Disclaimer and Copyright | Updates
(1) General. A school or school system seeking initial or continued authorization for attendance by nonimmigrant students under sections 101(a)(15)(F)(i) or 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act, or both, must file a petition for certification or recertification with SEVP, using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), in accordance with the procedures at paragraph (h) of this section. The petition must state whether the school or school system is seeking certification or recertification for attendance of nonimmigrant students under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) or 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act or both. The petition must identify by name and address each location of the school that is included in the petition for certification or recertification, specifically including any physical location in which a nonimmigrant can attend classes through the school (i.e., campus, extension campuses, satellite campuses, etc.).
(i) School systems. A school system, as used in this section, means public school (grades 9-12) or private school (grades kindergarten-12). A petition by a school system must include a list of the names and addresses of those schools included in the petition with the supporting documents.
(ii) Submission requirements. Certification and recertification petitions require that a complete Form I-17, Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student, including supplements A and B and bearing original signatures, be included with the school's submission of supporting documentation. In submitting the Form I-17, a school certifies that the designated school officials (DSOs) signing the form have read and understand DHS regulations relating to: nonimmigrant students at 8 CFR 214.1, 214.2(f), and/or 214.2(m); change of nonimmigrant classification for students at 8 CFR 248; school certification and recertification under this section; withdrawal of school certification under this section and 8 CFR 214.4; that both the school and its DSOs intend to comply with these regulations at all times; and that, to the best of its knowledge, the school is eligible for SEVP certification. Willful misstatements may constitute perjury (18 U.S.C. 1621).
(ii) M-1 classification . The following schools are considered to be vocational or nonacademic institutions and may be approved for attendance by nonimmigrant students under section 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act:
(iii) Both F-1 and M-1 classification . A school may be approved for attendance by nonimmigrant students under both sections 101(a)(15)(F)(i) and 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act if it has both instruction in the liberal arts, fine arts, language, religion, or the professions and vocational or technical training. In that case, a student whose primary intent is to pursue studies in liberal arts, fine arts, language, religion, or the professions at the school is classified as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the Act. A student whose primary intent is to pursue vocational or technical training at the school is classified as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act.
(iv) English language training for a vocational student . A student whose primary intent is to pursue vocational or technical training who takes English language training at the same school solely for the purpose of being able to understand the vocational or technical course of study is classified as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the Act.
(C) An adult education program, as defined by section 203(l) of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Public Law 105-220, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 9202(l), if the adult education program is funded in whole or in part by a grant under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, or by any other Federal, State, county or municipal funding.
(B) Has complied during its previous period of certification or recertification with recordkeeping, retention, and reporting requirements and all other requirements of paragraphs (g), (j), (k), and (l) of this section.
(b) Supporting documents. Institutions petitioning for certification or recertification must submit certain supporting documents as follows, pursuant to sections 101(a)(15)(F) and (M) of the Act. A petitioning school or school system owned and operated as a public educational institution or system by the United States or a State or a political subdivision thereof shall submit a certification to that effect signed by the appropriate public official who shall certify that he or she is authorized to do so. A petitioning private or parochial elementary or secondary school system shall submit a certification signed by the appropriate public official who shall certify that he or she is authorized to do so to the effect that it meets the requirements of the State or local public educational system. Any other petitioning school shall submit a certification by the appropriate licensing, approving, or accrediting official who shall certify that he or she is authorized to do so to the effect that it is licensed, approved, or accredited. In lieu of such certification a school which offers courses recognized by a State-approving agency as appropriate for study for veterans under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 3675 and 3676 may submit a statement of recognition signed by the appropriate official of the State approving agency who shall certify that he or she is authorized to do so. A charter shall not be considered a license, approval, or accreditation. A school catalogue, if one is issued, shall also be submitted with each petition. If not included in the catalogue, or if a catalogue is not issued, the school shall furnish a written statement containing information concerning the size of its physical plant, nature of its facilities for study and training, educational, vocational or professional qualifications of the teaching staff, salaries of the teachers, attendance and scholastic grading policy, amount and character of supervisory and consultative services available to students and trainees, and finances (including a certified copy of the accountant's last statement of school's net worth, income, and expenses). Neither a catalogue nor such a written statement need be included with a petition submitted by:
(c) Other evidence. The Service has also consulted with the Department of Education regarding the following types of institutions and determined that they must submit additional evidence. If the petitioner is a vocational, business, or language school, or American institution of research recognized as such by the Secretary of Homeland Security, it must submit evidence that its courses of study are accepted as fulfilling the requirements for the attainment of an educational, professional, or vocational objective, and are not avocational or recreational in character. If the petitioner is an institution of higher education and is not within the category described in paragraph (b) (1) or (2) of this section, it must submit evidence that it confers upon its graduates recognized bachelor, master, doctor, professional, or divinity degrees, or if it does not confer such degrees that its credits have been and are accepted unconditionally by at least three such institutions of higher learning. If the petitioner is an elementary or secondary school and is not within the category described in paragraph (b) (1) or (3) of this section, it must submit evidence that attendance at the petitioning institution satisfies the compulsory attendance requirements of the State in which it is located and that the petitioning school qualifies graduates for acceptance by schools of a higher educational level within the category described in paragraph (b) (1), (2), or (3) of this section.
