What is SEVIS?
SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS was created to comply with a 1996 federal law and to automate the collection of required data. This internet-based system has been created in order to maintain current information on nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors, and their dependents (i.e. all those in F or J visa status). SEVIS tracks F and J status holders from the time they receive their documents (I-20 or DS-2019, visa, etc.) until they complete their programs. SEVIS links with colleges and universities, US embassies and consulates, US ports of entry, the Department of State, and exchange visitor programs.
How does SEVIS affect me?
All F-1 and J-1 Students and visitors have a SEVIS record with a SEVIS number. The Office of International Student Services is responsible for updating your SEVIS record. SEVIS keeps track of certain information about all students, and requires institutions (such as Indiana University South Bend) to report the following:
- Full-time enrollment
- Failure to enroll
- Notification that a J-1 visitor/student has checked in
- Dropping below a full-time course load without prior authorization from the Office of International Services
- Any other failure to maintain student status or complete program
- A change in legal name or address
- Student’s graduation prior to the expected program end date
- Start date of student’s next session
- Program extensions
- Off-campus employment authorization
- Any other major changes to a student’s program
|Fee Required||Effective Oct. 27, 2008|
|F-1 academic student applying for “initial status” from outside the US||$200|
|F-1academic student applying for reinstatement after being out of status more than five months||$200|
|Spouse or dependent child of F (F-2)||None *|
|Student applying for a change of status to F programs||$200|
* Dependents are not charged but proof of payment by the primary visa holder (F-1) is required for applications using I-20s dated on or after September 1, 2004.
Who must pay the fee:
- F-1 Students beginning new programs with immigration documents (I-20 forms) issued on or after September 1, 2004, will be required to pay the fee before applying for a visa.
- Non-immigrants already in the United States who want to change to F-1 status, will have to pay the fee before applying for a change of status.
- Current F-1 students in the US filing for reinstatement after being out of status more than 5 months, who have been issued an I-20 for reinstatement dated on or after September 1, 2004.
- Canadian citizens must pay the fee before traveling to the US as it will not be possible to pay the fee at the port of entry.
Who does not have to pay the fee:
- F-1 students continuing a program on an I-20 issued before September 1, 2004.
- F-1 students in lawful status transferring between schools in the US.
- F-2 dependents.
To pay the SEVIS fee, follow these steps:
- Contact your local US Consulate or Embassy to inquire about specific requirements for obtaining an F-1 student visa in your home country. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at the US Embassy Website.
- As soon as you receive Form I-20 from Indiana University South Bend, follow the US Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa and pay your SEVIS fee. Apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible.
- Pay the $200 SEVIS fee well in advance of your visa interview. The fee can be paid to the DHS by mail or online and must be accompanied by Form I-901. If possible, we strongly encourage you to pay using the online option as discussed below. The fee can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the US.
- Bring your SEVIS payment receipt with you to your scheduled visa interview
Online Payment of the SEVIS Fee:
- Go to www.FMJfee.com
- Complete Form I-901 online (be sure to insert your name exactly as it appears on your I-20) and supply the necessary MasterCard, Visa or American Express credit card information.
- Print a copy of the online receipt.
- We suggest that you keep a copy of your receipt with your other important immigration documents.
Note: On-line payment is the easiest and fastest method by which to pay the SEVIS fee. Be sure to print your receipt!
Paying the SEVIS Fee by Mail:
- Obtain Form I-901 (Fee Remittance for Certain F Non immigrants). Download the form from FMJfee; or Request the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the US).
- Complete 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 US banks only) in the amount of $200, made payable to “The Department of Homeland Security.”
- Mail the completed Form I-901 and payment to the address indicated on Form I-901.
- A Form I-797 receipt notice should be mailed to you within three days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of your fee application and receipt when it arrives by mail, and keep these documents with your other important immigration documents.
To Pay By Western Union Quick Pay:
- Print out and bring a copy of these instructions along with a copy of the sample form to a local participating Western Union Agent location. To find the nearest Western Union Agent location go to the Payment Solutions Website and select a country or call the telephone number of the Western Union Commercial Services Network Agent in your country as listed in your phone book.
- Request and fill out the blue form. This form is available only from a participating local Western Union Agent location. This form may show words such as “Payment Services” or “Quick Pay” printed in the applicable local language. However, please note that all Quick Pay forms will be blue.
- Once you have obtained the Blue Form from the Western Union Agent location, you must fill out all appropriate information. Below are specific instructions for each field and sample forms for F visas at international Western Union Agent locations as well as instructions and sample forms for Western Union Agent locations in the United States. Please bring a copy of these instructions and sample forms to the Western Union Agent location. Copy of instructions and sample forms can be viewed and printed at the ICE.gov Website.
Frequently Asked Questions:
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.
I applied to more than one school, and have more than one I-20 form. What happens if I pay the SEVIS fee for one school, and then change my mind and decide that I want to attend a different school? Is my paid SEVIS fee transferable?
Yes. But you must take the I-20 form with the SEVIS ID number that you listed on the I-901 form with you to the US consulate/embassy, in addition to the I-20 form from the school you wish to attend. Be sure to make your intentions clear to the Consular Officer. For additional information, see the SEVIS FAQ.
What do I need to do to apply for an F-1 visa, change of status, or reinstatement?
- Obtain the appropriate Form I-20 from Indiana University.
- Pay the SEVIS fee by mail or online.
- Make a copy of the I-797 (mail) or computer receipt (online) for your records.
- Submit a copy of the I-797 or computer receipt with your visa, change of status or reinstatement application or
- Students who are exempt from visa requirements, such as Canadian citizens, should take a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt to present at the port of entry with the appropriate I-20. It will not be possible to pay the fee at the port of entry.
- For change of status or reinstatement applications, if you previously paid the SEVIS fee while attending a different school, you should submit a copy of that school’s I-20 form with your application.
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.
Additional questions or concerns should be directed to the Office of International Student Services, Administration Building 146X, 574-520-4419.
Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a US bank. You may therefore obtain a check from: a) a bank chartered or operated in the United States; b) a foreign subsidiary of a US bank; or c) a foreign bank that has an arrangement with a US bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a US bank.