Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation

What is the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee is required of all international students who come to the United States to attend colleges, universities, and language training programs. It is paid one time for each single educational program in which an F, M or J student participates.

This fee is new and goes into effect September 1, 2004. SEVIS fee payments will be used by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. This program makes it possible for international students and exchange visitors to attend schools in the United States.

Who must pay the SEVIS fee and when?

You will need to pay the SEVIS fee if you were issued a Form I -20 or DS-2019 on or after September 1, 2004 and one of the following conditions applies:

1) You are seeking an F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa from a United States embassy or consulate for first time attendance in the program. In this case, the SEVIS fee must be paid BEFORE your visa interview.

2) You hold a valid F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa, have been absent from the United States for a period of more than 5 months (not working on your studies during this time with the prior approval of your school), and will re-enter the U.S. for a new program of study. In this case, the SEVIS fee must be paid BEFORE re-entry to the U.S.
The accompanying spouse and dependents of the F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa holders are not required to pay the SEVIS fee.

How much is the SEVIS fee and how do I pay It?

The SEVIS fee is US $100. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee. The SEVIS fee must be paid by the internet or by mail. It cannot be paid at a U.S. embassy or consulate and it cannot be paid at the port-of-entry.

The fee can be paid by in any of the following ways:

1) Electronically, by completing a form I-901 through the Internet at and using a Visa Card, MasterCard, or American Express credit card.

2) By mail, by submitting Form I-901, Fee Remittance for Certain F, M, and J Nonimmigrants, together with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in U.S. currency. Sources for such checks and money orders include banks chartered or operated in the U.S., foreign subsidiaries of U.S. banks, or foreign banks that have an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank. Form 1-901 may be downloaded from the Internet at

3) At a local Western Union office, using the Quick Pay service. Instructions at:
A third party such as a friend or family member can pay the fee on your behalf through any of the means described above.

A Note About Processing Times and Payment Verification
If you pay the SEVIS fee by internet, your payment is processed immediately and, at the time you make payment, you can print a receipt (I-797) directly from your computer. This computer-generated receipt can be used to verify that you have paid the fee. If you pay by Western Union, the Western Union receipt can be used to verify your payment.

Mailing the SEVIS fee does not mean you have paid it. The fee is processed when it is received by DHS. If you mail your payment rather than pay on the internet, it can take a long time for DHS to receive the payment and for you to receive a receipt by return mail.

If you pay the fee by the internet or by mail, a paper receipt called a Form I-797 will be mailed to the address you provide on Form I-901. You may choose to have this receipt sent to you either by regular mail or, at an additional charge, by express delivery.

Do I have to present a fee receipt at my consular interview?
A paper receipt is recommended, but not required, in order for you to be issued a visa. Embassies and consular posts will be able to verify your fee payment without a receipt in most circumstances if you pay the fee far enough in advance of your visa interview.

Electronic payments must be submitted at least 3 business days before the interview if you will rely on electronic fee verification at the consulate. Mailed payments must be sent in a way that is sure to arrive at the DHS address listed on the I-901 at least 3 business days before the scheduled interview.

If I have already paid the SEVIS fee for one school, and then decide to attend another, do I have to pay the fee again?
If you have been accepted to more than one institution and paid the fee using the SEVIS ID number of an institution you will not be attending, you will not have to pay the fee again. If you are applying for a new visa, bring the I-20s of both the school for which you paid the fee and the school you will be attending to the consulate for your interview.

Is the SEVIS fee refundable if I am denied a visa or decide not to study?
Once paid, the SEVIS fee is non-refundable, unless paid by mistake, even if your visa is denied or, after the visa is issued, you choose not to come to the United States.
If you applied for an F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa and paid the SEVIS fee within the last year but were denied a visa, you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee again as long as you re-apply for the same kind of program within 12 months of the initial denial.


For more information, we recommend you visit the following DHS website:

updated 1/25/2005