From: International Student Services
Date: February 3, 2021
Subject: ISS News, February 3, 2021: Registration & Check-In, Lunar New Year, Tax Information, Calls for Nominations, Career Fairs, Social Security Number Info, Working on Campus, Professional Development Opportunities, Good Vibes Super Bowl Edition, & So Much Mor


February 3, 2021


in this issue:

  1. Registration & Your Visa Status
  2. Virtual Advising
  3. GRADS: Waiver of Registration Information
  4. Features
  5. Other Opportunities
  6. Good Vibes Only
  7. Working as an international Student
  8. Tax Information- Get Your W-2
  9. Check In with ISS
  10. Campus Happenings
  11. SEVP Guidance for Spring 2021
  12. USCIS Acknowledges Delays in Receipt Notices for OPT
  13. Sprintax Offers Tax Webinars to Prepare for Tax Filing Season 2020
  14. New Virtual Mental Health Options for CWRU Students- Wherever They Are
  15. CWRU Launches a New COVID-19 Website
  16. Students in Distant Time Zones
  17. Food Insecurity Resources
  18. Schedule an Appointment to Apply for SSN


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.

register spelled out with scrabble tiles

Registration & Your Visa Status

Welcome  [Back] Everyone!

As the university's deadline for the drop/add period approaches (it's next Friday!), ISS just wants to remind you that, as international students, you are required to be properly registered for a full-time course load while you're studying here at CWRU. This is mandatory by US Federal Regulations.  You can read more about SEVP's guidance for Spring 2021 on our website. There are very few exceptions to this rule and only ISS can determine whether or not you qualify for an exception. Never register for less than full-time or drop below a full-time courseload without first speaking with an advisor in ISS. This could have serious consequences, including termination, for your visa status.

We will be verifying each student's registration over the next several weeks. If we detect a problem with your registration or have questions, we will be contacting you by email. It's extremely important that you follow up with us promptly and work to quickly resolve the matter so that your visa status is not negatively impacted.

If you have questions, never hesitate to contact our office at or get in touch during advising hours!

Whether you're a new or continuing student, we're happy to have you here. We look forward to working with you while you study here at CWRU!

check in on a computer screen

Check In with ISS

If you are beginning a program at CWRU this semester or received a check-in message from ISS, you need to check in online as part of the process to maintain your visa status.

If you will be on campus this semester to begin your program, please access the Instructions on How to Check In with ISS and complete the process. Please note that you:

  • check in online AFTER you arrive in the US with your valid I-20 or DS-2019
  • can check in up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019
  • must check in by the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. If there is a delay, please notify us immediately

We cannot process any on-campus employment or Social Security Number paperwork until you have been checked in.

If you will not be coming to the United States this fall, are either attending courses entirely remotely (from either within the United States or abroad), and/or deferring your admission to a future semester, do not check in using the instructions above. Instead, please complete this survey by February 5.

Thank you for your attention and cooperation!

cwru sign on binary walk way

SEVP Guidance for Spring 2021

I wrote in December about the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP) would continue to apply its fall 2020 federal guidance through spring 2021. As a result, international students will be able to engage in distance learning that exceeds existing regulatory limits in light of the pandemic’s ongoing public health risks and safety concerns. 

ISS’ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates website now includes information about Spring 2021 SEVP Guidance.  Please take your time when reading this information and pay particular attention to how the status of your SEVIS record in Spring 2020, when the COVID-10 guidance was released, determines your options for maintaining status in Spring 2021.

We understand that this information is complicated and can affect students’ academic plans.  We also acknowledge that students may need assistance in evaluating their individual circumstances for maintaining status.  ISS is here to help.  Email your questions to and we will do our best to support you.

We hope you are enjoying a restful winter break and look forward to supporting you in 2021!

Best Regards,

Marielena Maggio, M.A.
Director, International Student Services, PDSO & ARO

world map with clocks to show time zones

Students in Distant Time Zones

Provost Vinson sent a message about the university's plan to address the academic challenges that living in distant time zones pose for our students.

Please be sure to review the message and to reach out for assistance if you need it.  Staff in ISS and many offices across campus are here to support you!

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CWRU Launches a New COVID-19 Website

The health and safety of the campus community is the university's priority. 

Visit the website to learn about the policies, procedures, and guidance in place to prevent spread as well as access resources and communications.

lab worker smiling

IMPORTANT: Working as an International Student

Found a job on campus? Thinking about gaining experience off-campus? Wondering what to do now? ISS is here to help!

ISS wants to remind all international students that you must be properly authorized to work by our office before you begin any kind of work.  NEVER WORK until you’ve finalized all processes with ISS.

