From: International Student Services
Date: December 2, 2020
Subject: ISS News, December 2, 2020: End of Semester Reminders, Holiday Hours, ENGL Classes, Important Tax Information, Good Vibes, & More!


December 2, 2020


in this issue:

  1. Features
  2. Campus Happenings
  3. Other Opportunities
  4. Good Vibes Only
  5. Important Tax Info: Make Sure You Get Your W-2
  6. Good Luck with Finals!
  7. OPT & CPT Workshops
  8. Spring 2021 Information, Part II
  9. Prepare for Final Exam Success
  10. Sprintax Tax Webinar for International Students
  11. Holiday Hours


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.

cwru sign on binary walk way

Spring 2021, Part II

I hope you are well as you embark on preparing for the end of the semester.  I know this semester has been challenging, but it is nearly over and you have a well-deserved winter break within your reach.

I am writing today with some important reminders regarding travel plans and Spring 2021.

I and the staff in International Student Services (ISS) understand that you are eager to reconnect with family and friends and that traveling abroad to do so might be a part of your plan during this winter break.  We urge you to carefully consider all of the risks that come with travel at this time- travel restrictions, visa issuance complications, local quarantine or self-isolation requirements, etc.  If you choose to travel, please be safe and take necessary precautions to remain healthy.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a Travel Information website related to COVID-19, and specifically recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3. Please note that these ratings can change rapidly and without warning.  The CDC also has a section with information regarding travelers who are prohibited from entering the United States.  This is also important information about which you should be knowledgeable as you make your plans.

While on break, whether you remain close to campus or fly across time zones, be sure to stay informed about what is happening on campus. Check your email address regularly and read all communications from the university and ISS. Remember, if you miss a message in your inbox from the university, you can always find it here on the COVID-19 Campus Communications page. ISS will post messages to the Communication CornerCOVID-19 Updates, and ISSNews.

To prepare for a smooth return to campus, please make sure you have the following before leaving Cleveland:

  • a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you need a travel signature, request one.
  • a valid passport.
  • a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp.

ISS staff members will be available to assist you through Wednesday, December 23 and then the office will close as the university community celebrates the holiday season. The university and ISS will resume operation on Monday, January 4, 2021. 

As you already know, the spring 2021 semester, which is scheduled to begin on February 1, 2021, will look very similar to this one in terms of dual delivery of instruction and reduced on-campus housing. At this time, ISS is still waiting for guidance from SEVP regarding maintaining status in Spring 2021. As soon as that information is available and ISS has had time to thoroughly review it, we will send a message to students as well as post information on our website and in ISSNews.

ISS staff members wish you all a safe, healthy, and relaxing holiday season!

Best Regards,
Marielena Maggio
Director, International Student Services

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ISS Availability in December While Working Remotely

ISS began working remotely on Monday, November 30 and will continue to support students while working remotely until January 4, 2021. As plans evolve, ISS will continue to provide updates through email and update website content as needed. To read more about our services while working remotely, please review the message sent on November 23.

Please also take note that the university will be closed Thursday, December 24 - Friday, January 1. ISS staff will not be available during this period.

ISS and the university will resume operating hours on Monday, January 4, 2021

Happy Finals...


The staff in ISS, University Counseling Services (UCS), and hundreds of student service professionals across our campus are ready to help students through finals. We can help you prepare a strategic approach if things have not gone as well as you had hoped.

Not feeling well? Connect with our University Health Service staff. If you wonder how your academics might affect your immigration status, visit ISS as soon as possible!

The university community is ready to help!

prepare for final exam success infographic

OPT and CPT workshop schedule

Last Chance for Advisor-Led OPT & CPT Workshops

The final advisor-led OPT and CPT workshops for Fall 2020 will be offered on December 3 and December 8, respectively. Information about required registration, attendance, and the application process can be found on our website!

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

Being well informed before applying for either authorization is extremely important and applying early is critical!

USCIS is publishing that it takes 4-6 months to process submitted OPT applications. Plan to complete a required OPT workshop as early as possible to be best prepared. Remember, you do not need to have a job offer to apply for OPT!

You do need to have a job offer before applying for CPT authorization and you are not eligible to begin your experience until you have proper authorization in place. It can take several days to become authorized.

For more information about OPT and CPT workshops- online workshops are also still available for students' convenience- and other details about these authorizations, visit our website. Please be sure to very carefully read all of the information there.

w-2 image

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 Tax Webinar for International Students
December 10, 2pm EST

This open webinar will aim to prepare the nonresident international population for the 2020 tax filing season ahead and will go through the core principles of nonresident tax for 2020 as well as a short overview of using Sprintax towards the end. 

Anyone who registers for the webinar with Sprintax will also receive a recording.  Access the webinar early as there is a cap on attendees.


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Campus Happenings

tink in winter

Winter Programming and Information

Although much of the Case Western Reserve University student community will be finishing the semester remotely, the university will still be providing events, activitiessupport resourcesdining options and some facility access to students who are staying on/nearby campus for all or part of the winter break.

picture of OLs

Make new friends.
Be an orientation leader.

Find out more information here about this exciting opportunity!

Other Opportunities

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Way Forward Leader Lunch Break

The Cleveland Leadership Center is providing a Special College Student Edition of our Way Forward Leader Lunch Break on Wednesday, December 9th from 12:00-12:30pm. The Way Forward Leader Lunch Breaks are a series of virtual (via Zoom) discussion and workshops on topics to help you move forward in our new and uncertain world.

This will be the first of 4 sessions in a free College Series this December and January! Register here.

College students in the CLE: What to do for Winter Break
Make the most of your Winter Break by getting connected with Cleveland! Discover new ways to experience our city while you’re home and find a variety of opportunities to get involved in some of the great things happening across our region.

Speaker: David Gilbert (LC 2001), President & CEO, Destination Cleveland

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ENGL 147 flyet
2021 Pitch Contest flyer

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!

Can you imagine...

elephant elephant on a trampoline!


...and giraffes high diving!