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ISO Student News: Issue 1

August 30, 2021


Table of Contents

  1. Welcome and Welcome Back!! (more)
  2. ISO Operations & Service Options (more)
  3. F/J Enrollment Requirements for Fall 2021 (more)
  4. OPT Updates & ISO Employment Workshop Series (more)
  5. Address Reporting & Other Reminders for International Students (more)
  6. UR Payment Considerations: Logistics, Taxpayer ID & GLACIER (more)
  7. UHS Programming: Koru Basic Mindfulness (more)

Welcome and Welcome Back!!

The International Services Office (ISO) is delighted to welcome our new and returning international students to the University of Rochester for the Fall 2021 semester! The ISO is here to support your immigration and related needs.  Please review the information below on how best to access ISO services for the Fall term.

ISO Student News is the ISO’s semi-monthly email newsletter. Through this publication, we will report on changes to regulations and policies, announce upcoming events, and provide reminders about immigration responsibilities and benefits for international students. At a minimum, please review the contents of each issue to determine whether the instructions or resources are relevant to you.

For students, new issues of ISO Student News will be sent to your current UR email address, as with all notices from ISO regarding your immigration records, status, or benefits. If you prefer to use a personal account, please be sure to forward your campus email so you will continue to receive these important communications from our office!

University staff, faculty, or affiliates who would like to be added to the mailing list should email us at


ISO Operations & Service Options

ISO is pleased to offer a variety of ways to connect with our staff on important immigration and personal needs! Our Contact page continues to offer the most updated information on our current operations, including service schedules, directions, and advising options.

To review our service schedule, please see the grids below (or our print-friendly version) and note the following summary:

  • ISO Office Hours are generally Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. On Wednesdays, ISO does not take phone calls or appointments, while staff focus on immigration casework and document issuance.

  • Individual advising appointments are scheduled during regular office hours according to staff availability; some slots can be available during the noon hour if needed. All appointments are held virtually over Zoom and booked at least one day in advance.

  • Students are welcomed to join our Drop-In Advising Hours for brief consultations with an advisor (5-10 min). Please access Drop-Ins via this Zoom link on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (1-4pm), as well as Friday mornings (9am-12pm).

  • As of Thursday 9/16/21: The ISO Service Desk will receive in-person visitors to our office in College Town (Suite 1.100), offering both morning and afternoon hours: 10am to 12pm [Mon/Thurs/Fri] and 1pm to 4:30pm [Mon/Tues/Thurs]. Staff will be on-site to assist with document distribution, general inquires, and appointment scheduling. When the Service Desk is closed, our team remains available virtually during standard office hours to coordinate these services.
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Current ISO Service Schedule (as of 8/23/2021)
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F/J Enrollment Requirements for Fall 2021

In April 2021, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the temporary guidance for schools to adapt their academic operations due to pandemic concerns will remain in place through the 2021-2022 academic year. The guidance provides flexibility for modified enrollment requirements for F-1 students, in alignment with the school’s academic plan. Similarly, US Department of State (DOS) will retain allowances for J-1 Exchange Visitor students to pursue modified enrollment during the health crisis, as needed. ISO has prepared summary documentation of the immigration considerations currently in place, including a summary of ICE guidance from March 2020 and F-1/J-1 full-time study options during COVID-19. When academically appropriate, these regulatory options will still be viable for this year.

As required by the temporary guidance, ISO has reported to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) the University’s current academic plans for this semester/year. This includes the resumption of in-person course delivery across most UR schools and programs. Therefore, while immigration permissions remain flexible, we understand that the programs our F-1 and J-1 students pursue largely expect students to participate in their classes and research activities from campus. ISO does not anticipate needing to utilize the temporary guidance widely this year. However, as needed, schools may identify unique circumstances and coordinate with ISO to adapt study plans on a case-by-case basis. If you have difficulties to maintain full-time enrollment in-person from Rochester this semester, please utilize the resources available within your school to determine what your academic options might be. With that information, ISO will gladly help you to navigate your immigration planning!


OPT Updates & ISO Employment Workshop Series

OPT/STEM Resources Updates:
ISO is excited to announce that our website has been updated to include information on the online filing option for OPT and STEM applications. On April 12, 2021, USCIS announced that F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training can now file the Form I-765 online. Our website now reflects this update and we’ve created guides to help applicants navigate the OPT and STEM electronic applications.

Please check out the webpages and guides below to view the new updates:

As a reminder, if you are interested in applying for OPT or the STEM Extension, please plan to make an appointment with an ISO advisor, attend one of our employment workshops outlined below, and/or look at the available information on ISO’s webpages as early as possible in your final term. 

