SEVIS fee coming

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International students and scholars visiting the United States will soon have to pay a $100 fee to register in the Homeland Security Department's information system.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials will publish a rule in the Federal Register July 1 regarding implementation of the fee for foreign exchange students registering in the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The fee, set to take effect Sept. 1, is meant to cover administrative and maintenance costs for the system.

Officials proposed the fee in October 2003. SEVIS has not received funding since fiscal 2002, and the $36 million provided then did not cover maintenance and enforcement, DHS officials have said.

Officials said the fee will also fund the establishment of a group of liaison officers to help school administrators and students use SEVIS. The system has experienced technical glitches, but DHS officials said there have been constant improvements.

"The new fee payment procedure is a continuation of our commitment to manage a system that enhances the integrity of America's immigration system while facilitating the legal entry of legitimate international students and scholars into the United States," Jill Drury, director of the Student Exchange Visitor Program, said in a statement.

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