SEVIS is for people who want to travel to United States of America for study purpose. SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications via the internet, to the department of Homeland Security(DHS) and DOS throughout a student or exchange visitor’s stay in the U.S.
Unless otherwise exempt, participants must pay a SEVIS I-901 fee. You will need a receipt confirming payment before you go for the visa interview. You will need to show the same receipt while entering the U.S. Sometimes, program sponsors include SEVIS fee as part of the program fees and you can find that out from the sponsor, and in that case, you will collect the payment receipt from the sponsor.
Even though you must pay the fee a minimum of three business days prior to your visa interview, you should pay it as soon as you receive Form DS-2019 to allow sufficient time for DHS to update your fee payment in your electronic SEVIS record.
The SEVIS fee is required only for the new J-1 visa. It is not required if you are currently in valid J-1 immigration status, or transferring to a new J sponsor, nor for J-2 dependents.
SEVIS Fee is $35 for Au Pair, Camp Counselor and Summer Work/Travel while it is $180 for others. This fee is required even for those who don’t require visa to enter the U.S. as exchange visitor. However, if you are in a Federal government sponsored program that starts with program number of G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-7, SEVIS is not requirement. The fee can be paid either by the participant, or by a third party inside or outside the U.S.
When filling the Form I-901, make sure to type your name exactly as it appears on your SEVIS Form DS-2019. Complete each section accurately.
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There are three ways to pay the SEVIS Fee:
Each participants that pays the SEVIS fee will be sent a formal receipt (which will most likely be on Form I-797) within 3 days of processing fee that should be used as a proof of fee payment. It will be sent to the mailing address provided on Form I-901 via airmail at no additional cost.
However, as that may take time to arrival in the mail, you can request expedited courier delivery, by indicating this request on Form I-901, and by paying extra $35 at the time of initial payment. In case of courier delivery, you must provide a contact phone number and actual street address as couriers don’t deliver to a P.O. Box. Make sure to make copies of your receipt.
SEVIS fee is non-refundable. However, if your J-1 visa is denied, you don’t have to pay another SEVIS fee if you reapply for a new J-1 visa within 12 months of the denial.
There are no fee waivers available for SEVIS I-901 fee.