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Applying for Student Status in the US

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Canadian Citizens do not need visas to study in the US. However, you do need to obtain an I-20 (or DS-2019) Certificate of Eligibility from the university that you plan to attend. At the time you receive the I-20 (or DS-2019) you will be registered with SEVIS, the student tracking system. You will be assigned a SEVIS number, and be required to pay a registration fee.

When you cross the border to study you will need to provide the Officer at the port of entry:

  • Proof of identity and citizenship (a Canadian passport)
  • The original I-20 (or DS-2019) certificate
  • Proof that you have paid your SEVIS fee
  • Proof that you have the funds to pay for the school that you plan to attend
  • Proof of your ties to Canada

What is the primary purpose of the SEVIS I-901 fee?

The SEVIS I-901 fee is mandated by Congress to support the program office and the automated system that keeps track of students and exchange visitors and ensures that they maintain their status while in the United States. Each student or exchange visitor issued an initial Form I-20 or DS-2019 on or after October 27, 2008, is responsible for paying this fee to SEVP.

The fee is used to:

  • Maintain and update SEVIS
  • Hire and train SEVIS Liaison Officers
  • Staff and manage the SEVP Office to:
    • Support the current version of SEVIS and develop and deploy the next generation of SEVIS
    • Develop SEVP policies and procedures
    • Offer SEVIS-related training, assistance and problem resolution to the schools and exchange visitor program sponsors
    • Maintain enforcement oversight to ensure that:
    • Schools are maintaining accurate, timely information
    • Students or exchange visitors who fail to maintain status either leave the United States or apply for reinstatement

The SEVIS fee may be paid by the applicant, by a sponsor or by a third party. The fee is paid to the Department of Homeland Security in the United States. It cannot be paid at the Embassy or U.S. Consulate.

The SEVIS fee receipt is valid for twelve months. If your application is refused, you may reapply using this fee receipt provided it is within twelve months of the initial payment.

For more detailed information, including online payment options, please visit

Since the purpose of the SEVIS registration is to keep track of students entering the US, the schools at which the students are registered are mandated to track student activity. The information they must report includes:

  • Name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, source and amount of financial resources, academic program, level of study, program start and end dates
  • Enrollment or failure to enroll (students), arrival or failure to arrive and undertake duties (scholars)
  • A change of the student, scholar or dependent's legal name or address
  • Graduation prior to the end date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019
  • Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to criminal conviction
  • Registration for less than a full course of study without prior authorization from the OISS (students)
  • Failure to maintain status or complete the academic program or program objective
  • Unauthorized employment
  • Termination date and reason for termination
  • Other data generated by standard procedures such as program extension, school transfer, change in level of study, employment authorization, and reinstatement

So while Canadian citizens wanting to study in the US have a relatively easy process to follow, since an actual study visa is not required, there are still important steps to take to ensure that all the required documents are in place. Don't skip any steps, and ask for the help of a professional education advisor if you are uncertain of what do to.


Last modified on Monday, 02 January 2012 12:17
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United States of America

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Form of government: Federal Republic

Population: 318,892,103 (July 2014 est.)

Capital: Washington

Area: 9, 826, 630 km2, 3, 794, 083 sq mi

Largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia

Ethnic groups: White 83,4%, African American 12,4%, Asian 3,4%, Native American 0,8%

Languages: English (official), Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, and others

Religious affiliations: Protestant 56%, Roman Catholic 27%, Jewish 2%, Nonreligious 8%, Other 7%

Education expenditure as a share of gross national product (GDP): 5.4% of GDP (2010)

Number of years of compulsory schooling: 12 years (2007)

Monetary unit: 1 United States dollar (US$), consisting of 100 cents

Economy: Agriculture Cattle (dairy products, corn, soybeans, vegetables, broiler chickens, fruits and nuts, greenhouse and nursery products, hogs, wheat, cotton) Forestry, Fishing, Mining (natural gas, petroleum, coal, materials used in construction, gold, copper, clays, iron ore, lime, salt, phosphate rock, zinc, magnesium, boron, potassium salts, lead, silver), Manufacturing (chemicals, transportation equipment, food products, industrial machinery, electronic equipment, printed materials, fabricated metal products), Services

Major trade partners for exports: Canada, Mexico, Japan, United Kingdom, and Germany

Major trade partners for imports: Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, and Germany

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