The SEVIS fee is required all F1 and J1 status students. It is normally a one-time fee, however there are some exceptions. The SEVIS fee payments are used by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Who Pays the SEIVS Fee?
Ш New F1 and J1 students who are issued an “initial attendance” I-20 or a “begin new program” DS-2019
Ш Students applying for a change of status to F1 or J1 in the U.S. with an I-20 or DS-2019
Ш Returning students and exchange visitors who have been outside the U.S. for more than 5 months, were not enrolled in classes at a U.S. university on a full-time basis or were not pursuing and authorized study abroad or research program that would continue their nonimmigrant status
Ш F1 students who have violated their status and are issued a new I-20 for the purpose of leaving and re-entering the U.S. to regain legal status
Ш F1 students who have violated their status and apply for reinstatement more than 5 months after the violation of status occurred
Ш J1 students who have violated their status and apply for reinstatement to the Department of State
Ш J1 students transferring from federally-sponsored exchange programs whose program codes start with G1, G2, and G3 to non-government sponsored J1 programs
Who Does Not Pay the SEVIS Fee?
Ш Continuing F1 and J1 students with an I-20 or DS-2019 who are maintaining their nonimmigrant status even when traveling abroad or applying for a visa renewal
Ш J1 students participating in federally-sponsored exchange visitor programs whose program codes start with G1, G2, and G3
Ш F1 and J1 students transferring between universities or programs, changing degree levels or requesting a program extension
Ш F2 and J2 dependents of students and exchange visitors
When Should SEVIS Fee Be Paid?
At least 3 business days prior to:
Ш Applying for an initial F1 or J1 visa at an embassy or consulate
Ш Entering the U.S. for F1 and J1 students exempt from the visa requirement (Canadian citizens)
Ш Submitting an application to DHS to change status to F1 or J1
Ш Submitting an application to the Department of State to change the J1 category
How much is the SEVIS Fee?
The SEVIS fee is US$200. This fee is separate from, and in addition to the visa application fee.
How is the SEVIS Fee Paid?
The SEVIS fee can only be paid after obtaining and I-20 or DS-2019. The Fee may be paid on-line at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp a credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express). The student needs to fill out an electronic form I-901 and print out a receipt as confirmation of payment. The information on Form I-901 has to match the I-20 or DS-2019 exactly. DHS will also mail the student a paper receipt.
Where and When to Use the SEVIS Fee Receipt?
Ш Present the SEVIS fee receipt at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with an F1 or J1 visa application form and supporting documents. Embassies and consulates will be able to verify SEVIS fee payment electronically, but it is strongly recommended to have the paper receipt when applying for a visa, as well as, when entering the U.S.
Ш Present the SEVIS fee receipt at the U.S. port of entry when entering the U.S. (if exempt from the visa requirement, i.e. Canadian citizens) or making a new entry to the U.S. to regain legal status
Ш Include a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt with an application to DHS to change status to F1 or J1
Ш Include a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt with an application to DHS for reinstatement to F1 status (if it has been more than 5 months since the violation of status occurred)
Ш Include a copy of the Sevis fee receipt with and application to the Department of State to change the J1 category and with an application for reinstatement to J1 status
If the SEVIS Fee is paid with one Schools I-20, can it be transferred to another?
Yes, the SEVIS fee is transferable to another I-20 or DS-2019. The student needs to bring both I-20s and DS-2019s to the embassy or consulate when applying for the visa, as well as, the SEVIS receipt.
Is the SEVIS Fee Refundable?
No, the SEVIS fee cannot be refunded if the F1 or J1 visa is denied, but it is valid for 12 months if the student chooses to make another visa application for the same type of program.