(d) Interview of petitioner. The petitioner or an authorized representative of the petitioner may be required to appear in person before or be interviewed by telephone by a DHS representative prior to the adjudication of a petition for certification or recertification. The interview will be conducted under oath.
(1) General. All notices from SEVP to schools or school systems related to school certification, recertification, or out-of-cycle review (including, but not limited to, notices related to the collection of evidence, testimony, and appearance pertaining to petitions for recertification encompassing compliance with the recordkeeping, retention and reporting, and other requirements of paragraphs (f), (g), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, as well as to eligibility) will be served in accordance with the procedures at 8 CFR 103.2(b)(1), (4)-(16), (18) and (19), with the exception that all procedures will be conducted by SEVP, the SEVP Director, and the Assistant Secretary, ICE, as appropriate, and except as provided in this section. All such notices will be served (i.e., generated and transmitted) through SEVIS and/or by e-mail. The date of service is the date of transmission of the e-mail notice. DSOs must maintain current contact information, including current e-mail addresses, at all times. Failure of a school to receive SEVP notices due to inaccurate DSO e-mail addresses in SEVIS or blockages of the school's e-mail system caused by spam filters is not grounds for appeal of a denial or withdrawal. The term ''in writing'' means either a paper copy bearing original signatures or an electronic copy bearing electronic signatures.
(2) SEVP approval notification and SEVIS updating by certified schools. SEVP will notify the petitioner by updating SEVIS to reflect approval of the petition and by e-mail upon approval of a certification or recertification petition. The certification or recertification is valid only for the type of program and nonimmigrant classification specified in the certification or recertification approval notice. The certification must be recertified every two years and may be subject to out-of-cycle review at any time. Approval may be withdrawn in accordance with 8 CFR 214.4.
(3) Modifications to Form I-17 while a school is SEVP-certified. Any modification made by an SEVP-certified school on the Form I-17 at any time after certification and for the duration of a school's authorization to enroll F and/ or M students must be reported to SEVP and will be processed by SEVP in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (f)(1), (g)(2) and (h)(3)(i) of this section.
(i) Automatic withdrawal. SEVP will serve the school with an NOIW 30 days prior to a school's SEVP certification expiration date if the school has not submitted to SEVP a completed recertification petition, in accordance with paragraph (h)(2) of this section. The school will be automatically withdrawn immediately, in accordance with 8 CFR 214.4(a)(3), if it has not submitted a completed recertification petition by the school's certification expiration date.
(ii) Withdrawal on notice. SEVP will serve a Withdrawal on Notice, in accordance with 8 CFR 214.4(b), if SEVP determines that a school reviewed out-of-cycle has failed to sustain eligibility or has failed to comply with the recordkeeping, retention, reporting and other requirements of paragraphs (f), (g), (j), (k), and (l) of this section. When a school fails to file an answer to an NOIW within the 30-day period, SEVP will withdraw the school's certification and notify the DSOs of the decision, in accordance with 8 CFR 214.4(d). Such withdrawal of certification may not be appealed.
(5) Notice of Denial. A Notice of Denial will be served to a school when SEVP denies a petition for initial certification or recertification. The notice will address appeals options. Schools denied recertification must comply with 8 CFR 214.4(i).
(7) Notice of Withdrawal. A school found to be ineligible for continued SEVP certification as a result of an out-of-cycle review will receive a Notice of Withdrawal. Schools withdrawn must comply with 8 CFR 214.4(i).
(8) Notice of SEVIS Access Termination Date. The Notice of SEVIS Access Termination Date gives the official date for the school's denial or withdrawal to be final and SEVIS access to be terminated. In most situations, SEVP will not determine a SEVIS access termination date for that school until the appeals process has concluded and the initial denial or withdrawal has been upheld, in accordance with 8 CFR 214.4(i)(3). The school will no longer be able to access SEVIS and SEVP will automatically terminate any remaining Active SEVIS records for that school on that date.
