From: International Student Services
Date: December 7, 2022
Subject: ISS News, December 7, 2022: Good Luck with Finals, ISS' Staff Availability in December, End of Semester Reminders, Therapy Dogs at KSL, Apply to be an OL, Tax Information, Wellness and Support Resources, Good Vibes, and More

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December 7, 2022


in this issue:

  1. End of Semester Reminders
  2. Support Resources
  3. Prepare for Final Exam Success
  4. Support Through University Health and Counseling Services
  5. Waiver of Registration Information
  6. Tax Information for 2021 Filing Year
  7. OPT & CPT Workshops
  8. OPT & STEM OPT Students- Follow These Simple Steps for Reporting Updates
  9. Features
  10. Campus Happenings
  11. Other Opportunities
  12. Good Vibes Only
  13. December- Changes in ISS' Availability


ISS Staff is available to students, without an appointment, on Monday, Thursday, and Friday during advising hours:

11am to 1pm- through virtual advising available online

1pm to 3pm- through in-person advising in the office

There are no advising hours on Tuesday and Wednesday.


If you would like to speak with an advisor outside of our advising hours, please send an email to to request an appointment.  Provide your full, legal name and a brief description of what you would like to discuss in your message and ISS staff will help connect you with an advisor to schedule an appointment. 

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End of Semester Reminders

If you have thoughts about traveling abroad during the break, be sure to ask yourself these questions:

Do I need to extend my I-20 or DS-2019? If you do, read more under the Frequently Asked Questions Section. Undergraduates, be sure to list your Dean in Undergraduate Studies on your request and graduate students, you should list your academic advisor.

Do I need to transfer my F-1 or J-1 SEVIS record? If you do, read more under the Frequently Asked Questions Section.

Do I need to get a new travel signature on my I-20 or DS-2019? If you do, you can read about that process and other factors related to travel and reentry for F-1 and J-1 students.


  • be aware of all travel-related policies. Travel requirements are changing as the situation with COVID-19 evolves, including a Presidential Proclamation requiring travelers to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the US.  Be sure that you are monitoring all requirements for entry to the United States and complying with university policies related to vaccination and travel to minimize the risk of disrupting your education at CWRU. **If you have any doubts or concerns about your ability to return to the United States by January 17 when the Spring 2023 semester begins, please consider remaining in the United States during winter break and not traveling abroad.**
  • check the validity of the visa in your passport. US Embassies and Consulates have limited services available and there could be significant delays in visa issuances. This delay could significantly affect your ability to return to the United States.
  • make sure your passport is valid at all times. Many government agencies are reducing and suspending services. Passport issuance could be an issue in your home country. Please prepare as early as possible if you need to apply for a new passport.  There are certain benefits for which F-1 students apply when they are in the United States and the agencies that oversee those benefits often require applicants to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months into the future.

Do you have more questions that you need help answering? Get in touch with ISS staff during advising hours or by email before you leave campus.

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December- Changes in ISS' Availability

ISS staff will have different hours of availability over the next few weeks. This schedule will be updated as needed to help you plan your visit to ISS.

Friday, December 9: Advising hours will be adjusted

  • Virtual Advising will be from 11 am to 12:30 pm
  • In-person Advising will be from 2 to 3 pm
Wednesday, December 14: The Center will be closed so that staff can engage in strategic planning meetings.

Friday, December 23 - Monday, January 2: UNIVERSITY IS CLOSED

On all other days, ISS will operate and offer services as usual.  Please plan your visit to the office accordingly so that staff members are available to help you!

Note: ISS does close when the university closes for scheduled breaks and inclement weather. If you're ever in doubt about ISS staff availability, we strongly recommend that you call in advance of visiting the office; we don't want you to be out in the cold, snowy weather if we're not available to help you! If you have an immigration-related emergency when we are not in the office, contact CWRU Security at 216.368.3300 and dispatch will know how to reach an ISS staff member.

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Support Through University Health and Counseling Services

We know that you are focused on finals and that there are so many other things happening around you that require your energy and attention, but please prioritize your mental and physical health. University Health and Counseling Services can provide the care and support to help you be successful. 

You can access medical and mental health care through CWRU's TimelyCare. TimelyCare is a 24/7 medical and mental telehealth care service that undergraduate, graduate and professional students can access from wherever they are. For more information about the program or to make an appointment, please visit the TimelyCare site.

Not feeling well? Connect with our University Health Service staff or make an appointment using myhealthconnect.

Please take care of yourself during this very busy time of year! 

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Support Resources

The Dean of Students Office and the Case Western Reserve University community are committed to helping students overcome challenges during their academic careers.  A website has been developed to host a variety of resources and services that are available if you need them!

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Grads: Waiver of Registration Information

If you are a graduate student planning to submit a Waiver of Registration, 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!

