The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new $100 application fee for foreign students seeking a student visa to study in the United States. The fee will go into effect on September 1, 2004 and, as authorized by Congress, will be levied to cover the cost of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an electronic database that stores information about foreign students in the United States. The $100 must be paid, by mail or online, at least 3 days before the visa applicant appears at the U.S. consulate to obtain the visa, to allow DHS to verify the payment. Either the applicant or a third party (such as the sponsoring school) can make the payment.
The $100 fee applies to all applicants for F-1, F-3, M-1, M-3, or J-1 status, whose I-20 or DS-2019 Forms are issued on or after September 1, 2004. A reduced fee of $35 applies to some J-1 applicants (au pairs, camp counselors, and summer work/travel). Exchange visitors under federally sponsored exchange programs are exempt from the fee, as are family members of visa applicants.
For more information, see the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SEVIS website.