The Office of International Student Services (ISS) is located in 143 Tomlinson and open all year, Monday through Friday, except for university holidays.

ISS staff is available to students in-person and by phone only during Walk-In Hours.

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday - 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • No walk-in hours on Wednesday

If you need to speak or meet with an advisor outside of our walk-in hours, please send an email to to schedule an appointment. Please make sure to include your full name, degree, and program of study. 

For more information about Walk-in Hours visit the Information for Students quicklink.

ISS Events

Newsletter Archive

Browse our newsletter archives for news, events and announcements you may have missed!

Promoting Intercultural Exchange at Case

The mission of the Office of International Student Services (ISS) is to enhance the international student experience and promote intercultural exchange at CWRU.

We can assist you with:

  • Immigration matters
  • Intercultural exchange opportunities
  • Leadership resources and programs
  • Understanding the social and academic culture at CWRU and in the US.

Read more about ISS and the services we provide.

[RSS] News + Announcements

How to Request a Cap-Gap I-20

If you've properly filed for a change of status to H-1B or been selected to receive an H-1B, you may be eligible for the cap-gap extension. To qualify for the H-1B cap-gap extension you must have:

  • timely filed your petition
  • requested an employment start date of October 1 of the current year
  • requested a change of status
  • ·not violated the terms or conditions of your current F-1 status

The cap-gap extension automatically extends a student's duration of status (time period during which an F-1 student is legally present) in the United States. If a student is on a period of valid post-completion OPT at the time the H-1B petition is filed, employment authorization is also extended. For students who complete their period of valid post-completion OPT and are on their 60 day grace period at the time the H-1B petition is timely filed, their duration of status will also be extended, but does not extend any kind of work authorization during that time.

ISS can help you obtain a cap-gap I-20 if you meet all of the above criteria. Below is some information about our policies for creating your cap-gap I-20.

Please be aware that ISS is not provided any advanced notification of an H-1B petition being selected. SEVIS only contains H-1B information once the USCIS system called CLAIMS properly updates it. ISS will not check a student's petition status in SEVIS until they've been provided with a receipt notice or receipt number. By that time, CLAIMS should have properly updated SEVIS and ISS can create the cap-gap I-20.

ISS' ability to generate a cap-gap I-20 is completely dependent on the SEVIS record being properly updated by USCIS' CLAIMS. Cap-gap functionality in SEVIS is directly linked to information being properly transferred from CLAIMS and a student's SEVIS record indicating that the petition is either pending or approved. When the transfer of information and functionality are working properly, a cap-gap I-20 can be provided within about 5 business days. To initiate the request for your cap-gap I-20:

  • Visit our homepage and click on the Quick Link called Report a Change in Visa Status. Please be very mindful of both your timing of this request and the timing that ISS requires to process the required paperwork for you!
  • Complete the electronic form and upload all of the necessary materials. ISS must have these items on file in order to process your request.
  • Wait to hear from ISS. This is an extremely busy time in our office and we appreciate your patience!

In cases where a student has received either receipt information or an approval notice for the H-1B petition but CLAIMS has not properly updated the SEVIS record, an I-20 cannot be generated by ISS since the option to create the I-20 is actually not available in the computer system. A manual update to fix the data must be requested by ISS. These data fixes can take several weeks, even months, before they're resolved and before ISS will initiate one, the student must discuss the process with an advisor.

Once ISS is able to prepare a student's cap-gap I-20, an advisor will send an email when it's ready. If ISS is unable to prepare the cap-gap I-20 for any reason, an advisor will contact the student via email to discuss next steps.

International Graduation Celebration!

The Center for International Affairs invites you and a guest to join us for a celebratory brunch honoring CWRU international student graduates.

If you have not already confirmed your attendance for the International Graduation Celebration on May 14, you can still come. Also, if you would like to invite a faculty member or your advisor to join you at the celebration, please feel free to forward this invitation asking them to use the link below to reserve a ticket.

We look forward to celebrating with you!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Tinkham Veale Ballroom A

Case Western Reserve University

Remarks by Special Guest Mayor Frank G. Jackson, City of Cleveland

Tickets are required and will not be available at the door. Seating is limited*.


*If you need additional tickets, please contact the Center for International Affairs at:

good luck with finals
Happy Finals!
...and We're Here to help

The University Counseling Services (UCS) staff and hundreds of student service professionals across our campus are ready to help students through finals. They can help you prepare a strategic study plan or a "damage-control" approach if things have not gone as well as you had hoped. Connect with your faculty advisor or stop by Educational Services for Students or Undergraduate Studies for some advice. Not feeling well? Connect with our University Health Service staff. The university community is ready to help!

