From Memberanda, Spring 2011
Last May, SEVIS began a rolling “Notice of Recertification." Hereafter, schools will undergo recertification every two years, though the process will not be as onerous as the initial recertification. Designated School Officials (DSOs) and Primary Designated School Officials (PDSOs) – officials authorized to access SEVIS for F and M students – are currently being notified about recertification via email.
Once a school receives the email notice indicating its recertification date, a reminder message appears every time a DSO logs into SEVIS. Schools have 180 days from the day the email is sent to complete the process. Failure to complete the process results in automatic withdrawal from SEVIS.
At the TABS conference in Baltimore, two representatives from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which administers SEVIS, noted that an up-to-date I-17 Form is one of the required recertification forms. They urged users, whether they are in receipt of their notice of recertification or not, to check their I-17 for accuracy, i.e. PDSO and DSOs are listed correctly, as well as tuition, program dates, etc. Certain updates and changes are easy to make, but others require adjudication, which take time and will cause a delay in the recertification process.
Kim Loughlin from Bement School (MA) recently updated her school’s I-17 and changing the address from “94 Main Street” to “94 Old Main Street” required adjudication (address changes generally do). So, even if you haven’t received your Notice of Recertification, go ahead and update your I-17.
Loughlin offers encouraging words: “The email looks scarier than the process!” Nevertheless, be sure that you don’t delay. If you make a mistake, says Loughlin, the 180-day clock will not restart. Loughlin reports receiving two emails. One was the initial notice of recertification. The second, “180-day Notice for Bement School,” had all of the required forms attached – Attestation Statement, NCES Data Form, and Fax Cover Sheet with a forms checklist.
To submit the recertification packet, the PDSO should print out the updated I-17 and have every DSO listed sign on the sheet next to their title. The President or Head of School must also sign the form. (If the head is also a DSO, he/she will sign the I-17 twice.) The I-17 is faxed or emailed along with the Attestation Statement and NCES Data Sheet.
Once submission is complete, the PDSO must log into SEVIS and go to the recertification page (link from home page) and click the "submit" button. If filed correctly, you will receive a "Notice of Confirmation of Complete Filing" and your petition will be adjudicated. If your submission is incorrect, you will receive a "Notice of Rejection of Complete Filing." This notice will state the errors in your recertification package and you must make the corrections and resubmit the recertification package as soon as possible. Once your Recertification Petition Package is in adjudication, you may receive a "Request for Evidence," and you have 15 days to respond. Again, the same 180-day clock is still running and will not restart if further evidence/information is required. If no additional evidence is needed and your school continues to operate in accordance with the federal regulations governing SEVP, you will receive a "Notice of Recertification."