International Student Voice, an online and hard-copy magazine is looking for international students that are interested in the upcoming US presidential election. Do you have some role as a volunteer? Do you share your thoughts on social media? Are you fact-checking speeches? If you are involved in any capacity, the magazine would love to hear from you! Email email@example.com if interested.
On July 11, in the daily, the university announced a significant reduction in on-campus operations from Monday, July 18 through Thursday, July 21.
During this time, the Office of International Student Services will be closed. Tomlinson Hall will be closed and the paperwork that we need will be inaccessible to us. There will be no staff in the office to answer phones or meet with students and our ability to respond to emails will be very limited. If you had planned to visit our office during this time, please adjust your plans so that staff members are fully available to assist you. In the event of an emergency, please contact CWRU PD at 216.368.3300 and dispatch will contact a staff member.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us before our office closes at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 15.
If you forget to get a travel signature before leaving campus, don't panic! ISS will be available to help you year round, except when the university is closed. Check our website calendar for information about our availability.
To resolve this problem, first get in touch with ISS by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and explain that you've forgotten to get a travel signature. The ISS staff person that works with you will advise you to send your I-20 or DS-2019 to our office to get a travel signature. When we receive it, we'll sign it immediately and contact you by email to offer your return mailing options- either FedEx (this is a nonrefundable expense to you) or standard mail (free of charge but can take 4-6 weeks for delivery and the package is not traceable). We will not send your I-20 or DS-2019 until we receive a response from you and we will not give your I-20 or DS-2019 to anyone else to send to you.
If you're unable to send the I-20 or DS-2019 to our office for an updated signature, be prepared to receive an I-515A from the officer at US Customs. The I-515A is temporary admission to the US and you must comply with the requirements of the form in order to return to good standing. This is an extremely time sensitive process so you must work with ISS staff immediately upon your return to Cleveland to resolve this situation. Failure to handle this properly could result in the government terminating your student visa status.
If you have other questions or concerns, be sure to explain them to the advisor that you begin working with and continue to work only with that advisor until your issue is resolved.
And remember, ISS should be your first point of contact whenever you have questions or problems regarding your visa status. Never attempt to resolve a problem with your I-20 without first contacting our office as there may be very serious consequences for your actions. We're here to help!
ISS will be offering 4 final in-person workshops- one in May, one in June, 2 in July- for any Spring* or Summer 2016 graduates who were unable to complete a workshop earlier in the Spring semester. The finalized schedule will be available on our website calendar- check back regularly- and registration will be open on OrgSync. The online module will not relaunch until sometime in August.
Being well informed about OPT before you apply is a must. ISS feels very strongly about this, which is why we require all students to complete a workshop as part of the application process. ISS will not accept OPT applications from students who have not completed a workshop.
For more information about ISS policies and recommendations regarding OPT as well as your responsibilities as students in completing a workshop, please visit our website.
*Based on Federal Regulations, students are not eligible for OPT if they apply more than 60 days after graduation. Spring graduates must plan accordingly to complete one of the first 3 scheduled in-person workshops to maintain eligibility for OPT.
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.
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!