From: International Student Services
Date: August 26, 2020
Subject: ISS News, August 26, 2020: Welcome [Back], Welcome [Back] Parties, ISS Staff On Campus, SEVP's Fall 2020 Guidance, Virtual Advising, Scam Alerts, Good Vibes, CLE Bucket List, & More!


August 26, 2020


in this issue:

  1. SEVP's Fall Guidance- What You Need to Know!
  2. Chat With ISS Staff During Advising Hours
  3. Tuition Payment Information
  4. BMV Reopens
  5. Applying for the SSN While Social Security Office are Closed
  6. Good Vibes Only
  7. Welcome [Back] to CWRU!
  8. Check In with ISS
  9. Campus Happenings
  10. Features
  11. Other Opportunities
  12. GRADS: Waiver of Registration Information
  13. ISS Staff is Working on Campus in a Limited Capacity


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 spelled out by student body

Welcome [Back] to CWRU!

For all new international students, we know that this is a very exciting time for you- classes are starting, you're getting to know Cleveland, you're learning about the United States and American culture, and you're making new friends- but remember to check in with ISS as soon as possible through your TerraDotta account at Checking-in online is the first step you must complete to properly maintain your F-1/J-1 student visa status.

For all continuing international students, don't forget to keep us up-to-date. If you've renewed a passport, gotten a new visa, or made any other substantive changes since last semester, please access your Terra Dotta account at and upload the relevant information/documents. And don't forget to update your address in SIS if you've moved!

Whether you're a new or continuing student, we're happy to have you here. We look forward to working with you while you study here at CWRU!

adelbert Hall in Fall

ISS Staff is Working on Campus in a Limited Capacity

Staff in the Center for International Affairs are looking forward to seeing new and returning students on campus this Fall! International Student Services understands that campus life will certainly be different from students’ typical experiences and I write to you today to tell you about the adjustments ISS has made to office procedures. These changes, approved by the university’s Office of Resiliency, allow staff to remain available to serve students while prioritizing the health and safety of the campus community.

Staff returned to the office in a limited capacity on August 24 and is available for:

  • virtual advising hours through our chat box on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 11am to 3pm.

    Virtual advising is the best option for quick questions.

  • virtual appointments, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5pm.

    Email to request an appointment and provide your full, legal name and a brief description of the nature of your appointment.

    Please note, we generally require 24 hours’ notice and do not schedule same-day appointments due to the volume of requests that we receive.

  • in-person appointments for picking up or dropping off documents only on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 10am to 3pm.

    ISS expects students with appointments for picking up or dropping off documents to arrive at the office promptly. Staff members will be masked and students must be as well; staff will not meet with students who are not properly wearing masks and abiding by safety precautions. Upon arriving, students should call 216.368.2517 to check in. A staff member will meet with them in the lobby to exchange documents.

    Students who are picking up documents will receive specific instructions when their documents are ready for pick-up and can schedule their appointments here.

    Students who are dropping off documents will need to contact ISS at and make specific arrangements. There may be certain exceptions that do not require emailing to make specific arrangements, and in those instances, instructions about how to drop off documents will be included in an existing request process. Unless otherwise noted, students should not expect same-day service for processing documents that they are dropping off at the office.

    Appointments will be managed by all members in the Center for International Affairs so students should not expect to meet with an ISS staff member who can answer specific questions. Students are welcome to use the virtual chat during advising hours, email, or set up a virtual appointment to further discuss their situations with ISS staff.

For students’ convenience, ISS:

  • will offer the option of electronic I-20s whenever a new one needs to be issued to you. After it is created, this I-20 will be immediately available and accessible anywhere, anytime through your Terra Dotta ( account. Students will still have the option to request a physical document to receive through either FedEx or a pick-up/drop-off appointment if they would prefer that. Please remember that these appointments are not for advising purposes.

    At this time, the Department of State has not authorized the issuance of electronic DS-2019s.

  • has standardized requests for employment verification through Terra Dotta.

  • is developing virtual OPT and CPT workshops hosted by ISS advisors. More information will be available later in the semester. Online workshops will continue to be an option and information about OPT and CPT is always available on our website.

sevp logo

SEVP's Fall Guidance- What You Need to Know! 

All students should have received an email from ISS on July 28 with information about SEVP's guidance and how it relates to the Fall 2020 semester.  The email contained detailed information about how students are eligible to maintain status and what students can expect if maintaining status is not currently an option. This communication can be found in its entirety on our website along with other communications we have sent throughout the summer.

We know that you may have questions. We welcome you to send them to us at and we will do our best to provide you with answers. We will continue to monitor the guidance and communicate with you as needed throughout the semester!

check in on a computer screen

Check In with ISS

If you are beginning a program at CWRU this semester or received a check-in message from ISS, you need to check in online as part of the process to maintain your visa status.

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, and are either attending courses remotely from abroad or deferring your admission to a future semester, report your plans using this form. DO NOT check in using the instructions above.  

Once you submit the form, your information will be logged and an ISS advisor will work with you later in the Fall to ensure that steps are taken so that you can begin your studies on campus in the future. You do not need to take any other action besides submitting the form and replying to any follow-up emails we send to you later.

ISS will begin reaching out to students after we have completed mandatory reporting requirements for all students who arrive for Fall 2020.  This process will take several weeks to complete after classes begin on August 24.

don't forget written on post it notes

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!

virtual advising chat box

Chat with ISS Staff Online During Advising Hours

Virtual Advising is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 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.

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.