It is very important that you follow all steps as described and do so in a timely manner. Failure to complete the required paperwork can result in you not being paid for work you've done, loss of work permission privileges, or even the termination of your visa status!

You will find a lot of helpful information about working on our website.

 And please remember, only ISS can advise you about employment and the impact it can have on your immigration status.

Schedule an Appointment to Apply for SSN

While Social Security offices are closed due to COVID-19, you will need to schedule an appointment to submit your application for the SSN.  ISS staff has spoken with staff at the Shaker Heights office and here is the protocol to follow:

  1. Call 1-877-635-3546, then press "2" as an option for the first menu, then press "0" to speak with a staff member.
  2. Tell the staff member that you would like to meet with a manager to apply for the SSN.  Managers are generally available on Monday and Tuesday mornings.
  3. The staff member will ask for your full, legal name to enter your appointment in the system. Speak very slowly and clearly.  It will be helpful to spell your name using examples ( C for Charlie, A for Apple, T for Turtle, etc.).
  4. A 30 minute appointment will be scheduled for you. You MUST be prompt.  ISS recommends that you arrive 5-10 minutes early.
  5. On the day of your appointment, you must have all of your documentation in order and completed:
  6. When you arrive for your appointment, go to the front door of the office, wearing a mask, and be ready to hand your completed paperwork to the manager.
  7. The manager will take your documents inside to process and return to let you know when everything is complete.
  8. You should expect to receive your SSN at the address that you list on your SS-5 when it is ready.

We hope this information is helpful to you.  If you need to visit a different Social Security Administration, you can find a location near you by visiting their website.  Call that office and ask what their SSN application process is.

virtual advising chat box

Chat with ISS Staff Online During Advising Hours

Have a question? Need Support? Connect with an ISS staff member during Virtual Advising.

Virtual Advising is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., EST. The chat box (it looks just like the picture) will be available on our website.

You can request an appointment to speak with an advisor by zoom or phone by emailing Please be prepared to briefly describe the nature of your appointment when you contact us so that we can prepare. Same-day appointments are not generally available; an appointment for the next business day is typically the earliest we can schedule.

Advisors are looking forward to chatting with you. We are here to help!

support spelled in scrabble tiles

New Virtual Mental Health Option for CWRU Students—Wherever They Are

CWRU has announced a new initiative to help ensure that students living outside of Ohio can access mental health care during these trying times called CWRU Care. CWRU Care is a 24/7 mental telehealth care service that undergraduate, graduate and professional students can access from wherever they are.

For more information about the program or to make an appointment, please visit

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!

box of food image

Food Insecurity Resources

If you know someone who is experiencing food insecurity, or a lack of access to good, please know that there this is help. The Dean of Students Office and campus partners have collaborated to create a website compiling resources available to CWRU students who may be food insecure. The website provides information about available resources, including services provided, location, hours and contact information. If you have questions or concerns about food insecurity or the resources available to help, please contact the Dean of Students office.

uscis logo

USCIS Acknowledges Delays in Receipt Notices for OPT

ISS has been hearing from many students who are concerned, and rightfully so, about not having received their receipt notices for OPT applications that they submitted in November and through the end of 2020. While ISS staff hope our responses have been reassuring- that this is a known issue with USCIS that is affecting students nationwide and not likely something wrong with your personal application- we can now share that USCIS very recently provided an update about their significant delays in issuing receipt notices. You can read USCIS's memo here.  We hope this means that these known issues will be resolved soon and processing will speed up.

We know that these unprecedented delays may continue to cause students stress.  International education professionals are working together to make sure that USCIS understands how this is affecting students.  NAFSA, a professional organization dedicated to international education and student advocacy, is in contact with the USCIS Ombudsman's Office about this situation.

If it has been 30 days since your application was received, you may choose to:

Be sure to keep confirmation of your application's delivery. This delivery date is very important because OPT/STEM OPT Extension deadlines are linked to the date USCIS receives your application, not the date you receive your Receipt Notice. 

If you receive any letters from USCIS, please email a pdf of the letter to so that staff can assist you as needed.  If you have additional questions, you are always welcome to contact ISS!

w-2 image

Tax Information: Get Your W-2

If you worked and got paid during the previous calendar year, you should receive a W-2 from your employer within the next several weeks. This W-2 is required to file taxes, which all persons in the US (international students too!) must do by April 18. More information about how to file your taxes will be made available on the ISS website in mid to late February. It is currently unavailable.

