From: International Student Services
Date: December 15, 2021
Subject: ISS News, December 15, 2021: Happy Holidays, ISS' Availability, Support Options for Students, Reminders and Important Travel Information, Career Planning and Events, Shuttle Service Changes During Winter Break, Good Vibes, and More


December 15, 2021


in this issue:

  1. Happy Holidays
  2. December- Changes in ISS' Availability
  3. End of Semester Reminders
  4. Need a Fresh Travel Signature?
  5. Waiver of Registration Information
  6. Tax Information for 2021 Filing Year
  7. Food Insecurity Resources
  8. Support Options for CWRU Students
  9. Winter Break Shuttle Service Changes
  10. 6 Tips for Winter Driving in Northeast Ohio
  11. Features
  12. Campus Happenings
  13. Other Opportunities
  14. Good Vibes Only

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.

happy holidays clipart

Happy Holidays

To Our International Students,

Today is the last day of finals and then on to winter break for the holiday season!

The ISS staff and everyone in the Center for International Affairs would like to wish all students and their loved ones, whether near or far, a happy and healthy holiday season. If you're traveling, be safe, and if you're staying locally, enjoy your time in Cleveland!  

This will be our last ISSNews for 2021! We'll get back to our regular weekly Wednesday editions shortly after the New Year.

We look forward to working with you all and seeing you on campus in January!

Best Wishes and Happy New Year,
Mar, Rachel, Adolfo, Alec, Elizabeth, Angie, and Tanya
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December- Changes in ISS' Availability

ISS and the Center for International Affairs will have different hours of operation over the next few weeks. This schedule will be updated as needed to help you plan your visit to ISS.

Friday, December 17: There will be no advising hours and the Center will close at 12:30 pm so that staff can engage in afternoon strategic planning meetings.

Thursday, December 23: Virtual Advising hours will be offered from 10 am-noon and the Center will close at noon so that staff can engage in afternoon strategic planning meetings.

Friday, December 24 - Monday, January 3: UNIVERSITY IS CLOSED

On all other days, ISS will operate and offer services as usual.  Please plan your visit to the office accordingly so that staff members are available to help you!

Note: ISS does close when the university closes for scheduled breaks and inclement weather. If you're ever in doubt about ISS staff's availability, we strongly recommend that you call in advance of visiting the office; we don't want you to be out in the cold, snowy weather if we're not available to help you! If you have an immigration-related emergency when we are not in the office, contact CWRU Security at 216.368.3300 and dispatch will know how to reach an ISS staff member.

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End of Semester Reminders

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

Do I need to extend my I-20 or DS-2019? If you do, read more under the Frequently Asked Questions Section. Undergraduates, be sure to list your Dean in Undergraduate Studies on your request and graduate students, you should list your academic advisor.

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.


  • be aware of all travel-related policies. Travel requirements are changing as the situation with COVID-19 evolves, including a Presidential Proclamation requiring travelers to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the US.  Be sure that you are monitoring all requirements for entry to the United States and complying with university policies related to vaccination and travel to minimize the risk of disrupting your education at CWRU. **If you have any doubts or concerns about your ability to return to the United States by January 10 when the Spring 2022 semester begins, ISS strongly recommends that you remain in the United States during winter break and not travel abroad.**
  • 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.
  • make sure your passport is valid 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.  There are certain benefits for which F-1 students apply when they are in the United States and the agencies that oversee those benefits often require applicants to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months into the future.

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.

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Message from University Health and Counseling Services

As you prepare for the semester’s end, we want to make you aware of the resources available for health and counseling during the university’s holiday closure.

University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) will close at 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, and reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4 of next year (2022).

Health Services
Even though UHCS will be closed during the university’s holiday break, students still may call 216.368.2450 at any time, day or night, and receive immediate medical advice from a nurse. Health Service staff will follow-up on all calls beginning Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.

If you need refills of medication prescribed at CWRU, please contact NURSE REFILL through no later than 4:30 p.m. Wed. Dec. 22. Refills received after that time may not be filled until Jan. 4. Students needing medication during the university’s closure should contact their provider at home or arrange for a visit to a local urgent care.

Local Urgent Care Services:
Walk-In Urgent Care
UH Minoff Center at Chagrin Highlands
Health Express Mayfield Heights


Counseling Services
To speak with a counselor on-call, students can call 216.368.5872 anytime. Students may also access TalkNow through CWRU Care for immediate support. CWRU Care is also available for ongoing counseling visits while the university is closed.

Other immediate supports include:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741-741
Trevor Lifeline: 866.488.7386

Counseling services appointments at UHCS will resume Jan. 4, 2022.


COVID-19 Services
Please see the UHCS website for detailed COVID-19 information, including testing and isolation instructions for students remaining in on-campus housing.


We hope that you have a restful break.

stormtrooper meme about getting a travel signature

Need a Fresh Travel Signature?

If you've already left campus and just realized that you need a travel signature to return to the United States, don't panic! You can request a travel signature using our electronic form here.

Read more about what to do on our Travel and Reentry pages for F-1 and J-1 students.

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!

Tax Information for 2021 Filing Year

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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 Offers Tax Webinars to Prepare for Tax Filing Season 2021

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 around 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
Sprintax also recently released a new blog, How to Prepare for the 2021 US Tax season, which you are welcome to view.

Sprintax will also be hosting two free open tax webinars for students who are authorized for OPT/CPT to learn more about their tax responsibilities as well.
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Food Insecurity Resources

There are various food pantries for students who are facing food insecurity.  Take a look at the list of the different food pantries and other resources available on campus and in the community.

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Winter Break Shuttle Service Changes

CWRU's winter break impacts a number of University Circle shuttle routes in University Circle. See the schedule for service changes. Additionally, University Circle shuttles do not operate on major U.S. holidays including Christmas and New Year's Day. If you are traveling those days, please plan accordingly.

snow driving from

6 Tips for Winter Driving in Northeast Ohio


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Campus Happenings

clipart of career and internship connect fair as shown in handshake

Attend the Career and Internship Connections Career Fair

Case Western Reserve University is a member of the Career and Internship Connections (CIC), a 16-school consortium that hosts an annual job and internship fair for opportunities in the New York area.

The 2022 CIC Career Fair will take place virtually in Handshake on Wednesday, Jan. 12 2022, from 2 to 5 p.m. At the fair, you can interact with companies from a wide range of industries, learn about internship and full-time opportunities and make connections for future interviews.

Student registration opens Monday, Dec. 13 in Handshake.

students dressed professionally at the career fair

Advance your Career Plans Over Winter Break

Winter break is a great time to advance your career plans. Take advantage of the time off from classes and exams to clean up your resume (or write your first one!), apply for a summer job or internship, or build your professional network. Although summer may feel a long way off, starting now will set you up for success.

Consider list of options and opportunities to help you get started.

students bouncing a ball outside KSL


2022 Spring Student Activities Fair

Thursday, January 20, 2022
10:00am - 7:00pm
Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom , TVUC 148, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, United States
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Blast Off with the Spring Student Activities Fair! Explore the different organizations and clubs that the Case Western Reserve Universe has to offer. There will be food and the chance to win prizes that are out of this world!

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Other Opportunities

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Winterfest 2021

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Scholarships for International Students

Learn about Women in STEM Scholarship – For female international/DACA students with awards ranging from $1000 - $3000  through MPower Financing.

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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!

boston scientific robot dancing

Finals are over!  Dance with the robot!