In 2004, Congress mandated that all international students applying for F or M visas and all exchange visitors applying for J visas pay a government filing fee known as the SEVIS Fee. Paid on Form I-901 and used to pay for administration of the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) information collection/reporting system, the SEVIS fee is separate from and in addition to fees paid by all applicants for U.S. visas. For details on the Form I-901 and the SEVIS Fee, click here.
On May 22, 2019, ICE announced that the SEVIS fee is going up – substantially. Most notably, the fee paid by international students applying for F (academic students) or M (vocational students) will increase from $200 to $350 – an increase of 75%. The SEVIS Fee paid by exchange visitors applying for J visas will increase from $180 to $220 – an increase of 22%. The SEVIS fee paid by participants in au pair, camp counselor and summer work-travel programs will remain at $35.
By way of background, all international students, including students attending accredited colleges and universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools or elementary schools or vocational schools in the U.S. must apply for a visa and, as part of the process, must pay a SEVIS Fee. Research scholars, professors and exchange visitors coming to the U.S. to participate in approved J-1 programs must also apply for a visa and pay a SEVIS Fee.
The SEVIS Fee provides funds for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (“SEVP”), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which oversees and monitors more than one million foreign students, exchange visitors and their dependents, as well as their associated schools. The SEVP uses the SEVIS system to monitor and collect data on international students and exchange visitors so as to ensure that they maintain lawful status in the U.S. For more information about the SEVP click here.
The increased SEVIS Fee will take effect on June 24, 2019. Students and exchange visitors who pay the SEVIS Fee before June 24, 2019, but do not receive their visa or enter the U.S. before that date will not have to pay the difference. For more information on the SEVIS fee increase click here. For questions on the SEVIS Fee increase, contact us.