Current Students: If you worked at CWRU and got paid during last calendar year, the university will generate your W-2 and send it to the US W-2 address you listed in the Student Information System (SIS). You must make sure that that address is listed in SIS to ensure that your W-2 is sent to the proper address.

Alumni: If you received payment from CWRU during the last calendar year, you must also make sure that your address is properly listed in SIS to receive the W-2.

If you have not received your W-2, you'll need to contact Payroll by email to request an appointment to pick up your W-2 in person.

More information:

Sprintax logo

Sprintax Offers Tax Webinars to Prepare for Tax Filing Season 2020 

ISS partners with Sprintax to provide international students, who are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes, with expert assistance when filing their US taxes.

The Sprintax team will be hosting a series of free open tax webinars to provide helpful information around non-resident tax filing obligations.

You can find the details and registration links below for each (these are all in EST). 

The informational webinars will cover the same topics on each occasion:

  • An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
  • Who must file a 2020 US tax return
  • What income forms students/scholars may receive
  • Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS
  • We cover terms like FICA, ITIN and Form 1098-T
  • What happens if students don’t file, or misfile
  • State tax returns
  • IRS stimulus payments
  • Sprintax overview


lny 2021 flyer

Celebrate Lunar New Year with CWRU!

All students, staff, faculty and alumni are invited to celebrate Lunar New Year with CWRU!

The Center for International Affairs will have a special Lunar New Year outdoor photo backdrop set up in the KSL oval from February 8 - 12 for the campus community to take a holiday photo with!

The Center asks that everyone who stops by send their photos to to be shared on its social media pages as part of the celebration!

Lunar New Year is the most important social and economic holiday for billions of people around the world. It’s tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar and was originally observed as a time to honor household and heavenly deities and ancestors. Today, it’s a special time to bring friends and family together for feasting and festivities in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and beyond!

While the global pandemic has prevented CWRU from hosting its usual Lunar New Year gathering, the Center hopes to bring some holiday spirit to campus to celebrate the year of the ox while allowing for safety and social-distancing.

It has compiled videos and information about Lunar New Year traditions and celebrations around the world that everyone can enjoy, whether on-campus or off! They can be found here:

Make sure to follow the Center on Facebook ( and Twitter ( to see all the Lunar New Year photos!

h1b flyer

H-1B Visa Workshop for International Students

CWRU international students are invited to join the Center for International Affairs for a workshop about H-1B visas. Those who attend will learn about the process of obtaining an H-1B visa from a local immigration expert and networking opportunities from staff of Global Cleveland.

The workshop will take place on Wednesday, February 10 at 9:30 am ET on Zoom. Registration and details to join the Zoom can be found on the International Student Services’ CampusGroups page:

working in canada after graduation flyer

Opportunities to Work in Canada after Graduation

CWRU students are invited to learn about opportunities to live and work in Canada after graduation at an event hosted by the Center for International Affairs. The presentation will feature representatives from the immigration section of the Consulate General of Canada who will discuss options to work in Canada and the process to become a Canadian via the Express Entry program.

The event will be held Wednesday, February 10 at 4:00 pm via Zoom. All CWRU students are welcome to attend. To register for the event, visit the International Student Services (ISS) CampusGroups page:

CLE Bucket List Flyer

Campus Happenings

Plan Your Research Experience with SOURCE

lab dish with pink liquid
Ready to start looking for research and creative project opportunities? Attend an upcoming 50-minute information session offered by Support of Undergraduate
Research and Creative Endeavors.

These sessions provide you with the basic information for finding research on and around CWRU during the academic year and provides some guidance for students looking for summer research.

All times are Eastern time unless otherwise noted.

  • Friday, Feb. 5, 8:30 a.m.

  • Thursday, Feb. 11, 4 p.m.

  • Friday, Feb. 19, 8:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.

  • Monday, March 1, 8:30 a.m.

  • Thursday, March 11, 4 p.m.

  • Friday, March 19, 8:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, March 23, 7 p.m.

  • Monday, March 29, 8:30 a.m.

  • Thursday, April 8, 4 p.m.

  • Friday, April 16, 8:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, April 20, 7 p.m.

  • Monday, April 26, 8:30 a.m.

All workshops will be conducted via Zoom.

Register for an upcoming workshop in Handshake.


International Club's GB Game Night

Saturday, February 6
6:00pm - 8:00pm
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I-Club's first General Body event this Spring will be a virtual game night! Join us to hang out, watch Tom and Jerry, and play fun games together! Feel free to bring your food along.



