The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule requires 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.
When do I pay the SEVIS fee?
The fee must be paid at least 3 business days before applying for your visa.
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 the Department of Homeland Security via mail or the Internet.
How do I pay the fee?
The fee can be paid to the DHS by mail or online and must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the US.
To Pay By Mail
- Obtain a Form I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants.”
- Download the form from www.FMJfee.com
- Request the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the US)
- 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 US banks only) in the amount of $100 USD, made payable to “The Department of Homeland Security”
- Mail the completed I-901 and payment 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
To Pay Online
- Find the Form I-901 at www.FMJfee.com.
- Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. *Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
- 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 using the Western Union Quick PayT 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 electronically transmit the payment and data to SEVP. 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 PayT service.
Will the DHS keep a record of my payment on file?
Fee payments should be entered into your permanent immigration (SEVIS) record but it is strongly recommended that you retain a copy of your fee receipt (form I-797) to use as needed.
I applied to more than one school, and have more than one I-20 form. What happens if I pay the SEVIS fee for one school, and then I change my mind and decide that I want to attend the other school? Is my paid SEVIS fee transferable?
Yes. But you must submit the I-20 form with the SEVIS ID number that you listed on the I-901 form with you to the U.S. consulate/embassy.
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 I-797 (mail) or computer receipt (online) for your records.
- Submit a copy of the I-797 or computer receipt with your visa. Students who are exempt from visa requirements, such as Canadians, should take a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt to present at the port of entry with the appropriate I-20. It will not be possible to 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.