If you are looking to incorporate an international student exchange program into your school you will need to make sure you obtain the proper certification.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System is the online system used by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). SEVIS is used to maintain information including the list of schools certified for Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), F-1 & M-1 students studying in the US, SEVP sponsors, and J-1 Exchange Visitor Program participants. This system protects national security as it supports the entry of nonimmigrants coming to the US for educational as well as cultural exchange programs.
While SEVP is an ideal program to feature in your school, acquiring SEVIS certification calls for a number of requirements. Here’s what you need to know about SEVIS certification:
To be eligible for the program, you need to file a petition for SEVP certification using SEVIS. The petition must include the school system, whether it’s a public school or private school, as well as the submission requirements which include the complete Form I-17.
The certification process includes your submission of the certification petition, Form I-17, and supporting documents, your payment for the application fee, school visits, research, and federal and legal adjudication.
The head, owner, or president of your school must sign the Form I-17 to nominate your designated school officials. This will certify that the officials on the list are employees of the school with the required qualifications and that they will be provided with the necessary resources and training to meet their responsibilities for the program.
The site visit will be scheduled or conducted by the SEVP once the receipt of the signed Form I-17 and the payment for the application fee are verified.
The SEVIS adjudicator reviews the SEVP petition and supporting documents of your school before deciding your eligibility for the program. In cases where any information is unclear and needs confirmation, the adjudicator may send an email requesting for further evidence. If the provided evidence supported the claimed information, the adjudicator will approve your certification.
Your school will receive an email from SEVIS that specifies the decision. If your petition is denied, the email will include the reasons for the denial and will indicate if you can appeal the denial.
There are many requirements for the petition, but to be certified, your school’s goal should be to prove the following:
Once your school obtains the certification, your institution should make a legal commitment to abide by the DHS requirements and the federal laws and regulations. This is why it’s important for your school to consider the expectations and responsibilities that come with the program when making the petition for SEVIS certification. This requires not only financial commitment but also strict adherence and a secure record-keeping system.
Want help applying for SEVIS? JAG Consulting Services veteran expert consultants can help you every step of the way. Contact us to find out more.