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Effective September 1, 2004, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began requiring the collection of a one-time fee of US $200 from new international students and visiting scholars.  The fee helps cover operational costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).  SEVIS is a central computerized system that maintains and manages data concerning international students (F-1 status), exchange visitors (J-1 status), and their dependents (F-2 and J-2) during their stay in the United States.

Who must pay the fee:

  • F-1 Students and J-1 Exchange Visitors (students and scholars) beginning new programs with immigration documents (I-20 forms for F-1s, DS-2019 forms for J-1s) 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 or J-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 and J-1 students and scholars continuing a program on an I-20 or DS-2019 issued before September 1, 2004.
  • F-1 students in lawful status transferring between schools in the US.
  • J-1 students in lawful status transferring between schools in the same exchange visitor category (except for those exchange visitors whose current DS-2019 was issued by the US government).
  • F-2 and J-2 dependents.
  • J-1 visitors with a DS-2019 issued by the US government.

To obtain your F-1 or J-1 visa, follow these steps:

  • Contact your local US Consulate or Embassy to inquire about specific requirements for obtaining an F-1 or J-1 student visa in your home country.  A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at US Embassy Website.
  • As soon as you receive Form I-20 or DS-2019 from Indiana University, follow the US Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 or J-1 student visa and pay your SEVIS fee (see below).  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:

  • Obtain Form I-901 at www.fmjfee.com.
  • Complete Form I-901 online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information.  Be sure to insert your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Print a copy of the online receipt!
  • Make a copy of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

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.

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.

For more information about the SEVIS fee, including how to pay, you can visit our F-1 SEVIS fee page.

Please feel free to contact our office with any additional questions or concerns.