(1) Approval. The school is required to immediately report through SEVIS any change to its school information upon approval of a petition for SEVP certification or recertification. Modification to school information listed in paragraph (h)(3) of this section will require a determination of continued eligibility for certification. The certification or recertification is valid only for the type of program and student specified in the approval notice. The certification may be withdrawn in accordance with the provisions of 8 CFR 214.4, is subject to review at any time, and will be reviewed every two years.
(2) Denial. The petitioner will be notified of the reasons for the denial and appeal rights, in accordance with the provisions of 8 CFR part 103 and 8 CFR 214.4, if SEVP denies a petition for certification or recertification.
(1) Student records. An SEVP-certified school must keep records containing certain specific information and documents relating to each F-1 or M-1 student to whom it has issued a Form I-20, while the student is attending the school and until the school notifies SEVP, in accordance with the requirements of paragraphs (g)(1) and (2) of this section, that the student is not pursuing a full course of study. Student information not required for entry in SEVIS may be kept in the school's student system of records, but must be accessible to DSOs. The school must keep a record of having complied with the reporting requirements for at least three years after the student is no longer pursuing a full course of study. The school must maintain records on the student in accordance with paragraphs (g)(1) and (2) of this section if a school recommends reinstatement for a student who is out of status. The school must maintain records on the student for three years from the date of the denial if the reinstatement is denied. The DSO must make the information and documents required by this paragraph available, including academic transcripts, and must furnish them to DHS representatives upon request. Schools must maintain and be able to provide an academic transcript or other routinely maintained student records that reflect the total, unabridged academic history of the student at the institution, in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(iv) of this section. All courses must be recorded in the academic period in which the course was taken and graded. The information and documents that the school must keep on each student are as follows:
(iii) Current address where the student and his or her dependents physically reside. In the event the student or his or her dependents cannot receive mail at such physical residence, the school must provide a mailing address in SEVIS. If the mailing address and the physical address are not the same, the school must maintain a record of both mailing and physical addresses and provide the physical location of residence of the student and his or her dependents to DHS upon request.
(iv) Record of coursework. Identify the student's degree program and field of study. For each course, give the periods of enrollment, course identification code and course title; the number of credits or contact hours, and the grade; the number of credits or clock hours, and for credit hour courses the credit unit; the term unit (semester hour, quarter hour, etc.). Include the date of withdrawal if the student withdrew from a course. Show the grade point average for each session or term. Show the cumulative credits or clock hours and cumulative grade point average. Narrative evaluation will be accepted in lieu of grades when the school uses no other type of grading.
Note to paragraph (g)(1): A DHS officer may request any or all of the data in paragraphs (g)(1)(i) through (x) of this section on any individual student or class of students upon notice. This notice will be in writing if requested by the school. The school will have three work days to respond to any request for information concerning an individual student, and ten work days to respond to any request for information concerning a class of students. The school will respond orally on the same day the request for information is made if DHS requests information on a student who is being held in custody, and DHS will provide a written notification that the request was made after the fact, if the school so desires. DHS will first attempt to gain information concerning a class of students from DHS record systems.
(C) The start date of the student's next session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter. For initial students, the start date is the "program start date" or "report date." (These terms are used interchangeably.) The DSO may choose a reasonable date to accommodate a student's need to be in attendance for required activities at the school prior to the actual start of classes when determining the report date on the Form I-20. Such required activities may include, but are not limited to, research projects and orientation sessions. The DSO may not, however, indicate a report date more than 30 days prior to the start of classes. The next session start date is the start of classes for continuing students.
(D) Adjustment to the program completion date. Any factors that influence the student's progress toward program completion (e.g., deferred attendance, authorized drop below, program extension) must be reflected by making an adjustment updating the program completion date.
(3) Administrative correction of a student's record. In instances where technological or computer problems on the part of SEVIS cause an error in the student's record, the DSO may request the SEVIS system administrator, without fee, to administratively correct the student's record.
(1) Certification. A school seeking SEVP certification for attendance by nonimmigrants under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) or 101(a)(15)(m)(i) of the Act must use SEVIS to file an electronic petition (which compiles the data for the Form I-17) and must submit the nonrefundable certification petition fee on-line.
(i) Filing a petition. The school must access the SEVP Web site at http:// www.ice.gov/sevis to file a certification petition in SEVIS. The school will be issued a temporary ID and password in order to access SEVIS to complete and submit an electronic Form I-17. The school must submit the proper nonrefundable certification petition fee as provided in 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1).