Tax Information for 2021 Filing Year

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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.

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Sprintax Offers Tax Webinars to Prepare for Tax Filing Season 2022

ISS partners with the tax experts at Sprintax who offer tax filing services to international students that are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes. The Sprintax team will be hosting a series of free open tax webinars to provide helpful information about non-resident tax filing obligations.

You can find the details and registration links below for each:

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

  • An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars

  • Who must file a 2021 US tax return

  • What income forms students may receive

  • Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS

  • Terms like FICA, ITIN, and Form 1098-T

  • What happens if students don’t file or misfile

  • State tax returns

  • Sprintax overview

Sprintax will also be hosting a free open tax webinar for students who are authorized for OPT/CPT to learn more about their tax responsibilities as well:


OPT and CPT online workshops available

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.

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OPT & STEM OPT Students- Follow These Simple Steps for Reporting Updates

Reporting related to your personal contact and employment information is a critical part of maintaining status while authorized for either OPT or STEM OPT. Here are instructions for you to follow to ensure that both ISS and the U.S. Government receive the information that they need. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your visa status is protected!


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Campus Happenings

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Tea & Chocolate Club’s first tea and chocolate tasting event

Thursday, December 8
2:00pm - 3:00pm
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What: Tea and chocolate tasting event for CWRU graduate students. We will be tasting green, oolong, and black teas. We will be tasting single-origin chocolate bars from countries throughout the world ranging from 48–84% cocoa. We hope to create a space for graduate students to come together around tea and chocolate.

Where: Atrium on the 4th floor of the Peter B. Lewis (PBL) building (11119 Bellflower Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106)

When: Thursday, 12/08, from 2–3 PM ET

Who: All CWRU graduate students

About the Tea & Chocolate Club: The T&C Club is a Graduate Student Council (GSC) club that started in the fall of 2022. It is a space for CWRU graduate students to come together through cultural exchange around tea—the second most consumed beverage in the world after water (Manellis, 2014; Tea Fact Sheet—2019-2020, 2020)—and chocolate. Spaces for graduate students to interact across campus have been limited since COVID-19 started. The T&C Club’s purpose is to create such a space for all graduate students while being present through sensory experiences. In addition, the T&C Club will also facilitate participants’ learning about tea and chocolate through cultural and educational experiences.



Fright Before Finals: A HoliSLAY Drag Show

Friday, December 9
8:00pm - 10:00pm
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Fright Before Finals: A HoliSLAY Drag Show will feature Cleveland drag queens for an incredible night of performances in the Tink Ballroom. Queens will be dancing, lip-syncing, and more, with a meet and greet at the end. There'll be food, drinks, photo opportunities, and music!

All students are welcome to this amazing show for FREE!!

Performers include: Anhedonia Delight, Joliee Blak, Sarah Tonin, Ryder Slowly, and Eve Ville!!



Doc Opera 2022: Stitch Perfect!

Saturday, December 10
7:00pm - 10:00pm
John Hay High School Auditorium , 2075 Stokes Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
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Please join us for an unforgettable performance as Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine proudly presents Doc Opera 2022: Stitch Perfect! The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine includes its University Program Western Reserve Curriculum, the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, and the Medical Scientist Training Programs. Talented students from each of these programs will come together to provide you with an evening of live entertainment at our local John Hay High School.

Now in its 38th year, Doc Opera is an annual fundraiser and variety show that is written, choreographed, directed, and stars students from CWRU’s health professional programs. Students and faculty from these graduate programs create a memorable night of skits, musical performances, and dances about medicine and healthcare, all for the benefit of the Student-Run Health Clinic. The evening includes a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction made possible with the support of students, faculty, local businesses, and other generous donors.

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Therapy Dogs @ KSL

Monday, December 12
12:00pm - 3:00pm
KSL First Floor Atrium, 11055 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States
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Therapy dogs are back at KSL! Come say hi and hang out with some friendly pups in the KSL atrium! Stay for as little or as long as you would like.

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Other Opportunities

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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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Chanukah Songs with Six13

Chanukah will be celebrated this year starting December 18 through December 26.  The Center for International Affairs wishes a Happy Chanukah to all those who celebrate!

Six13 is a six-man acappella vocal band, which means there are no instruments and every sound is made with their voices!  Their performances highlight the richness of Jewish heritage by adapting the lyrics of popular songs to focus on Jewish culture in a fun and informative way.

West Side Chanukah Story shares the Jewish tradition of Chanukah through songs adapted from the popular American musical, West Side Story.

If you would like to promote your event or opportunity through ISSNews, please make a complete submission (including flyers, images, details, etc.) for consideration by noon on Monday to ISS cannot guarantee that all submissions will appear in the newsletter, as space is limited, but staff will review all timely submissions for consideration.