Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially announced that it is raising certain fees for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, otherwise known as SEVIS. Launched in 2003, SEVIS centrally records all international exchange student and participant data. All of our J-1 exchange participants are required to register in SEVIS upon arrival in the U.S.
For many of InterExchange’s programs, there is no change in the fee. The SEVIS fee for the au pair, camp counselor, and summer work travel programs will remain at $35.
Our Career Training USA program, though, is significantly impacted. The SEVIS fee for the intern and trainee programs will increase from $180 to $220. (This fee increase impacts other J-1 categories as well.) This and other new fees will take effect next month, on June 24.
SEVIS is a key component for us in effective compliance in administering our Exchange Visitor Programs. The system helps us ensure our participants have safe experiences, and that they keep to the requirements of their visas.
The system needs adequate resources for maintenance and modernization, so, in general, we support reasonable fee increases that can provide more resources for SEVIS development. But we hope that DHS will release information about the specific ways these fee increases will support improvement of the system.
And we also caution the U.S. government against large fee increases, such as to the intern and trainee programs, and to other J-1 categories and visa programs. We don't want to discourage participation or take away from the accessibility of the EVP and other exchanges to diverse audiences.
After studying in France and teaching in China, Mark was hooked on cultural exchange. He's worked in the field of international education and exchange for more than 10 years, and is InterExchange's Vice President of External Affairs.