From: International Student Services
Date: January 22, 2020
Subject: ISS News, Jan. 22, 2020: Registration and Visa Status, OPT & CPT, Lunar New Year Celebration & Special Menu at Miso, Dental Clinic, Ski Trip, & More!


January 22, 2020


in this issue:

  1. Updating Address Information in SIS
  2. Registration & Your Visa Status
  3. GRADS: Waiver of Registration Information
  4. Orientation With ISS
  5. Beware of Scams!
  6. Chat With ISS Staff Online or In-Person During Advising Hours
  7. Tax Information for 2019
  8. Graduating at the End of the Semester? Think About OPT
  9. New Students, Look Around Your New Homes
  10. Featured Events
  11. Campus Events
  12. Other Opportunities


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

purple change of address text and mailbox clipart

Updating Address information in SIS

Federal regulations require that all international students report their current address to SEVIS and any changes within 10 days. It is also important that the university has your current address on file at all times.

The best way to ensure that you are complying with federal regulations and university policy is to check your address for accuracy in SIS and report any changes through SIS. Information in SIS is shared with ISS' system (Terra Dotta) and then ISS can report changes of information to SEVIS.

Ensuring that information is always reported to and updated in SIS ensures that you will always get the information that you need from CWRU and that you are properly maintaining your status as a student visa holder. Failure to report your address properly is a violation of status that can have serious consequences.

add drop post it note reminder

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 here at CWRU as an F-1 or a J-1 student. This is mandatory by US Federal Regulations. 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!
image of a post it note pile with don't forget written on it

GRADS: Waiver of Registration Information

If you are a graduate student submitting a Waiver of Registration for this semester, 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!

image from orientation prezi showing a map of the continents

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 and view the presentation materials here!

scam spelled out on keyboard

Beware of Scams!

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.
virtual advising chat box

Chat With ISS Staff Online or In-Person During Advising Hours

Virtual Advising is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., EST.

If you have a question or concern that you need to address during that time frame, reach out to an advisor through the chat box. The chat box (it looks just like the picture) will be available on our website.

Please keep in mind that the advisor may be assisting multiple students, so we do appreciate your patience!

In-person advising is available 1 to 3 p.m., EST. Come by the office then (no appointment needed) to meet with an ISS advisor.

Please keep in mind that your situation may still require a visit to the office or even an appointment if an advisor determines that that is how best to serve you.

You can 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.

Outside of Advising Hours, students can drop off and pick up paperwork related to work permission, I-20 issuance, and other basic requests at the front desk, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Anything that requires interaction with an advisor needs to happen during Advising Hours, through whichever method is most appropriate.

Advisors are looking forward to chatting with you online and in-person!

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Tax Information for 2019- 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:

OPT Workshop Sign Up text

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 on CampusGroups as soon as room reservations can be confirmed. Be sure to either register to attend your preferred session or access the presentation online and complete the training module.

Completing a workshop (in one of the formats- ISS highly recommends the in-person 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!

New apartment finder

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 any problems 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.

Featured Events


CWRU Lunar New Year 2020

Friday, January 24
7:00pm - 8:00pm
Tinkham Veale University Center, Tomlinson Hall, Room 143 , United States
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The Lunar New Year is the most important social and economic holiday for billions of people around the world. Join CWRU to celebrate with a fireworks display, popular Asian snacks, and giveaways for students. All members of the CWRU community, alumni and the public are invited to attend this free event!

The festivities take place inside Tinkham Veale University Center starting at 7:00 pm and then move outside for fireworks at 8:00 pm!



Career Fair Prep - International Student Success Series

Wednesday, January 29
12:45pm - 2:00pm
Nord 356, 10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, United States
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Join CIA and PGP-EE staff to prepare for the Career Fair! In this session you will learn the basics of networking and elevator pitches. Staff will help students with their pitches and practice their networking skills. Space is limited! RSVP on Campus Groups to reserve your place!



H-1B & Other Visas - International Student Success Series

Wednesday, February 5
1:00pm - 2:30pm
Nord 356, 10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, United States
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Learn from a local immigration expert about the process of obtaining an H-1B visa; they will also briefly cover a few other visa types.



Cleveland Bucket List - Ski Trip to Brandywine Resort

Saturday, February 15
9:45am - 5:00pm
Brandywine Ski Resort & Polar Blast - 1146 W. Highland Road, Sagamore Hills, OH 44076
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Beginners and experienced skiers and snowboarders are invited to join the Center for International Affairs for a trip to Brandywine Ski Resort!

Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather! This includes a hat, gloves, scarf, winter coat, and warm clothing! Jeans are not recommended.

Lessons will be available for those who have never skied before or those just looking to brush up on their skills! The instructors will go over basic ways to stop, how to get up if you fall and some basics for skiing/snowboarding. It is VERY helpful to have a lesson, especially if you have not skied or skied very little before.

There will be separate instructors for skiing and snowboarding, but if your friend is doing the opposite, you can join together after the lesson, which will last about an hour to an hour and a half.

Skiing Lesson: Best for beginners. After one lesson you may be able to go down one of the green hills.

Snowboarding Lesson: Best for people interested in continuing to snowboard. After one lesson you will learn the basics but this typically takes more practice to go down a larger hill. The recommendation is to wear snow pants during the first lesson!

For more information, be sure to visit the event page! 


Campus Events

Thursday, January 30
Start End   Event         Location
7:00pm 11:00pm GSC CAVALIERS Game Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
Thursday, February 6
7:00pm 9:00pm Game Night at KSL Kelvin Smith Library, Freedman Center, 1st Floor
Yoga club flyer
Cookies and Cocoa with GSC Flyer
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Career Connections
Shadow a CWRU Alum Over Spring Break

Workshops are scheduled for January 23 and January 24.
Click for more details about this great opportunity!


Spring Student Activities Fair- The Greatest Show at CWRU

Friday, January 24, 2020
12:00pm - 2:00pm
Tinkham Veale University Center, TVUC 148, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, United States
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Step right up! Come one, come all to the Spring Student Activities Fair! Life's a circus here at CWRU, find your best act here! Learn about clubs and activities that you can get involved in this coming semester and the rest of your time in college.

Follow this link to get a table for your campus group!

If you have any questions, please contact Nick Kobernik at

Dental Clinic Flyer
Engineering Challenges Carnival flyer

Other Opportunities

Engl415 course flyer
international student pitch contest flyer