Visa Information

We are happy to assist our admitted students in preparing for their visa interviews. Here are some links that will help you to apply for your U.S. visa. If you are denied a visa for any reason, please contact the Office of International Admissions for further assistance and support.

I-20 Renewal

If you were admitted to SVSU but were unable to attend and would like to renew your I-20 for a later semester, please contact the Office of International Admissions for further assistance and support.

SEVIS Fee Requirement for F-1 Students

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires F-1 and J-1 visa applicants to pay a one-time fee of $200 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). The following information specifically addresses fee issues for F-1 students. Please click the question to view the corresponding answer.

 
Students are responsible for paying this fee. Here is the detailed explanation from DHS:
  • Prospective students with "initial attendance" I-20s dated on or after 9/1/2004 who are applying for an "initial" F-1 visa from outside the US
  • Prospective students with "initial attendance" I-20s dated on or after 9/1/2004 who are applying for a change to F-1 status from another visa category
  • Current F-1 students in the US filing for reinstatement after being out of status more than 5 months, and who are issued an I-20 issued for reinstatement that is dated on or after 9/1/04
Will other F-1 students in the US have to pay?

No, unless the student’s circumstances change so that he or she fits one of the categories mentioned above.

What about my F-2 dependents?

F-2 dependents do not have to pay the fee, even if the I-20 that the F-2 dependents use is issued on or after 9/1/2004.

Do I have to pay again if I transfer to another school, travel outside the US or renew my visa?

The SEVIS fee is not required when transferring schools, changing to another degree program or level, requesting a program extension, renewing an F-1 visa or using F-1 program benefits such as practical training. If you are in status when you travel internationally and are not physically outside of the U.S. for more than five months, you will not be required to pay the fee again.

When do I pay the SEVIS fee?

The fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to applying for your visa, or applying for admission at a US port-of-entry for those exempt from the visa requirement. The fee must be paid prior to submission of a change of status petition or reinstatement application.

Can I pay the SEVIS fee at a university, consulate or port of entry?

No. At this time the SEVIS fee can only be processed by the Department of Homeland Security via mail or the Internet.

How do I pay the fee?

The fee can be paid to the DHS by mail or online and must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the US.

To Pay By Mail

  1. Obtain a Form I-901 "Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants"
    • Download the form from www.fmjfee.com OR
    • Request the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the US)

  2. Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form
  3. Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on US banks only) in the amount of $100 USD, made payable to "The Department of Homeland Security"
  4. Mail the completed I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901
  5. A receipt notice (Form I-797) should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents

To Pay Online

  1. Find the Form I-901 at www.fmjfee.com
  2. Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. *Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
  3. Print a copy of the online receipt
  4. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents
Will the DHS keep a record of my payment on file?

Fee payments should be entered into your permanent immigration (SEVIS) record but it is strongly recommended that you retain a copy of your fee receipt (form I-797) to use as needed.

Is my paid SEVIS fee transferable if I pay for one school, and then I change my mind and want to attend another?

Yes. But you must submit the I-20 form with the SEVIS ID number that you listed on the I-901 form with you to the U.S. consulate/embassy. For a change of status or reinstatement applications, please see the next question.

What do I need to do to apply for an F-1 visa, change of status or reinstatement?
  • Obtain the appropriate Form I-20 from a DHS-approved school
  • Pay the SEVIS fee by mail or online
  • Make a copy of the I-797 (mail) or computer receipt (online) for your records
  • Submit a copy of the I-797 or computer receipt with your visa, change of status or reinstatement application OR
  • Students who are exempt from visa requirements, such as Canadians, should take a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt to present at the port of entry with the appropriate I-20. It will not be possible to pay the fee at the port of entry.
  • For change of status or reinstatement applications, if you previously paid the SEVIS fee while attending a different school, you should submit a copy of that school’s I-20 form with your application
What if my F-1 visa application is denied?

The SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again.

For more information regarding the new SEVIS fee requirement or other visa-related matters, contact [International Student/Scholar Services office].

Helpful Links

Preparing for Your F-1 Visa Interview

This information is for people who plan to enter the United States for the first time to study. For information on bringing dependents to the U.S., returning to continue studies, or renewing your visa, or for more details on how to apply for a student visa, refer to the U.S. Department of State website.

Steps

1. Contact your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to ask for instructions about how to obtain an F-1 international student visa. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at https://www.usembassy.gov/.

2. After you receive an I-20 form from the school that you want to attend, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa. It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.

3. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. embassy or consulate’s web site.

To Pay your SEVIS fee By Mail

  • Get a Form I-901 "Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants."
    • Download the form from www.fmjfee.com OR
    • Ask for the form by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the US)
  • Complete the Form I-901. You must have your I-20 with you because the I-901 form will ask you for information found on the I-20. It will ask for your SEVIS Identification Number found in the upper right hand corner of your I-20 in the box with a bar code. It will ask for SVSU's ID, which is DET214F00627000. Be sure to write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 form.
  • Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on US banks only*) in the amount of $200 USD, made payable to "The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement".
  • Mail the completed I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
  • A Form I-797 receipt confirmation letter should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of this receipt letter, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.

To Pay Online

  • Find the Form I-901 at www.fmjfee.com
  • Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information *Be sure to write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 form
  • Print a copy of the online receipt
  • Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents

You must bring the receipt of fee payment with you to the interview. If you have lost the receipt, the Visa Officer should be able to view your payment history in his or her database.

If you are transferring schools, extending your program, applying for an F-2 dependent visa, or have paid this fee and been denied a visa within the last twelve months, you do not need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee.

 

4. Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:

  • A passport valid for at least six months
  • Form I-20 (sign the form under Item 11)
  • School admission letter
  • Completed visa applications (DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157)
  • Two 2"x 2" photographs in the prescribed format (see the travel.state.gov website)
  • A receipt for the visa application fee
  • A receipt for the SEVIS fee. If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.
  • Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study
  • Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.

 5. Stay calm and answer all of the questions honestly and completely

 

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of International Admissions.

 

*Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank. You may therefore obtain a check from:

  • a bank chartered or operated in the United States;
  • a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. bank, or
  • a foreign bank that has an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank