From: International Student Services
Date: January 25
Subject: ISS News, January 25, 2023: Registration and Your Visa Status, Think About Applying for OPT, Nominate for Global Citizen Awards, Study Abroad Information, Tax Information, Winter Driving Tips, Wellness Programs & Support Resources, Good Vibes, and More

ISS news header

January 25, 2023


in this issue:

  1. Graduating at the End of The Semester? Think About OPT
  2. Chat with ISS Staff During Advising Hours
  3. Tax Information for 2022 Filing Year
  4. Orientation with ISS
  5. Winter Weather 101
  6. Winter Weather Tips
  7. 6 Tips for Winter Driving in Northeast Ohio
  8. Features
  9. Campus Happenings
  10. Good Vibes Only
  11. Registration & Your Visa Status
  12. Check In with ISS
  13. Waiver of Registration Information
  14. Working as an International Student
  15. Beware of Scams
  16. Support Resources
  17. New Students, Look Around Your New Homes


ISS staff members are here to support you!

Please visit our website to learn about the advising options that are available and connect with us so that we can assist you.

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Registration & Your Visa Status

As the university's deadline for the drop/add period approaches (it's this 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 in the United States as an F-1 or a J-1 student. This is mandatory by US Federal Regulations.

There are very few exceptions to full-time registration requirements and only ISS can determine whether you qualify for one of them. Always register for full-time and never drop below a full-time courseload without first speaking with an advisor in ISS. Improper registration could have serious consequences, including termination, for your visa status.

If you have already completed coursework abroad through online learning during previous semesters, you must still be registered full-time unless ISS determines that you qualify for an exception.

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!

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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!

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Check In with ISS

Students New to CWRU or Beginning a New Program at CWRU:

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

To Check In:

If you are on campus this semester to begin your program, please access the Instructions on How to Check In with ISS and complete the process immediately. Check-in is a time-sensitive process.

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, do not check in using the instructions above. It is critical that you complete the survey instead.  If you have not done so yet, please do so immediately. 

Thank you for your attention and cooperation!

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Graduating at the End of the Semester? Think About Optional Practical Training

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. ISS will be offering Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshops to go over in detail the application process, student responsibilities, and other considerations.

A complete OPT Workshop schedule will be available shortly- check future editions of ISSNews for schedule announcements. Be sure to either register to attend your preferred advisor-led session or access the presentation online before you complete your OPT application.

Completing a workshop (in one of the formats- ISS highly recommends the advisor-led sessions!) during the semester that you intend to apply for OPT is required as part of the application process. You do not need to have a job offer or any definitive employment plans to complete a workshop or apply for OPT!

If you have questions, get in touch during advising hours. Remember, only ISS staff can advise you about the procedures for OPT!

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Chat with ISS Staff During Advising Hours

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

You can also request an appointment 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 online and in-person!

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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.

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Orientation with ISS

Did you miss Orientation with ISS? The orientation session reviews the most fundamental rules and regulations as well as resources that ISS provides in order to help you maintain your status and enhance your time at Case Western Reserve University

Log into Terra Dotta (, find your Check In Record marked "Committed," and then look for the item called "ISS Oreintation Presentation."

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Beware of Scams

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

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New Students, Look Around Your New Homes

Living spaces in the US may be very different from those in your home countries. Please pay attention to the differences to avoid problems with landlords or the University.

Common differences:

  • There are no drains in the floors of bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc.
  • Water on the floor will damage carpet and wood floors
  • Water on the floor will likely go down the walls into apartments on lower floors and damage walls, ceilings, etc.
  • Windows may be sealed shut. If they are, do not open them
  • Walls are usually painted drywall, not cinder block and whitewash
  • Appliances may be electric or gas
  • Quiet hours may be strictly enforced
  • Heat may be controlled by the landlord or management company rather than by you
  • Pet policies are strictly enforced

You may be held financially responsible for any damage you cause, even if you cause it by accident

Lease agreements are binding contracts for the length of the lease—follow the terms of your lease agreements carefully

If you encounter a problem with on-campus housing, please notify your RA or the Housing Office immediately. If you encounter a problem with a landlord or management company, please feel free to contact ISS for help.

Tax Information for the 2022 Filing Year

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Important Tax Info: 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:

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Sprintax Offers Tax Webinars to Prepare for Tax Filing Season 2022

ISS partners with the tax experts at Sprintax who offer tax filing services to international students that are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes. The Sprintax team will be hosting a series of free open tax webinars to provide helpful information about non-resident tax filing obligations.

You can find the details and registration links below for each:

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

  • An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
  • Who must file a 2021 US tax return
  • What income forms students may receive
  • Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS
  • Terms like FICA, ITIN, and Form 1098-T
  • What happens if students don’t file or misfile
  • State tax returns
  • Sprintax overview
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Support Resources

The Dean of Students Office and the Case Western Reserve University community are committed to helping students overcome challenges during their academic careers.  A website has been developed to host a variety of resources and services, including information about various food pantries for students who are facing food insecurity. 

Winter Weather Tips

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6 Tips for Winter Driving in Northeast Ohio


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Campus Happenings

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University Health & Counseling Services Offers Timely Care and a Variety of Other Wellness Programs to Consider

Thursday, January 26
Start End   Event         Location
1:00pm 2:00pm BIPOC Support Space Online Event
Monday, January 30
3:00pm 4:00pm BIPOC Support Space Private Location (register to display)
5:00pm 7:30pm I'm Fine, It's Fine, Everything is Fine. Private Location (sign in to display)
Thursday, February 2
12:00pm 1:00pm T.H.I.N.K. Suicide Prevention Training (Virtual) Online Event
1:00pm 2:00pm BIPOC Support Space Online Event
Monday, February 6
3:00pm 4:00pm BIPOC Support Space Private Location (register to display)
5:00pm 7:30pm I'm Fine, It's Fine, Everything is Fine. Private Location (sign in to display)
Tuesday, February 7
3:00pm 4:15pm Koru Mindfulness Online Event
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Happy Hour Winter Wonderland Flyer
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Other Opportunities

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Engl 147 flyer
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PNC's Financial Wellness Offerings in January

Webinar: Budgeting: Creating a Plan

Date: January 31, 2023 at 7 pm ET

Description: Learn to identify your personal obstacles to budgeting, decide short and long-term goals, and manage your day-to-day spending.

Good Vibes Only

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 and we're sending them out to you!

Snoop Dogg

Coolest Professor Ever Gets Help From Snoop Dogg

If you would like to promote your event or opportunity through ISSNews, please make a complete submission (including flyers, images, details, etc.) for consideration by noon on Monday to ISS cannot guarantee that all submissions will appear in the newsletter, as space is limited, but staff will review all timely submissions fo