** LEGAL UPDATE **
Applicants to be international students (requesting F-1 academic and M-1 vocational visas) or exchange visitors (requesting J-1 visas) are expected, as part of the process, to pay what's known as the I-901 SEVIS fee. This is in addition to various other fees. (Some schools, however, pay the fees on behalf of the students or exchange visitors.)
The purpose of this particular fee is to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which schools and the U.S. government use to keep track of foreign students in the United States.
The SEVIS fees are, however, going up for most categories of applicants. According to a final rule published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the agency will be raising program fees as of June 24, 2019.
Here are the updates to the fees applicants can expect to pay (or if they're lucky, have their school pay):
DHS will, however, continue to charge only a $35 SEVIS Fee for J exchange visitors in the au pair, camp counselor, and summer work or travel program categories.
If your deadline to pay the SEVIS fee is approaching, and June 24 has not yet arrived, you should do so quickly to take advantage of the lower fees!
Effective Date: June 24, 2019.