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U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Study in the States

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Use the Study in the States glossary to define key terms throughout the F and M student process in the United States. If you are a current or prospective student, select “students” to see terms that specifically relate to you—from visas, to forms, benefits, and more. School officials should select “schools” to find more information on certification, responsibilities, and how to help their F and M students. You can also sort terms by selecting the letter of the alphabet a term begins with.

I-901 SEVIS Fee

A fee that all F and M students and J exchange visitors must pay before the Department of State can issue a visa. Students pay this fee after receiving their Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” at

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

A Department of Homeland Security agency that promotes homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration. Through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, ICE helps secure the foreign student visa system.

Income Taxes

Fees that everyone, including F and M students, must pay to the U.S. Government’s Internal Revenue Service on any income earned while in the country, including income from wages, reception of a grant, fellowship, scholarship, interest from stock options, or lottery and gambling winnings.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

A tax processing number the Internal Revenue Service issues to an individual who needs to report income (and pay income taxes) but is ineligible to obtain a Social Security number from the Social Security Administration.