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If you’re considering studying in the USA, it’s crucial to be familiar with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Managed by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), SEVIS serves multiple purposes, including maintaining information about SEVP-certified schools, F1 and M1 visa holders and their dependents, exchange visitor program applicants with J1 visas and their dependents, as well as exchange visitor program sponsors designated by the US Department of State.

Your SEVIS number will be assigned, and you must keep it throughout the application process. You’ll be monitored continuously from the time you receive your Form I-20, which verifies that you’re enrolled legally under a program in the USA until you complete your studies. The Office of International Affairs manages the SEVIS record.

If you fall into any of the following categories, you’ll need to pay the SEVIS fee of $350 (approximately INR 26,028) for an F1 visa:

  • Starting a course with an I-20 form and applying for a visa as a new student
  • Changing your status to F1 from non-immigrant status while in the US
  • Filing for reinstatement after being out of status for over five months in the US

Please note that the embassy’s visa application fee does not include the SEVIS fee, and it must be paid before submitting the visa application form. The SEVIS fee receipt will be mailed, and it may take up to two weeks to arrive. You’ll need the original receipt when submitting your documents.

Ways to Pay the SEVIS Fee for an F1 Visa

To pay the SEVIS fee for an F1 visa, it’s essential to make the payment at least three days before your visa interview appointment. Payment can be made online or via mail, and both students and third parties are eligible to pay the fee. The DHS provides detailed instructions for payment, and here are the steps involved:

● If you choose to pay the SEVIS fee using a credit card, visit www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. After payment, it’s necessary to print out the receipt and carry it during the visa interview.

● If paying the fee using a cheque or money order, visit https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq#questions-about-payments. The cheque or money order should be drawn from a US-based financial institution, made payable to “I-901 Student or Exchange Visitor Processing Fee,” and accompanied by a duly completed Form I-901. DHS will send a receipt via mail, which you must bring to the visa interview.

● For payment through the Western Union Quick Pay™ service, visit https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/wu-instructions. Some participating Western Union locations can collect SEVIS fees in the local currency.

You can send the completed I-901 form and payment via courier to the following address:

I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
Phone Number: 1-314-425-1809 (United States Country Code 011)

These payment methods can also be used for paying the SEVIS fee for an F1 visa from India.

What is the duration of the SEVIS fee validity for an F1 visa?

The SEVIS fee remains valid for the duration you maintain your uninterrupted F1 status.

The fee is valid for 12 months from the payment date. If you fail to obtain a visa within the specified period, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee again.

It is crucial to keep all receipts, acknowledgments, and payment records safe as you may be required to present them during your F1 visa interview. It is recommended that you retain these receipts until you complete your degree program in the US.

SEVIS Fee Amount

The I-901 SEVIS fee amount varies depending on the specific group. The table below provides the fee for each specific group:

Table of contents Fee 
Students with F-1, F-3, M-1 or M-3 Visa holder USD 350
Dependents (F-2, M-2 or J-2) of students or Exchange Visitors None
Exchange visitors (J-1) USD 220

If you have enrolled in any of the programs listed below, you will be required to pay an additional fee.

Table of contents Fee
Summer work/travel program USD 35
Camp counselor program USD 35
Au pair program USD 35
Federally sponsored exchange visitor program (program codes start with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7) None

The SEVIS fee is required to be paid by individuals holding F-1, F-3, M-1, or M-3 visas. The fee amount for the F1 visa and other visa holders is USD 350. Additionally, if you are participating in programs like the summer work/travel program, AU pair program, or camp counselor program, an extra fee of USD 35 needs to be paid. However, dependents with (F-2, M-2, or J-2) visas of students or exchange visitors are exempted from paying the fee.

Various payment methods are available for paying the SEVIS fee, including debit/ Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit cards, courier payment/money order, and Western Union Quick Pay. It is important to note that credit or debit cards can only be used when paying the SEVIS fee online after submitting Form I-901 online at www.fmjfee.com.

If you prefer to pay by international money order or check, it must be drawn from a financial institution in the United States and payable in US currency. If you choose to pay via courier, the fee should be sent to the following address:

I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
Phone Number: 1-314-425-1809 (US Country Code 011)

Before making a payment using any of the methods mentioned in the article, you should keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • A fee of USD 35 is charged if the bank that the check is drawn on does not honor it.
  • If you choose to pay the SEVIS fee by check or money order when filling out Form I-901 online, a payment coupon will be provided for you to print. The control number on the coupon, your name, and your SEVIS ID number should be written on the check or money order, which should then be attached to the coupon.
  • If you decide to use the paper Form I-901, your name and SEVIS ID number should be written on the check or money order, and the form should be enclosed before sending.
  • To pay the SEVIS I-901 fee through Western Union, you must complete Form I-901 online and obtain a coupon number before visiting Western Union.

If you mistakenly provide incorrect information in the SEVIS form, you do not have to complete the form again; instead, you should contact fmjfee.sevis@ice.dhs.gov via email with the details of the information that requires modification.

Once you have successfully completed the Sevis I-901 application form, you can check the I-901 status and print the payment confirmation for future reference.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do you need to pay the SEVIS fee?

Students need to pay the Sevis I-901 fee before they apply for their visa using DS 160 form. The SEVIS fee receipt for the payment takes long time to reach the applicant sometimes every 15 days as they are sent through the post.

Where do we need to pay the SEVIS fee?

The fee needs to be couriered at the following address:
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
Phone Number: 1-314-425-1809 (United States Country Code 011)

Why do we need to pay the SEVIS fee?

Many candidates are confused about the need for a SEVIS fee. Let us try to answer, what is SEVIS Fee first? The I-901 SEVIS Fee is made compulsory by Congress to assist the program office and the automated system that keeps records of students and exchange visitors and ensures that they keep up with their status during their stay in the US.

Source: https://www.mygreatlearning.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-paying-the-sevis-fee/