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Understanding the SEVIS Fee – Introduction
For international students planning to study in the United States, there are numerous requirements and fees to obtain a student visa. One of these fees is the SEVIS fee, a critical component of the visa application process. In this detailed article, we will explore the SEVIS fee, its purpose, how to pay it, and its significance in the journey to study in the U.S.
What is the SEVIS Fee?
SEVIS stands for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is a web-based system the U.S. government uses to track and monitor international students, exchange visitors, and their dependents while in the United States. The SEVIS fee is mandatory for all prospective F-1 (academic students) and M-1 (vocational students) visa applicants.
Purpose of the SEVIS Fee
The fee serves a crucial purpose in supporting the maintenance and operation of the system, which is used by the U.S. government to track and monitor international students, exchange visitors, and their dependents while they are in the United States.
- Supports the SEVIS system: The primary purpose of the fee is to fund the maintenance and operation of the SEVIS system. This system helps the U.S. government keep track of international students and ensure they maintain their visa status while studying in the U.S.
- Covers administrative costs: It covers the administrative costs associated with processing and maintaining student and exchange visitor information.
- Enhances national security: SEVIS enhances national security by providing real-time tracking and monitoring of international students, exchange visitors, and their dependents.
Who needs to pay the SEVIS Fee?
Any international student applying for an F-1 or M-1 visa to study in the United States must pay the SEVIS fee. This includes students applying for initial visas and those seeking to change their status, extend their stay, or transfer schools within the U.S.
Required details needed to pay the SEVIS fee
To pay the fee, you will need specific details and information related to your visa application and Form I-20. Here is a list of the required details you’ll need to pay the SEVIS fee –
Form I-20 information
Your Form I-20 is issued by the U.S. school or institution you plan to attend. You’ll need the following details from your Form I-20 –
- SEVIS id: This unique identification number is assigned to you and is at the top of your Form I-20.
- School code: This is the unique code assigned to your U.S. school or institution on your Form I-20.
- Program start date: Your Form I-20 will specify when your program of study is expected to begin.
- Personal information – You must provide your personal information, including your full name, date of birth, and passport details.
- Visa Application information – Information from your DS-160 form the online nonimmigrant visa application form. This includes your DS-160 application ID number and confirmation barcode.
- Payment information – A valid credit card for online payment. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are typically accepted forms of compensation. Make sure the credit card has sufficient funds.
- Contact information – We require your contact information, including your email address and phone number, to send you confirmation and updates regarding your payment.
- Dependent information (if applicable) – If you are applying for an F-2 or M-2 visa for dependents (spouse or children), you will need their information, including their full names, dates of birth, and passport details.
- Valid passport – Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended date of arrival in the United States. You will need your passport details to complete the visa application process.
- Form DS-160 confirmation page – A printed copy of your DS-160 confirmation page with the barcode, as you will need information from this form to complete the fee payment.
- Correct visa type – Determine whether you are applying for an F-1 (academic student) or M-1 (vocational student) visa. The fee amount may vary depending on your visa type.
How to pay the SEVIS Fee
Paying the fee is a crucial step in the visa application process. Here’s how to do it.
- Receive Form I-20 – Before paying the fee, you must receive a Form I-20 from the U.S. school or institution you plan to attend. This form contains important information about your program and is required to initiate the visa application process.
- Complete form DS-160 – Next, complete Form DS-160, the online nonimmigrant visa application form, and pay the associated visa application fee.
- Visit the SEVP website – Access the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website at www.fmjfee.com to access the payment system.
- Provide required information – You must provide information from your Form I-20 and DS-160 to complete the SEVIS fee payment. It’s essential to ensure the notification is accurate.
- Pay the fee – The current SEVIS fee varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for. Pay the fee online using a credit card. Once paid, you will receive a receipt confirming your payment.
- Paying the SEVIS fee is a mandatory step in obtaining a U.S. student visa.
- You need proof of SEVIS fee payment to schedule your visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
- It is crucial to demonstrate your intent to study in the U.S. and your commitment to maintaining your visa status there.
- Understanding the SEVIS fee and its role in the U.S. student visa application process is essential for international students planning to study there.
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Q1. Do dependents need to pay the SEVIS Fee?
Ans. Dependents (spouse or children) applying for F-2 or M-2 visas must pay a separate SEVIS fee, but the amount is lower than the primary applicant’s fee.
Q2. Can I get a refund for the SEVIS Fee?
Ans. Generally, the SEVIS fee is non-refundable. However, if your visa is denied or you decide not to attend the U.S. institution, you can request a fee transfer or a one-time fee use for a new visa application.
Q3. How long is the SEVIS Fee valid?
Ans. The SEVIS fee remains valid for 12 months or until your visa application is processed, whichever comes first.