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The SEVP Certification allows educational institutions to enroll students from abroad with I-20 Visas. This page introduces you to the eligibility criteria, application process, and requirements to stay in compliance.   ​​​


  • A college or university (i.e., an institution of higher learning which awards recognized bachelor's, master's, doctor's or professional degrees).
  • A community college or junior college which provides instruction in the liberal arts or in the professions and which awards recognized associate degrees.
  • A seminary.
  • A conservatory.
  • A public high school.
  • A private elementary, middle and/or high school.
  • An institution which provides language training, instruction in the liberal arts or fine arts, instruction in the professions, or instruction or training in more than one of these disciplines. 

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What Schools are Eligible for SEVP Certification to Enroll M Nonimigrants?  

  • A community college or junior college which provides vocational or technical training and which awards recognized associate degrees.
  • A vocational high school.
  • A school that provides vocational or nonacademic training other than language training. 

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What Schools are Ineligible for SEVP Certification?  

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The following may not be approved for attendance by foreign students: 

Certification is the process schools go through to receive authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enroll F and/or M nonimmigrants. Within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), SEVP reviews schools that desire to enroll nonimmigrant students to determine denial or approval of certification. Schools must petition online for certification in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the database which compiles the data for the Form I-17, “Petition for Approval of School for Attendance by Nonimmigrant Student,” and must submit a nonrefundable certification fee of $3,000 for filing the petition and $655 for a site visit per location listed on the Form I-17.  

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SEVP Certification 

The following schools are considered to be academic institutions and may be approved for attendance by nonimmigrant students under section 101(a)(15)(F)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA): 

The SEVP Certification allows educational institutions to enroll students from abroad with I-20 Visas. To maintain certification, the school must comply with SEVP policies, record-keeping, and reporting requirements stipulated in 8 CFR 214.3. Once certified, the school has access to SEVIS and may issue Forms I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Student Status," to prospective nonimmigrant students.  

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What Schools are Eligible for SEVP Certification to Enroll F Nonimmigrants?  

SEVP Certification Application Process

We hope the information included on this page has answered your questions regarding applying for SEVP certification. Still needing assistance with your institution's process? We are glad to help! Request a free consultation by calling 786-618-277, completing the free session request form, or sending us an email to [email protected]. During this session, we will conduct a preliminary assessment and introduce you to the requirements and process for a school to obtain the SEVP certification and enroll students with I-20 visas. 

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  • Home schools.
  • Preschools and/or daycare institutions.
  • Public elementary or middle schools (grades K-8).
  • Schools whose programs are primarily distance education or online (i.e., internet-based).
  • Adult education programs, if the adult education program is funded in whole or in part by a grant under the
  • Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, or by any other federal, state, county, or municipal funding.
  • Flight schools that are not Part 141 or Part 142 certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.  

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Learn More about the SEVP Certification  

SEVP Certification ​I-20 Schools 

Visit the following pages by the Department of Homeland Security to learn more about the SEVP certification process: 

The following schools are considered to be vocational or nonacademic institutions and may be approved for attendance by nonimmigrant students under section 101(a)(15)(M)(i) of the INA: 

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