From: International Student Services
Date: May 20, 2020
Subject: ISS News, May 20, 2020: End of Semester Reminders, Insurance Information from University Health and Counseling Services, Tell Your Story, ISS Closed Monday, May 25, Tax webinar, IKEA Meatballs, & More!


May 20, 2020


in this issue:

  1. Graduating Students: Access to UH&CS and Insurance Information
  2. End of Semester Reminders
  3. Applying for the SSN While Social Security Office are Closed
  4. OH BMV Services Unavailable
  5. Featured Events
  6. Good Vibes Only
  7. ISS Closed- Monday, May 25
  8. Campus Events
  9. Sprintax Offering a Webinar- Thursday, May 28
  10. How to Request a Cap-Gap I-20


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.

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Graduating Students: Access to University Health & Counseling Services & Insurance Information

UH&CS knows that graduating students have been particularly affected by the upheaval of university and daily life. They are here to assist you as you graduate from CWRU. Please visit their website for more information about services, insurance, and health records.

ISS Closed- Monday, May 25

The University will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 25.

In the event of an emergency, please follow the protocol listed on our website.

Regular business hours will resume on Tuesday, May 26.

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End of Semester Reminders

If you have thoughts about traveling abroad during the summer, be sure to ask yourself these important questions, visit the links if you need to take action, and take the effects of COVID-19 into consideration as you make your plans:

Do I need to extend my I-20 or DS-2019? If you do, read more under the Frequently Asked Questions Section.

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

Am I fully prepared to travel during the break so that I can return to campus smoothly?  In addition to having your I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel, which you can read about here, if you’re an F-1 or J-1 student, please:

  • check the validity of the visa in your passport. US Embassies and Consulates have suspended services worldwide and there could be significant delays in visa issuances.  This delay could significantly affect your ability to return to the United States.
  • be aware of travel restrictions.  Travel restrictions are changing as the situation with COVID-19 evolves.  Unless travel restrictions loosen or lift entirely, it could be very difficult to enter the United States.
  • make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months into the future 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.

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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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.

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.

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OH BMV logo

Many OH BMV Services will be Unavailable While Stay-at-Home Order is in Effect.

Effective March 19, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) closed many locations and discontinued many services.  Please visit the OH BMV's website for more information.

Sprintax logo

Sprintax Offering a Webinar
Thursday, May 28, 1-2 pm (EST)

During this webinar, Sprintax will provide a refresher on filing obligations, but also touch base on the recent stimulus payment and other tax related changes resulting from COVID-19. If you have not yet filed your 2019 taxes or have additional tax questions, you should consider participating. 

The maximum capacity for this webinar is 500 participants. You can register here with Sprintax and you'll be sent information about joining the webinar.

Remember, ISS staff members are not tax experts- we have no formal training or expertise on these very complicated matters and cannot assist you. If you have specific questions, you should work directly with a tax professional or accountant.

Featured Events

Study abroad forum flyer

Study Abroad Friday Forums

Students are invited to connect with the Office of Education Abroad every Friday for the new Study Abroad Friday Forums. The forums will answer various student study abroad questions and highlight specifics about study abroad experiences every Friday at 1 pm via Zoom.

The forums will feature a different topic each week!

All CWRU students are welcome to attend. The link to participate can be found on the Study Abroad CampusGroups page:

Campus Events

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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!

advanced professional development for university teaching UNIV401 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!

Gorgeous sculpted cakes from

These Cake Artists From Around the World are AMAZING!

image of baked breads

Yeast is Hard to Find, Biologist Teaches People How to Make it at Home

meatballs plated from

IKEA Shares Their Meatballs Recipe