Summer schedule
ISSNews Summer Schedule

Over the summer, ISS will continue to publish and send ISSNews to all international students, but not every Wednesday since campus activities slow significantly during this time of year; however, please continue to check your CWRU email regularly and read through any ISSNews publications that we do send out. They will include information that is important to be aware of as student visa holders!

ISS will resume its weekly ISSNews publication in August. Enjoy your summer and we look forward to seeing you all in the Fall!

Beware: IRS Phone Scams

Phone scams are common around tax time and ISS wants to make sure that international students know what to do. If you receive a phone call from someone saying that taxes are owed and threatening arrest, this is a scam. The call may sound legitimate because the caller provides an "officer" name and badge number or offers to transfer the call to someone posing as a consular official, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) NEVER collects funds by phone like this. If you receive such a call, NEVER provide any bank information.

Please report any scam to ISS so that we can help address your questions, concerns, and take steps to prevent this from happening to other international students.

ESS Spoken English Seminar (Fee based)

The ESS Spoken English Seminar is a non-credit course for graduate and professional students who would like to enhance their spoken English skills.

Now open to Research Scholars and Fellows.

(There is a fee for this course)

10 classes (5 weeks)

Pronunciation Diagnostic Assessment Included.

Topics covered:

  • Pronunciation
  • Fluency
  • Conversation Skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Vocabulary and Idioms

We will work with you to plan classes that fit your schedule.

Summer 2015: Classes begin the week of May 9, 2016

To register, please stop by Sears 470 by May 5 or contact:

Sarah Dellinger

Assistant Director of Spoken English Programs

Sears 466


Phone: 216.368.3059

STEM OPT Regulation Change

On March 11, 2016, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new regulations that replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension with a 24-month STEM OPT extension for F-1 students who are in approved STEM fields. STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields of study. The new regulations will become active on May 10, 2016.

Some of the exciting highlights of the new regulation include:

  • A STEM extension increase from 17 months to 24 months,
  • Stronger academic ties to the OPT job site, in the form of a required active training plan, and
  • More defined definitions as to what types of work experiences qualify.

As with any new regulation, there can be misinformation and confusion regarding eligibility and process, especially during the transition from an old regulation to a new. The Office of International Student Services (ISS) has provided comprehensive information regarding the regulation changes on our website. We encourage students to read about the changes and the support that ISS provides to you as you apply for a STEM extension of your OPT.

Students who are preparing for their STEM OPT extension should contact ISS soon to determine which new forms are needed. Except in certain circumstances, we recommend that students preparing their application delay filing their STEM OPT extension request until the regulations change on May 10, 2016.

If you are currently on a STEM OPT extension, you have the option of applying for the additional 7 months of OPT, but you must apply within 150 days of your employment authorization document (EAD) card expiring. Most likely, you will need to apply for the additional 7 months as close to the May 10, 2016 date as possible.

We understand that each of you has unique circumstances, and we want to help all of our students enjoy the benefits of being an F-1 student, including the benefit of working post-graduation. Please refer to this chart to understand how your particular situation should be handled so that you get the best and longest time out of your OPT. After you have had the opportunity to review the resources provided, we encourage you to contact our office with any questions regarding your specific circumstances.

Our office will also be hosting an information session about the new STEM extension regulations, to allow students to learn more about these regulations, and to ask any questions they might have. The session will be Thursday, May 5, from 4:30-6 p.m., in the Toepfer Room in Adelbert Hall. We will also provide a way for students not able to attend the session in person to watch the session remotely. Look for more information on this session in an upcoming ISSNews email.

Please understand that not all of the procedures have been finalized, although the rule is final. As we learn new parts of the ruling and gather the correct forms, we will share this information with you.

We are excited about the possibilities that this new regulations can bring to our students. Please let us know how we can continue to be helpful as you meet your academic and career goals.

Update: USCIS Reaches H-1B Cap

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption

end of semester
End of Semester Reminders


If you're not planning to graduate in May 2016, but you have a May 2016 expiration date on your immigration document (either I-20 or DS-2019), you need to extend the validity of the document before it expires to properly maintain your visa status. Visit ISS during walk-in hours to discuss this simple process.

It's best to submit your extension request by mid-April to ensure that everything is processed before your document expires. If your document expires, that's a violation of your visa status and there's no way for ISS to help you resolve it. You'll need to exit the US immediately and make arrangements from abroad to obtain a new immigration document from ISS and possibly a new visa stamp in your passport. To ensure a smooth process, please work with ISS as soon as possible to obtain an extended immigration document!


