

SEVP updates its Form I-17 filing process and publishes evidentiary requirement documents for all update requests on ICE.gov, under the Schools section.

2017
Jan. 2017

SEVP releases both the Change in Ownership interim final guidance.