From: International Student Services
Date: March 10, 2021
Subject: ISS News, March 10, 2021: OPT Info, Emergency Funding, Tax Info, Global Citizen Nominations, Virtual Career Prep Events, Survey: Pandemic's Impact on International Students, The Future of Immigration, DACA, OPT, &; Legal Rights, Good Vibes, & More


March 10, 2021


in this issue:

  1. OPT & CPT Workshops
  2. Features
  3. Campus Happenings
  4. Other Opportunities
  5. Good Vibes Only
  6. Beware of Scams
  7. Food Insecurity Resources
  8. Tax Information for 2020 Filing Year
  9. USCIS Announces Flexibilities to Certain Applicants Filing Form I-765 for OPT
  10. Emergency Funding Grants Available to International Students


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.

OPT and CPT workshop branding telling students to check the schedule

OPT & CPT Workshops

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 3-5 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.

Virtual workshops led by an advisor have been scheduled and information about required registration, attendance, and the application process can be found on our website under the OPT and CPT sections.

update on OPT delays

USCIS Announces Flexibilities to Certain Applicants Filing Form I-765 for OPT

Throughout February, USCIS sent announcements about the delays in issuing receipts from certain lockboxes. On February 26, USCIS’s announcement acknowledged how students have been affected by delayed receipt issuance related to their Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (OPT application) and described flexibilities for affected students whose applications were received on or after October 1, 2021, through May 1, 2021. 
ISS reached out last week to students who requested an OPT I-20 from ISS in 2020 and earlier this year when flexibilities apply.  If you did submit your application to USCIS, ISS strongly encourages you to read the February 26 announcement so that you are familiar with the flexibilities. ISS recognizes that some students will want guidance from ISS as they work through USCIS’ steps related to these flexibilities.  Students are welcome to reach out to ISS staff at any time. We are also working now to develop resources to assist students and I will reach out again soon when they are available.  For those who have been affected by the delays and are comfortable independently working through the steps outlined by USCIS, you may begin that process at any time.
ISS staff members still have some questions that are unanswered by USCIS’ announcement, as you may too, and we are hoping to receive more information from USCIS.  If USCIS releases more information or staff members learn more from other reputable sources, we will certainly share that with you. 
Let ISS staff know what we can do to support you.  You can reach out to ISS by emailing with your questions or to request an appointment and we will do our best to help.

IIE scholarship flyer

Emergency Funding Grants Available to International Students 

International students in the U.S. who are facing financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for grants from the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Emergency Student Fund. 

Those who demonstrate high financial need and are selected by IIE will receive $1,500 that may be used to cover educational, living or health-related expenses during the remainder of the spring 2021 semester, and into the summer and fall semesters.

International Student Services (ISS) is able to nominate up to five international students for consideration for these grants. Last year, two CWRU students received funding through this scholarship program. 

Students interested in applying need to do so quickly, as there is a very short timeline for the nomination process. Applications must be submitted to ISS by Wednesday, Marcy 17 using this form:

Any questions about this funding opportunity can be directed to ISS by email at

Tax Information for 2020 Filing Year

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Tax Deadline in April: Forms & Sprintax Availablity

Sprintax is a tax-return-preparation software program designed primarily for international students and other educational visa holders. It can help you prepare your U.S. federal income tax return and assist you in preparing Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.

You may access Sprintax and begin preparing your tax return by following these steps:

  1. Register and follow the simple instructions
  2. Complete the online questionnaire
  3. Enter Case Western Reserve University’s unique code.  This code was sent to you via email on February 17.
  4. Sprintax will prepare your tax return

If Sprintax determines that you are required to file state taxes, you will have the opportunity to prepare those state taxes. You are not required to use Sprintax to file state taxes but, remember, it is your responsibility to comply with the law and properly file all taxes.

If by now, you haven't received your W-2 from CWRU, contact Payroll at If you were authorized to work for another employer, you should contact their payroll department.

For more information regarding the 1098-T, please visit Financial Services website to download the Nonresident Alien 1098-T Request Form.

1042-S forms will be prepared by mid-March and sent to students by Payroll. Please contact Payroll if you have questions about the issuance of your 1042-S.

For more information, visit our Information on Filing Taxes page and if you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via their 24/7 live chat function or email  ISS staff members cannot advise you on your questions, which is why we partner with the experts at Sprintax.

image from Sprintax's blog at
Sprintax logo

Sprintax Offers Tax Webinars to Prepare for Tax Filing Season 2020 

ISS partners with Sprintax to provide international students, who are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes, with expert assistance when filing their US taxes.

