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Form I-17 Process Improvements

Stakeholders requested that SEVP improve and provide greater transparency about the life cycle of the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student.” Specifically, stakeholders noted that locked petitions make it difficult for schools to submit updates and apply for recertification. Stakeholders recommended that SEVP separate Form I-17 updates from recertification and provide more transparent description of the Form I-17 process online.

Read below to learn about the government’s response, the timeline and additional resources created as a result of this stakeholder feedback. 

Government Response

In response to stakeholder feedback, SEVP continues to work to streamline Form I-17 processes for initial Form I-17 petitions, petition updates, recertification and request for evidence (RFE) responses.

In September 2016, SEVP updated the process for filing Form I-17 initial petitions and updates by asking schools to submit a complete package of necessary evidence to SEVP at the same time as submitting the petition in SEVIS. This required school officials filing an initial petition or an update to their school’s Form I-17 to submit the minimum evidence required for filing at the same time they submit their request in the SEVIS This process enhancement streamlined these Form I-17 updates and allowed SEVP to implement faster turnaround times on designated school official update requests submitted with full, complete packages.

In July 2017, SEVP released SEVIS Release 6.35, updating the recertification workflow to enable principal designated school officials to submit non-substantial updates to the Form I-17 during the recertification process. Substantial Form I-17 updates, such as a change of ownership or a change of location, must still be submitted separately for adjudication prior to filing for recertification. School officials must still report changes to the Form I-17 within 21 days.

In January 2018, SEVP launched the Upload Evidence functionality to allow school officials to upload evidence directly into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). With this functionality, school officials can upload evidence for the initial Form I-17 petition, petition updates, recertification and for RFE responses. SEVP also published an updated Definitions of Commonly Required Evidence Guide in addition to initial petition evidence checklists for schools, broken down by school type and accreditation status. Evidence checklists can be found on SEVP’s Schools page on

School officials can visit the School Certification Life Cycle tool on Study in the States and download the School Certification Life Cycle PDF for step-by-step instructions on the Form I-17 process.


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

September 2016
SEVP announced the new Form I-17 filing evidence process.
July 2017

SEVP announced SEVIS Release 6.35, providing schools the ability to submit non‑substantial Form I-17 evidence during the recertification process.

January 2018

SEVP deployed the Upload Evidence Functionality in SEVIS, allowing principal designated school officials to upload evidence directly into SEVIS.