Understanding SEVP: I-17 Recertification Compliance and What Every School Should Know

Colleges and universities that offer a foreign student program (FSP) don’t have to be told about the benefits that come along with it. Students from the United States and abroad are able to collect educational and cultural experiences that will remain with them for a lifetime.

But as a higher education professional, you already know that a great deal of attention needs to be paid to ensure that the FSP continues to run smoothly. So that means staying on top of SEVIS and making sure all deadlines are being met.

That’s why it should come as no surprise that our third and final topic in our “Understanding SEVP” series covers the all-important I-17 recertification process.

I-17 Recertification: The Basics

To remain SEVP certified, a school must apply for I-17 recertification every two years. Now the good news is when it comes time for recertification, the government will notify the school through SEVIS and will also provide a deadline. So no need to worry about being blindsided by an impending deadline. The better news? No fee is needed for recertification.

Before you even begin the recertification process, it would be wise to make sure that no major changes in I-17 information are needed. If changes are needed, that information must be updated within 21 days, otherwise the institution will be at risk of losing SEVP certification.

The I-17 Recertification Process

Now that we’ve touched on some of the basics, let’s get into the process. As we mentioned, your institution’s designated school official (DSO) responsible for SEVIS updates will be notified when it comes time for recertification. According to the Department of Homeland Security, notification should come 180 days before the certification expiration date, so it is important for the DSO to take note of that date to be extra prepared.

If you want to get ahead of the game, you can definitely begin preparing for the process, but you are not permitted to submit recertification documents until you receive the 180 day notice.

When it comes time to submit recertification, the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) must take it from here in SEVIS. The PDSO is responsible for submitting all documentation in SEVIS, but to do so, they must use their personal SEVIS account. Once that is done, the PDSO is then responsible for submitting the complete recertification package to SEVP.

If all goes well, the institution will then be put in the queue for review. During this time, DSOs should keep an eye out for a Request for Evidence, which must be fulfilled within 15 days.

And don’t forget: Once the countdown to the recertification deadline begins, SEVP will count every calendar day, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. But, if the filing deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the deadline will be pushed to the next business day.

The Department of Homeland Security has put together a helpful webpage that outlines the process in detail. Check it out for further information on I-17 recertification.

We know we just threw a lot at you, but it’s crucial to make sure all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed when it comes to I-17 recertification. Failure to do so can jeopardize SEVP certification and your institution’s ability to offer an FSP.

If your institution is in need of I-17 recertification guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to FordMurray.

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