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SEVIS Fee Questions and Answers

What Is the SEVIS Fee?
SEVIS stands for the Student Exchange Visitor Information System
(SEVIS).  It is a computer system used to track international students and exchange visitors during their stays in the United States.  The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires F-1 Student Visa applicants to pay a one-time fee of $200 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS).  Generally, all people who wish to apply for an F-1 Student Visa must pay the SEVIS FeeF-2 Dependents (spouse and minor children of the F-1 visa holder) do not have to pay the fee.  For more information, see

When Do I Pay the SEVIS Fee?
You must pay the SEVIS Fee at least 3 business days before you apply for your F-1 Student Visa.

How Do I Pay the SEVIS Fee?
You must pay the fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) either online (Internet) or by postal mail (with a Form I-901).  Either you, yourself, can pay the SEVIS Fee or another person, inside or outside the U.S. can pay it for you.  Whether you choose to pay the fee by the Internet or by postal mail, DHS will send a paper receipt (Form I-797) by postal mail to the address you provide on Form I-901.  You may choose to have this receipt sent to you either by regular postal mail or, at an additional charge, by express delivery.

How to Pay Online by Internet
If you pay the SEVIS fee by Internet, your payment is processed immediately at the time you make payment, and you can print a receipt directly from your computer.  You can use that computer-generated receipt at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or Port-of-Entry in order to verify your payment.  Here is how to pay by Internet:

  1. Find the Form I-901 at
  2. Complete the form online and supply the necessary credit card information (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) at the website.  Be very sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your Form I-20.
  3. Print a copy of the online receipt.
  4. Make a copy of your receipt and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

How to Pay By Postal Mail
When you send the SEVIS fee and Form I-901 by postal mail, it will not be processed until the Department of Homeland Security receives it.  If you mail your payment rather than pay on the Internet, it can take a long time for payment to be received and for you to receive a receipt by return mail.  Here is how to pay by postal mail:

  1. Obtain Form I-901 ("Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants")

      • Download Form I-901 from
      • Or
      • Request Form I-901 by telephone at +1 800 870 3676
  1. Complete the Form I-901.  Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your Form I-20.
  2. Prepare a check, international money order, or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only) in the amount of USD $200, made payable to "Department of Homeland Security"
  3. Send the completed Form I-901 and payment to the address on Form I-901.
  4. Make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

Verification of SEVIS Fee Payment
A paper receipt is not required in order for you to obtain an F-1 Student Visa or to enter the United States at a Port-of-EntryU.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Ports-of-Entry will be able to verify your fee payment without a receipt in most circumstances if you paid the fee far enough in advance.  You must make electronic (Internet) payments at least 3 business days before your visa interview if you will rely on electronic fee verification at the embassy or consulate.  When you send the payment by postal mail, you must send the payment by a quick method so that that it arrives at the Department of Homeland Security address listed on Form I-901 at least 3 business days before the scheduled visa interview.

I Have Already Paid the SEVIS Fee for One School, and Then Decided to Attend A Different School.  Do I Have to Pay the Fee Again?
If you have been accepted to more than one institution and paid the fee using the SEVIS ID number of an institution you will not attend, you will not have to pay the fee again.  Take the Form I-20 from the first school, the Form I-20 from the second school, and your SEVIS Fee payment receipt to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Do I Have to Pay If I Transfer to Another School, Travel Outside the U.S., or Renew My Visa?
No, not unless you travel outside the U.S. for more than 5 months.

Can I Pay the SEVIS Fee at a University, Embassy, Consulate or Port-of-Entry?
No.  The SEVIS fee can only be processed by the Department of Homeland Security via Internet or postal mail.

Will the Department of Homeland Security keep a record of my payment on file?
DHS should enter SEVIS Fee payments into your permanent immigration (SEVIS) record, but we strongly recommend that you keep a copy of your fee receipt (Form I-797).

The English Language Program
College of Extended Studies and International Programs
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive, GE 220
Los Angeles, California  90032-8619   USA

Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 08:00 to 17:00
Pacific Time,
GMT-7 (November 8 – March 13, GMT-8)

Telephone: +1 323 343 4840
Fax: +1 323 343 4843


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+ 1 323 343 4840


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