Obtaining Your Student Visa

Once you are accepted to a program at St. Joseph’s College you will be contacted by the Admissions Office concerning the processing of your I-20.

Once you receive your I-20, you must pay the "SEVIS I-901" fee. This fee must be paid prior to making the student visa appointment. Please do not forget to bring your "SEVIS I-901" fee payment receipt to your student visa appointment. You can pay the fee online at www.fmjfee.com. Once this step is completed, you can set up an appointment to secure an F-1 non-immigrant visa interview at the United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

You will need to bring your acceptance letter, supporting financial paperwork and other supporting documents with you to the student visa interview.

SEVIS I-901 Fee Instructions

Effective September 1, 2004, the Department of Homeland Security implemented regulations requiring a SEVIS fee for students and scholars in the SEVIS system. Effective October 27, 2008 the fee was increased to $200 for all the students applying for F-1 visa. The regulations describing who must pay the fee and how to pay it are described below. For detailed information, please visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis.

In general, you need to:

  • Either have been accepted into an approved school or be currently enrolled in one. You will need a Form I-20.
  • Determine if you need to pay the fee. For more information, see the section, below.
  • Pay the fee in time to have it processed before either:
    • a consular or DHS official must make a decision about your visa,
    • entry into the United States or
    • other application where the fee is required. 

FEE MUST BE PAID BEFORE A VISA WILL BE ISSUED!! 

Who Must Pay and When

  • New Applicants for Student Status (F-1)
    If you are applying for an F1 student visa for the first time ever, pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. (New students may skip the immediate following paragraphs and go directly to the How to Pay section.)
  • Applicants Reapplying for Student Status (F-1) after a Denial of that Status
    • If you have not previously paid the SEVIS I-901 fee, pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, if you already paid the SEVIS I-901 fee and are:
    • Reapplying for a visa within twelve months of the date of initial denial
    • From a country for which an F-1 visa is not required and you are reapplying for status as a student at the POE within 12 months of the date of initial denial
    • Filing a motion to reopen a denied change of status application for a change of status to F-1
  • Continuing Students (F-1) in the United States
    • If you are a continuing student, who has maintained status and has not completed your program of study, do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
    • If you are a continuing student, who has maintained status and is transferring or changing program levels, do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
    • If you are a student who has been out of status for less than five months, do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
    • If you are a student who has been out of status for more than five months, pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee before you file for reinstatement.
  • Continuing Students (F-1) not in the United States
    • If you are a continuing student who has been out of the United States for less than five months and maintained your status prior to leaving the United States, do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
    • If you are a continuing student who has been out of the United States for more than five months, maintained your status prior to leaving the United States, and have been participating in authorized study abroad, do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
    • If you are a student who has been out of the United States for more than five months and have not participated in authorized study abroad, you are no longer considered a continuing student by DHS. You need a new initial Form I-20 from a school and you need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
    • If you are a student who did not maintain status or you completed a previous program, you are no longer considered a continuing student by DHS. You need a new initial Form I-20 from a school and you need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Spouse or Minor Children of Students
    • If you are the spouse or minor child of a student, do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee unless you are applying to change status to F-1, M-1, or J-1.

Form I-901

You will need to fill in a Form I-901 with information from your Form I-20 and pay the required fee. For most people, the SEVIS I-901 fee is $200. You have the option of paying an additional $30 to have your receipt sent by expedited delivery (courier service) rather than by mail.

You can fill in the Form I-901 online at www.fmjfee.com or send a paper version to:

I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee P.O. Box 970020 St. Louis, MO 63197-0020 United States

If you fill in the Form I-901 online and choose the option to pay by check or money order, you will be able to print a payment coupon. There is a control number on the top of the coupon. Write the control number, your name and your SEVIS ID number on your check or money order and attach the coupon. 

The federal law relating to SEVIS, (8 USC §1372 (e)(5), requires that a student present proof of payment before being granted a visa or admission.

The SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt, along with the electronic record in SEVIS and the I-901 payment system, serve as proof of payment. In most cases, your payment can be verified electronically. However, SEVP recommends that you retain a copy of your receipt. Having the receipt will make it easier to prove you have paid. There are cases where your current SEVIS ID number may be different from the number you paid on. The receipt is also useful when you go to a visa interview or, if you are visa-exempt, apply for F-1 status at the POE. The receipt is also your assurance that your payment and fee information were properly processed and posted.

What do I need to take to the embassy or consulate to prove I paid my SEVIS I-901 fee? 

We highly recommend bringing your SEVIS I-901 fee receipt. While the embassy or consulate should be able to electronically verify your payment, having the receipt with you proves that the payment was processed correctly and speeds the verification process.

If you paid the SEVIS I-901 fee using a Form I-20 from a different school than the one you will attend, bring the Form I-20 you used when paying the fee, in addition to the form for the school you will actually be attending. If there is no fee differential, the SEVIS I-901 fee you paid will be accepted. 

When do I need a receipt? 

Only those who are required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee will need a receipt. If you are required to pay the fee, you need to do so before your visa interview or filing an application for reinstatement, change of status, etc.

Keep your receipts along with other records pertaining to your nonimmigrant status. It will help to have a copy when:

  • Applying for subsequent visas while continuing at the same school
  • Applying for any work-related benefits
  • Entering the United States
  • Filing a petition or application with CIS 

How long will it take for me to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and get a receipt? 

The length of time it takes to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and get a receipt depends on how long it takes for:

  • You to get your Form I-901 information and payment to SEVP
  • SEVP to process the payment
  • SEVP to deliver the receipt to the address you provided 

Transferring a SEVIS I-901 payment from one SEVIS ID # to another:

What are the basic rules for applying a SEVIS I-901 fee payment from one SEVIS ID number to another? 

The basic rules for moving a SEVIS I-901 fee payment between SEVIS ID numbers are:

  • The SEVIS I-901 fee must be moved between SEVIS ID numbers for the same individual
  • An additional SEVIS I-901 fee is not required (For more information, see the website)
  • The SEVIS I-901 fee amount for the new school or program must be less than or equal to the    SEVIS I-901 fee already paid
  • Only the student may request the move 

If you have questions regarding this process please visit www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/, or contact:

Jodi A. Duffy
Director of Graduate and Professional Studies Admissions
jduffy@sjcny.edu