Paying the SEVIS Fee and Obtaining a U.S. Visa (F-1 and J-1)

Since the fall of 2004, all students (F-1 status) and exchange visitors (J-1 status) applying for U.S. visas must pay a nonrefundable visa/SEVIS fee BEFORE visiting the U.S. Consulate to apply for a visa. The fee (as of August 10, 2011) is US $200.

Regulations concerning the fee are detailed on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's website.

How to Pay the SEVIS Fee
The easiest and quickest way to pay the fee is by American Express, MasterCard, or VISA credit card or by using a debit card with the VISA or MasterCard logo. You can have a friend or family member pay the fee with their card.

  • Go to: (Make sure you have your I-20 – or DS-2019 for exchange visitors – in hand because you will need it.)
  • Fill out Form I-901 online, enter the credit card information and submit the form electronically.
  • Print out a receipt and then call the U.S. Consulate to make an appointment for your visa interview. 

Alternative Process: Western Union
Students in the 130 countries that have Western Union offices may use those offices to pay the US $200 fee with Western Union's "Quick Pay." The U.S. government allows Western Union to collect the fee, in local currency, along with Form I-901 data and electronically transmit the payment and data to the U.S. government. The properly completed Western Union receipt serves as immediate proof-of-payment for a visa interview at a U.S. consulate. The receipt is very important! You will need it to make an appointment at the U.S. Consulate and to enter the United States when you arrive.