From: International Student Services
Date: December 11, 2019
Subject: ISS News, Dec. 11, 2019- Holiday Hours, End of Semester Reminders, Tax Info, OPT, & Waiver Info


December 11, 2019


in this issue:

  1. December- Changes in ISS Availability
  2. End of Semester Reminders
  3. Important Tax Info
  4. OPT & STEM OPT Students- Follow These Simple Steps for Reporting Updates
  5. Grads: Waiver of Registration Information


ISS Staff is available to students, without an appointment, on Monday, Tuesday, 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 Wednesday.


If you need to speak or meet with an advisor outside of our advising hours, please send an email to to schedule an appointment. Please provide your full-name and a brief description of the nature of your appointment when you contact us.

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December- Changes in ISS Availability

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

Friday, December 20: ISS advisors will only be available until 3 p.m.  If you need a travel signature on your I-20, plan to come to the office by 2pm.

Monday, December 23 - Wednesday, January 1: UNIVERSITY IS CLOSED

On all other days, ISS will operate and offer advising hours as usual.

ISS does close when the university closes for scheduled breaks and inclement weather. If you're ever in doubt about ISS staff's 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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End of Semester Reminders

Before you leave campus for break, ask yourself these important questions and visit the links if you need to take action:

Do I need to extend your I-20 or DS-2019?

Do I need to transfer your SEVIS Record?

Am I fully prepared to travel during the break so that I can return to campus smoothly?

Do you have more questions that you need help answering?  Get in touch with ISS staff during advising hours before you leave campus.  Keep in mind that ISS closes whenever the university is officially closed. If you ever have doubts about our availability, we strongly recommend that you call the office before planning your visit.

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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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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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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!