SEVIS Fee

Learn what F-1 students need to know about paying the SEVIS fee. 

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What is the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee is a one-time fee of $200 to cover the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). 

Who must pay the SEVIS fee?

Prospective Students with “initial attendance” I-20s

You must pay the fee if you are:

  • Applying for an initial F-1 visa outside the U.S.  
    • Note:  The fee cannot be paid at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or at a Port of Entry. 
    • Note:  Since Canadian citizens are not required to get a U.S. visa stamp, they are required to pay the fee before going to the Port of Entry. 
  • Applying within the U.S. for a change of status to F-1 from another visa category.
    • Note:  The fee cannot be paid at a USCIS Service Center.

Continuing F-1 Students

You must pay the fee if you are:

  • Applying for reinstatement after being out of status and have a reinstatement I-20. 
    • Note:  The fee cannot be paid at a USCIS Service Center.
  • Re-entering the U.S. after being outside the U.S. for 5+ months and have an "initial attendance" I-20.   
    • Note The fee cannot be paid at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Who does NOT have to pay the fee?

Continuing F-1 students do not have to pay the fee unless circumstances change so that they fit 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 the SEVIS fee if I transfer to another school, travel outside the U.S. or renew my visa?

You do not have to pay the SEVIS fee when you transfer schools, change to another degree program or level, request a program extension, renew an F-1 visa (except when you were outside the U.S. more than five months) or apply for F-1 benefits such as Optional Practical Training. If you are in valid F-1 status when you leave the U.S. and you do not stay outside the U.S. more than five months, then you will not be required to pay the fee to return to the U.S. 

When do I pay the SEVIS fee?

  • If you are applying for an initial F-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate outside the U.S., you must pay the fee prior to applying for your U.S. visa. You can pay the fee online, by mail or at a Western Union location which has the “Quick Pay” service. If you do not pay the fee online, you should pay it a few weeks in advance.
    • NoteThe fee cannot be paid at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • If you are a Canadian citizen and, therefore, do not need an F-1 visa, you must pay the fee prior to entering the U.S. You can pay the fee online, by mail or at a Western Union location which has the “Quick Pay” service. If you do not pay the fee online, you should pay it a few weeks in advance.
    • NoteThe fee cannot be paid at a Port of Entry.
  • If you are applying for a change of status to F-1 or reinstatement to F-1 status, you must pay the fee prior to submitting a change of status or reinstatement application.
    • NoteThe fee cannot be paid at a USCIS Service Center.

How do I pay the fee?

The fee can be paid online, by mail or via Western Union.  It must be accompanied by Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the U.S.

To Pay Online

  1.  Find Form I-901 at www.FMJfee.com
  2.  Complete the form online. 
  3.  Pay the fee by supplying the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express card information. 
  4.  Print a copy of the online receipt. 
  5.  Keep a copy of the receipt for your records. 

Note:  If your country of citizenship or country of birth is Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or Gambia, you will not be able to pay the fee by credit card.  You must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay, or certified check drawn on a U.S. financial institution.

To Pay By Mail

  1. Obtain Form I-901 by downloading it. 
  2. Complete Form I-901. 
  3. Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only) in the amount of $200 USD, made payable to “I-901 Student / Exchange Visitor Processing Fee” *
  4. Mail the completed Form I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901. 
  5. Wait for a receipt. A receipt will be mailed to you within 3 days to 2 weeks of processing the fee. 
  6. Keep a copy of the receipt for your records.

* Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank. You may therefore obtain a check from:  a) a bank chartered or operated in the United States; b) a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. bank, or c) a foreign bank that has an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank.

Note: It is also possible for someone else to pay the fee on your behalf. 

To Pay By Western Union Quick Pay

  1. Complete Form I-901 online at www.FMJfee.comNote:  You must fill out the Form I-901 online before visiting your local Western Union because doing so generates a unique coupon number which you will need to process your payment at Western Union.  You cannot submit a payment via Western Union without the coupon number. 
  2. Print a copy of the payment coupon and take it to your local Western Union.
  3. Complete the Quick Collect/Quick Pay Form according to the information found at the bottom of the printed coupon.  For the Account Number, put the Coupon Number.  Note:  Not all countries where Western Union services are available offer the Quick Pay service. To confirm that the Quick Collect/Quick Pay service is available, visit http://locations.westernunion.com or call 1-800-325-6000.
  4. Present the coupon and your payment to the Western Union agent for processing. 

For more information on payment via Western Union, visit https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/wu-instructions.

Can I pay the SEVIS fee at a university, U.S. Embassy or Consulate or U.S. Port of Entry?

No. The SEVIS fee can only be paid via mail, Western Union or the Internet.  

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

  1. Obtain the appropriate Form I-20 from your school. 
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee online, by mail or at a Western Union location. 
  3. Print your receipt or wait for it to arrive by mail. 
  4. Submit a copy of your receipt with your visa, change of status or reinstatement application. If you are exempt from U.S. visa requirements (i.e. Canadians), take a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt and present it with your I-20 at the Port of Entry. (Please remember:  It isn't possible to pay the fee at the Port of Entry). 

What happens if I pay the SEVIS fee for one school and then decide to transfer to another school? Is my paid SEVIS fee transferable?

Yes, the SEVIS fee is transferable.  For instructions, please visit https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq

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. 

Will the DHS keep a record of my SEVIS fee payment on file?

Fee payments will be entered into your SEVIS record, but it is strongly recommended that you retain a copy of your receipt.

For more information on the SEVIS fee, visit www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/ and https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq

Page Updated 9/17