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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

O 312319Z AUG 04


E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 162300

1. SUMMARY: Posts are reminded that persons applying
for F, J and M visas with initial I-20 or DS-2019
forms issued on or after September 1, 2004 will
require payment of the SEVIS fee, also known as the
"SEVIS I-901 fee" before making a visa application.
Consular officers must verify SEVIS fee payment before
approving any of these visas. END SUMMARY

2. Students and exchange visitors should use Form I-
901, the SEVIS Fee Application, to pay the SEVIS fee.
Form I-901 will be available on the SEVIS fee website,
the DHS SEVIS website, and at domestic DHS form
centers. Schools and exchange programs will also be
encouraged to provide Form I-901 to their students and
participants. DHS has provided students and exchange
visitors two different methods for paying the fee:
(1) with a credit card (VISA, MasterCard or American
Express) via the Internet site, and (2)
with a U.S. dollar check or international money order
mailed to a lockbox address in the United States.
Some exchange visitor program sponsors will pay the
fees for their participants directly to DHS in a "bulk
payment" process. DHS must approve the sponsor's
participation in this payment process. DHS is also
exploring an agreement with Western Union to collect
the SEVIS fee. In general, the SEVIS fee is non-
refundable. However, students and exchange visitors
may request a refund from SEVP if a payment was made
in error.

3. Students and exchange visitors cannot pay the
SEVIS fee before the September 1 SEVIS fee
implementation date. Only students and exchange
visitors with a Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued on or
after September 1 are subject to the fee. The SEVIS
fee Internet web site - will not be
operational until September 1.

4. Most students and exchange visitors will pay the
full $100 SEVIS fee. Certain short-term exchange
visitors (au pairs, summer work/travel and camp
counselors) will pay a reduced fee, $35. Individuals
participating in a program sponsored by the Federal
Government whose program number prefix begins with "G-
1," "G-2" or "G-3" are statutorily exempt from the
fee. Only principal applicants pay the SEVIS fee
prior to visa issuance - F-2, J-2 and M-2 derivatives
do not pay. Aliens in the United States who are
studying while in another nonimmigrant classification
are not subject to the fee.

5. Consular officers will be able to verify SEVIS fee
payment through the SEVIS CCD screen. CCD will
indicate either "Payment" or "Cancelled" to show that
the SEVIS fee has been paid. Consular officers may
also accept the receipt for SEVIS fee payment, either
generated by the website or sent to the applicant by
mail on a Form I-797, as proof of payment. This
receipt should not be retained by the consular officer
and should be returned to the applicant. Verification
of a fee paid less than three days before the
interview may not always be available on CCD. In this
situation, payment should be verified with the paper
receipt. The SEVIS fee paid on one Form I-20 may be
applied to a different Form I-20. The SEVIS fee paid
on one Form DS-2019 may be applied to a different Form
DS-2019 if the SEVIS fee paid is greater than or equal
to the SEVIS fee due. Applicants who cannot
demonstrate that they have paid the SEVIS fee should
be refused a visa under 221(g).

6. The SEVIS fee is generally a one-time fee for as
long as the nonimmigrant maintains the status in which
he or she was initially admitted. For an F or M
student the covered period generally extends from the
time the student is granted F or M status to the time
the student falls out of status, changes status, or
departs the United States for an extended period of
time. As long as the student continues to remain in F
or M immigration status, a new fee is not required.
If the student does fall out of status, a new fee must
be paid, even on the same program. An F or M student
will not be required to pay a new fee upon transfer to
a new school, extension of stay, change in educational
level, when obtaining a new visa for re-entry for
program continuation, upon a temporary absence of less
than 5 months, or upon a period of approved absence in
which the student is engaged in overseas study as part
of his/her U.S. educational program requirements.

7. For a J exchange visitor, a single program is
defined by the category and/or sponsor at the time of
initial program participation, and extends until a
change of category (e.g., a change from research
scholar to student), a transfer from a fee-exempt
sponsor (program number prefix begins with "G-1," "G-
2," or "G-3") to a non-fee-exempt sponsor, or until
such time as the nonimmigrant falls out of valid
program status requiring reinstatement or changes
status. Exchange visitors who apply for reinstatement
after a substantive violation of status, or who have
been out of valid program status for longer than 120
days but less than 270 days during their program, must
pay a new fee. A some nonimmigrants who participate in
multiple subsequent programs will have to pay a new
fee for each new program.

8. Until the two in-country SEVIS fee collection
pilot programs are operative in India and China,
students and exchange visitors from those two
countries should utilize the two available SEVIS fee
collection methods provided by DHS.

9. Additional details on SEVIS and the SEVIS fee can
be found on the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement's Student and Exchange Visitor Program
(SEVP) web site,