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What is the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee is a one-time fee that covers the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Regulation requires all prospective F students to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee before the Department of State issues you a visa. To pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, visit to access the SEVIS Form I-901. Watch the I-901 SEVIS Fee payment tutorial to learn about each step of the payment process.

F-2 and J-2 dependent family members are not required to pay the fee. This fee is not a University fee and provides no funds or services to the University.


Who must pay the SEVIS fee?

  • New F-1 and J-1 students who are issued an "initial attendance" I-20 or a "begin new program" DS- 2019 on or after September 1, 2004.
  • Students in the U.S. applying for a change of status to F-1 or J-1 with an I-20 or DS-2019 issued after September 1, 2004.
  • Returning students and exchange visitors who have been outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months, were not enrolled in classes at a U.S. university on a full-time basis or were not pursuing an authorized study abroad or research program that would continue their nonimmigrant status.
  • F-1 students who have violated their status and are issued a new I-20 after September 1, 2004, for the purpose of leaving and re-entering the U.S. to regain legal status.
  • F-1 students who have violated their status and apply for reinstatement more than 5 months after the violation of status occurred.
  • J-1 students who have violated their status and apply for reinstatement to the Department of State.
  • J-1 students transferring from federally-sponsored exchange programs whose program codes start with G-1, G-2, and G-3 to non-government sponsored J-1 programs (e.g. UT's J-1 program).
  • J-1 exchange visitors who apply to change their J-1 category in the U.S.


Who does NOT have to pay the SEVIS fee?

  • J-1 students participating in federally-sponsored exchange visitor programs whose program codes start with G-1, G-2 and G-3 (e.g. Fulbright program).
  • F-1 and J-1 students transferring between universities or programs, changing degree levels or requesting a program extension.
  • F-2 and J-2 dependents of students and exchange visitors.


When do I pay the SEVIS fee?

The length of time it takes to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and get a receipt depends on how long it takes for: 1) the Form I-901 information and payment to get to DHS; 2) the payment to be processed; and 3) the receipt to reach the F-1 or J-1 applicant at the address provided on Form I-901.

Once DHS receives and processes the payment, it takes approximately three working days for the transaction to be posted to SEVIS and the State Department. The online method of payment is fastest. Applicants outside of the U.S. choosing the mail or Western Union method of payment should take mailing times in their home countries into consideration when deciding when to pay the SEVIS fee.

How do I pay the fee?

The fee can be paid online, by mail or via Western Union.  It must be accompanied by Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the U.S.


To Pay Online:

  1. Find Form I-901 at
  2. Complete the form online.
  3. Pay the fee by supplying the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express card information.
  4. Print a copy of the online receipt.
  5. Keep a copy of the receipt for your records.

Note:  If your country of citizenship or country of birth is Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or Gambia, you will not be able to pay the fee by credit card.  You must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay, or certified check drawn on a U.S. financial institution.


To Pay By Mail:

  1. Obtain Form I-901 by downloading it.
  2. Complete Form I-901.
  3. Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only) made payable to “I-901 Student / Exchange Visitor Processing Fee” *
  4. Mail the completed Form I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
  5. Wait for a receipt. A receipt will be mailed to you within 3 days to 2 weeks of processing the fee.
  6. Keep a copy of the receipt for your records.

* Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank. You may therefore obtain a check from:  a) a bank chartered or operated in the United States; b) a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. bank, or c) 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.

Note: It is also possible for someone else to pay the fee on your behalf.


To Pay By Western Union Quick Pay:

  1. Complete Form I-901 online at  Note: You must fill out the Form I-901 online before visiting your local Western Union because doing so generates a unique coupon number which you will need to process your payment at Western Union.  You cannot submit a payment via Western Union without the coupon number.
  2. Print a copy of the payment coupon and take it to your local Western Union.
  3. Complete the Quick Collect/Quick Pay Form according to the information found at the bottom of the printed coupon.  For the Account Number, put the Coupon Number. Note: Not all countries where Western Union services are available offer the Quick Pay service. To confirm that the Quick Collect/Quick Pay service is available, visit or call 1-800-325-6000.
  4. Present the coupon and your payment to the Western Union agent for processing.
  5. For more information on payment via Western Union, visit


Is the SEVIS fee refundable?

The SEVIS fee cannot be refunded if the F-1 or J-1 visa is denied, but it is valid for 12 months if the student chooses to make another visa application for the same kind of program.


Will the DHS keep a record of my SEVIS fee payment on file?

Fee payments will be entered into your SEVIS record, but it is strongly recommended that you retain a copy of your receipt.

For more information on the SEVIS fee, visit and