Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Archive

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SEVIS stands for : Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), administered by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is an Internet-based system that maintains data on foreign students and exchange visitors before and during their stay in the United States. For more information about the SEVIS program, visit
In order to enroll students from other nations, U.S. colleges and universities must be approved by the School Certification the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Most U.S. institutions of higher education have received this approval, but check the list of approved schools on
The fee must be paid in time to ensure that the payment can be deposited and recorded in SEVIS prior to the scheduled visa interview. The interviewing consular officer will confirm that the fee has been paid by accessing SEVIS. To allow for adequate processing time the fee must be paid:

• At least three business days prior to the visa interview date if paying electronically.

• At least 15 business days prior to the scheduled visa interview if submitting payment through regular mail. (This time frame allows adequate time for the fee payment to be received at the DHS address listed on the Form I-901, deposited, and recorded in SEVIS.)

• Be sure to add local mail processing time to this processing estimate for accuracy.

Do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, if you already paid the SEVIS I-901 fee and are:

a- Reapplying for a visa within twelve months of the date of initial denial


b- From a visa exempt country and reapplying for status as a student at the POE within 12 months of the date of initial denial


c- Filing a motion to reopen a denied change of status application for a change of status to F-1, F-3, M-1, or M-3

You do not have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again if you:

- Reapply for a student visa within 12 months of the initial denial if the original application was for a student visa

- Reapply for an exchange visitor visa within 12 months of the initial denial if the original application and the reapplication are for the same exchange visitor category.

Continuing students do not have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee when returning to United States or applying for a visa to return to the United States after:

• An absence of less than five months to continue the same program of study

• Completing authorized overseas study as part of the current program (this absence may exceed five months)

You do not have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee if you transfer between approved schools at the same educational level. If you are an F-1 student your I-20 will have Initial attendance at this school in block 3, but your SEVIS records will show that you have maintained your status and are continuing your education. It will be helpful if you ask your DSO on campus to put Continuing student – transfer in the remarks (block 9). This will help prevent issues with visa issuance, reentry into the United States and fee payment.

You do not have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee if you are an F-1 who is changing educational levels. Examples are:

  •  You graduated from high school and are going directly into college
  • You received your Master's degree and going directly into a doctoral program
For students (F-1, F-3, M-1 or M-3) $200

For exchange visitors (J-1) $180

Can’t find your questions answered in these FAQs? Click on the Ask an Adviser button below to contact your local EducationUSA Advising Center.