Student Exchange Visitor Information 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
Read below for common questions or visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) site for all questions regarding the SEVIS fee.
Q: How do I pay the fee?
Q: Will other F-1 students in the U.S. have to pay?
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
Q: Who pays the SEVIS fee?
- You can pay the fee at
- 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 passport.
- Print a copy of the online receipt.
- Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.
A: All F-1 students who are applying for an "initial" I-20, a change of status application, or who are filing for a reinstatement after being out of status more than five months.
A: No, unless the student’s circumstances change so that he or she fits one of the categories mentioned above.
Q: What about my F-2 dependents?
A: F-2 dependents do not have to pay the fee.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 SEVIS fee?
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: 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 transferable?
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 if I'm exempt from visa requirements?
A: 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.
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.