SEVIS Fee Requirement for F-1 Students
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations require F-1 and J-1 visa applicants to pay a one-time fee of $100 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). The following information specifically addresses fee issues for F-1 students.
- Who pays the SEVIS fee?
Below are some reasons why you may need to pay the SEVIS fee. Please note this list is not complete.
- Prospective students: If you have an initial attendance I-20 dated on or after Sept. 1, 2004 and you are applying for an initial F-1 visa from outside the U.S., you should pay the SEVIS fee.
- Change of status: If you are applying for a change of status to F-1 from another visa category and your change of status I-20 was issued on or after Sept. 1, 2004, you should pay the SEVIS fee.
- Re-entry to the U.S.: If you are a student who did not maintain status, and you seek to start your F-1 status over by re-entering the U.S., you need a new initial I-20 from Loyola and you need to pay the SEVIS fee before arriving at the port of entry.
- Reinstatement: If you are in the U.S. and filing an application for reinstatement, you must pay the fee only if you have been out of status for 5 months or longer. Please check with an OIP advisor if you are not sure how long you have been out of status.
- What about my F-2 dependents?
F-2 dependents do not have to pay the fee, even if the I-20 that the F-2 dependent uses is issued on or after Sept. 1, 2004.
- When do I pay the SEVIS fee?
The fee must be paid at least 3 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. The fee must be paid prior to arriving at the port of entry for students who did not maintain status and are seeking re-entry.
- Can I pay the SEVIS fee at a university, consulate or port of entry?
No. At this time the SEVIS fee can only be processed by DHS via mail or the Internet.
- If I'm applying for change of status or reinstatement. Do I need to send proof of payment with my application?
No. DHS does not require you to send proof of SEVIS fee payment with your Form I-539. DHS will be able to verify your SEVIS fee payment without a receipt as long as payment is processed before an officer adjudicates your application.
- How do I pay the fee?
You can pay DHS by mail or online. Your fee payment must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the U.S.
To pay by mail:
- Download Form I-901 (Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Non-immigrants), or request the form by phone: 800.870.3676 (inside the U.S.)
- Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
- Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only*) in the amount of $100 USD, made payable to "The Department of Homeland Security"
- Mail the completed form and fee to the address listed on Form I-901.
- A Form I-797 receipt notice should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.
*Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank. You may therefore obtain a check from a:
- Bank chartered or operated in the United States
- Foreign subsidiary of a U.S. bank
- Foreign bank that has an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank
- Locate Form I-901 at www.FMJfee.com
- Complete the form online. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
- Supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information
- Print a copy of the online receipt
- Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents
To pay electronically:
The option of paying through Western Union Quick Pay is available in any country where Western Union offers Quick Pay service. The Western Union office collects the SEVIS I-901 fee in local currency, along with the necessary Form I-901 data, and electronically transmits the payment and data to DHS.
The Western Union office then issues a receipt that serves as immediate proof of payment for a visa interview at a U.S. consulate or for admission at a U.S. port of entry. For detailed payment instructions, including samples of properly completed Quick Pay forms, click here.
- Will DHS keep a record of my payment on file?
Fee payments should be entered into your permanent SEVIS record, but we recommend retaining a copy of your fee receipt (Form I-797) for your records.
- I have I-20 forms from more than one school. What happens if I pay the SEVIS fee for one school and decide to attend another school? Is my paid SEVIS fee transferable?
Yes. But at the U.S. consulate/embassy, you must submit the I-20 form with the SEVIS ID number that you listed on the I-901 form. For change of status or reinstatement applications, please see next question.
- What do I need to do to apply for an F-1 visa?
- Obtain the appropriate Form I-20 from a DHS-approved school
- Pay the SEVIS fee by mail or online
- Make a copy of the Form I-797 (mail) or computer receipt (online) for your records
- Students who are exempt from visa requirements, such as Canadians, should present the SEVIS fee receipt at the port of entry with the appropriate I-20. You may not pay the fee at the port of entry
- What if my F-1 visa application is denied?
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.
- Airport Security - Web videos in various languages
- Airport Status
- Fees for Visa Services
- Special Visa Processing - For citizens of North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq & Libya
- U.S. Embassies Abroad
- USICE - Special Registration
- U.S. Ports of Entry (PDF)
- U.S. VISIT
- Visa Denials
- Visa Photo Requirements
- Visa Process Guide (PDF)