SEVIS I-901 Fee

What is the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee is a one-time fee 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.  
    • The fee cannot be paid at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or at a Port of Entry. 
    • 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.

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.
  • Re-entering the U.S. after being outside the U.S. for 5+ months and have an "initial attendance" I-20.   
    • 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.

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

What if I defer my start at UB? Do I have to pay or transfer my SEVIS fee?

As long as students maintain the same SEVIS record, there is no need to transfer their I-901 SEVIS Fee payment. If eligible, students who are unable to enroll in Fall semester may defer their enrollment to the next available session.

Fee transfers are available for F students who have been issued an I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number, already paid the I-901 SEVIS Fee, and who:

  • Reapply for a visa within 12 months of the date of their initial I-901 SEVIS Fee payment OR
  • Are from a Visa Waiver Program country and reapply for status as a student at the port of entry within 12 months of the date of their initial I-901 SEVIS Fee payment.

If the 12 month time frame for the SEVIS I-901 Fee has been reached, then you may need to pay a new fee. For more information please visit ice.gov's FAQ.

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. 
  • 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. 
    • The 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.

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. 

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.

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