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Processing Time for PDSO and DSO Form I-17 Updates

Stakeholders note that long processing delays for Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by a Nonimmigrant Student,” updates can affect a school’s ability to properly function and serve students. Stakeholders requested that SEVP implement a procedure that would greatly reduce the long processing times for principal designated school official (PDSO) and designated school official (DSO) updates.

Government Response

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) made reducing processing times for adjudicating PDSO and DSO updates on the Form I-17 a top priority and amended its internal processes to:

  • Eliminate the backlog for PDSO and DSO update requests. 
  • Implement a 10-business day turnaround time for any PDSO or DSO update request that is not bundled with other update requests and that includes complete and accurate supporting documentation.

Along with amending its internal adjudication process, SEVP also launched an extensive communications campaign aimed at reinforcing the program’s commitment to reducing the backlog. 
Communications highlighted key tips and information for school officials submitting PDSO and DSO updates, thus increasing stakeholder knowledge of the updates process.

Note: Due to an internal process change at the agency level, SEVP is no longer able to guarantee the previously defined 10-day adjudication timeline for PDSO and DSO updates. To ensure the fastest processing possible, please submit PDSO and DSO updates as a stand-alone update or as a locked petition request.

The timeline below illustrates the steps taken to communicate SEVP's progress to date.
July 2015
SEVP launches communications campaign to inform DSOs about properly submitting PDSO and DSO updates.
August 2015
SEVP adjudicators participate in NAFSA webinar to answer stakeholder questions about the Form I-17 update process.
September 2015
SEVP continues to communicate the new PDSO and DSO updates process to stakeholders via Study in the States.
October 2015
SEVP updates the PDSO and DSO fact sheet to reflect new process.
December 2015
SEVP Director Lou Farrell announces SEVP's plan to eliminate the PDSO and DSO backlog and the program’s way forward.
December 2015
SEVP hosts a SEVIS Webinar to discuss the PDSO and DSO updates process. 
February 2016

SEVP hosts its first Ask the Experts Webinar and covers the PDSO and DSO updates process. 

March 2016

SEVP successfully eliminates the PDSO and DSO updates backlog and implements a 10-day turnaround for processing stand-alone PDSO and DSO update requests submitted with a complete and accurate package of documents.