From: International Student Services
Date: September 1, 2021
Subject: ISS News, September 1, 2021: Check In with ISS, Registration & Your Visa Status, Information about On-Campus Work, Waiver of Registration, 3 Weeks of COVID-19 Testing, Study Abroad Fair, Spoken English Seminars, Good Vibes & More


September 1, 2021


in this issue:

  1. Working as an International Student
  2. ISS Closed- Monday, September 6
  3. Check In with ISS
  4. SEVP Guidance for the Academic Year
  5. Waiver of Registration Information
  6. COVID-19 Protocols
  7. Chat with ISS Staff During Virtual Advising Hours
  8. Features
  9. Campus Happenings
  10. Other Opportunities
  11. Good Vibes Only
  12. Graduating at the End of the Semester? Think About OPT
  13. Registration & Your Visa Status
  14. An Introduction to US Taxes


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

11am to 1pm- through virtual advising available online

1pm to 3pm- through in-person advising in the office

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.

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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 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-2019If 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, 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. 

Returning Students

Please complete this very brief survey telling us where you will spend the semester.  We'll use this information to ensure that we are accurately completing our required reporting to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

Thank you for your attention and cooperation!

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SEVP Guidance for Academic Year 2021-2022

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) would continue to apply its flexible guidance through the 2021-2022 academic year. 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 the 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 now.

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.

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ISS Closed- Monday, September 6

The university will be closed on Monday, September 6 in observance of Labor Day. ISS will be closed as well.

Regular business hours will resume on Tuesday, September 6.

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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!

student working in lab

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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COVID-19 Protocols for Fall Semester & Three Weeks of Testing

On August 19, President Kaler and Provost Vinson wrote to the university community with an overview of the university's current protocols.  You can read the message on the COVID-19 Communications page.

You can also read about the university's plans for three weeks of COVID-19 testing requirements.

For the most up-to-date information and resources, continue to visit:

Please continue to keep in touch with ISS.  Staff are here to help you.  If we do not know how to answer your question, we'll help you find someone who can.  Be sure to check your email address regularly too- this is the university's main form of communication.  Now is the time to stay informed!

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Chat with ISS Staff During Virtual Advising Hours

ISS offers virtual advising on-demand to answer quick questions from 11 am - 1 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Watch this video to find out how to access virtual advising and talk to an advisor through our online chat!

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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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An Introduction to US Taxes

ISS staff members are not tax experts so the office partners with Sprintax to provide tax assistance to international students. Throughout the year, ISS will promote Sprintax workshops, like this one, to help students with their tax-related needs:

An Introduction to US Taxes, being offered on September 15 at noon, will provide individuals with information about:

  • what to expect during employment or receipt of US income
  • the basics of tax obligations for international students in the United States
  • preparing in advance for tax filing season 2021

This workshop is free to join and open to both new international populations or returning students who want to brush up on their tax responsibilities.  Register here.




CWRU Study Abroad Fair

Friday, September 10
10:00am - 2:00pm
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We invite you to participate in our 2021 CWRU Study Abroad Fair! The event will be held in-person outdoors on the Case Quad with the university's safety measures in place.
Meet providers, talk to study abroad alumni and ask all your questions!
Study Abroad CAN fit into your time at CWRU!


Campus Happenings


Become a Civic Engagement Scholar!

Monday, August 16 at 9:00am
to Sunday, September 19 at 11:55pm
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Now in its twelfth year, the Civic Engagement Scholars program, hosted by the Center for Civic Engagement & Learning (CCEL), promotes and recognizes meaningful student involvement in the community. Scholars complete at least 30 civic engagement hours in their choice of direct service, advocacy, philanthropy, political involvement, and more over the course of the academic year. They also participate in two all-Scholars trainings to enhance their understanding of Cleveland and social change in addition to completing a final reflection. Upon successful completion of the program, Scholars earn a Certificate of Distinction recognizing their commitment to community. Both undergraduate and graduate students of all years and majors are eligible to become Civic Engagement Scholars, and many students elect to participate in the program multiple years.

The Scholars enrollment form ( is due by 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 19. Visit the Civic Engagement Scholars website for more information:



Founding a Soft-Tissue Repair Company: Matthew MacEwan, Founder & CSO, Acera Surgical, Inc.

Wednesday, September 1
12:00pm - 12:45pm
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Join us on September 1 at 12 p.m. EST via Zoom as part of the Case Western Reserve University Entrepreneurship Series for a Roundtable Discussion with Dr. Matthew MacEwan, Founder and CSO of Acera Surgical, Inc. He will discuss founding a soft-tissue repair company that was born from research and bold, patient-focused innovation. 

Dr. Matthew MacEwan is the Chief Science Officer at Acera Surgical, Inc. While an MD / Ph.D. student at Washington University in St. Louis, MacEwan began the nanofiber research that would one day become Acera Surgical, Inc. MacEwan received a BSE in Biomedical Engineering from CWRU in 2004.

We will also be broadcasting this roundtable and future roundtables to LinkedIn Live on CWRU Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship's LinkedIn page on September 1 at 12 p.m. EST. 

Spoken English Seminars
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Free Access Program

See What Cleveland Has to Offer - Free for CWRU Students

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Virtual Fall 2021 University Career Fairs

Engineering, Technology and Science Virtual Career Fair

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT

Employers who attend this event are interested in recruiting CWRU students and alumni who are seeking careers in the fields of engineering, computer science, natural sciences, and more.

Business, Arts and Service Virtual Career Fair

Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT

Employers who attend this event are interested in recruiting CWRU students who are seeking careers in the fields of business, social sciences, law/government, public service, art, and more.

Stay up-to-date on all career fair details on the Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education website.

Other Opportunities

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Cleveland Air Show

This weekend is the Cleveland Air Show.  You may see or hear military jets flying over campus- do not be alarmed! They are practicing for the show. If you are interested in attending the event, please visit their website for more information. It's a great opportunity to see planes up close and watch professional pilots perform amazing feats!!
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County Fairs in nearby Cleveland area

Nearby county fairs to Cleveland are highlighted.

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Interested in Volunteering?  Sign up!

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!

vaccination day parody of Frozen song

"Vaccination Day" a parody of Frozen's "For the First Time in Forever"