SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, is a central web-based system that maintains and manages data about foreign (F-1) students during their stay in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a SEVIS fee of $200 for all new F-1 applicants. The fee is required by DHS and is used to cover the operating costs of the SEVIS program. The following information specifically addresses fee issues for F-1 students.
Who Pays the SEVIS fee?
Prospective students with "initial attendance" I-20s ISSUED on or after September 1, 2004 who are applying for an "initial" F-1 visa from outside the US. (Since Canadians are not required to get a visa, they will be required to pay the fee before going to the port of entry. The fee cannot be paid at the port of entry.)
Prospective students with "initial attendance" I-20s ISSUED on or after September 1, 2004 who are applying for a change to F-1 status from another visa category.
Current F-1 students in the US filing for reinstatement after being out of status more than 5 months, and who are issued an I-20 issued for reinstatement that is ISSUED on or after September 1, 2004.
Students returning from a Leave of Absence who have been outside of the US for more than five months must also pay the fee. Such students are no longer considered to be continuing students by DHS.
Please note that transfer students with a Transfer Pending I-20 do not have to pay the SEVIS fee again.
What if I have need-based financial aid at Franklin & Marshall College?
Any student receiving need-based Financial Aid from the College will see a credit of $200 (for the SEVIS fee) reflected on his/her account within the first month of classes. This means that you must pay the fee upfront, and you will be reimbursed for it.
I may or may not attend Franklin & Marshall. Is my paid SEVIS fee transferable from one school to another?
Yes. But you must submit the I-20 form with the SEVIS number that you listed on the I-901 form with you to the U.S. consulate/embassy. To transfer the SEVIS fee to another SEVIS record, visit the SEVIS I-901 FAQ. For change of status or reinstatement applications, please see the next question.
When do I pay the SEVIS fee?
The fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to applying for your visa (OR 3 business days prior to applying for admission at U.S. port- of- entry for those exempt from the visa requirement, such as Canadians)
The fee must be paid prior to submission of a change of status petition or reinstatement application (for those who have been out of status for more than 5 months)
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.
Can I pay the SEVIS fee at a university, consulate, or port of entry?
No. At this time the SEVIS fee can only be processed by the Department of Homeland Security via the internet or by mail.
How do I pay the fee?
The fee can be paid to the DHS online (strongly recommended) or by mail and must be accompanied by a form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the U.S.
To pay online with a credit card or debit card (for an immediate receipt)
Find the form I-901 at www.FMJfee.com
Complete the form online and supply the necessary VISA, MasterCard or American Express information. *Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
Print a copy of the online receipt.
Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.
To pay by mail:
Obtain a Form I-901 "Fee Remittance for Certain F, J and M Non-immigrants."
Download the form from www.FMJfee.com OR
Request the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the U.S.).
Complete the form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only) in the amount of $200 USD, made payable to "The Department of Homeland Security". When you submit a check as your method of payment, you are authorizing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement or its financial representatives to use information from your check to make a one-time electronic funds transfer (EFT) from your bank account.
Mail the completed I-901 and payment to the addresses below.
A Form I-797 receipt notice should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of your receipt and keep it with your other important immigration documents.
I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
PO Box 970020
St. Louis, MO 63197-0020
COURIER ADDRESS (to expedite delivery to SEVP)
I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101
Phone Number: 1-314-425-1809 (US Country Code 011)
Will the DHS keep a record of my 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 fee receipt (Form I-797) to use as needed.
U.S. Embassies Abroad
Visas for Third Country Nationals in Canada or Mexico
Visa Photo Requirements
Airport Security - Web videos in various languages
What to expect upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry