What is SEVIS Fee | USA – F1 and J1 Visa

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What is SEVIS Fee?

Aspiring international students and exchange visitors coming to the US on F-1 and J-1 visas will face the SEVIS Fee, a mandatory cost managed by the US Department of Homeland Security. This fee plays an important role in supporting the Students and Exchanges Visitor Information System (SEVIS) itself, which tracks important data on foreign students and exchange visitors in the country. Understanding the SEVIS fee, including who needs to pay it, how much it costs, and the payment process, is a vital step for anyone embarking on their academic journey in the United States.


About SEVIS Fee

The SEVIS fee, also known as the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System Fee, is a mandatory cost for anyone applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa to study in the United States.

  • The SEVIS fee helps fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) itself. SEVIS tracks information on foreign students and exchange visitors in the U.S.
  • All F-1 (academic students) and J-1 (exchange visitors) visa applicants must pay the SEVIS fee. There are some exceptions, like dependents (F-2/J-2) of F-1/J-1 visa holders.
  • The current SEVIS fee is $350 (USD).
  • You can’t pay the SEVIS fee until you receive your acceptance form from a school (I-20 for F-1 or DS-2019 for J-1) and it’s recommended to pay at least 3 business days before your visa interview.

How to Make SEVIS Fee Payment?

There are two main ways to pay your SEVIS fee: online or by mail. Here we have listed both options.

Online Payment:

  • This is the fastest and most recommended method.
  • Visit the official SEVIS I-901 Fee processing website: [fmjfee.com]
  • Complete the Form I-901 online. Make sure the information matches exactly what’s on your I-20 (for F-1) or DS-2019 (for J-1) form.
  • Choose the credit or debit card option and enter your card details (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express are accepted). Only certain countries (Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Gambia) have restrictions on using credit cards.
  • Submit the payment and print a copy of the online receipt. Keep this for your records.

Mail-in Payment:

  • This option takes longer to process.
  • Print the SEVIS Form I-901 from the SEVP website (https://fmjfee.com/).
  • Fill out the form completely.
  • Pay by check or money order made payable to “FMJfee.com” (write your receipt number on the check).
  • Mail the completed form and payment to the address listed on the form.

Eligibility to Pay SEVIS Fee in the USA

The SEVIS fee applies to a specific group of visa applicants in the USA. Here’s a breakdown of who is eligible to pay the SEVIS fee.

Required for:

  • F-1 Students: This is the most common scenario. All applicants for an F-1 visa (academic students) must pay the SEVIS fee.
  • J-1 Exchange Visitors: Similar to F-1, all applicants for a J-1 visa (exchange visitor programs) are required to pay the SEVIS fee.

Exceptions (Not Required):

  • Dependents: Dependents (F-2/J-2) of F-1/J-1 visa holders are exempt from paying the SEVIS fee. For example, if you’re coming on an F-1 visa to study, your spouse or children (applying for F-2 visas) wouldn’t need to pay the fee.
  • Specific Government Programs: Exchange visitors with program codes starting with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 on their DS-2019 form are typically sponsored by the U.S. government and exempt from the fee.
  • Re-entry with Same Status: If you’re already in the U.S. on an F or J visa and are maintaining your status, you generally don’t need to pay the fee again to re-enter the U.S. to continue your program (using the same SEVIS ID).

SEVIS Fee Validity

The SEVIS fee has a validity period of 12 months from the date of payment. This means:

  • Within 12 Months: If your visa application is approved within one year of paying the SEVIS fee, you won’t need to pay it again.
  • After 12 Months: If your visa application isn’t approved within a year, or if you delay applying for a visa, the SEVIS fee payment will expire. You’ll need to pay the fee again to proceed with your visa application.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Reapplying: If your visa application is denied, you can reapply within the 12-month validity period of your SEVIS fee payment, provided you’re applying for the same type of visa (F-1 or J-1). You wouldn’t need to pay a new SEVIS fee in this case.
  • Changing Visa Category: If you’re switching visa categories (e.g., from F-1 to J-1), you’ll likely need to pay a new SEVIS fee, even if your initial payment is still within the 12-month window.


How much is the SEVIS fee for a J-1 visa?

The $220 SEVIS fee has to be paid only once for each J-1 program. In short, SEVIS stands for “Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.” The fee helps the Student and Exchange Visitor Program run, which is part of the US government and is in charge of SEVIS.

What is SEVIS J-1?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System is what SEVIS stands for. It keeps up-to-date records on nonimmigrant students, exchange guests, and their families (those with F or J status).

Is SEVIS fee refunded?

You will not get your SEVIS fee back. You will not have to pay the fee again if you apply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the first one being turned down.

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Completing a US student visa application involves several steps. By carefully following these steps and ensuring the accuracy and completeness of your application, you increase your chances of a successful visa outcome. Always refer to the official embassy or consulate websites for the most up-to-date information and instructions. Our Leverage Edu visa experts are here to help you with the application process.

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