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

Fee Based Academic Communication and Culture Seminar

Educational Services for Students (ESS), offers a number of seminars and courses to enhance spoken English skills.

The Graduate Student Seminar: Academic Communication and Culture begins on August 8, 2016, right before Orientation.

This two-week seminar runs from August 8, 2016, and meets four hours per day for a total of 40 class hours. Included are class sessions to enhance spoken English skills, visits to local attractions, and a party with Americans from campus and the surrounding area. Students will also have access to free tutoring for spoken English.

Registration for this program is due by Wednesday, July 8, 2016. The program will fill quickly, so register soon.

There is a fee for this program. This fee does not include housing. Full payment is due the first day of class. Checks can be made out to Case Western Reserve University.

For more information and to register for this seminar, please email:

If you have questions, please call: (216.368.5230

New to campus? Need Airport pickup?

New to campus? Work with IFI-Cleveland as they offer airport pickups and short-term housing while you get things situated. Sign up on their website.

Help us help you!

Have you seen the International Student Success Series in these newsletters? Did you think the topics were interesting? What are some topics that you would be more interested in? Help us adjust the Success Series to offer things on campus that you NEED! More Career advice? How to use Public Transportation? Dialogues about food?

Email to join a focus group to discuss programming on campus.

STEM OPT Extension Information and Tips

If you're applying for a STEM OPT Extension, here are two great resources, prepared and provided by the government, with step-by-step instructions for completing the required Form I-983.

ISS Tips:

-The Form I-983 must be completed by both student and employer

-Complete page 6 only if

  • You have already been approved for a STEM Extension and
  • You have been working for the same employer for 12 months*

-Complete page 7 only if

  • You have already been approved for a STEM Extension and
  • You have been working for the same employer for 24 months

-Work done while on the first 12 months of OPT, prior to STEM approval, should not be included on this form.

If you have a question regarding your Form I-983, you can send the form to for an advisor to review. Review will take approximately 3-5 business days.

Incomplete I-983 Forms will be marked as "Denied" in OrgSync and students will have to resubmit their entire request with complete information.

Missed the Tax Filing Deadline?

Are your friends getting refund checks from the IRS? April 18 was the deadline to file your taxes; however, the IRS does allow for some returns to be filed past the deadline. Filing now, even if you're late, will help you avoid interest and penalties and it is your only opportunity to claim a refund (if applicable).

All individuals in the U.S. who have income must file a U.S. tax return and all individuals in F, J, M, and Q immigration (including spouse and young children) are required to file a Form 8843 – Statement for Exempt Individuals as long as they are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes.

Information about filing your taxes is always available on our website

Access to Glacier Tax Prep (GTP) is still available if you need assistance with filing your 2015 tax forms.

confused face
Forgot to Get a Travel Signature Before Leaving Campus?

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 ( 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!

in-person OPT workshops
OPT Workshops- Summer Sessions Offered

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.

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.

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!