Form I-901 SEVIS Fee Requirement for F, J, and M Nonimmigrants



Applicants for F1 and M1 student visas and J1 exchange visitor visas must file a Form I-901 SEVIS fee. The Form I-901 requirement also applies to F3 and M3 students. Certain J1 exchange visitors are also subject to the Form I-901 SEVIS fee requirement. Schools seeking to enroll F1 and M1 nonimmigrants as students must pay a SEVP school certification fee. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) significantly hiked SEVP fees on F1 and M1 nonimmigrant students and on schools seeking certification (Federal Register Notice). Below, we list the current Form I-901 SEVIS fees as of March 20, 2015.

In this post, we will explain the Form I-901 requirements generally and the current fee amounts (as of March 20, 2023).

Who is subject to the Form I-901 SEVIS fee requirement?

The Form I-901 is administered by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Below, we will explain when the Form I-901 with fee is required.

As a threshold matter, the Form I-901 to those seeking student or exchange visitor visas applies to the F1, F3, M1, M3, and J1 categories. However, it does not apply to all J1 exchange visitors.

With respect to the J1 exchange visitor category, the Form I-901 only applies to “[a] J1 participant in an exchange visitor program sponsored by the Federal government.” If the J1 visitor is being sponsored by the Federal government, his or her Form DS-2019 will indicate a program code beginning with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 for the program. All other J1 applicants must pay the Form I-901 SEVIS fee when required.

Please note as an additional matter that certain J1 programs are subject to a lower fee than others. This does not affect when a J1 nonimmigrant must pay the fee, but rather the amount. Thus, we will discuss these cases when we reach the current fee schedules.

Below, we detail the cases in which the Form I-901 SEVIS fee is required in accordance with the form instructions. When we reference the J1 category, please note that we are referring only to cases where the J1 applicant is not sponsored by the Federal government (see previous paragraph).


Initial entry with visa

If the alien is seeking an F1, F3, J1, M1, or M3 visa from an embassy abroad for either initial attendance at a school or participation in an exchange visitor program, he or she must pay the Form I-901 SEVIS fee.

Initial entry without visa

If the alien does not need a visa to enter as a nonimmigrant student or exchange visitor and will be applying for admission at a U.S. port of entry to begin a course of study (F or M) or an exchange program (J1), he or she must may the Form I-901 SEVIS fee.

Change of status

An alien seeking change of status to F1, F3, M1, or M3 must pay the Form I-901 SEVIS fee. However, an alien seeking to change status between F1 and F3 or M1 and M3 does not need to pay the SEVIS fee.

A J1 nonimmigrant who initially entered the United States to participate in a program sponsored by the Federal government, but wishes to transfer to another J program not sponsored by the Federal government, must pay the Form I-901 SEVIS fee. Moreover, a J1 nonimmigrant who is appying for a change of category from within the United States, provided the change is not to a Federal government-sponsored program, must pay the fee.


F1, F3, M1, or M3 students applying for reinstatement of status mustpay the fee if they have been out of student status for a period exceeding the presumptive ineligibility requirement. See our articles on F student reinstatement [see article] and M student reinstatement [see article] for a more detailed discussion.

J1 nonimmigrants applying for reinstatement after (A) a substantive violation of status or (B) being out of status for longer than 120 days but less than 270 days over the course of his or her program must pay the fee if the program is not sponsored by the Federal government.

Student absence exceeding 5 months

This final provision applies only to F1, F3, M1, and M3 students. If a nonimmigrant student has been absent for a period exceeding 5 months and was not working toward completion of his or her curriculum in authorized overseas study, the student must pay the Form I-901 SEVIS fee if he or she wishes to enter to enroll in a new F or M program of study in the United States.

Cases where no fee is required

We noted several cases above where the Form I-901 SEVIS fee does not require. Here we specify additional no-fee cases that we did not previously note.

F2, J2, and M2 dependents are not subject to the Form I-901 SEVIS fee under any circumstance. The fee only applies to principal students and exchange visitors.

The fee does not apply to F1, F3, M1, or M3 students or J1 exchange visitors who have previously paid the fee. Moreover, it does not apply to students and exchange visitors whose Form I-20 or DS-2019 initial attendance was issued on or before August 31, 2004, and who is applying for a visa to return to the United States as a continuing student or exchange program participant.

F1, F3, M1, and M3 students transferring between approved schools, changing educational levels, or applying for post-completion practical training [see article] are not subject to the fee. Nor are J1 exchange visitors transferring between programs in the same exchange visitor category where the same fee exists.

The SEVIS fee does not apply to extension of stay requests provided that the extension is being requested for the same program as the initially approved program.

An alien reapplying for a visa from an embassy or consulate abroad after having paid the SEVIS fee for a previous F1, F3, M1, or M3 visa application that was denied, so long as the subsequent application is being made within 12 months of the initial application. The same provision applies in J1 cases, but with the added provision that the fee exemption only applies if there is no fee differential.

An alien applying for a change of status to an F, M, or J classification, but whose previous application was denied within the previous 12 months for reason other than failure to pay the SEVIS fee, is exempt from paying a new fee if he or she is seeking to re-open the case.

Paying the fee

The Form I-901 SEVIS fee can be paid through regular mail or online. Please refer to the Form I-901 instructions for the most up-to-date filing instructions.

Current fee amounts for F, M, and J applicants (as of March 20, 2023)

The fee schedules for F and M students and J exchange visitors were last updated in 2019. Note that there is no difference in required fees between F1, F3, M1, and M3. Please note again that these fees do not apply to F2, M2, and J2 dependents.

I-901 SEVIS Fee for F or M Visa Applicants (full payment): $350
I-901 SEVIS Fee for J visa applicants (full payment): $220
I-901 SEVIS Fee for J visa applicants (subsidized payment): $35
I-901 SEVIS Fee for Federal government-sponsored J applicants: NO FEE

J1 fee breakdown

You will note that there are two J1 fees: A full $220 fee and a “subsided” $35 fee. The J1 fee breakdown is as follows:

J1 exchange visitors sponsored by the Federal government: NO FEE
J1 exchange visitors participating in summer/work travel program, au pair program [see article], or camp counselor program [see article]: $35
All other J1 exchange visitors: $220

See SEVIS FAQ [link].

SEVIS school fees

Schools seeking or modifying their SEVP certification are also subject to fees.

A school seeking initial SEVP certification must pay a $3000 fee. It must also pay a site visit fee of $655 per campus.

A school that is already SEVP-certified must pay a $3000 fee in the event of change of ownership. If additional site visits are required, the fee for each visit is $655. Appeals require a $675 fee.


Most F and M students and many J exchange visitors will be required to pay the SEVIS fee. The fee should be taken into account when preparing an application.

We discuss student and exchange visa issues generally in our site's section on student visas [see section].