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SEVIS Fee Facts

New Students & Exchange Visitors

What is the SEVIS fee?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is mandated by the U.S. 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 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) fee. It is not a school fee or a visa (Department of State) fee.

Federal regulations require that F, M and J students and scholars pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee before applying for their U.S. visa. You can pay your I-901 SEVIS Fee online at or by using Western Union Quick Pay. You must present the receipt as proof of payment when you apply for visa. It’s important that the SEVIS ID number on your I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt matches your SEVIS ID number on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. If it does not, or you encounter other issues paying your fee, please contact SEVP.

I-901 SEVIS Fee Assistance:

Learn more about the I-901 SEVIS Fee:

Who must pay the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee must be paid by students and scholars who were issued an Initial Attendance or Change of Status I-20 or DS-2019.

J-1 students an scholars who are in an exchange visitor program that is sponsored by the U.S. Federal Government do not pay the SEVIS fee. A program sponsored by the U.S. Federal Government is identified by a program number on their DS-2019 of G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7.

F-2 and J-2 dependents do not pay the SEVIS fee.

How much is the SEVIS Fee?

  • F-1 Students: $350
  • J-1 Students and Scholars: $220

How do I pay the SEVIS Fee?

Form I-901

You will need to fill in a Form I-901 with information from your Form I-20 or DS-2019 and pay the required fee. 

You can fill in the Form I-901 online at or send a paper version to:

By Mail

I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
P.O. Box 970020
St. Louis, MO 63197-0020
United States

By Courier (to expedite delivery to SEVP)

I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
Phone Number: 1-314-425-1809 (United States Country Code 011)

If you have Internet access, completing the form online will help ensure that you provide all the information in the correct format. This helps speed processing.

Paper forms are scanned and read by machine. If information is missing or hard to read, the form will be manually reviewed. SEVP will attempt to fill in missing or hard-to-read information. This could cause a short delay in processing your form or could result in the form being returned to you for correction. When using a paper form, please print clearly. Your SEVIS ID number, last name (surname or family name) and date of birth are critical data elements. These are needed to match the information on your Form I-20 or DS-2019.

Payment Options

You can pay the SEVIS fee by credit or debit card if you are submitting the I-901 form online. The following credit and debit cards are accepted:

  • Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit cards
  • Debit cards (also known as check cards) that have the Visa or MasterCard logo

SEVP is currently unable to accept SEVIS I-901 fee payments by credit card on behalf of students and scholars from the following countries: 

  • Cameroon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria

Students and scholars from these countries must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank. 

Pay by International Money Order or Check

Your payment must be made by U.S. money order or a check drawn on a U.S. bank. The check must be in U.S. dollars. This does not mean you have to have a U.S. bank account. Many of the larger banks in your country will have agreements with U.S. banks and can provide you with a check drawn on a U.S. bank. Do not send cash through the mail.

  • Form I-901 Online:Choose the option to pay by check or money order, you will be able to print a payment coupon. There is a control number on the top of the coupon. Write the control number, your name and your SEVIS ID number on your check or money order and attach the coupon. 

  • Paper Form I-901: Write your SEVIS ID number and name on your check or money order and attach the form before mailing it to SEVP. 

  • Western Union Quick Pay: Applicants choosing to pay their I-901 Fee by Western Union will be required to fill out the Form I-901 online prior to visiting Western Union. You must have the coupon number in order to complete the payment at Western Union. For detailed payment instructions using Western Union Quick Pay

Record of Payment

An electronic payment confirmation kept in the SEVIS I-901 fee payment system will serve as proof of payment for the SEVIS I-901 fee. The SEVIS ID on the payment confirmation receipt must always match the SEVIS ID on the your most current Form I-20 or DS-2019, unless you are an F or M student who is considered a border commuter student. If the SEVIS ID is different, please email fmjfee.sevis(at) to confirm if a new I-901 SEVIS Fee payment is required.

Confirmation of payment can be printed from at any time.

When do I pay the SEVIS Fee?

The SEVIS fee must be paid after you have received your I-20 or DS-2019 and before 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 before your visa appointment. If you are paying online, you will be able to print out a receipt immediately that you can take to your visa appointment as proof of payment. While this may be done less than 3 days before 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, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will express mail you a receipt.

In general, it is a good idea to make your visa appointment first and then pay your SEVIS fee as soon as possible in order make sure that your payment is made before your visa interview.

What if I am Canadian?

Canadian citizens must pay the SEVIS fee.

Canadian citizens do not need a visa stamp to enter the United States but you will need to pay the fee at least 3 days before you enter the United States. Bring your SEVIS Fee payment receipt with you when you enter the U.S. Payment of the fee will be verified at the port of entry. 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 SEVIS Fee?

In general, consulates and ports of entry should be able to verify fee payment if you 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 paid the fee online, you will be able to print a receipt. If you paid by mail and have not received a receipt, bring a copy of the check or money order that you mailed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

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 initial SEVIS fee valid for? What if I am denied a visa?

The initial SEVIS fee is valid for 12 months from the date of payment. If you do not obtain a visa within 12 months of paying the SEVIS fee, you will have to pay the SEVIS Fee again.

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 the 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. I-901 Fee transfer requests can now be made directly from Instructions on how to transfer your SEVIS Fee to another I-20 or DS-2019 are available on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security I-901 SEVIS Fee Frequently Asked Questions.

MSU Departments

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 online payment and will take 3 days (from receipt of payment) to post with regular mail payment. If a student or scholar pays the SEVIS Fee using another U.S. college or university's I-20/DS-2019 they can apply the SEVIS fee to MSU's I-20 or DS-2019 before they get their F-1 or J-1 visa. Instructions to transfer the SEVIS fee payment to another I-20/DS-2019 are available on the I-901 SEVIS Fee Frequently Asked Questions.

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, go to: If you choose to pay the fee on behalf of an individual make sure that the student/scholar gets a copy of the receipt of payment. They will need the receipt when they apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa (Canadians need the receipt when they enter the U.S.).

After paying the SEVIS fee for a student/scholar, can they decide to attend another school?

Yes, a student/scholar can apply the SEVIS fee payment to another U.S. college or university before their F-1 or J-1 visa is issued. However, refunds and transfers of the SEVIS Fee payment may only be initiated by the student/scholar. 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. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will not reimburse third party payers, including colleges and universities.