(ii) Site visit, petition adjudication and school notification. SEVP will conduct a site visit for each petitioning school and its additional schools or campuses. SEVP will contact the school to arrange the site visit. The school must comply with and complete the visit within 30 days after the date SEVP contacts the school to arrange the visit, or the petition for certification will be denied as abandoned. DSOs and school officials that have signed the school's Form I-17 petition must be able to demonstrate to DHS representatives how they obtain access to the regulations cited in the certification as part of the site visit. Paper or electronic access is acceptable. DSOs must be able to extract pertinent citations within the regulations related to their requirements and responsibilities. SEVP will serve a notice of approval and SEVIS will be updated to reflect the school's certification if SEVP approves the school's certification petition.
(2) Recertification. Schools are required to file a completed petition for SEVP recertification before the school's certification expiration date, which is two years from the date of their previous SEVP certification or recertification expiration date, except for the first recertification cycle after publication of the recertification rule. There is no recertification petition fee. SEVP will review a petitioning school's compliance with the recordkeeping, retention and reporting, and other requirements of paragraphs (f), (g), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, as well as continued eligibility for certification, pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section.
(i) Filing of petition for recertification. Schools must submit a completed Form I-17 (including supplements A and B) using SEVIS, and submit a paper copy of the Form I-17 bearing original signatures of all officials. SEVP will notify all DSOs of a previously certified school 180 days prior to the school's certification expiration date that the school may submit a petition for recertification. A school may file its recertification petition at any time after receipt of this notification. A school must submit a complete recertification petition package, as outlined in the submission guidelines, by its certification expiration date. SEVP will send a notice of confirmation of complete filing or rejection to the school upon receipt of any filing of a petition for recertification.
(A) Notice of confirmation assures a school of uninterrupted access to SEVIS while SEVP adjudicates the school's petition for recertification. A school that has complied with the petition submission requirements will continue to have SEVIS access after its certification expiration date while the adjudication for recertification is pending. The school is required to comply with all regulatory recordkeeping, retention and reporting, and other requirements of paragraphs (f), (g), (j), (k), and (l) of this section during the period the petition is pending.
(B) Notice of rejection informs a school that it must take prompt corrective action in regard to its recertification petition prior to its certification expiration date to ensure that its SEVIS access will not be terminated and its petition for recertification will be accepted for adjudication.
(ii) Consequence of failure to petition. SEVP will serve an NOIW to the school 30 days prior to a school's certification expiration date. SEVP will no longer accept a petition for recertification from the school and will immediately withdraw the school's certification if the school does not petition for recertification, abandons its petition, or does not submit a complete recertification petition package by the certification expiration date, in accordance with the automatic withdrawal criteria in 8 CFR 214.4(a)(3). The school must comply with 8 CFR 214.4(i) upon withdrawal.
(A) General. School recertification reaffirms the petitioning school's eligibility for SEVP certification and the school's compliance with recordkeeping, retention, reporting and other requirements of paragraphs (f), (g), (j), (k), and (l) of this section since its previous certification.
(B) Compliance. Assessment by SEVP of a school petitioning for recertification will focus primarily on overall school compliance, but may also include examination of individual DSO compliance as data and circumstances warrant. Past performance of these individuals, whether or not they continue to serve as principal designated school officials (PDSOs) or DSOs, will be considered in any petition for recertification of the school.
(C) On-site review for recertification. All schools are subject to on-site review, at the discretion of SEVP, in conjunction with recertification. The school must comply with and complete an on-site review within 30 days of the notification by a DHS representative of a school that it has been selected for an on-site review for recertification, or the petition for recertification will be denied as abandoned, resulting in the school's withdrawal from SEVIS.
(iv) Recertification approval. SEVP will serve a notice of approval if a school's petition for recertification is approved. The date of the subsequent recertification review will be two years after the school's certification expiration date from this petition cycle.
(vi) Adjustment of certification expiration date. Schools eligible for recertification before March 25, 2009 will, at a minimum, have their certification expiration date extended to March 25, 2009. SEVP may extend the certification expiration date beyond this date during the first cycle of recertification.
(i) SEVP will determine if out-of-cycle review is required upon receipt in SEVIS of any changes from an SEVP-certified school to its Form I-17 information. The Form I-17 information that requires out-of-cycle review when changed includes:
(ii) SEVP may request a school to electronically update all Form I-17 fields in SEVIS and provide SEVP with documentation supporting the update. The school must complete such updates in SEVIS and submit the supporting documentation to SEVP within 10 business days of the request from SEVP.
(iii) SEVP may review a school's certification at any time to verify the school's compliance with the recordkeeping, retention, reporting and other requirements of paragraphs (f), (g), (j), (k), and (l) of this section to verify the school's continued eligibility for SEVP certification pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section. SEVP may initiate remedial action with the school, as appropriate, and may initiate withdrawal proceedings against the school pursuant to 8 CFR 214.4(b) if noncompliance or ineligibility of a school is identified.
