Initial Petition Evidence Checklist for Accredited Post-Secondary F, M, or Both Schools

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has developed these guidelines to provide designated school officials (DSOs) with additional information on the required evidence, following federal regulations. These guidelines apply to schools seeking SEVP certification or making updates to Form I-17, "Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student."

The evidence outlined in these guidelines corresponds to the Evidence Checklists available on the Schools and Programs page at If you are petitioning on behalf of a school seeking initial SEVP certification, please review the information under the Certification header.

It's essential to understand that this is not an exhaustive list, and SEVP may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to request additional information, specifying a due date for submission. All documents submitted are subject to verification.

Key Guidelines:

  • For English language training programs, it is necessary to have U.S. Department of Education recognized accreditation, as per regulations.
  • All evidence must be uploaded in one session using the Upload Evidence feature in SEVIS. Documents should not be encrypted, password-protected, and each document must not exceed 10 MB. Acceptable file formats include .CSV, .DOC, .DOCX, .GIF, .JPEG, .JPG, .PDF, .PNG, .TXT, .XLS, or .XLSX.
  • If you are unable to provide a specific item, you should upload a statement that identifies the missing item and provides a detailed explanation of why it cannot be provided.
  • If your previous petition was canceled due to incomplete submission, you must upload all the required evidence again with your new submission.

Evidence Required for Accredited Post-Secondary F, M, or Both Schools:

  1. Accreditation.
  2. U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agencies (post-secondary institutions only).
  3. Form I-17: Signed.
  4. Ownership information.
  5. Payment records.
  6. Program of Study descriptions.
  7. Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident status.
  8. School catalog.
  9. State Recognition or Proof of Exemption.

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