J-1 students have to pay a SEVIS fee once per program. SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. The fee funds operation of the U.S. government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which oversees SEVIS.
SEVIS fee for J-1 students
How much does the SEVIS fee cost?
For J-1 students, the SEVIS fee is $220—unless you are participating in a federally sponsored exchange program.
You must pay the SEVIS fee if you are:
- Applying for a visa as a new student beginning an IU program with a DS-2019
- Applying to change your status to J-1 from another nonimmigrant status while in the United States
- Transferring your SEVIS record from a government-issued DS-2019 to a non-government issued DS-2019
- Traveling to the United States under J-1 status as a Canadian citizen.
- You cannot pay the fee at your port of entry.
You do not need to pay the SEVIS fee if you are:
- A J-1 student in lawful status transferring between schools in the United States
- A J-1 student in lawful status transferring between schools in the same exchange visitor category (unless your current DS-2019 was issued by the U.S. government)
- A J-2 dependent
- Have a DS-2019 issued by the U.S. government
How to pay the SEVIS fee
You can pay the SEVIS fee online or by mail. We recommend paying online, because it is the fastest method. It can be paid by you or by a third party, from inside or outside the United States. No matter which method you choose, your payment must be accompanied by Form I-901.
Remember that paying the SEVIS fee is only the first step of the visa application process, so get it done as soon as possible.
If you are a J-1 student with a country of citizenship or country of birth of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, or Gambia, you must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay, or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank.
- Go to the SEVIS fee processing site.
- Complete Form I-901 online (be sure to insert your name exactly as it appears on your I-20) and supply the necessary MasterCard, Visa, or American Express credit card information.
- Print a copy of the online receipt.
- Keep a copy of your receipt with your other immigration documents.
- Obtain Form I-901 (Fee Remittance for Certain F Nonimmigrants). You can download the form or request the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the United States).
- Complete Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
- Prepare a check, international money order, or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only) in the amount of $220, made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
- Mail the completed Form I-901 and payment to the address indicated on Form I-901
You can print your I-901 receipt online after it has been received by ICE. Keep these documents with your other important immigration documents.
- Complete Form I-901. You will get a unique payment coupon number, necessary to validate and process your payment at Western Union. You cannot submit a SEVIS fee payment via Western Union without this coupon number.
- Print a copy of the payment coupon and take it to your local Western Union office.
- Fill out the Quick Collect/Quick Pay Form according to the information found at the bottom of the printed coupon.
- Present the coupon and your payment to the Western Union agent for processing
A copy of instructions and sample forms can be viewed at and printed from the ICE website.
Frequently asked questions
Fee payments should be entered into your permanent immigration (SEVIS) record but it is strongly recommended that you retain a copy of your fee receipt to use as needed.
Yes, the SEVIS fee is transferable. But you must take the DS-2019 form with the SEVIS ID number that you listed on the I-901 form to the U.S. consulate/embassy, in addition to the DS-2019 form from the school you wish to attend. Be sure to make your intentions clear to the consular officer.
The SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again.