(iv) On-site review. SEVP-certified schools are subject to on-site review at any time. SEVP will initiate withdrawal proceedings against a certified school, pursuant to 8 CFR 214.4(b), if the certified school selected for on-site review prior to its certification expiration date fails to comply with and complete the review within 30 days of the date SEVP contacted the school to arrange the review.
(v) Notice of Continued Eligibility. SEVP will serve the school a notice of continued eligibility if, upon completion of an out-of-cycle review, SEVP determines that the school remains eligible for certification. Such notice will not change the school's previously-determined certification expiration date unless specifically notified by SEVP.
(vi) Withdrawal of certification. SEVP will institute withdrawal proceedings in accordance with 8 CFR 214.4(b) if, upon completion of an out-of-cycle review, SEVP determines that a school or its programs are no longer eligible for certification.
(vii) Voluntary withdrawal. A school can voluntarily withdraw from SEVP certification at any time or in lieu of complying with an out-of-cycle review or request. Failure of a school to comply with an out-of-cycle review or request by SEVP will be treated as a voluntary withdrawal. A school must initiate voluntary withdrawal by sending a request for withdrawal on official school letterhead to SEVP.
(i) Administration of student regulations. DHS officials may conduct out-of-cycle, on-site reviews on the campuses of SEVP-certified schools to determine whether nonimmigrant students on those campuses are complying with DHS regulations pertaining to them, including the requirement that each maintains a valid passport. DHS officers will take appropriate action regarding violations of the regulations by nonimmigrant students.
(j) Advertising . In any advertisement, catalogue, brochure, pamphlet, literature, or other material hereafter printed or reprinted by or for an approved school, any statement which may appear in such material concerning approval for attendance by nonimmigrant students shall be limited solely to the following: This school is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students.
(k) Issuance of Certificate of Eligibility . A DSO of an SEVP-certified school must sign any completed Form I-20 issued for either a prospective or continuing student or a dependent. A Form I-20 issued by a certified school system must state which school within the system the student will attend. Only a DSO of an SEVP-certified school may issue a Form I-20 to a prospective student and his or her dependents, and only after the following conditions are met:
(2) The written application, the student's transcripts or other records of courses taken, proof of financial responsibility for the student, and other supporting documents have been received, reviewed, and evaluated at the school's location in the United States.
(1) Meaning of term Designated Official. As used in §§214.1(b), 214.2(b), 214.2(f), 214.2(m), and 214.4, a Designated Official, Designated School Official (DSO), or Principal Designated School Official (PDSO), means a regularly employed member of the school administration whose office is located at the school and whose compensation does not come from commissions for recruitment of foreign students. An individual whose principal obligation to the school is to recruit foreign students for compensation does not qualify as a designated official. The PDSO and any other DSO must be named by the president, owner, or head of a school or school system. The PDSO and DSO may not delegate this designation to any other person.
(ii) Each campus must have one PDSO. The PDSO is responsible for updating SEVIS to reflect the addition or deletion of any DSO on his or her associated campus. SEVP will use the PDSO as the point of contact on any issues that relate to the school's compliance with the regulations, as well as any system alerts generated by SEVIS. SEVP may also designate certain functions in SEVIS for use by the PDSO only. The PDSO of the main campus is the only DSO authorized to submit a Form I-17 for recertification. The PDSO and DSO will share the same responsibilities in all other respects.
(iii) Each school may have up to 10 designated officials at any one time, including the PDSO. In a multi-campus school, each campus may have up to 10 designated officials at any one time including a required PDSO. In a private elementary or public or private secondary school system, however, the entire school system is limited to 10 designated officials at any one time including the PDSO.
(2) Name, title, and sample signature . Petitions for SEVP certification, review and recertification must include the names, titles, and sample signatures of designated officials. An SEVP-certified school must update SEVIS upon any changes to the persons who are principal or designated officials, and furnish the name, title and e-mail address of any new official within 21 days of the change. Any changes to the PDSO or DSO must be made by the PDSO within 21 days of the change. DHS may, at its discretion, reject the submission of any individual as a DSO or withdraw a previous submission by a school of an individual.
(3) Statement of designated officials . A petition for school approval must include a statement by each designated official certifying that the official is familiar with the Service regulations relating to the requirements for admission and maintenance of status of nonimmigrant students, change of nonimmigrant status under part 248 of this chapter, and school approval under §§214.3 and 214.4, and affirming the official's intent to comply with these regulations. At the time a new designated official is added, the designated official must make the same certification.