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Maintaining status/enrollment

SEVIS Fee Information for MSU Departments, Units and Admissions

What is the SEVIS Fee?
The Department of Homeland Security is mandated by the US Congress to cover the costs of the SEVIS program. The fee will pay for the operating costs of the SEVIS and additional SEVIS liaison officers who will be a resource for schools and students. The fee is a Department of Homeland Security fee. It is not a school fee or a visa (Department of State) fee.

How much is the SEVIS Fee and who pays it?
The SEVIS fee is a charge in addition to the visa fee. It will be paid by all F-1, and J-1 visitors whose initial I-20 or DS-2019 was issued on or after 1 September 2004. Dependents do not pay the fee. Continuing students and scholars whose program began prior to 1 September 2004 will not have to pay the SEVIS fee in most cases unless they are changing their visa status, switching their J category or coming back from a long absence .

Please note that students coming for fall 2004 (unless they are admitted extremely late and issued an I-20 or DS-2019 after 1 September, will not have to pay the fee. This will most likely affect J scholars first, as scholars can begin a new program at any time during the year.

Will SEVIS fee payment delay student and scholar arrival on campus?
The SEVIS fee can be paid after the student/scholar receives the I-20/DS-2019 while waiting for a visa appointment. The fee will be recorded instantly with electronic payment and will take 3 days (from receipt of payment) to post with regular mail payment. At this time it does not look like the fee will slow down the visa/arrival process as long as it is paid in advance of the visa appointment. Are students/scholars likely to pay the fee with the first I-20/DS-2019 they receive? Yes. However, students/scholars can apply the SEVIS fee to any school's I-20 or DS-2019 prior to visa stamp issuance.

Can the SEVIS fee be paid by a third party?
Yes, departments, schools or individuals can pay the SEVIS fee on behalf of an individual. To access the I-901 Form electronically, go to the following website: ( If you choose to pay the fee on behalf of an individual make sure that the student/scholar has gets a paper copy of the receipt.

After paying the SEVIS fee for a student/scholar, can s/he decide to attend another school?
Yes, a student/scholar can apply the SEVIS fee payment to any school at the time of visa issuance. Departments should be aware of the risk they run in paying the fee upfront for a student or scholar who might end up choosing another school. In these cases there is no reimbursement mechanism.

How long is the SEVIS fee good for? What if the student or scholar is denied a visa?
The SEVIS fee is good for 12 months from the date of payment. If the student or scholar does not obtain a visa in time, they will have to begin the process over again and repay the fee.

What are other schools doing?
Yale and Maryland have decided (at this writing) to pay the SEVIS fee for all of their international students. OISS and others on campus will have to stay tuned to find out if this becomes a factor in student recruitment and what steps may need to be taken.

For more information contact OISS (/../../about/location.htm) and check our website for updates.

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