1. Before applying for your visa
As of October 27, 2008, all new F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors must pay a one-time SEVIS fee prior to applying for a U.S. visa. F-2 dependents to not have to pay the SEVIS fee.
2. When to pay the SEVIS fee
You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days prior to submitting your application for a U.S. visa. Canadian citizens are also required to pay this fee.
3. Forms of payment
You may pay the SEVIS fee online with a credit card or by mail in the form of a check or money order to DHS. Click here to complete the form and pay online. Students in countries that have Western Union offices may pay the fee via Western Union's Quick Pay. Make sure your name appears exactly as it appears on your Form I-20. Your SEVIS ID number, which begins with N000, will appear in the upper corner of your I-20.
4. Print out the receipt
Your receipt is proof that you have paid the SEVIS fee. You will need to present this receipt with your visa application. Canadian citizens will present the receipt at the U.S. port of entry.
For more information, visit the SEVIS fee website.