Updated on 08.04.2020
SEVIS: What you need to know before applying for an F, J or M visa
When participating in an exchange program or spending a semester abroad in the United States, you will soon come into contact with the term "SEVIS". Below we will answer the most important questions about SEVIS and the SEVIS fee.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, SEVIS for short, is an online database of the U.S. government that enables the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) access to data of J, F and M visa holders located in the United States.
On behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, or SEVP, manages educational institutions as well as students and their families with a nonimmigrant visas in the J, F and M visa categories. Both the SEVP and the U.S. Department of State use SEVIS to verify and track
SEVIS contains information regarding the whereabouts of the visa holder, their legal status and the educational institution or host company.
If you want to go to America as an exchange visitor or exchange student, sooner or later you will ask yourself what the SEVIS ID number is.
Participants in a J-1, F-1 or M-1 program must be registered in the SEVIS system by their visa sponsor or educational institution before the DS-2019 or I-20 form can be issued through the SEVIS system. Each form is given a number, called SEVIS Number or SEVIS ID, when issued.
The SEVIS number can be found in the upper part of the application form:
All applicants applying for an F-1 (Student), J-1 (Exchange Visitor) or M-1 (Non-academic & Vocational) visa are required to pay the SEVIS fee in addition to the visa application fee prior to their interview at the U.S. consulate. This fee is officially called I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee and it is used to finance the program office and the web-based SEVIS database.
Applicants who cannot present this payment will usually not be granted access to the U.S. consulate. In case the missing I-901 payment confirmation for the SEVIS fee is first noticed during the appointment at the U.S. consulate, the visa application cannot be completed and the applicant must appear in person again. It is usually not possible to simply send in the I-901 payment confirmation later.
The SEVIS fee is not to be confused with the consular visa application fee, which must be paid in addition to the SEVIS fee before the appointment at the U.S. consulate.
The SEVIS fee varies depending on the visa category and was increased for the last time on June 24, 2019.
|Category of visa||SEVIS Fees (as of 2020)|
|J-1 categories Au Pair, Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel||35 $|
|Remaining J-1 categories (Intern, Trainee, etc.)||220 $|
|F-1 (student)||350 $|
|M-1 (non-academic education)||350 $|
|SEVP School Certification Petition Fee||3,000 $|
The SEVIS fee can only be paid using the SEVIS number or SEVIS ID after the DS-2019 or I-20 form has been issued. Upon completion of the payment online at www.fmjfee.com, applicants can print their I-901 payment receipt, which they are required to bring along for their consular interview. This payment must be made before the appointment and cannot be made at the U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate. The I-901 proof of payment is mandatory for the issuance of a student visa or a visa for participants in exchange programs.
In the past, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published a report twice a year on current figures and developments in the field of F and M visas. In April 2018, the most recent SEVIS by the Numbers report to date appeared, as this all-encompassing study is called.
We have summarized the most important and interesting developments for you in a short and concise manner.
More than one million international students are currently studying abroad in the USA or enrolled for a semester abroad at an American educational institution. The United States is therefore one of the most popular destinations for students from all over the world. The latest SEVP report shows that there has been a slight decrease of -0.5% in the number of F and M visa holders compared to the previous year. According to this report, there are currently 1,208,039 F and M visa holders in the USA. Of all F and M visa holders, 85% are enrolled in higher education institutions, i.e. in bachelor's degree programs, master's degree programs and doctoral programs.
49% of all F and M visa holders come from the Asian region, with China with 377,070 and India with 211,703 students being the largest countries of origin.
In order for students to enroll at an educational institution in the United States, the educational institution must have a SEVIS registration. The current SEVP report shows that there are currently 8,744 SEVIS-certified educational institutions in the USA. Of these educational institutions, 85% can only accept F visa holders and 7% can only accept M visa holders. 8% of all SEVIS certified schools can accept both F and M visa holders.
According to the current report, California, New York and Texas remain the US states with the most SEVP-certified schools. An extensive collection of information for students and the complete list of all SEVIS-certified schools can also be viewed on the "Study in the States" website.
The most popular major subjects among students are subjects in the business sector (management, marketing and other related subjects), closely followed by so-called MINT courses (short for mathematics, computer science, natural science and technology) or STEM subjects (short for science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
While the numbers of F and M visa holders decreased slightly, the proportion of J-1 visa holders increased by 4% compared to the previous year. There are currently 209,568 J-1 visa holders in the USA.
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