What is SEVIS number? How to Get It?


By Imagility

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Table of Contents 

What is the SEVIS Number?
Where to Find it?
Why is the SEVIS Number Important?
How to Get a SEVIS Number?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SEVIS

Are you planning to go to US for studies, if so, it is crucial to understand the SEVIS number. This unique identifier plays a pivotal role in managing and maintaining the records of international students and exchange visitors in the U.S. This article will delve into what the SEVIS number is, its importance, how to obtain it, and key tips for navigating the SEVIS system effectively.

Let’s begin,

What is the SEVIS Number?

The SEVIS number is a unique identifier assigned to international students, exchange visitors, and their dependents. It stands for “Student and Exchange Visitor Information System,” a web-based system used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to monitor and manage information regarding non-immigrant students (F and M visa categories) and exchange visitors (J visa category) while they are in the United States. Each SEVIS number is unique to the individual and is used to track their status and activities in the U.S.

Where to Find it?

For F and M visa holders, the SEVIS number is found in the top left corner of Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). For J visa holders, it is located in the top right corner of Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status). The SEVIS number begins with the letter “N” followed by a series of nine digits (e.g., N000123456).

Source- https://global.tamu.edu/

Why is the SEVIS Number Important?

The SEVIS number is essential for several reasons:

  • Legal Status

It links the student’s or visitor’s visa status to their educational or exchange program, ensuring compliance with U.S. immigration laws.

  • Visa Processing

It is required during visa application and issuance processes, making it a critical component of obtaining an F, M, or J visa.

  • Maintaining Status

The SEVIS system tracks important information such as enrollment, program changes, and address updates, helping maintain lawful status in the U.S.

  • Travel and Employment

It is used to verify eligibility for travel and employment benefits, such as Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 students.

How to Get a SEVIS Number?

Obtaining a SEVIS number is a step-by-step process that involves acceptance into a U.S. educational institution or exchange program, receiving the necessary forms, and paying the SEVIS fee. Here’s a detailed look at each step:

Step 1: Admission to a SEVP-Certified School or Exchange Program

To receive a SEVIS number, you must first be admitted to a program at a U.S. school or institution that is certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

Steps for Students (F and M Visas):

  • Apply to SEVP-Certified Schools

Ensure you apply to schools that are SEVP-certified to host international students.

  • Receive Acceptance

Once accepted, the school will issue you a Form I-20. This form includes your SEVIS number.

Steps for Exchange Visitors (J Visa):

  • Apply to a Designated Exchange Program

Apply to exchange visitor programs that are designated by the U.S. Department of State.

  • Receive Acceptance

Upon acceptance, the sponsor organization will issue you a Form DS-2019, which contains your SEVIS number.

Step 2: Receive Form I-20 or DS-2019

After your acceptance into a SEVP-certified school or exchange program, you will be issued either a Form I-20 or a Form DS-2019. These forms are critical as they contain your SEVIS number and other important details about your program.

Form I-20 (F and M Visas):

  • Purpose

It certifies your eligibility for nonimmigrant student status and provides information required for the F-1 or M-1 visa application.

  • Details

It includes personal information, program start and end dates, and financial details.

Form DS-2019 (J Visa):

  • Purpose

It certifies your eligibility for the J-1 visa and provides details about your exchange program.

  • Details

It includes personal information, sponsor details, and program specifics.

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

Before you can apply for a visa, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. This fee is used to support the maintenance of the SEVIS system.

Steps to Pay the SEVIS Fee:

  • Go to the SEVIS I-901 Website

 Access the official SEVIS I-901 fee payment website.

  • Enter Your SEVIS Number

Provide your SEVIS number from the Form I-20 or DS-2019.

  • Complete the Form

Fill in your personal and program information.

  • Make Payment

Pay the fee using a credit or debit card. You will receive a confirmation receipt, which you should print and keep for your records.

Step 4: Apply for the F, M, or J Visa

With your SEVIS number and fee payment receipt, you can now apply for a US student visa.


The SEVIS number is a critical component of the U.S. immigration system for international students and exchange visitors. It facilitates the monitoring and managing of non-immigrant students and exchange participants, ensuring compliance with U.S. laws and regulations.

By understanding how to obtain and maintain your SEVIS number, you can successfully navigate the complexities of studying or participating in exchange programs in the U.S..

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SEVIS

What happens if I lose my Form I-20 or DS-2019?

If you lose your Form I-20 or DS-2019, contact your DSO or RO immediately. They can issue a replacement form, which is necessary for travel, visa applications, and maintaining your SEVIS status.

Can my SEVIS record be transferred if I change schools?

Yes, your SEVIS record can be transferred if you change schools. You need to notify your current and new school’s DSO, who will coordinate the transfer process.

What if there is an error in my SEVIS record?

Contact your DSO or RO immediately if you find an error in your SEVIS record. They can correct the information and ensure your SEVIS record accurately reflects your status and details.

How do I know if a school is SEVP-certified?

You can verify if a school is SEVP-certified by checking the list of certified schools on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website. Only SEVP-certified schools can issue Form I-20.

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