International students issued a Form I-20 to attend UMass Dartmouth must pay a fee to the SEVIS program before applying for an F-1 visa to enter the country. The fee should be received by SEVIS and entered on your SEVIS record a minimum of three days before visiting a consular office outside the U.S.
What is a SEVIS fee?
SEVIS stands for the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System. It is a web-based database used for tracking and reporting foreign students in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversees SEVIS and collects the SEVIS fee.
When must the fee be paid?
You must pay the fee before you apply for an entry visa; but, you may schedule an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before actually paying the fee. The payment must be received by DHS and recorded in your SEVIS record at least three business days before you report to the Embassy/Consulate for your visa interview.
How much is the fee?
For current information about paying the SEVIS fee for F-1 students and their spouses and dependent children (under age 21) traveling with them, please visit SEVIS I-901 Fee Processing.
For more information, visit this SEVIS fee FAQs website.
Of special concern
International students who are from Canada must also pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee before they arrive in the United States even though Canadians are visa exempt. At the U.S. border, all international students from Canada 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.
What if my visa application is denied?
If you are denied a student visa, you can reapply for that same visa within a specified period of time and not have to pay the SEVIS fee again. For further information, please view this information about reapplying after denial (PDF).
No refund of the SEVIS fee is given when the visa is denied. DHS will only grant a refund when someone who did not need to pay a fee did so in error.
Where can I get help if I am having a problem with the SEVIS I-901 fee payment process?
If you still have questions or problems after viewing the information available at the SEVIS fee website listed above, please call the SEVIS Fee customer service hotline for help.
Please note that the toll number is for international callers only and is available during the following business hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.