If you plan to travel outside of the U.S. during the break, please be sure to check your I-20 (if you are in F-1 status) or your DS-2019 (if you are in J-1 status) to see when your document was last signed. A travel signature, which is required for reentry to the U.S., is valid for up to one year with just two exceptions: (1.) If you will be traveling to Canada, you should have a travel signature that is no more than six months old. (2.) If you are currently approved for post-completion OPT, a travel signature is valid for only six months. Please visit ISS for a travel signature during walk-in hours.


Many students think that their passport and visa documents are needed only when traveling abroad. WRONG! If you are planning a trip within the United States by car, bus, train or airplane, to U.S. cities near or far, it is essential that you have your passport and visa documents with you (in a very safe place, of course!). In recent years, there has been heightened security not only at all border crossings, but also at bus terminals, train terminals, and airports throughout the United States. International students may be stopped and questioned randomly. Therefore, students should have their passport, visa documents (I-94 printout and properly signed SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019), and Case student ID card with them for ALL distance travel. A person without valid travel documents can be arrested, threatened with deportation and taken into Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody. We certainly don't want any of these things to happen to you!


Before sailing off on vacation, be sure to refer to this very important information. There are many things to consider as an international student when it comes to taking a cruise!

dhs logo
UPDATE: DHS Submits Proposed OPT STEM Rule for Review

If you're following the Washtech (Washington Alliance of Technology Workers) case and considering the future of the OPT STEM extension, then you know that a judge has ruled that the STEM extension would be eliminated unless DHS implements new regulations by February 12, 2016.

DHS completed its review of the comments received on the proposed STEM OPT rule, and on February 5, 2016, they sent the final STEM OPT rule to OMB review, which is the last step before the rule is published in the Federal Register. DHS had previously announced an intention to have an effective date 60 days after the Federal Register publication date. Assuming a 60-day effective date, the final rule would have to be published in the Federal Register by about March 10, 2016 to accommodate the May 10, 2016 vacatur date of the current rule. We will monitor progress of the rule and update NAFSA's STEM OPT rule page ( with news as we receive it.

Interested in tracking the final STEM OPT rule yourself? Here's how:

  • To monitor the rule's progress at OMB, go to the EO 12866 Regulatory Review page at
  • Right now, under "Regulations under EO 12866 Review," you'll find reference to the STEM OPT rule under the Department of Homeland Security, and see that it was received on February 5, 2016.
  • When OMB finishes its review, reference to the rule will be moved to the "Regulatory Review Completed in Last 30 Days" box, again under the Department of Homeland Security.
  • After OMB completes its review, the rule will be sent back to DHS so it can submit it to the Office of the Federal Register for publication.
  • One day before it is published in the Federal Register, a public inspection copy will be available on the Federal Register's Public Inspection page at
  • On the following day of publication, the rule will be available in its final form on the Federal Register's Current Issue page at

As more information becomes available, ISS will certainly continue providing updates. In the meantime, ISS wants to continue to reassure you that this next step has no immediate impact on OPT and STEM OPT. If you are currently on OPT or STEM OPT, you should continue working and continue to maintain status by promptly reporting employment and address changes to our office through the Quick Links system. ISS will continue to process new OPT and STEM OPT applications as usual.


When does this decision go into effect?

The court decision is effective May 10, 2016. Until that time or until a new regulation is issued, the current regulation is in effect. ISS will continue to accept and process applications for OPT and STEM OPT as usual.

What will happen after May 10, 2016?

We don't know at this time. We are waiting for DHS' response and will continue to watch the situation closely. Updates will be provided publicly to all students through our website and newsletters as soon as we have information to share.

I am currently working on OPT. What does this mean for me?

You should continue working and continue to maintain status by promptly reporting employment and address changes to our office through the Quick Links system on our website.

I am currently working on STEM OPT extension. How does this affect me?

You should continue working and continue to maintain status by promptly reporting employment and address changes to our office through the Quick Links system on our website.

My application for OPT or STEM OPT extension is pending. How does this decision affect my application?

OPT and STEM OPT applications are being reviewed and processed as usual by USCIS.

My 12 month OPT time is ending soon, and I was planning to apply for the STEM OPT extension. Can I still apply?

Yes, ISS will continue to process new STEM OPT I-20s for your STEM Extension applications just as the USCIS will continue to receive and authorize the applications of eligible students.

I am a current student who will be graduating soon. What does this ruling mean for me?

ISS will continue to process new OPT I-20s as usual. Be sure that you attend the mandatory OPT workshop and apply within the proper time frame. More information about ISS' policies regarding OPT is available on our website.

For more information: