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SEVIS Fee Information for New Students and Exchange Visitors

What is the SEVIS fee?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is mandated by the US Congress to cover the costs of the SEVIS program. The fee will pay for the operating costs of 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 one-time charge. It will be paid by all F-1, F-3, J-1 and M-1 visitors whose initial I-20 or DS-2019 was issued on or after 1 September 2004. Dependents do not pay the fee.

How do I pay the SEVIS Fee?
The SEVIS fee may be paid by mail or electronically by submitting Form I-901.

If you are paying by mail , your payment must be made by US Money order or a check drawn on a US Bank. The check must be in US dollars. This does not mean you have to have a US bank account. Many of the larger banks in your country will have agreements with US Banks and can provide you with a check drawn on a US Bank. DO NOT SEND CASH THROUGH THE MAIL.

If you are paying electronically , you must use a credit card. To access the I-901 Form electronically, go to the following website: (

Note: For students and visitors from China and India enquire at your consulate, a pilot program allows you to pay the fee in country. You may also use either method described above.

When do I pay the SEVIS Fee?
The SEVIS fee must be paid after you have received your I-20 or DS-2019 and prior to your visa appointment. To ensure that your payment has been recorded in the system, make sure that you pay the fee no later than 3 days prior to your visa appointment. If you are paying electronically, you will be able to print out a receipt immediately that you can take to the consulate as proof of payment. While this may be done less than 3 days prior to a visa interview, do not delay, as there could be computer problems that prevent you from paying or getting a receipt. If you have paid by mail, DHS will express mail you a receipt.

In general, it is a good idea to make your visa appointment first, then pay your SEVIS fee shortly thereafter to be sure that your dossier will be complete in advance of your visa interview.

What if I am Canadian?
Canadian citizens do not need a visa stamp to enter the United States. You will need to make sure that you pay the fee in a timely way. Payment of the fee will be verified at the port of entry. If you do not have proof, such as a receipt from an electronic or mail payment, make sure that you pay at least 3 days in advance of your entry date. However, we recommend that you pay as early as possible and that you bring proof of payment to the border.

How do I prove to the consulate or border inspector that I paid the fee?
In general, consulates and ports of entry should be able to verify fee payment if you have paid at least 3 days in advance of your visa interview (or for Canadians at the port of entry). However, bring proof with you. If you have paid you will be able to show a paper receipt. If you have not received your receipt, bring a copy of the check you sent. SEVIS fee payment is a new process, do not count on all consulates and border posts to have access to electronic records. Bring proof of payment and retain it for your records.

What if someone else wants to pay the fee for me?
A third party such as a sponsoring agency, school or department can pay the SEVIS fee for you. Make sure that you are in touch with this third party and get a receipt and proof of payment. Friends or family can also pay the fee for you.

How long is the SEVIS fee good for? What if I am denied a visa?
The SEVIS fee is good for 12 months from the date of payment. If you do not obtain a visa within that time, you will have to begin the process over again and repay the fee.

Please note: students and exchange visitors may also have to pay another fee if they change their visa classification (for example F to J) or J program category (for example short term scholar to researcher).

What if my SEVIS fee is paid using the I-20 or DS-2019 from school A and I am sent another I-20 or DS-2019 from school B and would like to attend school B?
You may apply the SEVIS fee to school B. It is strongly advised that you bring both I-20s or DS-2019s to the consulate for visa issuance so that they can verify that both documents apply to you and that the fee has been paid. Your visa should be issued using the I-20 or DS-2019 for the school you wish to attend.

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

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