Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

SEVIS is the automated system that allows the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the State Department to:

• Collect, maintain and track information relative to international students and exchange visitors

• Improve data collection & reporting

• Facilitate compliance with regulations

• Monitor school and exchange programs


Who pays the SEVIS fee?

  • Prospective students who are applying for an "initial" F-1 visa from outside the US.
  • Prospective students who are applying for a change to F-1 status from another visa category.
  • Current F-1 students, in the US, who are seeking reinstatement after being out of status more than 5 months.

Will other F-1 students in the US have to pay?

No, unless the student's circumstances change so that he or she fits one of the categories mentioned above.

What about my F-2 dependents?

F-2 dependents do not have to pay the fee.

Do I have to pay if I transfer to another school, travel outside the US or renew my visa?

The SEVIS fee is not required when transferring schools, changing to another degree program or level, requesting a program extension, renewing an F-1 visa or using F-1 program benefits such as practical training. If you are in status when you travel internationally and are not physically outside the US for more than five months, you will not be required to pay the fee.

When do I pay the SEVIS fee?

The $200 fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to applying for your visa, or applying for admission at a US 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.

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 and Security via mail or the Internet.

How do I pay the fee?

The $200 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

1.   Obtain a Form I-901 "Fee Remittance for Certain F, J and M Non-immigrants."

  • Download the form from
  • Request the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the US).

2.   Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 Form.

3.   Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on US banks only)* in the amount of $200 USD, made payable to "The Department of Homeland Security".

 4.   Mail the complete Form I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.

 5.   A Form I-797 receipt notice should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make a copy of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

To Pay Online

1.   Find the form at

2.   Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information.

3.   Print a copy of the online receipt.

4.   Be sure to make a copy of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

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 bring 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. For change of status or reinstatement applications, please see next question.

What do I need to do to apply for an F-1 visa, change of status or reinstatement?

  • 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, change of status or reinstatement application OR
  • 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 Form. It will not be possible to pay the fee at the port of entry.
  • For change of status or reinstatement applications, if you previously paid the SEVIS fee while attending the different school, you should submit a copy of that school's I-20 Form with your application.

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.