From: International Student Services
Date: June 17, 2020
Subject: ISS News, June 17, 2020: The Center's Anti-Racism Statement, Virtual Chat Available All Summer, Conversations on Race: Turning Pain into Purpose, Support for Students of Color, Tax Information, Good Vibes, OPT & CPT workshops, Cap-Gap, BMV Reopens, & More


June 17, 2020


in this issue:

  1. Need a Fresh Travel Signature?
  2. Tax Information for 2019- New Filing Deadline of July 15, 2020
  3. OPT & CPT Workshops
  4. Applying for the SSN While Social Security Office are Closed
  5. OH BMV Locations Reopen
  6. Campus Events
  7. Good Vibes Only
  8. How to Request a Cap-Gap I-20
  9. Virtual Advising All Summer Long
  10. Video: Tap into the Hidden Job Market
  11. The Center for International Affairs' Anti-Racism Statement


ISS Staff is available to students, without an appointment, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday during virtual advising hours,11am to 3pm.

There are no virtual advising hours on Wednesday.

Appointments through Zoom or by phone can be requested by emailing Please provide your full-name and a brief description of the nature of your appointment when you contact us.

The Center for International Affairs' Anti-Racism Statement

The Center for International Affairs (Center) unequivocally condemns all forms of racism—individual, structural, and systemic—as a humanitarian crisis that we have failed to acknowledge for far too long. We condemn police brutality, the killing of Black and Brown people, and the injustices that Black and Brown people face. We support the current civil rights movement in the United States known as the Black Lives Matter movement, and we commit to further anti-racist work on an individual, departmental, and institutional level.

The global response in solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement reveals the full reach of racism, and the current national and international protests reflect this as a national and global movement. International education, at its core, focuses on developing global citizens who embody a mutual understanding and appreciation of all people, with a goal of building relationships and connections worldwide. The Center for International Affairs has an opportunity and an obligation to address issues of racial injustice both within our office, within the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) community, and in our broader global community.

We recognize that statements are meaningful, but that powerful and positive change is a result of purposeful actions. The Center for International Affairs believes that each individual can make a positive contribution to improving the lives of Black and Brown students, faculty, and staff on our campus and in the global community. We will join with the broader CWRU initiatives to fight injustice on our campus. In order to affect change, the Center for International Affairs pledges to:

  • Acknowledge that racism is embedded into our organizational structures and acknowledge that this is a societal and global problem, and that we, as a Center, need to continuously educate ourselves so that we can be agents of positive and impactful transformation.
  • Listen to our Black, Brown, and International students, faculty, and staff to understand their experiences on our campus. We seek to learn from their experiences and be more inclusive in order to contribute to making our campus a more welcoming, healthy, and anti-racist community for them and all others from around the world.
  • Host a series of campus dialogues to discuss the intersection between internationalization and multicultural education and how this impacts the Case Western Reserve community both on our campus and abroad. Information about our dialogue series is forthcoming.
  • Expand the #YouAreWelcomeHereCWRU and #WelcomeHereWednesday campaign by investing in positive, tangible changes to help make our campus a safer and more welcoming place for our students of color and our international students. Our latest installment of the #YouAreWelcomeHereCWRU campaign can be found here.
  • Continue to ensure that our education abroad opportunities are accessible to all of our students who are underrepresented in study abroad, providing more support and working to reduce barriers.

We recognize that combating racism is life-long work and that we must continually be vigilant as we learn, listen, and take action. We pledge to measure ourselves as we fight injustice, racism, and discrimination so that we make our Center and our campus a safe, welcoming, and equal environment where every member of our community, regardless of race, religion, gender, or socio-economic status, can thrive.

virtual advising chat box

Chat with ISS Staff Online During Advising Hours
We Are Here All Summer

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.

startrooper meme about forgetting 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.

tax time clip art

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

If you haven’t filed your taxes for 2019 yet- all international students have to file taxes whether they've earned income of not- 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.

OPT and CPT workshop branding telling students that workshops are available online
students dressed in suits

Video: Tap into the Hidden Job Market

If you missed the event on June 3, you get all of the information from the video!

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.

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 access 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.

Campus Events


"Conversations on Race: Turning Pain into Purpose"

Wednesday, June 17
3:00pm - 4:30pm
Video Conferencing Link
Add to Google Cal,Outlook,Yahoo,iCal

Reflections and discussion on the death of George Floyd and its aftermath, with Robert L. Solomon, JD, vice president for CWRU's Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity and Bryan Adamson, JD, associate dean of diversity, CWRU School of Law.

Join us for this engaging remote conversation, which will include small group discussions facilitated by trained Sustained Dialogue moderators.

help and support arrow

Support Available for Students of Color

University Health & Counseling Services is invested in keeping the conversation going. We have added additional dates/times for our Students of Color Support Space (individualized support) and Conversations with Students of Color Regarding Recent National Events (drop-in group conversations). These programs are available to all CWRU undergraduate and graduate students of color. 

Get more information and register.

KSL image

Kelvin Smith LIbrary Calls on CWRU Community to Record History with "COVID-19: Tell Your Story"

This week, the Case Western Reserve University community reflects on its legacy at the same time it navigates COVID-19, which will have an historic impact on campus and beyond.

“The experiences endured by our campus during the COVID-19 pandemic have been nothing short of unprecedented. We have shifted, we have pivoted and we have quickly transitioned, all as the world around us reels from the effects of this virus,” Provost and Executive Vice President Ben Vinson III said.

The outbreak has forced the world to adapt, with non-essential businesses closed, employees working from home, students of all ages learning through a computer screen, essential employees taking serious precautions before going to work, and health care workers facing the virus each day.

To document this significant moment in history, Kelvin Smith Library asks students, faculty, staff and alumni to record their personal experiences during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to be kept in the University Archives.

Read more about how you can be a part of this!

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!

Building the perfect squirrel proof bird feeder

Former NASA Engineer vs Squirrel

Who Will Be Victorious!?

James Veitch Loves Rubber Ducks

Comic James Veitch is an Awful Roommate Who Loves Rubber Ducks!