The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal SEVIS Fee took effect on September 1, 2004. The fee of $200.00 is generally a one-time fee (see exceptions, below) and is required of those who are applying for an F-1 visa based on an I-20 issued for “initial attendance” or “change of status”. Proof of fee payment must be presented at the visa interview or when applying for change of status.

Who Has to Pay the SEVIS Fee?

  • You must pay the SEVIS fee if you are seeking an initial F-1 visa from an embassy or consulate abroad for initial attendance or initial participation in an exchange visitor program.
  • You must pay the SEVIS fee if you have previously been enrolled at a U.S. school, but you are no longer enrolled and you have been outside the United States for more than five months, even if you have an unexpired F-1 visa in your passport.
  • You must pay the SEVIS fee if you are a Canadian citizen, and are therefore exempt from the U.S. visa requirement, before you can enter the United States.
  • You must pay the SEVIS fee if you are already in the United States prior to submitting a change of non-immigrant status application to F-1.
  • You do NOT need to pay the SEVIS fee if item 3 on your Westchester Community College I-20 reads “transfer pending from <name of school>”, even if you will be applying for a new F-1 visa.
  • Applicants for F-2 dependent visas are NOT required to pay the SEVIS fee.

SEVIS Fee Rules

The SEVIS fee must be processed at least three business days before the visa interview, unless you have a printed receipt from an Internet payment.

The SEVIS fee cannot be paid at the embassy or consulate, or at the U.S. Border.

A visa will not be issued unless the visa officer can verify that the SEVIS fee payment has been made. However, you may schedule your visa interview prior to paying the SEVIS fee.

The SEVIS fee is not refundable. If your visa application is denied, and you decide to re-apply for the same type of visa at a later date, you will not be asked to make a second SEVIS fee payment as long as your visa application is made within 12 months of the initial denial.

Procedure for Paying the SEVIS Fee

  1. Obtain form I-20 from Westchester Community College
  2. Access form I-901 on the internet at
  3. Complete form I-901, answering all questions (you must have an I-20 from Westchester Community College in order to complete form I-901). Be sure that you enter your personal information exactly as it appears on the I-20
  4. Pay the $200 SEVIS fee by credit card.Note: to complete form I-901, you must enter the Westchester Community College School Code of NYC(214F)00469000 if you have been sent an I-20. You must also enter your SEVIS ID number, which is printed at the top right of the I-20, above the bar code. It starts with the letter “N.”
  5. Print your receipt to be sure your printer is able to print as you will not be able to return to the receipt page.

You must be able to prove that the fee has been paid when you appear for your visa interview, and when you enter the United States. This is done by presenting the printed receipt.