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 make an appointment, please either call the office, stop by in person, or email

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

Sustained Dialogue about International Experiences

Sustained Dialogue is all about Dialogue - talking to people about subjects that you may want to change in your surroundings. It is from Sustained Dialogue that ideas like Diversity 360, more available counselors, graduate student surveys, professional development opportunities and more, were established on campus.

What do you want to change about your academic environment?

What issues do you think are not being addressed on campus?

If any of these thoughts have come to your mind, consider joining a special group of Sustained Dialogue that is forming now for undergraduate international students and students who have studied abroad. This session will meet weekly throughout Spring semester and at the end of the semester will present an idea to change campus to campus leadership.

Email for more information

I-20 Alert!
URGENT! Pick up your New I-20 TODAY!

All students MUST pick up their newly issued I-20s from ISS! New I-20s have been prepared and every F-1 student visa holder at CWRU should have received an email notification requesting that they pick up their I-20 from ISS.

If you haven't picked up your I-20 yet, you need to do so as soon as possible! Being in possession of a current I-20 is essential to maintaining visa status. Students who do not pick up their new I-20s are jeopardizing their legal presence in the US!

Visit ISS during business hours to collect your new I-20.

Be sure to request a travel signature if you're planning to go abroad during winter break.

This new I-20 is your active immigration document and the one you should present whenever asked for a copy of your I-20; however, do not throw away any of your previously issued I-20s. Your I-20s, both in the old and new format, are a history of your visa status in the US; you may need to present copies of these in the future. Keep them safe but accessible.

If you have any questions, be sure to collect your new I-20 during walk-in hours when an advisor will be available to assist you.

Mandarin Speaking Volunteer Opportunity

Every year for the holidays, members of the Church of the Covenant visit Goodrich-Gannet Community Service, bringing a lunch and wrapped gifts from their "Giving Tree" holiday donation campaign. Most community members are of extremely limited resources and this may be their only gift of the holiday season.

A number of the guests speak Mandarin Chinese, but little English, and thus cannot fully enjoy the event. Church of the Covenant is seeking two Mandarin-speaking volunteers who would be willing to join the church members in order to interpret.

This year's visit is December 10, from about 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a Covenant member would provide transportation from campus to the Community Center.

Email Eileen Viz, Chaplain for Students, if you're interested in helping out this holiday season

Happy Thanksgiving!
ISS' Thanksgiving Hours

On behalf of the Office of International Students (ISS) in the Center for International Affairs, we want to wish all students a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope you enjoy the short break from class and are able to spend time with family and friends celebrating this American tradition and making it one of your own.

ISS and the Center for International Affairs will be closing at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25 and the entire university will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27. Normal business hours will resume on Monday, November 30. Please plan your visit to ISS accordingly, especially if you need to pick up your new I-20 or request a travel signature for this break or the upcoming winter break.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

end of semester reminders
End of Fall Semester Reminders

If you're not planning to graduate in May 2016, but you have a January 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 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday- 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) to discuss this simple process.

It's best to submit your extension request by mid- November to ensure that everything is processed before your document expires and you depart for Winter Break. 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 I-20 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 the second page of your new format I-20* (if you are in F-1 status) or the lower right side of your DS-2019 (if you are in J-1 status) to see when your document was last signed. A travel signature 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 come to ISS for a travel signature during walk-in hours.

*All F-1 students are being issued new I-20s in the government's new design. Be sure to collect yours promptly when ISS notifies you by email.


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 seal
UPDATE: DHS Proposes New Rule for OPT STEM Extension

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted a proposed rule for publication to the Federal Register. This is in response to the court decision made in August 2015 that determined DHS to have improperly enacted the regulation creating the 17 month STEM OPT extension in April 2008. DHS was given until February 12, 2016 to correct this situation by properly introducing and implementing a STEM OPT extension regulation. The proposal of this new rule is a first step!

DHS is encouraging comments from US higher learning institutions on the proposed regulations related to optional practical training (OPT) for certain F-1 nonimmigrant students with designated STEM degrees. The comment period will be open through November 18, 2015.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does this decision go into effect?

The court decision is effective February 12, 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.

Is it possible for the Department of Homeland Security to fix this by February 12?

Yes, it is legally possible for DHS to issue a proper regulation before the February deadline. DHS has not yet commented or provided information about their plans, but ISS will update you with new information as it becomes available.

What will happen after February 12, 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 publically 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 the government service centers.

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 applications just as the government service centers 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 applications as usual. Be sure that you complete a required OPT workshop and apply within the proper time frame. More information about ISS' policies regarding OPT is available on our website.

sample SEVP letter
All F-1 Students: Notice of Unpaid I-901 (SEVIS) fee

A current F-1 student issued a Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status," after Sept. 1, 2004, must have a valid SEVIS I-901 Fee payment in the SEVIS record to comply with established federal regulations and policy regarding the maintenance of nonimmigrant student status.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will be mailing a second round of notices (a sample letter is shown here) to F students who do not have a valid SEVIS I-901 Fee payment in their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record. Students will be given 30 days to make a payment or SEVP will terminate the student's SEVIS record. If you receive a notice from SEVP, comply with the notice as soon as possible to protect your visa status.

SEVP will be sending ISS an email with information pertaining to any students that need to submit a fee payment. ISS will notify affected students by email as a courtesy; however, it is ultimately the students' responsibility to comply with these regulations in a timely manner.

If you receive a letter and have any questions, please email SEVP directly at