Knowing ‘What is SEVIS fee’ is important if you are planning to study in the USA. SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is an online system that is employed by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the following purposes:
- To maintain information regarding SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program)-certified schools.
- To maintain information about students studying with F1 and M1 visas and their dependents.
- To maintain information about exchange visitor program applicants with J1 visas and their dependents.
- To maintain information about exchange visitor program sponsors designated by the US Department of State.
You will be assigned a SEVIS number which you must keep handy through the entire application process. You will be tracked consistently from the time you receive your Form I-20 (a form that proves you are legally enrolled under a program in the USA) until you complete the course. The Office of International Affairs updates the SEVIS record.
SEVIS fee for an F1 visa is $350 (INR 26,028 approximately) and has to be paid if you are:
● A new student starting a course with an I-20 form and applying for a visa.
● Want to change your status to F1 from non-immigrant status while in the US.
● Out of status for more than five months in the US and want to file for reinstatement.
The visa application fee paid to the embassy is not inclusive of this service, and additional fee payment is required, which must be done before filling the visa application form. The receipt of the SEVIS fee for an F1 visa is to be sent by post and may take two weeks to arrive. The original receipt is required while submitting the documents.
How to pay the SEVIS fee for an F1 visa?
You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days before your visa interview appointment. You can pay the fee online or via mail. You, as a student, can pay the fee, or a third party can do it. DHS provides instructions for payment. Here’s a lowdown of the steps:
● For paying the SEVIS fee with a Credit Card, visit www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. You must take a printout of the receipt and carry it during your visa interview.
● For paying the fee with a cheque or money order, visit https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq#questions-about-payments. The cheque or money order must be drawn on a financial institution based in the USA. It should be payable to “I-901 Student or Exchange Visitor Processing Fee”. The payment must accompany a duly completed Form I-901. You will receive a receipt from DHS via mail which you have to carry to the visa interview.
● For paying the fee through the Western Union Quick Pay™ service, visit the website at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/wu-instructions. Through this service, SEVIS fees can be collected in local currency by some participating Western Union locations.
● You can send the I-901 form and make the payment by courier. The address for the courier is:
I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101
Phone Number: 1-314-425-1809 (United States Country Code 011)
These payment methods can be used to learn how to pay the SEVIS fee for an F1 visa in India.
What is the validity of the SEVIS fee for an F1 visa?
The SEVIS fee for an F1 visa is valid till the time you hold your F1 status, uninterrupted.
The fee is valid for 12 months from the date of payment. If you haven’t obtained a visa within 12 months, you will have to make the SEVIS fee payment again.
It is imperative to keep all receipts, acknowledgments, and other payment records safe with you. You may be asked to produce these when you go for the F1 visa interview. You are advised to retain the receipts till the time you have finished your degree from the US.
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