Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors in the United States. SEVIS is administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a division of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The mission of SEVIS is to balance Homeland Security with facilitating foreign student and exchange visitor participation in America’s outstanding academic and cultural exchange programs.
All the applicants for F-1 (student) visa, who have an admission in Form I-20, have to pay a SEVIS fee of U.S $ 200, with effect from 1st September 2004. Unless the fee is paid and a receipt obtained from U.S Department of Homeland Security, it is not possible to go for a visa interview.
Please note that there is no need to pay the SEVIS fee, under the following situations:
- F2 applicants (dependents of F1 applicants)
- Those who have an I-20, issued before 31stAugust 2004
- Those who have already paid the fee once
- Those who are seeking a transfer from one university to another
- Those who are seeking a change in level – for example, from Bachelors to Masters
- Those who are applying for an internship or paid practical training
- Those who are seeking an extension of stay for the same program
- Those who are re-applying for a visa within 12 months, for the same type of program (Eg. Master’s)
The fee of $ 200 can be paid by the student or by anyone on his/her behalf, with a credit card that is acceptable internationally. Those who are residing outside India may also pay on behalf of the student.
Form I 901 and Form I-20 issued by the university are required in order to make this payment.
The fee can be paid by mail using Form I-901 together with a Demand Draft or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in U.S. dollars.
The SEVIS fee must be paid and fully processed before the applicant arrives at the consulate for the visa interview.
For those nonimmigrant who do not need a visa to enter the US as a student or exchange visitor, the fee must be paid and fully processed before applying for entry at a US port-of-entry.
A receipt will be sent by mail to the address that you indicate with your payment. Further, for those that pay the SEVIS fee on-line, a payment confirmation can be printed out immediately after the payment is made, and used as a receipt until the mailed receipt is received.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to bring a SEVIS fee payment receipt with them for the visa interview, or, for those that do not need a visa, to the U.S. port-of-entry.
Having a receipt for the SEVIS fee payment will facilitate the visa application process. However, if you are unable to print a receipt from an on-line payment and/or do not receive your mailed receipt in time for your visa interview you can still go to your interview as long as your fee has been processed by DHS.
For more detailed information on the fee payment process, go to the SEVIS website at http://www.ice.gov/sevis
Electronic Form I-901 needs to be filled in with the required information, which must also include SEVIS Identification Number, which is given on the top right side of an I-20.
If you have any doubts or need more information, you may also visit http://www.fmjfee.com
Most important is to inform a student to make SEVIS fee payment; as soon as he determines which university he wants to finally attend. As already indicated, the I-20 must be available with the student.
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