On September 1, 2004 a new United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule went into effect. This rule states that people who want an F-1 visa must pay a one-time fee of $100. This fee helps pay for SEVIS (Student and Exchange Information System), the system used to issue I-20 forms. If you are applying for a new visa, there will be additional visa application fees.
Please read this information carefully:
Who pays the SEVIS fee?
- New students with I-20s marked for “initial attendance” that were issued on or after September 1, 2004 who are applying for a new F-1 visa from outside the US.
- New students with I-20s marked for “initial attendance” that were issued on or after September 1, 2004 who are applying for a change to F-1 status from another status (B-2 for example).
- Current F-1 students in the US filing for reinstatement after being out of status more than 5 months, and who are issued an I-20 issued for reinstatement that is dated on or after September 1, 2004.
Can someone else (friend or family member) pay the fee for me?
Yes. But you should keep a copy of the fee payment receipt that proves that the fee was paid.
Will continuing F-1 students in the U.S. have to pay?
No, unless the student falls out of status for more than 5 months and then applies for reinstatement, or the student is outside the U.S. for more than 5 months.
What about my F-2 dependents?
F-2 dependents do not have to pay the fee
Do I have to pay if I stay in the U.S. but transfer to another school or if I change levels (example: ESL to undergraduate study)?
Q: Do I have to pay the fee if I travel outside the US?
A: If you travel outside the U.S. for more than a 5 month period, then you will need to pay the fee. If you travel outside for less than a 5 month period, you do not need to pay the fee. If you are a continuing student, you will not need to pay the fee, even if you have to renew your visa stamp.
Q: When do I pay the SEVIS fee?
A: The fee should be paid at least 3 business days before you apply for your visa, change of status or reinstatement application.
Can I pay the SEVIS fee at a university, consulate or port of entry/airport?
No. At this time the SEVIS fee can only be paid by mail, through the Internet, or with Western Union Quick Pay.
How do I pay the fee?
The fee can be paid to the DHS by mail or online. You must include the Form I-901 with the fee. The fee can be paid by the student or by someone else (family member or friend) inside or outside the U.S.
To Pay By Mail
- Get a Form I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants.”
• Download the form from http://www.FMJfee.com OR
• Ask for the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the US)
- Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly how 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, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
- Mail the completed I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
- A Form I-797 receipt confirmation notice should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of this receipt notice, and keep it with your other important immigration documents
- *If you mail the fee, then you must wait at least 3 business days after DHS receives your payment before trying to apply for your visa. DHS will mail you a paper receipt (called an I-797) to be used as evidence that you paid the fee, but there should also be an electronic record of your fee payment in the US Consulate’s database. It is strongly recommended that you wait for a copy of the paper fee payment receipt before making a visa application.The paper receipt (Form I-797) is mailed to the address you wrote on Form I-901. If you want to pay more, you can ask DHS to express mail your receipt. Or you can wait until the receipt is mailed to via regular postal service.
To Pay Online
- Find the Form I-901 at http://www.FMJfee.com
- Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. *Be sure to write your name exactly how 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
- *If you pay the SEVIS fee by Internet, you can print a receipt directly from your computer at the same time. This computer-generated receipt can be used to prove you have paid the fee at an embassy, consular post, or port-of-entry.
To Pay through Western Union Quick Pay
Please follow the link below for detailed instructions on paying through Western Union.
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 keep a copy of your fee receipt (form I-797) to use in the future.
What if my F-1 visa application is denied?
The SEVIS fee will not be refunded, but if you apply again for an F-1/J-1 visa within 12 months of a visa denial you will not have to pay the fee again.
For more information regarding the SEVIS fee requirement or other visa-related matters, contact the Office of Study Abroad and International Programs.