The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires the collection of a one-time fee of $200 from certain international students and visiting scholars. The fee is required to cover operational costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Each student or exchange visitor who is issued an initial Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 is responsible for paying this fee.
Who pays the fee?
- F-1 and J-1 visa applicants with I-20 or DS-2019 forms issued are required to pay a SEVIS fee before applying for the visa.
- New applicants who require a visa to enter the United States must pay the SEVIS fee before going to the U.S. embassy or consulate for their visa interview.
- New applicants who are citizens of Canada, as well as Bermuda, Bahamas, and certain other islands wishing to apply for F-1 or J-1 status at a Port of Entry into the United States must pay and process the SEVIS fee before appearing at the Port of Entry.
- Students in the United States who apply for student or exchange visitor status must pay the fee prior to filing their change of status application.
- F-1 students who wish to change status to J-1 must pay the SEVIS fee before filing for change of status.
- Applicants who are reapplying for student status (F-1) or exchange visitor status (J-1) after a denial of that status must pay the fee.
- Students who have been out of status for more than five months must pay the fee before filing for reinstatement.
- Students who did not maintain status or completed a previous program and need a new initial Form I-20 from a school must pay the fee.
Who does not pay the fee?
- Continuing students who are in status and have not completed their program of study.
- Continuing students who are in status and are transferring or changing program levels.
- Students who have been out of status for less than five months.
- Students who are requesting a program extension.
- Students who are renewing an F-1/J-1 visa.
- Continuing students who have been out of the United States for more than five months and maintained their status prior to leaving the United States and have been participating in authorized overseas study.
- Spouses and dependent children who have an F-2 or J-2 visa.
- Students who are applying for employment authorization of any type.
When must the fee be paid?
The SEVIS fee must be paid prior to visa application to the DHS in the United States. Proof of payment must be presented at the time an application is made for the visa. It cannot be paid at the Embassy or at a university.
To allow for adequate processing time the fee must be paid at least three business days prior to the date of the visa interview. The SEVIS fee is non-refundable. The fee must be paid to ensure that the payment can be deposited and recorded in SEVIS prior to the scheduled visa interview. The interviewing consular officer will confirm that the fee has been paid by accessing SEVIS.
How much is the fee?