The SEVIS fee is the charge assessed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to supplement federal government expenses involved in the maintenance and administration of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Effective October 27, 2008 the current fee for J-1 visitors is $180.
How do I pay the SEVIS fee?
The SEVIS fee CANNOT be paid to the University of Iowa, to a U.S. embassy or consulate, or at a U.S. Port of Entry. View methods of payment for the SEVIS fee on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website. ISSS encourages you to pay online .
Who must pay the SEVIS fee?
- An alien seeking an initial F-1, M-1 or J-1 visa from an embassy or consulate abroad for initial attendance (as noted on the I-20 or DS-2019) at a DHS-approved school or initial participation in a Department of State designated exchange visitor program that is subject to the fee. The fee must be processed at least 3 business days before the consular interview, unless the applicant has a printed receipt from Internet payment. Fees will not be payable at the consulate.
- An alien exempt from the visa requirement (e.g. Canadian citizens), who will be applying for admission at a United States port-of-entry to begin initial attendance in F-1, M-1 or J-1 status at a DHS-approved school or initial participation in J-1 status in a Department of State-designated exchange visitor program that is subject to the fee. The fee must be processed at least 3 business days before arriving for admission at a U.S. port of entry, unless the applicant has a printed receipt from Internet payment. Fees will not be payable at the port of entry.
- An alien in the United States seeking a change of status to F-1, M-1 or J-1 must pay the SEVIS fee before mailing in the application to the USCIS to request the change of status. This includes changing from one SEVIS status to another (e.g. from F-1 to J-1, or from J-1 to F-1).
- An F-1 applying for reinstatement of student status, who has been out of student status for more than 5 months must pay the SEVIS fee before the reinstatement application is sent to the USCIS.
- An F-1 who has been absent from the United States for 5 months or more , and who was either not registered as a student at the University of Iowa and continuing research on a dissertation or thesis, or was not registered at the University of Iowa to participate in an approved Study Abroad program, and now wishes to re-enter the U.S. to continue their current program of study must pay the SEVIS fee.
- A nonimmigrant who was initially granted J-1 status as a participant in an exchange visitor program sponsored by the Federal government, (i.e., with a program identifier designation prefix of G-1, G-2, or G-3), and who is now transferring to another J-1 program in the same category that is not similarly sponsored (i.e., has a program identifier designation prefix other than G-1, G-2, or G-3) must pay the SEVIS fee.
Who does NOT have to pay the SEVIS fee?
- No fee must be paid by a continuing F-1, M-1 or J-1 who maintains that status, and whose initial Form I-20 or DS-2019 was issued before September 1, 2004, as evidenced by their SEVIS record and the issuance date on their initial form.
- No fee must be paid by an F-1, M-1 or J-1 applying for a visa to return to the United States as a continuing student or a continuing participant of an exchange visitor program. This provision applies only to nonimmigrants returning to the United States to resume participation in the same program that was previously begun, in which he or she has maintained status, and which has not yet been completed. This includes F-1 students who will return as continuing students after a temporary absence from the United States for a period of less than 5 months in duration. This also includes F-1 students who were absent more than 5 months but who either maintained ongoing registration at the University of Iowa while continuing work on a thesis or dissertation, or who was registered at the University of Iowa as an authorized Study Abroad student.
- No fee must be paid by an F-1 maintaining continuous status and changing educational levels . Examples include F-1 students moving directly from high school to college, and F-1’s moving directly from one degree level to another, such as MA to PHD or BA to MA.
- No fee must be paid by an F-1 transferring between approved schools.
- No fee must be paid by an F-1, M-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant applying for a Program Extension in a single program. “Extension” for this purpose applies to students or exchange visitors who have maintained participation in a program when additional time is needed for program completion.
- No fee must be paid by an F-1 applying for reinstatement of student status, who has not been out of student status for more than 5 months).
- No fee must be paid by an F-2 or J-2 dependen t .
- No fee must be paid by a J-1 participant in an exchange visitor program sponsored by the Federal government. A program sponsored by the Federal government is identified by a program designation prefix of G-1, G-2, or G-3. Note: If a J-1 participant transfers from a fee-exempt Federal government program to a non-fee-exempt J program, the participant must pay the SEVIS fee prior to completing the transfer.
- No fee must be paid by a J-1 transferring between programs in the same exchange visitor category where no differential fee exists. Examples include transfers between two fee-exempt programs (a transfer between G-1, G-2, or G-3 programs), between two non-fee-exempt programs, or from a non-fee-exempt program to a fee-exempt program (G-1, G-2, or G-3 program).
- No fee must be paid by a nonimmigrant applying for a change of classification from within the United States between an F-1 and F-3.
- No fee must be paid by an alien who paid an initial fee when seeking an F-1 visa from an embassy or consulate abroad, was denied a visa, and is applying again for a visa for the same type of program within 12 months of the initial denial.
- No fee must be paid by an alien who paid an initial fee when seeking a J-1 visa from an embassy or consulate abroad, was denied a visa, and is applying again for a visa in the same J-1 exchange visitor category within 12 months of the initial visa denial. This provision does NOT apply to J-1 applicants who initially applied for a fee exempt program (e.g., a program with a program identifier designation prefix of G-1, G-2 or G-3), and who, after visa denial, apply for a program that is not fee exempt.
- No fee must be paid by a nonimmigrant who has applied for a change of status in the United States to an F-1 or J-1 classification, had the initial application for the change of status denied for a reason other than failure to pay the SEVIS fee, and is applying for a motion to re-open the case within 12 months of the original denial.
- No fee must be paid by certain nonimmigrants changing between F and M status due solely to a change in school classification during their course of study, pursuant to SEVP discretion.
- No fee must be paid by a J-1 for correcting the record.