Applying for a United States Entry Visa Sevis Fee Information

SEVIS Fee Information for F-1 and J-1 Students

Who has to pay the SEVIS fee?

  • If you are entering the United States with an initial attendance I-20 or DS-2019 form issued for the first time after August 31, 2004, you will be required to pay a SEVIS fee before you apply for your visa or before you enter the United States (if a visa is not required).
  • If you are a transfer student with a transfer pending I-20 or DS-2019 form, you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.
  • If you are changing levels from one- degree level to another at UCR, you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee, even if your form is dated after 08/31/2004.
  • If you are changing status to F or J, you will be required to pay the SEVIS fee.
  • If you are out-of status and reentering the United States with an initial attendance I-20 form, you will be required to pay the fee.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you have to pay the SEVIS fee, please review the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website. You may also contact us at with questions.

How much is the fee?

  • For F-1 - $200; For J-1 - $180
  • For F-2 and J-2: None.

When do prospective students pay the SEVIS fee?

  • Before going to the U.S. embassy or consulate for the visa interview;
  • Before appearing at the Port of Entry (applies if you do not need a visa because you are a citizen of Canada, Bermuda, Bahamas, or a British subject resident in the Bahamian, Cayman, Turks or Caicos Islands)
  • Before filing a change of status application while in the U.S.

How is the fee paid?

Please Note: You cannot pay at the Port of Entry.

When must the fee be paid?

At least three business days prior to the visa interview date for electronic and Western Union submissions (We recommend paying as early as possible).

How will the payment be verified?

An electronic receipt will be printable upon completion of an online payment; or

Western Union will provide a receipt upon completion of payment.

Please take your receipt with you when you apply for a visa or enter the United States. You may be asked to show it at the Port of Entry.

For more information, you can visit the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's website at or schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

Applying for a Visa

In order to apply for US entry visa in F or J status, you will need to gather some documentation before scheduling an appointment with the US embassy in your home country.

Consulates now require an in-person interview for most visa applicants. We recommend that you apply for a visa as far in advance as possible since visa issuance can sometimes take up to 3 months depending on the required security clearances. Please review the information below designed to assist you with the visa application process.

There is further information about visa applications and fees at the Department of State’s website:

You will be required to present the following documents at the visa interview:

  • Admissions Letter
  • Form I-20 (for F status) or Form DS-2019 (for J status) issued by UC Riverside
  • Proof of financial support
  • Receipt for the SEVIS fee (if applicable)
  • Other items may also be requested (please contact the embassy you intend to apply at for further instructions)

Be prepared to show that you have significant ties to your home country and that you will return there after completing your studies in the United States.

If you are preparing to study in a field that the consular officer may consider “sensitive” to the national security of the United States, please plan to apply for a visa well in advance and be prepared for potential delays. Students in fields such as biochemistry, cell & molecular biology and electrical engineering, for example, are sometimes subject to these security clearances.

We recommend reviewing the following website for information:

Entering the United States

Whether entering the United States from land or air, you should be prepared to show the following documents at the port of entry:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid US entry visa in F or J status (if applicable)
  • Valid Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (if entering with an F-1 or J-1 visa)
  • Receipt of SEVIS fee payment (I-901)(if entering with an I-20 or DS-2019)

Please note:

If you have an initial attendance I-20 or DS-2019, you must enter the United States within the 30-day period before the program start date on your form. You will not be allowed to enter the US if you arrive earlier. If you hold a “transfer pending” I-20 document, you may return to the United States at anytime after a short visit home as long as page 3 of the I-20 Form is endorsed for travel.

Do not enter the the US using a B-1/B-2 (tourist) visa, or tourist visa waiver. Changing your status to F-1 or J-1 within the US is extremely difficult and rarely approved.

After you have entered the United States, you will want to go online to verify the status of your I-94 and that you have been filed as entering on the correct visa type. You can access it at and you will be asked to bring a print-out of this page to document check-in.

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