Student Visa F / M

You must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa.

​Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an F or M student visa, you must first apply to and be accepted by a SEVP approved school. 

​When you are accepted by the U.S. school you plan to attend, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. The U.S. school will provide you with a Form I-20 to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview. If your spouse and/or children intend to reside with you in the United States while you study, they must obtain individual Form I-20s, but they do not pay the SEVIS fee.

​The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training.


Regulation requires all prospective F and M students to pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee before the Department of State issues you a visa. To pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, visit to access the SEVIS Form I-901. 

Who Pays the I-901 SEVIS Fee

  • All prospective F and M students from countries where a visa to travel to the United States is mandatory.

  • All prospective F and M students from visa waiver countries (before seeking admission at a U.S. port of entry).

  • Any nonimmigrant in the United States applying for a change of nonimmigrant status to F-1 or M-1 status (before applying for a change of nonimmigrant status).

  • An F or M student applying for reinstatement of student status due to a violation of status needs to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee when that student has been out of status more than five months (payment should be made prior to submission of the application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).

  • An F or M student who has been absent from the United States for more than five months and wishes to re-enter the United States to return for further study in the same course of study (before re-entry into the United States).

    • There is an exception for students who have been working toward completion of a course of study for a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school in authorized overseas study. Contact your designated school official (DSO) if you believe this applies to you. 

A dependent of an F-1, M-1 or J-1 student who will be applying for an F-2, M-2 or J-2 visa does not have to pay an I-901 SEVIS Fee.

What Information You Need to Pay the Form I-901 SEVIS Fee

In order to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, all prospective F and M students will need to provide their:

  • Name, address, date of birth and email address.

  • Country of birth and country of citizenship.

  • School Code as listed on the Form I-20 “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”

  • SEVIS Identification Number as listed on the Form I-20.

How to Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee

  • A prospective F or M student with a country of citizenship or country of birth of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or Gambia must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank. All other prospective F or M students also have the option to make a credit card payment on

  • SEVP will accept third party payments, meaning someone else can pay your I-901 SEVIS Fee using the same method of payment. For students who cannot pay the fee by credit card, third party payers are also restricted from paying the fee by credit card.

  • Visit SEVP's website for instructions on how to complete the Western Union Quick Pay/Quick Collect form.

  • You can access the PDF version of the SEVIS Form I-901 on SEVP's website. Print and mail in your paper SEVIS Form I-901 with your check or money order, according to the instructions on the form.

After You have Paid your SEVIS FEE, Complete Your DS-160 Application and Attend an Interview At the Embassy

  • Supporting documents for DS 160 form may vary based on your purpose of travelling to the United States and the country-specific requirements at the embassy or consulate where your visa will be processed. You will need to check the embassy website to be sure of the exact items required from you. However, in most cases, every immigration applicant filling the DS 160 visa form will need to have the following:

    • Passport: The passport must have a validity date at least 6 months beyond your intended period of stay in the US
    • Digital Photograph: The photograph must meet these requirements
    • A government-issued ID number issued by the government in your home country
    • Taxpayer ID or Social Security Number (if any)
    • Biographic information about your travel companions (if any)
    • Functional telephone number and email address
    • Travel itinerary (if you have already made your travel arrangements)
    • Approved DS 2019 or I-20 which with your Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) ID (if you are applying for a student or exchange visitor visa). You will also need to provide the address of the school or program where you intend to study.

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This site is not affiliated with the United States Government in any way, we are not a law firm, and are not a substitute for an attorney or law firm. US visas can be obtained through traditional Government channels without our assistance and without paying our service fees by visiting the state department website.

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