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SEVIS Fee Information

What is the SEVIS (I-901) Fee?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires a $200 SEVIS fee from all foreign nationals who come to the United States to pursue a full course of study in colleges, universities and language training programs. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee. 

DHS uses SEVIS fee payments to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which makes it possible for international students and exchange visitors to attend schools in the U.S. The fee also funds the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a database that maintains information on international students and visitors. 

Who must pay the SEVIS fee?

You must pay the SEVIS fee if you were issued a Form I-20 on or after September 1, 2004 and if one of the following conditions applied:

  1. You are a new student who has an “initial attendance” I-20 and you plan to begin an academic program in the U.S. in F-1 status. You must pay the SEVIS fee BEFORE your visa appointment.

  2. You hold a valid F-1 visa, have been absent from the U.S. for a period of more than five months (not working on your studies during this time with the prior approval of your school), and will re-enter the U.S. with a new I-20. You must pay the SEVIS feebeforeyou re-enter the U.S.

  3. As a resident of a contiguous territory or adjacent island, you are exempt from the visa requirement (for example, you are a citizen of Canada or Bermuda), and will apply for admission at a port-of-entry to begin initial attendance at a U.S. school. You must pay the SEVIS feebeforeyou enter the U.S.

Note: The SEVIS fee is NOT required for: (1) students currently in the U.S. in valid F-1 immigration status, (2) F-2 dependents, and (3) students transferring to a new school or changing to another degree program or level within five months of completing of the previous F-1 program.

IMPORTANT:You must have your I-20 form before you can pay the SEVIS fee. You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three business days before you apply for your visa. 

How can I pay the fee?

You may pay the SEVIS fee to DHS by one of three ways:

  1. Electronically, by completing a Form I-901 on the Internet and using a credit card.

  2. By mailing a paper application with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and in U.S. dollars to a processing center in the U.S. Sources for such checks and money orders include banks chartered or operated in the U.S., foreign subsidiaries of U.S. banks, or foreign banks that have an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank.

  3. Using Western Union’s “Quick Pay” service, if Western Union offers this service in your country. The Western Union office collects the SEVIS I-901 fee in local currency, along with the needed Form I-901 data, and electronically transmits the payment and data to DHS. The Western Union office then issues a receipt that serves as immediate proof of payment for a visa interview at a U.S. consulate or for admission at a U.S. port of entry. Western Union’s Quick Pay form must be completed in exact detail, following instructions developed by DHS and Western Union. These detailed payment instructions, including samples of properly completed Quick Pay forms, are posted online at:

The fee may be paid by the student or by a third party inside or outside the US. However, it is not possible to pay the fee at a U.S. embassy or consulate or at a U.S. port of entry.

IMPORTANT: We strongly recommend that you either pay the fee online with a credit card OR use Western Union’s Quick Pay service in order to secure an immediate receipt. Remember: you must have proof of payment when applying for the visa and entering the U.S.

How do I pay the SEVIS fee online?

  1. Log on to and follow the instructions.

  2. Complete the Form I-901 online. Be sure to type your name exactly as it appears on your SEVIS Form I-20 and complete each section accurately. Make certain to include the SEVIS ID number located on the upper right corner of your Form I-20 and The Boston Conservatory school code (BOS 214F 0005 0000). Indicate that you will use a credit card to make the payment. You must supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card information to submit the online payment.

  3. Submit the electronic Form I-901 and electronic payment.

  4. Print a copy of the online receipt to use as temporary proof of payment until you receive the Form I-797 receipt.

  5. DHS should issue you a formal Form I-797 receipt notice within three days from date of payment. It will be sent to the address that you indicated on Form I-901. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep the original receipt with your other important immigration documents.

If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the Director of International Student Affairs at The Boston Conservatory to obtain a Form I-901 by mail.

Note: The SEVIS fee is not refundable. However, if your F-1 visa application is denied by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you will not be required to pay a new SEVIS fee if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial.

What happens after I pay the fee?

All students who pay the SEVIS fee will receive a formal receipt that should be used as proof of fee payment. DHS will issue the receipt notice (called Form I-797) and send it to the mailing address that you provided on the Form I-901. The Form I-901 instructions state that receipts will be sent by airmail at no additional cost. 

You may request expedited courier delivery by indicating this request on the Form I-901 and by paying an extra $30 at the time of initial payment. If you select the courier delivery option, you must include a contact telephone number and actual street address because the courier will not deliver to a P.O. Box.

IMPORTANT: Although fee payments may be entered into the immigration (SEVIS) record, we strongly recommend that you keep the fee receipt with your other important immigration documents to use as needed. Remember, you must have proof of payment with you when applying for the visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy AND when entering the US in F-1 status. 

Note: Some students have been accepted to more than one school in the U.S. and therefore have more than one I-20 form. If this is true for you, you should pay the SEVIS fee for only one school. If you later decide to attend a different school, you may transfer your SEVIS fee. However, when you apply for your visa and when you enter the U.S., you should bring both the I-20 form with the SEVIS ID number that you listed on the I-901 form and the I-20 form for the school you plan to attend.

For additional information about the SEVIS fee, please refer to the following U.S. government website:

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