The SEVIS fee is a one-time fee to cover the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
What is the SEVIS fee?
The SEVIS fee is a one-time fee of $180 to cover the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Who must pay the SEVIS fee?
- Prospective Exchange Visitors with “Begin new program” DS-2019s who are applying for an initial J-1 visa outside the U.S. Note: The fee cannot be paid at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- 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. Note: The fee cannot be paid at a Port of Entry.
- Prospective Exchange Visitors with “Begin new program” DS-2019s who are applying within the U.S. for a change of status to J-1 from another visa category. Note: The fee cannot be paid at a USCIS Service Center.
- Continuing Exchange Visitors who are reentering the U.S. with a valid J-1 visa, but with an “initial” DS-209 form (non-transfer).
- Continuing Exchange Visitors* who were on a J-1 program sponsored by the U.S. government (e.g. with a program designation number of G-1, G-2 or G-3) and who are now transferring to a J-1 program that is not sponsored by the U.S. government
- Continuing Exchange Visitors* who are applying for a change of category within the U.S. (unless they are changing to a program sponsored by the U.S. government)
- Continuing J-1 Exchange Visitors* who are applying for reinstatement after a substantive violation, or who have been out of program status for more than 120 days but fewer than 270 days during the course of their program.
Note: *A J-1 Exchange Visitor who has completed an Exchange Visitor Program and wants to participate in another Exchange Visitor Program is NOT considered to be a continuing Exchange Visitor.
Who does NOT have to pay the fee?
Continuing J-1 Exchange Visitors do not have to pay the fee unless circumstances change so that they fit one of the categories mentioned above.
What about my J-2 dependents?
J-2 dependents do not have to pay the fee.
Do I have to pay the SEVIS fee if I transfer to another program or request a program extension?
The SEVIS fee is not required when continuing J-1 Exchange Visitors transfer to another J-1 program, change to another degree program or level or request a program extension.
When do I pay the fee?
- If you are applying for an initial J-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate outside the U.S., you must pay the fee prior to applying for your U.S. visa. If you do not pay the fee online, you should pay it a few weeks in advance. Note: The fee cannot be paid at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- If you are a Canadian citizen and, therefore, do not need a J-1 visa, you must pay the fee prior to entering the U.S. If you do not pay the fee online, you should pay it a few weeks in advance. Note: The fee cannot be paid at a Port of Entry.
- If you are applying for a change of status to J-1, you must pay the fee prior to submitting a change of status application. Note: The 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
- Find Form I-901 at www.FMJfee.com.
- Complete the form online.
- Pay the fee by supplying the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express card information.
- Print a copy of the online receipt.
- 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
- Obtain Form I-901 by downloading it.
- Complete Form I-901.
- Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only) in the amount of $180 USD, made payable to “I-901 Student / Exchange Visitor Processing Fee” *
- * 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.
- Mail the completed Form I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
- Wait for a receipt. A receipt will be mailed to you within 3 days to 2 weeks of processing the fee.
- Keep a copy of the receipt for your records.
To Pay By Western Union Quick Pay
- Complete Form I-901 online at www.FMJfee.com.
- Note: 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.
- Print a copy of the payment coupon and take it to your local Western Union.
- 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.
- 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. At this time the SEVIS fee can only be paid via mail, Western Union or the Internet.
What do I need to do to apply for a J-1 visa or change of status to J-1 student or scholar status?
- Obtain the appropriate Form DS-2019 from your school.
- Pay the SEVIS fee online, by mail or at a Western Union agent location.
- Print your receipt or wait for it to arrive by mail.
- Submit a copy of your receipt with your visa or change of status 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 DS-2019 at the port of entry. (Please remember: It will not be possible to pay the fee at the port of entry).
What happens if I pay the SEVIS fee for one program and then decide to transfer to another program? Is my paid SEVIS fee transferable?
Yes, the SEVIS fee is transferable as long as it is in the same Exchange Visitor category. For instructions, please visit https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq.
What if my J-1 visa application is denied?
The SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new J-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again.
Will the Department of Homeland Security keep a record of my SEVIS fee 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 receipt.