System (SEVIS) is a web-based system for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors in the United States. SEVIS is administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The mission of SEVIS is to balance Homeland Security with facilitating foreign student and exchange visitor participation in America's outstanding academic and cultural exchange programs.
Frequently Asked Questions About SEVIS
Q: Who pays the SEVIS
Prospective students with “initial
attendance” I-20s dated on or after 9/1/2004 who are applying for an “initial”
F-1 visa from outside the US.
Prospective students with “initial
attendance” I-20s dated on or after 9/1/2004 who are applying for a change to
F-1 status from another visa category.
Current F-1 students in the U.S. filing
for reinstatement after being out of status more than five months, and who are
issued an I-20 issued for reinstatement that is dated on or after 9/1/04.
Q: Will other F-1
students in the U.S. have to pay?
A: No, unless the
student’s circumstances change so that he or she fits one of the categories
Q: What about my F-2
A: F-2 dependents do
not have to pay the fee, even if the I-20 that the F-2 dependents use is issued
on or after 9/1/2004.
Q: Do I have to pay if
I transfer to another school, travel outside the U.S. or renew my visa?
A: The SEVIS fee is not
required when transferring schools, changing to another degree program or
level, requesting a program extension, renewing an F-1 visa or using F-1
program benefits such as practical training.
If you are in status when you travel internationally and are not
physically outside of the U.S. for more than five months, you will not be
required to pay the fee.
Q: When do I pay the
A: The fee must be paid
at least three business days prior to applying for your visa, or applying for
admission at a U.S. port-of-entry for those exempt from the visa
requirement. The fee must be paid prior
to submission of a change of status petition or reinstatement application.
Q: Can I pay the SEVIS
fee at a university, consulate or port of entry?
A: No. At this time the
SEVIS fee can only be processed by the Department of Homeland Security via mail
or the Internet.
Q: How do I pay the
A: The fee can be paid
to the DHS by mail or online and must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party,
inside or outside the US.
To Pay By Mail
Obtain a Form
I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants.”
Download the form from www.FMJfee.com.
Request the form by phone at
1-800-870-3676 (inside the US).
2. Complete the Form
I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
3. Prepare a check,
international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only1) in the
amount of $100 USD up through October 26 by midnight, made payable to “The
Department of Homeland Security”. NOTE:
Effective October 27, 2008 the SEVIS fee will increase to $200.
4. Mail the
completed I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
5. A Form I-797
receipt notice should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and
keep it with your other important immigration documents.
To Pay Online
Find the Form
I-901 at www.FMJfee.com.
Complete the form
online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express
information. Be sure to write your name
exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
Print a copy of
the online receipt.
Be sure to make
copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration
Q. Will the DHS keep a
record of my payment on file?
A: Fee payments should
be entered into your permanent immigration (SEVIS) record but it is strongly
recommended that you retain a copy of your fee receipt (form I-797) to use as
Q: I applied to more
than one school, and have more than one I-20 form. What happens if I pay the SEVIS fee for one
school, and then I change my mind and decide that I want to attend the other
school? Is my paid SEVIS fee
A: Yes. But you must submit the I-20 form with the
SEVIS ID number that you listed on the I-901 form with you to the U.S.
consulate/embassy. For change of status
or reinstatement applications, please see next question.
Q: What do I need to do
to apply for an F-1 visa, change of status or reinstatement?
Obtain the appropriate Form I-20 from a
Pay the SEVIS fee by mail or online.
Make a copy of the I-797 (mail) or
computer receipt (online) for your records.
Submit a copy of the I-797 or computer
receipt with your visa, change of status or reinstatement application.
Students who are exempt from visa
requirements, such as Canadians, should take a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt to
present at the port of entry with the appropriate I-20. It will not be possible
to pay the fee at the port of entry.
For change of status or reinstatement
applications, if you previously paid the SEVIS fee while attending a different
school, you should submit a copy of that school’s I-20 form with your
Q: What if my F-1 visa
application is denied?
A: The SEVIS fee will
not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of
the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again.