SEVIS Fee and US Student Visa: What it is and how to pay it?

SEVIS Fee and US Student Visa: What it is and how to pay it?

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Aishwarya
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Feb 9, 2024 17:15 IST

SEVIS or Student and Exchange Visitor Information System is the web-based system of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The purpose of the system is to maintain information on the Students and Exchange Visitors to the country. To study in the USA, international students have to pay for their entry called the SEVIS Fee. Check out the SEVIS fee and who is eligible to pay the SEVIS fee. 

what is sevis fee?

SEVIS is a way to keep a record of all your details and the reasons for your US travel. In simpler words, it is an internal databank of all non-national students/ exchange students going to study in the USA. The department requires the sponsors (in your case, the university) to register with the department. In effect, US university does the same when they offer you admission and provide you with the SEVIS Number on the I-20

While applying for a Student Visa for the USA, students often come across the term SEVIS Fee. It is, in fact, the first step of applying for the US Student Visa - either for an F-1 visa or a J-1 visa. But what is it? On the students’ part, students are required to pay the SEVIS Fee, which is at present at USD 350. Students are recommended to pay this fee before they start filling out their Visa Application Form (DS 160) as the receipts of the payments are sent by post and might take up to 15 days to arrive. Also, the original receipt would be required when you submit the documents.

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How to Make SEVIS Fee Payment?

To be eligible to pay the SEVIS fee, applicants will have to apply to SEVP-approved colleges, in case the college accepts the students they can follow the process. SEVIS fee is paid online with the help of a credit card. Students can also pay by bank cheque but that would delay the process by at least 3 weeks and is not recommended. In case you do not have a credit card, you could ask either of your parents to pay the same for you. Here is a step-by-step breakup of what you need to do to pay SEVIS fee.

  • Log on to https://fmjfee.com/
  • Click on ‘Submit Form I-901 and Fee Payment’
  • Read the instructions carefully, select the radio button for the I-20 form and click on ok.
  • It would open a form. Fill out the form with the details. Note that the details should exactly match your I-20. You would be required to provide your personal details, the SEVIS No. (Shared in your I-20), and the address
    • It is very important to give the address which would have UPS Delivery as your SEVIS Receipt would be mailed to you and you would need this receipt at the time of your visa interview.
  • Select whether you want standard or expedited delivery of the receipt. Standard delivery does not cost you extra and you usually receive it well in time. Do provide your contact number.
  • Select a Payment Method. Note, you can pay it online by credit card or through cheque. A Credit Card is usually preferred.
  • Provide Card Details. It would be charged $350 at the existing exchange rates. Please make sure that the card you are using has that balance and can be used for international transactions.
  • The system would populate a receipt. Please print out the same.
  • Once you have paid the fee, you can start filling out your DS 160 form.

Eligibility to Pay SEVIS Fee in USA

The following table shows the SEVIS fee details for each of the visa holders: 

I-901 SEVIS Fee in the US for Various Visa Holders

Applicable Fees

I-901 SEVIS Fee for F-1, F-3, M-1 or M-3 visa applicants

$350

I-901 SEVIS Fee J visa applicants

$220

Spouses and dependents like children for F-2, M-2 or J-2 visa holders of students or exchange visitors in the USA

n/a

For those participating in:

  • Summer Program or,
  • Au Pair Program (Exchange students coming and staying with an American student's family in the USA) or,
  • Camp Counsellor Program

$35

Thus international students who are applying for a student visa to study in the USA and for the visas given above in the table are eligible to pay the SEVIS fee upon receiving their I-20 form from their university. 

SEVIS Fee Validity

The SEVIS fee is valid for 12 months or one year, thus, applicants who submit a SEVIS fee should receive their visa within this one year of SEVIS fee payment. In case the applicants fail to receive their visas during this period, they will have to pay the SEVIS fees again. The SEVIS fee is a one-time payment for a US student visa under the F-1 or J-1 visa. If applicants wish to check if the SEVIS fee is valid, they can also approach their designated university officials for confirmation. 

There is also a deadline to pay the SEVIS fee which is 30 days from the date of release of notification. Failure to pay this fee can result in the termination of SEVIS status and the applicant will go through the entire process all over again. Thus, applicants should keep the deadlines noted as well.  

SEVIS Fee FAQs

Q. I have paid the SEVIS Fee. Do I still need to pay the US Student Visa fee?

A. Students must note that SEVIS fee is different from US student visa fee and both have to be paid separately. SEVIS fee is meant to support Student and Exchange Visitor Program. If you are applying for a student visa, then you need to pay the SEVIS fee. Applicants must hence, not confuse between the two - that is, SEVIS fee and student visa application fee. If the applicant is entering USA on these visas - F-1, F-3, M-1, M-3 or J-1 then they will have to pay both SEVIS and visa application fees. 

Q. Do I need to pay SEVIS Fee before applying for a student visa?

A. Yes. You need to be accepted by a SEVP-approved institution first. Once you have been accepted, you will receive Form I-20. You will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and you need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. Then you can apply for a US student visa. There will be a separate application fee for US student visa. Thus, one must not confuse between the two fees. 

Q. How do I pay SEVIS Fee?

A. You can pay SEVIS fee with the help of three modes:

  • Online through a credit/ debit card
  • Cheque or money order
  • Western Union Quick Pay

Make sure to visit the official website for further details on payment methods

Q. How do I obtain my SEVIS Fee receipt?

A. In order to obtain your SEVIS fee receipt, you need to visit www.fmjfee.com. After that you need select Check I-901 Status/ Print Payment Confirmation. You will also receive a confirmation email once you have made the payment. Receipt will not be sent via e-mail or fax. Applicants shold keep this receipt handy because during visa interviews, applicants will be required to present the fee receipts. 

Q. What is the current SEVIS Fee?

A. Students must note the following in terms of the current SEVIS fee for applicants willing to study in USA:

  • Students, who are applying for F-1, F-3, M-1, or M-3 visa, need to pay a fee of $350
  • Students, who are applying for J-1 visa, need to pay a fee of $220
  • For special J-visa categories (subsidized payment), fee stands at $35
About the Author
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Written by
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

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Niha
All courses in US

A postgraduate in English Literature from Jamia Milla Islamia, Niha has been associated with the education industry as a student counsellor for the past eight years now. Her expertise in customer service, communicat... Read Full Bio

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