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 (these are all in EST). 

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

  • An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
  • Who must file a 2020 US tax return
  • What income forms students/scholars may receive
  • Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS
  • We cover terms like FICA, ITIN and Form 1098-T
  • What happens if students don’t file, or misfile
  • State tax returns
  • IRS stimulus payments
  • Sprintax overview
scam spelled out on keyboard

Beware of Scams

During the spring, particularly around tax time through university commencements, scams are common. 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.

box of food image

Food Insecurity Resources

If you know someone who is experiencing food insecurity, or a lack of access to good, please know that there this is help. The Dean of Students Office and campus partners have collaborated to create a website compiling resources available to CWRU students who may be food insecure. The website provides information about available resources, including services provided, location, hours and contact information. If you have questions or concerns about food insecurity or the resources available to help, please contact the Dean of Students office.


the future of immigration, daca, opt & legal rights flyer
Etiquette Events Flyer 2021
Global citizen award flyer

Global Citizen Award Nominations are Open

The Center for International Affairs invites the university community including faculty, staff and currently enrolled students, to submit nominations for the 2021 Global Citizen Awards.

The awards honor outstanding students, faculty or staff, campus partners and student organizations that enhance the international student experience, create a sense of community and champion internationalization at Case Western Reserve University.

Winners of the Global Citizen Awards will be announced during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, April 22.

Completed nominations are due by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 26, 2021.

You can learn more and make a nomination here:

study abroad photo contest flyer

Enter the Study Abroad Throwback Photo Contest

Relive your study abroad experience with CWRU by entering the Study Abroad Throwback Photo Contest!

While the pandemic has put study abroad programs on hold the Office of Education Abroad knows students still have lots of great photos from their past study abroad experiences to enter into the contest and win prizes!

The photos submitted will be used to help show what studying abroad is really like and encourage other students to explore the various opportunities available to all majors.

The categories and prizes for each are:

  • Overall Winner: $75
  • The World is Your Classroom: $75
  • Cultural Experience: $50
  • Spartans Abroad: $50
  • Scenery: $50
  • Vintage (for CWRU alumni): $50
  • Facebook’s Most Likes: $50

A description of each category, as well as details on how to submit your photos, can be found at All submissions are due by Friday, April 9!

Please do not submit photos from other travel experiences or any previously entered in the Study Abroad Photo Contest.

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H-1B Visa Workshop Recording Available

If you were unable to attend the session last week, you can view it now here to get all of the information!

CLE Bucket List Flyer

Campus Happenings

lab dish with pink liquid

Plan Your Research Experience with SOURCE

Ready to start looking for research and creative project opportunities? Attend an upcoming 50-minute information session offered by Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors.

These sessions provide you with the basic information for finding research on and around CWRU during the academic year and provides some guidance for students looking for summer research.

All times are Eastern time unless otherwise noted.

  • Thursday, March 11, 4 p.m.

  • Friday, March 19, 8:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, March 23, 7 p.m.

  • Monday, March 29, 8:30 a.m.

  • Thursday, April 8, 4 p.m.

  • Friday, April 16, 8:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, April 20, 7 p.m.

  • Monday, April 26, 8:30 a.m.

All workshops will be conducted via Zoom.

Register for an upcoming workshop in Handshake.

Other Opportunities

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Participate in a Study about the Pandemic's Impact on International Students

Dear Friend,

We trust you and others are staying safe and healthy, and are glad that you are back in school after the interruption because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The purpose of this research study is to understand the impact of the COVID-19 virus pandemic on international students. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are conducting this study. The questionnaire should take 5-10 minutes to complete. If you are willing to participate, please click on this survey link:

Thanks in advance of your participation in this study.


May Lin                                                                             Sena Narendran

brite winter logo from

Brite Winter

Brite Winter is the premier Cleveland event between New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day and a showcase for Northeastern Ohio’s artists, musicians, and creative culture.

Brite Winter marries fire, participatory art, food, music, and games to build community while helping us embrace the cold winter months.

Learn more about this year's virtual line up for the final event on April 9, 2021!

Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge logo

Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge 2021

Welcome to the 2021 Trail Challenge, a guest led program where you discover new trails throughout Cleveland Metroparks on your own, move to better health, discover the wonders of nature, and earn awards along the way! 

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!

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