SEVIS fee for J-1 students

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.

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.

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.

For more information see these SEVIS I-901 Fee FAQs


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.

Helpful SEVIS links

Get help understanding SEVIS

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