The Directorate of International Student Advising (DISA) will issue you an I-20 (for F-1 visa) or a DS-2019 (for J-1 visa), once you are approved, that you must use when applying for the visa to enter the U.S. to study at Penn State. In almost all cases, new students at Penn State will pay this fee unless they are transferring schools within the U.S. and remaining in the same immigration status. View our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
You must pay the SEVIS fee if
- You are seeking an initial F-1 or J-1 visa from a U.S. consulate for initial attendance and the document (I-20 or DS-2019) was generated on September 1, 2004, or after. If the J-1 document (the DS-2019) was issued by the U.S. government, you are exempt from the fee.
- You are a Canadian citizen seeking admission at a port-of-entry to begin initial attendance and the document was generated on September 1, 2004, or after. (Canadian citizens are visa exempt, so the SEVIS fee must be paid before going to the border.)
- You are currently in the U.S. as a J-1 applying for a change of category-such as a change from J-1 scholar to J-1 student (change of category must be approved by the Exchange-Visitor Program of the U.S. Department of State).
- You are in the U.S. in J-1 status and are applying for reinstatement after a substantive violation or you have been out of status for more than 120 days but less than 270 days.
- You are in the U.S. in F-1 status and are applying for reinstatement after failing to maintain status; you have been out-of-status for five months or more.
- You were in F-1 status but left the U.S. more than five (5) months ago (unless you have been on an approved, formal study-abroad program)
You should make arrangements to pay the following fees before applying for the visa:
- Pay the SEVIS Fee ($200 for F-1 students; $180 for J-1 students)-if required-at least 3 days before the visa interview if you pay by credit card. There are three ways to pay: by credit card, by check in the mail, or by Western Union. View specific instructions on the three payment options. If you are able, we recommend payment by credit card because the receipt is available immediately. Information about the form and new tracking information is available.
- Pay the Visa Application Fee (approximately $131). Follow the instructions given by the U.S. consulate in the city where you will apply for the visa. Find U.S. Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions. This site contains the Visa Application Forms (DS-160).
Take the following documents to the visa interview: I-20 or DS-2019; SEVIS Fee Receipt; Visa Application Fee Receipt; financial guarantee; visa applications-DS-156, DS-158, and DS-157; letter of Penn State admission; passport; two photographs; and any other documents required to the consulate. See details about the visa application interview.
Once you have received the student visa, you should make your plans to arrive at Penn State in time for the new international student orientation. All incoming international students, whether new or transfer students, are highly encouraged to attend the New International Student Orientation Program.
Please address any questions to the following addresses.
New International Student Orientation at University Park Campus
For details on International Student Orientations at Non-University Park Campuses, view this convenient guide.