SEVIS Fee in the USA For International Students

Table of Contents

  1. What is SEVIS in the US?
  2. How much is the SEVIS fee?
  3. Who needs to pay the SEVIS fee in the US?
  4. How to pay the SEVIS fee?
  5. What details are required for SEVIS fee payment?
  6. SEVIS fee: Is it refundable?
  7. Frequently asked questions

Congratulations on deciding to study in the US! It will be a life-changing decision for you as the US stands as a premier study-abroad destination, attracting international students with its outstanding education system, globally renowned institutions, diverse cultural milieu, and promising job prospects. Notably, the country boasts the highest student visa acceptance rate, further fueling the aspirations of students worldwide to pursue their education in the US.

Navigating the US student visa application process introduces crucial terms to you: SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and the SEVIS fee. For first-time students, the intricacies of SEVIS can be perplexing. In response, we have crafted this comprehensive guide to facilitate a seamless journey through the application process, ensuring clarity and confidence.

What is SEVIS in the US? 

By definition, the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) in the USA is a web-based system to maintain the data of all international students visiting and staying in the country for full-time or exchange visit programs. The SEVIS fee is charged to international students to maintain the automated SEVIS that tracks students and exchange visitors in the US.

In short, the SEVIS performs the following functions, which is why the SEVIS fee is charged to international students: 

  • Data management of international students in the US
  • Keep track of information on full-time and exchange students 
  • Facilitate communication between students and government authorities

How much is the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee for international students in America is 350 USD for full-time and exchange visitor programs. 

  • You need to pay the SEVIS fee before you attend the visa interview. However, you can schedule the visa interview before you pay the SEVIS fee.
  • It takes approximately 3 business days to receive and verify your SEVIS fee payment

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Who needs to pay the SEVIS fee in the US?

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement specifies who needs to pay the SEVIS fee and who is excluded from it. According to them, the following people need to pay the SEVIS fee in the US: 

  • Fresh applicants for student status (F-1, F-3, M-1, or M-3) in the US
  • Reapplicants for student status in the US (F-1, F-3, M-1, or M-3)
  • Fresh applicants for Exchange Visitor status (J-1 visa) in the US
  • Those who sought reinstatement despite surpassing the eligibility period of five months while residing within the country.
  • Those who apply for a visa as a new student starting an IUPUI program with an I-20 form

Note: Students of federally sponsored Exchange Visitor programs with a program code starting with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 are exempt from the SEVIS fee payment. You can study in the US without worrying about the SEVIS fee payment.

How to pay the SEVIS fee?

Remitting your SEVIS fee is an online and hassle-free process you can do while in your home country. To guide you through how to pay the SEVIS fee, here is a concise outline of the steps included in the SEVIS fee payment process: 

  1. Register and log in to the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.
  2. Navigate to the section labeled ‘Submit Form I-901 and Fee Payment.’
  3. Thoroughly review the provided instructions and select the I-20 radio button before proceeding.
  4. Fill out the form with the requisite information, ensuring precise alignment with your I-20 details. 
  5. Choose the preferred receipt delivery method (standard or expedited delivery)
  6. Select a payment method. It is recommended to use a credit card or another online payment option.
  7. Provide the necessary payment details
  8. Remit the SEVIS fee, which is 350 USD for F-1 and M-1 visa holders. Take the printout of the receipt for future use

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What details are required for SEVIS fee payment? 

To pay the SEVIS fee, you need to submit your personal information to the government, as listed below: 

  • Country of citizenship and country of birth
  • Date of birth, name, and email address.
  • SEVIS Identification Number from Form I-20.
  • School Code as indicated on the “Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status” section of Form I-20.

SEVIS fee: Is it refundable?

A one-word answer to the question will be “Yes”. However, there are specific conditions related to the repayment of the SEVIS fee in the US. The SEVIS fee is refundable only for two reasons given below: 

  • The SEVIS fee was paid twice for the same student
  • There was no requirement for the SEVIS fee, but you have paid it

In both cases, you will get a refund within 90 days of paying the SEVIS fee. 

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Frequently asked questions

Is the SEVIS fee compulsory to study in the US? 

Generally, the SEVIS fee payment is mandatory for international students. The only exception is for government-sponsored exchange students in the US.

Is the SEVIS fee the same as the visa fee in the US?

No. The SEVIS fee is a separate fee, and not the US student visa fee, which is 185 USD for international students. 

What happens if I don’t pay the SEVIS fee?  

If you don’t pay the SEVIS fee, you can’t schedule a visa interview. So, failure to pay the SEVIS fee results in your not getting a US student visa. 

Should I pay the SEVIS fee before paying the US visa fee?

Yes. If you don’t pay the SEVIS fee and get the receipt, you won’t be able to attend your interview. Make sure your SEVIS fee payment is done before you schedule your visa interview.

Can I transfer my SEVIS fee to another student ID? 

Yes, you can. You need to request a transfer of fee payment made under a SEVIS ID by emailing FMJFEE.SEVIS@ICE.DHS.GOV with both SEVIS IDs or by submitting a web transfer request via the website, www.fmjfee.com.