SEVIS fee increase

This is Stephanie of IMS.

As announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on May 23, 2019, an increase to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) fees, also known as SEVIS fees, will take effect June 24, 2019. The SEVP program director, Rachel Canty, says, “The new and increased fees will enable the program to continue to provide oversight of international students and SEVP-certified schools.” The fees have remained unchanged since 2008.

However, these fees are not just for international students, as other exchange visitor categories will be affected as well:

  • The I-901 SEVIS fee for F and M visa international students will increase from $200 → $350.
  • The I-901 SEVIS fee for J visa exchange visitors will increase from $180 → $220.
    Note: Au pair, camp counselor, and summer work travel program participant categories will remain $35.
  • Full details available at the Federal Register

When the proposed fee increase was first announced, the DHS provided a 60-day comment period during which the general public could submit their comments on this issue for review. However, the DHS has said that the final version of this rule (linked above) did not make any substantial changes based on comments received.

According to the DHS, almost all comments submitted remarked that this change could adversely affect U.S. competitiveness in the global market, especially at a time when nonimmigrant student enrollments in the U.S. are decreasing. More and more international students are choosing to study outside the U.S., in part due to recent and unfavorable restrictions on Optional Practical Training (OPT) and harsher immigration policies by the U.S. government that discourage new students.