Effective September 1, 2004, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began requiring a one-time fee payment for new J-1 Exchange Visitors. The fee is $180 for J-1 students and scholars helps cover operational costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a central computerized system which maintains and manages data on international students, exchange visitors, and their dependents during their stay in the U.S. The fee is $200 for F-1 students and $180 for J-1 exchange visitors.
Who is required to pay the fee?
- Students who are applying for F or J status with an initial Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued on or after September 1, 2004 must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
- Students must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee every time they start a new degree program that requires a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a different SEVIS ID number.
Students must have the Form I-20 or DS-2019 before they pay the fee. Although students are able to schedule a visa application interview before they make the SEVIS I-901 fee payment, the fee should be paid at least a few days in advance of the interview date.
Who is not required to pay the fee?
- Continuing students who received an initial Form I-20 or DS-2019 dated prior to September 1, 2004, and have not completed their program and have maintained status do not need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
- Continuing students with a change of level or transfer on the same SEVIS ID are considered a continuation of the current program and are not required to pay the fee.
- Even if students received a Form I-20 or DS-2019 from their school or exchange visitor program with updated information and the printed date is on or after September 1, 2004, they do not need to pay the SEVIS fee. Payment is determined by the original issuance date.
- Dependents of students and exchange visitors in F-2 or J-2 status do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offers more guidelines on who is/is not required to pay the SEVIS Fee.
Paying the SEVIS I-901 Fee
Students can pay the SEVIS fee online. When paying online, please make sure to print the receipt directly after the transaction. Students and scholars must present the fee payment receipt to the officer at the visa interview and at the port of entry when entering the U.S.