I-901 SEVIS Fee Credit Card Advisory

 

SEVP is currently unable to accept SEVIS I-901 fee payments by credit card on behalf of students from the following countries:

  • Cameroon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria

If an individual attempts to make a credit card payment for a student or exchange visitor from one of these countries, s/he will receive the following message when a credit card payment is attempted:

"The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is not accepting credit card payments at this time. Please remit your payment by cashier's check, money order or Western Union transfer. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation. If you wish to continue submitting a new payment please click here."

 

If a credit card payment for a student from a country other than those listed above receives this message, please contact the I-901 Helpline [314-425-1809].

See the Web sites www.fmjfee.com and www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/ for more information on how to pay using alternative methods.

Western Union Quick Pay is an option, but is not available in all countries: If it is available, advise the student/exchange visitor to print the appropriate instructions from the Web site Payment by Western Union Quick Pay and to take his/her Form I-20. Note: the I-901 Helpline advises that SEVP is not notified instantly about payment through Western Union, so the student/exchange visitor should wait a few days after paying before making a visa appointment or traveling to the United States.

NAFSA understands that some institutions pay the SEVIS fee on behalf of their student and exchange visitors. However, the I-901 system will not let anyone pay by credit card on behalf of the students from the above countries. There is no option at this time for the institution to pay other than by cashier's check, money order, or Western Union transfer.

This is consistent with what SEVP announced at the end of May 2009 at the NAFSA Annual Conference in Los Angeles.

On April 29, 2009, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) notified SEVIS users that it would begin a program to address fraudulent requests for refunds of SEVIS I-901 fees paid by third-party credit card holders on behalf of students and exchange visitors.

On June 8, 2009, SEVP sent the following broadcast message to SEVIS users:

Related SEVIS Notices

In an October 6, 2009 update to their Web site, SEVP posted the following message that was sent to students who received charge-back letters:

From: Sevis, SysAdmin
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 3:49 PM
To: Sevis, SysAdmin
Subject: SEVIS I-901 Credit Card Payments

 

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE

SEVIS NOTICE – June 8, 2009

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is presently experiencing problems with credit card payments from a number of countries. Due to this recurring situation, SEVP will no longer accept credit card payments from the countries involved. The SEVP is currently exploring possible solutions to this problem and it has not yet been determined when credit card payments will be accepted for students or exchange visitors related to these countries. If you attempt to make a payment on behalf of a student or exchange visitor from one of the affected countries you will receive a message indicating that credit card payments are not being accepted at this time. However, payments can still be made via certified check, money order, or western union transfer. An official broadcast notification will be made when the credit card payment service is fully reinstated.

The SEVP extends its gratitude for your cooperation, and apologizes for any inconvenience you may encounter as a result of this situation.

Thank you.
Student and Exchange Visitor Program

"ALERT: I-901 CHARGEBACK COMPLIANCE UPDATE

If you received a letter titled, “Notice to Students and Exchange Visitors,” regarding I-901 Fee Payment Fraud, the notice gave instructions on how to avoid having your SEVIS status Terminated or Cancelled. If you didn’t remit payment within the 30 days allowed, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the Department of State (DoS) will now proceed with the following actions.

  • For ACTIVE, TERMINATED, NO SHOW or INACTIVE Status Students and Exchange Visitors: SEVP will terminate the SEVIS records of those nonimmigrant students and DoS will terminate the SEVIS records of those exchange visitors who did not make payment within the allowed 30 days provided by the previous notice. SEVIS records will show TERMINATE with reason code Other for J-1s and Otherwise Failing to Maintain Status for F-1s/M-1s.
  • The comments accompanying this termination will note: Fee Payment Fraud Alert. A flag will be placed on the student’s or exchange visitor’s name and SEVIS record to alert the Customs and Border Protection officers at the ports of entry that the nonimmigrant student or exchange visitor has a Fraud Alert for failure to make a Fee Payment.
  • All Terminated SEVIS records are reviewed by the Compliance Enforcement Unit (CEU) to determine if further investigation is required. Students and exchange visitors who do not remit the regulatory mandated I-901 fee after receiving notice are subject to investigation, possible arrest, detention, deportation, denial of requested benefits and may be barred from future entry into the United States.
  • For INITIAL Status Students and Exchange Visitors: A list of the nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors who have not yet entered the United States will be sent to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Each record will be marked either CANCELED (if F-1/M-1) or INVALID (if J-1) and a flag will be placed on the student’s or exchange visitor’s name and SEVIS record to alert the Customs and Border Protection officers at the ports of entry that the nonimmigrant student or exchange visitor has a Fraud Alert for failure to make a Fee Payment. Entering nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors will be issued a Form I-515A allowing them 30 days to remit payment for the I-901 Fee. If payment is not received within the allotted 30 days, the CANCELED and INVALID status records will be forwarded to the CEU for investigation and possible removal.
  • Upon receipt of payment from the student or exchange visitor and the subsequent processing of the payment, ALL flags will be removed; the SEVIS record will be cleared of comments and updated to reflect payment confirmation.

You may check your current status by contacting your school official or program sponsor. For inquiries, send a detailed e-mail to fmjfee.SEVIS@dhs.gov. For more information on Chargebacks, visit the following link “What Is a Chargeback?”