On October 2, 2008, SEVP sent a broadcast message to SEVIS users explaining some basics of the SEVIS fee/school recertification rule. Important information conveyed in the broadcast message includes:
- Recertification will occur in phases; i.e., not all schools will apply for recertification at the same time.
- There will be about 400 schools included in the first phase. (Note: Although the broadcast message stated that SEVP expected to send that first group a notice on January 2, 2009, that did not occur. The recertification program has not yet begun.)
- Each month following the first notification, SEVP will send 180-day notices to additional schools, until all schools eligible for recertification have gone through the process.
- A school cannot begin the recertification process until it receives its 180-day notice. The notice will be sent to the PDSO and all DSOs as well.
- After being recertified the first time, schools will receive a new certification expiration date (CED), and will then have to apply for recertification before that date every two years thereafter.
- Schools should begin reviewing their Forms I-17 and student SEVIS records now, to make sure that all information is accurate. SEVP reminded schools that site visit fees for changes of school location and addition of campuses will raise to $655 per campus (up from $350), and fees for new certifications will raise to $1,700 (up from $230), effective October 27, 2008. For now, there will be no fee for recertification.
Preparing for Recertification
SEVP stated in its guidance that the "first cycle of recertification is primarily intended to elevate the overall standard of data integrity in SEVIS, in anticipation of the migration of that data to SEVIS II."
The guidance also identified the following areas that schools should review now, in preparation for recertification:
- Make sure that all DSO listings and contact information is accurate and up-to-date, including DSO e-mail addresses (for example, an extra space or character will prevent an e-mail being received)
- Ensure that any e-mail firewalls will not prevent receipt of e-mails from [email protected]
- Ensure that the ownership field in SEVIS lists the corect owner name.
- Ensure that all "campuses" are listed on the school's Form I-17. Although the term "campus" is not defined in the regulations, the SEVP guidance states that an instructional location will be considered a campus for SEVIS purposes if it:
- Meets the Department of Education's definition of a "branch campus" [see 34 CFR 600.2] or
- Is an instructional location where students "can either complete their degree requirements for a program of study or complete more than 51% of their requirements for a program of study..."