SEVIS Fee Overview
The fee for the Student and Exchange Visit Information System (SEVIS) is mandated by Congress. The purpose of the fee is to cover the costs of administering and maintaining SEVIS. This includes ensuring compliance with the system’s requirements by individuals, schools, and exchange visitor program sponsors. The fee is used for the following.
The SEVIS fee became effective September 1, 2004 and applies to potential non-immigrants who are initially issued an I–20 or a DS–2019 on September 1, 2004 or after that date.
If an I–20 or a DS–2019 for initial status in a new program is issued on or after September 1, 2004, the non-immigrant traveling on that document will be required to pay the SEVIS fee. This does not include F-1 students who are transferring or changing level to attend a new program while maintaining F status.
Form I-901 & SEVIS Fee
Form I-901, with information from the I-20 or the DS-2019, will need to be completed with payment of the required fee. For information on the fee and how to make payment visit the SEVIS payment website. The fee must be paid prior to the visa application interview. The SEVIS fee should not be confused with the visa application fee which is paid at the consulate for the visa application.
A copy of Form I-901 will accompany the initial I-20 or DS2019 sent to the incoming student or scholar. Form I-901 is available on the web and may also be completed online. US consulates and embassies will not have I-901 forms available.
The SEVIS fee may be paid online with a credit or debit card, by mail with a check or money order, or by Western Union Quick Pay. Please review details about payment options online.
Paying online with a credit or debit card
SEVP accepts payment by:
Credit or debit cards can only be used when paying the SEVIS fee and completing the I-901 online.
Mailing the Payment with a Check or Money Order
Payment can be made by check or money order with a payment coupon printed from the online I-901 or with a paper I-901. Payment must be made by a check drawn on a financial institution in the United States and payable in United States currency or by an international money order. The check does not have to be written from a personal account. A person or organization can issue a check or money order to pay the fee on the student’s behalf. Payments for the SEVIS fee must be made payable directly to "I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee."
Using Western Union Quick Pay
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has implemented an alternative method of payment for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee for international students and exchange visitors. On November 1, 2004, nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors in more than 130 countries are able to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee locally using the Western Union Quick Pay service.
This initiative allows Western Union to collect the SEVIS I-901 fee, in local currency, along with the needed Form I-901 data and transmit the payment and data to ICE. The properly completed Western Union receipt serves as immediate proof-of-payment for a visa interview at a U.S. consulate and for admission at a U.S. port of entry. This option is available in any country where Western Union offers its Quick Pay service.
The Western Union Quick Pay service allows for electronic payments to be sent directly to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A cash payment in local currency may be brought to any participating Western Union location and within minutes, DHS will receive a notification indicating that a SEVIS fee payment has been made.
Record of Payment
There are two records of payment for the SEVIS fee. They include:
A paper receipt will be mailed for all payments. Additionally, a paper receipt may be printed immediately if the form and fee are paid online and payment made with a credit or debit card.
Use and Retention of the Receipt
We highly recommend taking the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt to the visa application interview. While the embassy or consulate should be able to electronically verify the payment, having the receipt on hand proves that the payment was processed correctly and speeds the verification process. The consulate will not keep a copy of the receipt. The receipt will be used only to verify SEVIS I-901 fee payment.
When entering the US, the receipt may be needed to show that the fee was paid even though the visa has been issued. It is recommended that the receipt be kept with your passport and visa in case the inspector has questions.
Receipts and other records pertaining to non-immigrant status should be retained. Copies of this information may be useful for the following.
The SEVIS I-901 fee receipt should be retained until completion of the exchange visitor program (J-1) or receipt of the final degree (F-1 or M-1).
For more information relating to these topics, please contact Internationalprograms.