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What is the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee is required of all foreign nationals who come to the United States for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study in institutions such as colleges, universities and language training programs. It is payable one time for each single educational program in which an F-1 or F-3 student participates, extending from the time the student is granted F-1 or F-3 status to the time the student falls out of status, changes status or departs the U.S. for an extended period of time.

Why do I have to pay the SEVIS fee?

SEVIS fee payments are used by the United States Department of Homeland Security to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. This program makes it possible for international students and exchange visitors to attend schools in the United States. The fee also funds the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a computer system employed to track international students and exchange visitors during their stays in the United States.  

Who should pay the SEVIS fee?

You will need to pay the SEVIS fee if you were issued an I-20 on or after September 1, 2004. The fee is $200. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee. The SEVIS fee must be paid online or by mail. It cannot be paid at a U.S. embassy or consulate and it cannot be paid at the port of entry.  

How do I pay the SEVIS fee?
  1. Online -Complete an I-901 form on the internet and use a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card at Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form. Print a copy of the online receipt.
  2. By mail -Submit an I-901 form together with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank1 and payable in U.S. currency, made payable to “The Department Of Homeland Security”, to the address listed on the  I-901 form. You can download the form from


Whether you pay online or by mail, you must bring a copy of the receipt form I-797 with you to the embassy or consulate when you are applying for the student visa.

1Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank. 
 You may therefore obtain a check from:

  1. a bank chartered or operated in the United States
  2. a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. bank
  3. a foreign bank that has an arrangement with a U.S bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank