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ColumnsEverything you need to know about SEVIS

Everything you need to know about SEVIS

Published: 25th Oct 2021 12:05 am | Updated: 24th Oct 2021 9:46 pm

By Monika Setia

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Many students are now hearing about their admission results for Spring 2022 at the US institutions and are enquiring about SEVP and SEVIS. In our series on special topics related to US higher education, today we will shed light on this topic.

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is an Internet-based platform that maintains information on foreign students and exchange visitors and their dependents before and during their stay in the United States. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) – which is a programne of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – administers SEVIS.

All international students going for their higher education in the United States have to pay the SEVIS fee prior to their scheduled student visa interview. Students should make sure that the payment is deposited and recorded in SEVIS before they appear for the interview. At the time of the visa interview, consular officers access SEVIS and confirm that the SEVIS fee has been paid by the student.

Students may pay the SEVIS fee online at http://www.fmjfee.com/. This is the only official website certified to collect the SEVIS fee payments. If a student has a spouse or child travelling with them, they are not required to pay a separate SEVIS fee.

Students should note the key points below related to the SEVIS fee:

• Do not pay the SEVIS fee before receiving Form I-20 or DS-2019 (if going on a J1 visa)

• Always pay the SEVIS fee well in advance of the visa interview appointment to allow for adequate processing time

  • at least three business days prior to the interview date if paying the fee electronically
  • at least 15 business days prior to the interview if submitting payment through regular mail

• Present the SEVIS fee payment receipt as proof of the I-901 SEVIS fee payment at the time of the visa interview

For F and M international students visa, the SEVIS fee currently is $350. For some categories of J visas, the fee is $200. For more information about SEVIS fees, students may visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis/index.htm

Monika Setia (Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser at the United States-India Educational Foundation based at the US Consulate General Hyderabad. Please visit https://educationusa.state.gov/centers/educationusa-usief-hyderabad for more information

Q&A

I am a student of B Tech and applying for master’s programmes in the United States for Fall 2022. How can I find information about financials to pursue my degree

-Radhika

Financial information can be found on the admissions page of the university or on the ‘office of the bursar’ webpage on the university website (bursar is the office of budget and finance at a university). Make sure to take note of both the tuition fee and other additional costs, including cost of living. Also, make note of whether the tuition is for residents or non-residents (as an international student, you will be paying the non-resident fee). Financial support may also be made available by some universities and this information can be found on the financial aid page of the institutions. The department webpage also carries information on whether they offer financial support.
You may also refer to the websites https://educationusa.state.gov/your-5-steps-us-study/finance-your-studies, www.fundingusstudy.org, and www.finaid.org for further information about financing your studies in the United States.

I have received admission at a US institution for Spring 2022. Can I open a bank account there? If so, what documents will I need to open the account?

– Syed Asad

You may open a bank account in the US on an F1 student visa after entering the country. Look for a bank with a branch near your residence or university campus. A checking account is the most useful bank account as it allows you to write checks (cheques).
The bank will need the following information from you to open the account: name and date of birth, street address, photograph, and passport number with country of issuance. Some banks may also ask for your mother’s maiden name. You will be required to present the following documents to open the bank account: Your passport, I-94 card, I-20 form, and proof of local mailing address (such as signed lease). The bank may also ask for some money to be deposited in your bank account, either in the form of cash or a check.

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