From: International Student Services
Date: July 1, 2020
Subject: ISS News, July 1, 2020: Advocating for OPT, Workshops, Tax Deadline is July 15, Good Vibes, Get a Fresh Travel Travel Signature, Johnny K Wu Movies, University Closed July 3, & More!


July 1, 2020


in this issue:

  1. OPT & CPT Workshops
  2. Tax Information for 2019- New Filing Deadline of July 15, 2020
  3. BMV Reopens
  4. How to Request a Cap-Gap I-20
  5. Applying for the SSN While Social Security Office are Closed
  6. Need a Fresh Travel Signature?
  7. Good Vibes Only
  8. New Virtual Global and Intercultural Learning Opportunities
  9. Campus Events
  10. Advocating for OPT
  11. University Closed- Friday, July 3


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.

Advocating for OPT
fireworks over cleveland

University Closed- Friday, July 3

The university will be closed on Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day.  Regular business hours will resume on Monday, July 6.

taxes clipart

Tax Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020
Sprintax Still Available to Help You File

If you haven’t filed your taxes for 2019 yet, it’s not too late. ISS makes Sprintax available to help you.

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 12.
  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 you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via their 24/7 live chat facility.

In response to the effects of COVID-19 and the cancellation of many onsite tax support services, Sprintax is also offering this 35 minute tax webinar, which explains the core tax obligations for international students. Please use the link to access the video:

For more information, visit our Information on Filing Taxes page.

stormtrooper meme about getting a travel signature

Need a Fresh Travel Signature?

If you need a travel signature, don't panic! ISS can help. Read about what to do on our Travel and Reentry pages for F-1 and J-1 students.

You can also request a travel signature using our electronic form here.

flyer for virtual global and intercultural learning opportunities

New Virtual Global & Intercultural Learning Opportunities!

Case Western Reserve University students can take advantage of an international experience without leaving home thanks to the Office of Education Abroad's new virtual global and intercultural learning opportunities!

These exciting and convenient options allow students to reap many academic and career benefits associated with a study abroad program! In addition to taking courses related to numerous majors, students can also participate in research and internships.

The virtual programs are a great addition to a transcript and an excellent experience to include on a resume and discuss during a job interview! They allow students to earn credits towards their degree and stay on track to graduate.

There is a curated list of programs ready for students to explore. Some deadlines are approaching soon and space is limited, so apply today! Study abroad advisors are ready to help students select the best option for them - schedule an appointment now at!

OPT and CPT workshop branding telling students that workshops are available online
bmv offices reopen
get in line online for BMV
H1B Visa image

How to Request a Cap-Gap I-20

If you've properly filed for a change of status to H-1B or been selected to receive an H-1B, you may be eligible for the cap-gap extension. To qualify for the H-1B cap-gap extension you must have:

  • timely filed your petition
  • requested an employment start date of October 1 of the current year
  • requested a change of status
  • not violated the terms or conditions of your current F-1 status

The cap-gap extension automatically extends a student's duration of status (time period during which an F-1 student is legally present) in the United States. If a student is on a period of valid post-completion OPT at the time the H-1B petition is filed, employment authorization is also extended. For students who complete their period of valid post-completion OPT and are on their 60 day grace period at the time the H-1B petition is timely filed, their duration of status will also be extended, but does not extend any kind of work authorization during that time.

ISS can help you obtain a cap-gap I-20 if you meet all of the above criteria. Below is some information about our policies for creating your cap-gap I-20.

Please be aware that ISS is not provided any advanced notification of an H-1B petition being selected. SEVIS only contains H-1B information once the USCIS system called CLAIMS properly updates it. CLAIMS also updates the SEVP Portal; students have acdess to the exact information that staff does.

ISS' ability to generate a cap-gap I-20 is completely dependent on the SEVIS record being properly updated by USCIS' CLAIMS. Cap-gap functionality in SEVIS is directly linked to information being properly transferred from CLAIMS and a student's SEVIS record indicating that the petition is either pending or approved. When the transfer of information and functionality are working properly, a cap-gap I-20 can be provided within about 5 business days. To initiate the request for your cap-gap I-20:

  • Log in to Terra Dotta via
  • click on this link.
  • Complete the electronic form and upload all of the necessary materials. ISS must have these items on file in order to process your request.
  • Wait to hear from ISS. Please be very mindful of both your timing of this request and the timing that ISS requires (5-7 business days) to process the required paperwork for you. This is an extremely busy time in our office and we appreciate your patience!

In cases where a student has received either receipt information or an approval notice for the H-1B petition but CLAIMS has not properly updated the SEVIS record, an I-20 cannot be generated by ISS since the option to create the I-20 is actually not available in the computer system. A manual update to fix the data must be requested by ISS. These data fixes can take several weeks, even months, before they're resolved and before ISS will initiate one, the student must discuss the process with an advisor.

Once ISS is able to prepare a student's cap-gap I-20, an advisor will send an email when it's ready. If ISS is unable to prepare the cap-gap I-20 for any reason, an advisor will contact the student via email to discuss next steps.

ssa logo

Applying for the SSN while Social Security Offices are Closed

While Social Security offices are closed due to COVID-19, it might be very challenging for students to apply for the SSN.  ISS is looking into this issue and exploring resources to provide to you.  As soon as we know more, we will provide an update.

In the meantime, ISS strongly discourages you from taking any steps that would involve applying for the SSN by mail and sending your original passport as part of the application.  Sending your passport through the mail is always risky- it could easily be lost and is not easily replaced. During this very uncertain time, you do not want to do anything that could result in your passport being lost or create more stress for you.

We know that these closings are inconvenient for you (and your employers); however, ISS strongly feels that it is in your best interest to wait for additional guidance at this time.

Campus Events

GSC Open Forum 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!

Asiatown bingo board

Asiatown Bingo!  Treat yourself to take out!

Johnny K Wu movie poster

Got Amazon Prime?  Check out FREE Johnny K. Wu Films