The Student and Exchange Visitor Program System (SEVIS) is a government database used to collect data and issue DS-2019s for J-1 non-immigrants. Any J-1 Exchange Visitor in an “initial” program of study or research is required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The fee supports operational expenses towards the SEVIS database. The SEVIS fee is in addition to any visa fees or USC fees.
Scholars are permitted to schedule their visa interview at the US embassy before paying the SEVIS I-901 fee. However, please note the SEVIS fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to the visa interview. Print the fee payment receipt to present at the visa interview and at the US Port of Entry. The visa application will be denied if the SEVIS fee is not paid.
SEVIS I-901 Fee Exceptions
- J-1 exchange visitors transferring to USC from a US institution do not pay a SEVIS I-901 fee
- J-2 dependents do not pay a SEVIS I-901 fee
J-1 Visa Stamp Exemptions
Citizens of Canada and certain island countries exempt from obtaining a J-1 visa stamp are still required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. The SEVIS fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to entering the US.