This is the time of year when prospective F and M international students prepare to apply for a student visa to study in the United States.
If you are a prospective international student, you must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee
before you apply for an F or M visa from the U.S. Department of State. You will need to bring a copy of your printed I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt to your visa appointment to show you paid. Your I-901 SEVIS Fee payment should be made using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) number that is on your Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”
International students who are from visa waiver countries (Canada and Bermuda) must also pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee before they arrive in the United States. At the U.S. border, all international students should have a copy of their I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt with them to present to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer before being allowed to enter the United States.
If you are an F or M student already in the United States, make sure to check with your designated school official (DSO) that you have a valid I-901 SEVIS Fee on your current SEVIS record. If you transfer schools, are out of the United States for more than five months or make other changes that may affect your student status, be sure to work with your DSO to ensure your record is up-to-date with your proper I-901 SEVIS Fee payment information.
If you are in the United States on another valid nonimmigrant visa for a reason other than attending school, and would like to change your nonimmigrant status
to become an F or M student, you must also pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your DSO or the SEVP Response Center at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov