What is SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)?

Meridean Overseas
Meridean Overseas

Updated On 26 December 2023 & Read Time 6 minutes



SEVIS complete form is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System and it is a web-based U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) system. It is designed to maintain the data of all the international students entering to study in USA. It records your pertinent details and reasons to travel to the country. Moreover, the SEVIS department needs sponsors (It can be your university) to register students, and the university also provides you with the SEVIS number on the I-20 at the time of admission.


In this context, the blog encompasses detailed information on SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).


What is SEVIS Fee?

The first step while applying for a US student visa (F-1 or J-1 visa) is to pay a SEVIS fee of USD 350. You need to pay the fee before filling out the visa application form, as the receipt is submitted along with other documents. Also, the receipt takes almost 15 days to reach after payment.


Who Needs to pay the SEVIS Fee?

Well, now, if you are planning to visit the USA for the following reasons, you have to pay the SEVIS Fee:

  • If you are applying to change your status from non-immigrant to F1 visa holder.

  • If you are a Canadian and travelling to the USA in F1 status.

  • If you are a new student in an IUPUI program with an I-20 and are requesting a visa.

  • Despite being ineligible for more than five months, you are still residing in the country, and requested a reinstatement.


How to Make SEVIS Fee USA Payment?

To make the SEVIS payment, you must first apply for SEVP-approved colleges, and if the college accepts your application, you can follow the process further. You can pay the fees with the help of a card or bank cheque, but it is recommended to pay the SEVIS fee USA with the help of a credit card because a cheque will delay the process by 3 weeks.


Here is a table that shows the SEVIS Fee for different visa holders:

I-901 SEVIS Fee in the US


For those participating in:

  • Summer Program or,

  • Au Pair Program (Exchange students coming and staying with an American student's family in the USA) or,

  • Camp Counsellor Program


I-901 SEVIS Fee J visa applicants


I-901 SEVIS Fee for F-1, F-3, M-1 or M-3 visa applicants


Spouses and dependents like children for F-2, M-2 or J-2 visa holders of students or exchange visitors in the USA


What is the validity of the SEVIS Fee for F1 visa holders?

The SEVIS Fee for F1 visa holders is valid for up to 12 months from the payment date. If you did not receive the visa in these months, you need to pay the SEVIS fee again. However, If you are an F1 visa holder, the SEVIS fee is valid until you stay in the USA.


It is vital to keep all the receipts and payment records safe so that when you appear for the F1 visa interview, you have all the documents with you. Also, keeping all the receipts until you complete your degree in the USA is suggested.


Steps to pay the US SEVIS Fee

The first step while applying for a USA F1 visa is paying the SEVIS fee. It is advised to pay the fee online because it is the fastest way to send money. Here are a few steps to pay the US SEVIS fee:

  1. Log in to the Department of Homeland Security website.

  2. Click and go to ‘Submit Form I-901 and pay the fees’

  3. Read all the instructions carefully, go to the radio button for I-20, and then click ok.

  4. It will open up a form, and you have to fill in all the details. You must fill in the personal information, SEVIS number, contact number and address.

  5. Select the mode of payment, i.e., credit card or bank cheque.

  6. You will be charged USD 350. Ensure that you provide the details of the card that is used for international transactions.

  7. Once the payment is made, a fee receipt will be generated. Take the printout because the payment records are attached with other documents.



To study in the USA, you require a USA student visa. While applying for the USA visa, you might have come across the term SEVIS. It is a web-based system managed by the DHS to maintain international students' records. The university will provide the SEVIS number if the SEVP-approved college accepts your application. You need to pay the SEVIS fee if you are an F or M visa holder, and it provides two modes of payment, i.e., credit card and bank cheque. However, payment by card is recommended to avoid delay in receiving the fee receipt.


We hope you enjoyed reading the blog. Moreover, if you wish to study in the USA and learn more about SEVIS, you may contact our expert counsellors at Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). You can also take free online counselling through our website. Our expert counsellors will provide you with the best support and guidance you need for admission and visa. In addition, they will help you shortlist the universities according to your profile. For more information or any queries, contact application02@meridean.org or 1800-1230-00011.



Q. Why is SEVIS required?

Ans: SEVIS is a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It gathers and maintains all the information about the non-native students. You are assigned a SEVIS number, where a record will be created for you.


Q. How to pay the SEVIS fee?

Ans: There are different modes of payment, two of them are:

  • Online payment through credit or debit card

  • Bank cheques

However, before making payment, check the official website for details.


Q. Is it possible to apply for an F1 visa without an I-20 form?

Ans: No, to apply for F1 or M1 student visa, you should have an I-20 form. It is a certificate of eligibility for international students to study in the USA.


Q. What if I do not pay the SEVIS fee?

Ans: You cannot attend a visa interview, if you do not pay the SEVIS fee. It is compulsory to pay, if you require an F1 or M1 visa. In case, you fail to pay the fee, your visa application will be rejected.


Q. If the SEVIS fee is already paid, do i need to pay the US visa fee?

Ans: Both the fees will be paid separately. Do not confuse the SEVIS fee with the US student visa fee. If you are applying for F1, F3, M1, M3 or J1 visa then you need to pay both SEVIS and visa application fees individually.

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