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). This fee is collected by the Department of Homeland Security. 

Who Pays the Fee

  • Exchange Visitors with an "Initial” DS-2019 who are applying for an J-1 visa or Exchange Visitors reentering the U.S. with a valid J-1 visa and an "initial" DS-2019.
    • 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. 
    • The fee cannot be paid at a Port of Entry.
  • 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.

Who Does Not 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.

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 to Pay

  • 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. 
    • 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. 
    • 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. 

How to Pay

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
  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.

SEVIS Fee Scams

Many websites may claim they collect SEVIS fee payments but only the only federal website certified to do so is If you found another site trying to get your money you can learn how to report it on our Scams page.

Is the SEVIS fee transferable?

Yes, the SEVIS fee is transferable as long as it is in the same Exchange Visitor category. For instructions, please visit

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.

SEVIS Fee Payment Records

Fee payments should be entered into your permanent immigration (SEVIS) record, but it is strongly recommended that you retain a copy of your receipt.