Spring Student Activities Fair 2021- Leadership: A Whole New World

Sunday, February 7 at 11:00am
to Tuesday, February 9 at 11:00pm
Spring Student Activities Fair- Virtual Fair, TVUC 148, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, United States
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Pack your bags to explore the world of leadership at the Spring Student Activities Fair! Start your journey in one of our various clubs and activities that you can get involved with this semester and during the rest of your time at CWRU. Join in virtually from wherever you are!

GCAS professional development flyer

Graduate Council of Arts and Sciences Hosts Professional Development Week, February 8-12

GCAS is hosting a week of professional development events for A&S graduate students. The talk on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday will be held on Zoom from 7-8 p.m. EST. The talk on Wednesday will be held at 4 p.m. EST. Case students can register via the Graduate Council of Arts and Sciences (GCAS) Campus Group. Schedule: Monday: Getting a Job in Industry Tuesday: Getting a Post-Doctoral Position in Academia Wednesday: Grant Writing Strategies Thursday: Interview Strategies Workshop Friday: Preparing a Paper for Publication

GSC professional development flyer

Spring 2021 Professional Development Fund

GSC's Professional Development Fund has returned for the Spring 2021 semester! Each year the Graduate Student Council allocates money towards a professional development fund accessible to CWRU graduate students. Students have the opportunity to receive up to $300 in reimbursements. In the past, the PD fund has typically been awarded to subsidize conference fees, travel and lodging to conferences and interviews for internships, jobs, and residencies. However, in light of the United States’ current COVID-19 situation, GSC is refraining from using the fund for travel-related expenses for the Spring 2021 semester. Instead, GSC will focus on funding virtual conference fees, virtual workshop fees, application fees, and other forms of online professional development.

The application will open at 6 PM on Monday, February 1, 2021 and close at 6 PM on Monday, February 15, 2021. For Spring 2021 funding, students may apply for reimbursement for any experience occurring between November 21, 2020 to May 7, 2021.

The application will be hosted exclusively on CampusGroups, and will be linked on GSC's website under the "Forms" tab.

Questions? Feel free to email! Please keep in mind that further details on the full process will be listed in the application.

hands typing on a laptop keyboard

Upcoming Career Fairs

Visit the Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education website for more information about upcoming fairs and how to prepare and make the most of your experience. 

Engineering, Technology & Science Career Fair

When | Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About | Employers who attend this event are interested in recruiting CWRU students and alumni who are seeking careers in engineering, computer science, natural sciences, and more. Participants who attend this event will learn important information on internships, co-ops, practicum, and full-time employment.

Business, Arts & Service Career Fair

When | Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About | Employers who attend this event are interested in recruiting CWRU students who are seeking careers in business, social sciences, law/ government, public service, art, and more. Participants who attend this event will learn important information on internships, co-ops, practicum, and full-time employment.

nominate clip art

Nominate Faculty for Awards Recognizing Excellence in Mentoring and Teaching

Nominations are being accepted for the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring and the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

The Jackson award is given to faculty or staff members who have fostered professional development, facilitated goals and life choices, and made a significant impact on a student’s life. The Wittke award is given to outstanding classroom teachers who are engaging, invested and stimulate enthusiasm for their area of study.

To nominate a faculty or staff member for one of the awards, complete the nomination form.

Nominations are due Feb. 15, 2021.

To learn more about these awards, please visit the Undergraduate Studies website or email

SLAC 2021 flyer


Mentorship Throughout Your Career

Thursday, February 18
6:00pm - 7:00pm
Private Location (rsvp to display)
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The Graduate Student Council brings you a panel on mentorship throughout your career, as both a mentor and mentee. The three panelists are Dr. Heather Burton, Senior Director for Faculty and Institutional Diversity, Dr. Shemariah Arki, founder and program director for of the Ellipsis Institute for Women of Color in the Academy, and Mr. Arnold Huffman, CWRU alumni and Founder and CEO at Digital Yalo. Gift cards will be raffled off to attendees after the panel.

image from about virtaul grad school fair

Highre Virtual Grad School Fair

The Virtual Grad School Fair provides an opportunity to meet with admissions officers from top universities, learn about graduate and professional schools, and get an early start on the application process.

Other Opportunities

ENGL 146 Flyer
ENGL 147 flyet

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!

Super Big, Super Bowl Edition!

super bowl- how much do you know?

The Illustrated History of the Super Bowl

20 Best Super Bowl Ads of All Time

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15 Super Bowl Facts for 2021

offence and defence drawings

American Football Explained by Brits

Just for fun- Bernie and Spartie hanging out at the Alumni Association

bernie and spartie hanging out at Alumni Association on Juniper