What Is SEVIS?

SEVIS stands for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It maintains current information on nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors, and their dependents (i.e., all those in F or J status). As an J-1 student, you will be assigned a SEVIS number, and a SEVIS record will be created for you. SEVIS will track you from the time you receive your DS-2019 until you complete your program.

The Office of International Affairs is responsible for updating your SEVIS record. We are required to report:

  • Full-time enrollment
  • Failure to enroll
  • Dropping below a full-time course load without prior authorization
  • Any other failure to maintain student status or complete program
  • A change in legal name or address
  • Your graduation if it occurs prior to the expected program end date
  • Start date of your next session
  • Transfers
  • Program extensions
  • Off-campus employment authorization
  • Any other major changes to your program

For J-1 students, the SEVIS fee is $180 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 IUI program with 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 in 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.
  • You are a J-1 student in lawful status transferring between schools in the same exchange visitor category.
  • You are the dependent of an J-1 student and you have J-2 status.
  • You have a DS-2019 issued by the U.S. government.

Paying 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, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, or Nigeria, you must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay, or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank.

  • To Pay the SEVIS Fee Online:

    1. Go to the SEVIS fee processing site.
    2. 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.
    3. Print a copy of the online receipt.
    4. We suggest that you keep a copy of your receipt with your other important immigration documents.
  • To Pay the SEVIS Fee by Western Union Quick Pay:

    1. Complete Form I-901 at 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.
    2. Print a copy of the payment coupon and take it to your local Western Union office.
    3. Fill out the Quick Collect/Quick Pay Form according to the information found at the bottom of the printed coupon.
    4. 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 SEVP website.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will the Department of Homeland Security keep a record of my payment on file?

    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.

  • I applied to more than one school and have more than one DS-2019 form. What happens if I pay the SEVIS fee for one school and then change my mind and decide that I want to attend a different school? Is my paid SEVIS fee transferrable?

    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 I-20 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 »

  • What if my J-1 visa application is denied?

    The SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new J-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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