Advisors are looking forward to chatting with you!
tuition payment information sign

Tuition Payment Information

The SIS Financial Guide at will help students navigate and manage their finances through the SIS Finances.

Payments towards tuition and fees may be made through Flywire (also referred to peerTransfer), CWRU's partnered international payment processor, using the student's local currency. Flywire supports various payment methods depending on the local currency (direct bank to bank transfers, UnionPay Online Payments, Visa/Mastercard, or, which is an equivalent service to PayPal in the United States). Any and all transaction fees are disclosed up front and the currency conversion rate and fees are guaranteed to be lower than competing banks.

Students should not use other third-party payment provider, except those outlined at, to pay their tuition bill.

bmv offices reopen
get in line online for BMV
ssa logo

Schedule an Appointment to Apply for SSN

While Social Security offices are closed due to COVID-19, you will need to schedule an appointment to submit your application for the SSN.  ISS staff has spoken with staff at the Shaker Heights office and here is the protocol to follow:

  1. Call 1-877-635-3546, then press "2" as an option for the first menu, then press "0" to speak with a staff member.
  2. Tell the staff member that you would like to meet with a manager to apply for the SSN.  Managers are generally available on Monday and Tuesday mornings.
  3. The staff member will ask for your full, legal name to enter your appointment in the system. Speak very slowly and clearly.  It will be helpful to spell your name using examples ( C for Charlie, A for Apple, T for Turtle, etc.).
  4. A 30 minute appointment will be scheduled for you. You MUST be prompt.  ISS recommends that you arrive 5-10 minutes early.
  5. On the day of your appointment, you must have all of your documentation in order and completed:
  6. When you arrive for your appointment, go to the front door of the office, wearing a mask, and be ready to hand your completed paperwork to the manager.
  7. The manager will take your documents inside to process and return to let you know when everything is complete.
  8. You should expect to receive your SSN at the address that you list on your SS-5 when it is ready.

We hope this information is helpful to you.  If you need to visit a different Social Security Administration, you can find a location near you by visiting their website.  Call that office and ask what their SSN application process is.


Welcome party flyer

Welcome [Back] Party for International Students Living on Campus

Thursday, September 3, 4-5 pm ET, Zoom -

Join the Center for International Affairs for our virtual Welcome [Back] Party and connect with other international students living on campus this year! We know this year presents many challenges when it comes to adjusting to campus life and meeting new people, so the party will feature an opportunity to ask questions about student life on campus from other CWRU students!


Welcome [Back] Party for International Students Learning Remotely

Thursday, September 3, 8-9 pm ET, Zoom -

Join the Center for International Affairs for our virtual Welcome [Back] Party and connect with other international students learning remotely this semester! We know this year presents many challenges when it comes to meeting other students, so the party will feature an opportunity to ask questions about student life and learning remotely from other CWRU students!


Friday Forums - Every Friday, 1pm EST

Friday, April 24 at 1:00pm
to Friday, August 28 at 1:30pm
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Every Friday at 1pm we will host an online forum about a different study abroad hot topic. Check back for topic updates! These will include but are not limited to: finding courses, programs and scholarships; specifics for diverse, LGBTQ and high financial need students; options for pre-med, research, business and engineering students; and journeys to popular world regions!

CLE Bucket List Flyer

Campus Happenings

Upcoming Virtual Fairs

Business Career Fair

When | Friday, Sept. 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT

About | Co-hosted with the Weatherhead School of Management Career Management Team and Beta Alpha Psi, the CWRU professional accounting society, this fair will connect your organization with undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni seeking internship, practicum, co-op, or full-time positions in accounting, finance, marketing and more.

Register for the Business Career Fair in Handshake.

Engineering, Technology and Science Career Fair

When | Friday, Sept. 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT

About | This fair will connect your organization with undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni seeking internship, practicum, co-op, or full-time positions in engineering, computer science, natural sciences and more.

Register for the Engineering, Technology and Science Career Fair in Handshake.

Culture, Community and Public Service Fair

When | Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 4 to 7 p.m. EDT

About | Co-hosted with the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning, this fair will connect your organization with undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni seeking careers in social sciences, law/ government, public service, art and more. 

Register for the Culture, Community and Public Service Fair in Handshake.

entrepreneur well-being circle logo

Calling all founders and entrepreneurs who want to be well while doing well!

Being an entrepreneur can be hard. Hard to sustain your motivation, hard to know if you are making the right decisions, and hard to have enough energy to get through your to-do list. And nobody understands that better than fellow entrepreneurs, working through the same challenges and uncertainty to build something inspired.
Join us for the first Entrepreneur Well-being Circle—a facilitated, individual and group coaching program for entrepreneurs— designed to enable you to achieve greater personal well-being, so you can be your best self both inside and outside of work.
In this 2-month-long virtual coaching program with fellow entrepreneurs, you will:
  • Create a big picture vision for your life and your business
  • Receive support from peers who understand your experience while trying out new behaviors
  • Discuss key issues such as imposter syndrome, authenticity, stress, emotional labor and burnout
  • Hear the latest research on self-management techniques for well-being, time and energy
  • Help other members of the entrepreneurial community by sharing your experience
The Entrepreneur Well-being Circle is supported by the Case Western Reserve University Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship and JumpStart.
Register here before September 4, 2020. Individual coaching begins in mid-September and the group starts in early October.
For more information, visit or email Mandy Varley at

Other Opportunities

InterCle 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!

tiny angry squeaking frog

A tiny, angry, squeaking frog

bear cub in a tree

Top 5 Funniest Animal Outtakes