From: International Student Services
Date: December 9, 2020
Subject: ISS News, December 9, 2020: End of Semester Reminders, Holiday Hours, Scam Alert, Important Tax Information, Waiver of Registration, Good Vibes, & More!


December 9, 2020


in this issue:

  1. End of Semester Reminders
  2. OPT & STEM OPT Students- Follow These Simple Steps for Reporting Updates
  3. Important Tax Info: Make Sure You Get Your W-2
  4. Features
  5. Other Opportunities
  6. Good Vibes Only
  7. Prepare for Final Exam Success
  8. Sprintax Tax Webinar for International Students
  9. Holiday Hours
  10. Beware of Scams
  11. GRADS: Waiver of Registration Information


ISS Staff is available to students, without an appointment, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday during advising hours:

11am to 3pm- through virtual advising available online

There are no advising hours on Wednesday.


If you need to speak with an advisor outside of our advising hours, please send an email to to schedule an appointment. Please provide your full, legal name and a brief description of the nature of your appointment when you contact us.

keep calm the semester is about to end meme

End of Semester Reminders

If you have thoughts about traveling abroad during the break, be sure to ask yourself these question:

Do I need to extend my I-20 or DS-2019? If you do, read more under the Frequently Asked Questions Section.

Do I need to transfer my F-1 or J-1 SEVIS Record? If you do, read more under the Frequently Asked Questions Section.

Do I need to get a new travel signature on my I-20 or DS-2019?  If you do, you can read about that process and other factors related to travel and reentry for F-1 and J-1 students.


  • check the validity of the visa in your passport. US Embassies and Consulates have limited services available and there could be significant delays in visa issuances.  This delay could significantly affect your ability to return to the United States.
  • be aware of travel restrictions.  Travel restrictions are changing as the situation with COVID-19 evolves.  Unless travel restrictions loosen or lift entirely, it could be very difficult to leave your country and/or enter the United States.
  • make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times.  Many government agencies are reducing and suspending services. Passport issuance could be an issue in your home country.  Please prepare as early as possible if you need to apply for a new passport.

Do you have more questions that you need help answering? Get in touch with ISS staff during advising hours or by email before you leave campus.

opt wordle

OPT & STEM OPT Students- Follow These Simple Steps for Reporting Updates

Reporting related to your personal contact and employment information is a critical part of maintaining status while authorized for either OPT or STEM OPT. Here are instructions for you to follow to ensure that both ISS and the U.S. Government receive the information that they need. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your visa status is protected!

ISS Availability in December While Working Remotely

ISS began working remotely on Monday, November 30 and will continue to support students while working remotely until January 4, 2021. As plans evolve, ISS will continue to provide updates through email and update website content as needed. To read more about our services while working remotely, please review the message sent on November 23.

Please also take note that the university will be closed Thursday, December 24 - Friday, January 1. ISS staff will not be available during this period.

ISS and the university will resume operating hours on Monday, January 4, 2021

scam spelled out on keyboard

Beware of Scams

There are quite a few employment scams going around right now.  In some instances, the scammer is sending an email that appears to be coming from a CWRU staff or faculty member!  Never give any of your personal information (date of birth, social security number, address, etc.) through an email like this or pay any fees or buy any supplies.

ISS wants to make sure that international students are aware of these scams and know how to protect themselves.  Visit our website for more information.

prepare for final exam success infographic
w-2 image

Important Tax Info: Make Sure You Get Your W-2

Every year, ALL individuals in F and J status must file taxes- including spouses, young children- even if they haven't earned any income!

The W-2 is a critical document for properly filing taxes. Every year between January and February, the university generates W-2 documents for individuals who have earned income from CWRU.

When your W-2 is generated, it's sent to your Permanent Address as listed in SIS. Please take a moment to verify that your correct Permanent Address is listed in SIS (make any updates as needed by December 15) to ensure that you'll receive your W-2.

If your Permanent Address is current, but you would prefer to have your W-2 sent to another address, it is necessary for you to include that address under the W-2 Override option in SIS no later than December 15. Using the W-2 Override function will maintain the integrity of your Permanent Address information and ensure that you receive your W-2 at the different, preferred address.

Please contact Payroll if you have questions about receiving your W-2.

Sprintax logo

Sprintax Tax Webinar for International Students
December 10, 2pm EST

This open webinar will aim to prepare the nonresident international population for the 2020 tax filing season ahead and will go through the core principles of nonresident tax for 2020 as well as a short overview of using Sprintax towards the end.

Anyone who registers for the webinar with Sprintax will also receive a recording. Access the webinar early as there is a cap on attendees.

don't forget written on post it notes

Grads: Waiver of Registration Information

If you are a graduate student planning to submit a Waiver of Registration , it is essential that you understand the impact of this decision on your visa status. The Waiver of Registration is an administrative process of the university, but does not fulfill federal regulations that stipulate a requirement to be properly registered at all times. Proper registration is required to maintain your visa status and if you are not properly registered, you need to take other steps to maintain your visa status.

Keep in mind:

  • By virtue of submitting a Waiver of Registration, ISS is obligated to shorten the length of your I-20 to reflect the Drop/Add deadline. Your legal status in the US actually becomes shorter because it is now based on this Drop/Add deadline rather than your future intended graduation date.
  • In order to maintain your visa status after submitting a Waiver of Registration, you must, in a timely manner, either apply for OPT or make arrangements to begin a new academic program.

OPT applications must be submitted within the 60 day grace period following the new Drop/Add deadline. Don't forget, it takes an average of 90-120 days for an OPT application to be processed. If you wait too long to apply, you're not likely going to be authorized for your full 12 months of OPT.

If you intend to begin another academic program, to maintain your current F-1 status (and SEVIS record), your new academic program must start within 5 months of the Drop/Add deadline. Any program beginning later than 5 months will result in you falling out of status.

If you do not intend to maintain your status either through OPT or continued education, you are required to leave the United States within 60 days of the Drop/Add deadline. Remaining in the US beyond the 60 day grace period can have extremely negative consequences such as fines and being barred from the US in the future.

Please get in touch with ISS if you have additional questions or concerns. We are here to help!


CLE Bucket List Flyer
tink in winter

Winter Programming and Information

Although much of the Case Western Reserve University student community will be finishing the semester remotely, the university will still be providing events, activitiessupport resourcesdining options and some facility access to students who are staying on/nearby campus for all or part of the winter break.

Other Opportunities

cle leadership center logo


Way Forward Leader Lunch Break

The Cleveland Leadership Center is providing a Special College Student Edition of our Way Forward Leader Lunch Break on Wednesday, December 9th from 12:00-12:30pm. The Way Forward Leader Lunch Breaks are a series of virtual (via Zoom) discussion and workshops on topics to help you move forward in our new and uncertain world.

This will be the first of 4 sessions in a free College Series this December and January! Register here.

College students in the CLE: What to do for Winter Break
Make the most of your Winter Break by getting connected with Cleveland! Discover new ways to experience our city while you’re home and find a variety of opportunities to get involved in some of the great things happening across our region.

Speaker: David Gilbert (LC 2001), President & CEO, Destination Cleveland


Good Vibes Only

During this very challenging time, ISS staff wants you to know that we are thinking about you- hoping you are safe, healthy, staying positive- and sending out good vibes!

In this section, we are including some things that we hope will make you laugh and smile, help you relax, be entertaining, give you something to do, etc.

This is a good vibes only section!

colorful toothpaste explosion

He's taken on a squirrel, porch pirates, and now he creates the world's largest devil's toothpaste explosion!