Employment Workshop Series in September:
ISO will be hosting several workshops related to F-1 off-campus employment authorization over the next few weeks. These workshops are a useful tool to get a sense of the timing and procedures required for various employment activities you may be interested in pursuing. Descriptions for the planned workshops are below, all of which will be held on Fridays at 11:00am (Eastern time). Please note that J-1 employment follows a different set of rules; any J-1 students seeking off-campus employment opportunities should speak with an ISO advisor.

All sessions will be delivered virtually, recorded, and posted to our website shortly after the event. Each workshop will be an hour in length with a thirty-minute Q&A segment at the end. Meeting links are published below and on our Events page.

This workshop provides a detailed overview of Optional Practical Training (OPT)—what it is, how to apply for it, and how to use it. Topics covered include: employment and unemployment during post-completion OPT, travel on OPT, an overview of STEM Extension OPT, and transitions to H-1B. Students can apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before their program end date, so if you will be graduating this semester, now is the time to begin thinking about this process!

This workshop provides a detailed overview of considerations that F-1 students should make when pursuing a paid or unpaid job or internship opportunity in the United States during their academic program. This workshop explores what is considered employment and the various types of on- and off-campus work authorization that F-1 students may be eligible for during their academic programs, including F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

This workshop provides an overview of the STEM OPT Extension and is geared toward students and recent graduates of STEM-designated academic programs who may plan to apply for STEM OPT in the future. This workshop covers STEM eligibility and employer requirements, Form I-983, reporting, and relevant timelines.


Address Reporting & Other Reminders for International Students

International students on F-1 and J-1 immigration status must follow certain policies and regulations in order to maintain their status. Here are some reminders that both new and returning students should keep in mind:

  • All changes of residential address must be reported within 10 days. You can report this information at any time directly in UR Student. To manage mandatory SEVIS reporting, it is critical that you edit these details regularly (see University IT tutorial on Updating an Address) and use the appropriate ‘Usage Tags’ in UR Student to send the correct address details to ISO. Please follow the address reporting guidelines on our website. Please enter your address in the same way you would on your immigration documents; be sure to include all relevant address information.
    • If you live in UR housing, address data will pass to ISO directly and does not need to be maintained on your address panel in UR Student. However, if your campus housing arrangements change, please contact Residential Life to ensure that your housing assignment is updated or removed.
    • Students pursuing post-completion employment should use the appropriate reporting tool.
    • On occasions where you will stay temporarily at another US address for more than 10 days, this information must be reported to ISO and passed to SEVIS. Upon your return to Rochester, the update will need to be made again to report your Rochester location.

  • All F-1 and J-1 students must maintain full-time registration each term. If you will need to take a reduced course load, please speak to an ISO student advisor before you drop below full-time enrollment.

  • International students must have appropriate employment authorization before they begin working. F-1 and J-1 students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the school year while maintaining their immigration status. J-1 students must complete additional documentation with the ISO for on-campus employment. Any off-campus employment for both F-1 and J-1 students must be specifically authorized and documented. Please contact an ISO student advisor if you have any questions about work authorization.

  • Keep your immigration & other records up-to-date. Make sure that you maintain a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 for the current year. If you have renewed or extended your passport, please submit a copy to ISO; if your passport will be expiring in the next year, make plans to renew it. Also, remember to update your GLACIER record with required address information, travel dates, and UR employment details. See below for more information.



UR Payment Considerations: Logistics, Taxpayer ID & GLACIER

Students who expect to receive University payments this semester will need to ensure that appropriate documentation is filed for payment processing and tax purposes. With the resumption of in-person courses this Fall, most students will be able to coordinate their payments normally following their arrival to campus. If you are new to the University or receiving a UR payment(s) for the first time, please review the information below regarding a US Taxpayer ID number and your GLACIER tax record.

In the less likely scenario that a student anticipates being paid remotely, those arrangements must be evaluated at the departmental level and referred to the relevant Dean’s office, as needed. Multiple factors need to be considered under University policy, various legal issues, and tax requirement, which may prevent work activities and/or payments for students located outside of Rochester. Please consult with your department to determine the intended payment relationship and whether payment is permitted prior to your arrival/return to campus.

US Taxpayer Identification: For most payments made in the US, a Taxpayer ID is needed for proper tax reporting. This unique number is used to track total income for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and to take advantage of tax treaty benefits that may exist between the US and your home country. Depending on the nature of your payments, international students may become eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), if they do not already have one. For service-based payments (i.e. Student Appointment codes 6004/6006, Add-On assistantships, Student Employment jobs), valid work authorization is required and you would be eligible for the SSN based on your employment. For non-service payments (i.e. Graduate award codes 6000/6002), the activity is not considered employment and you would need to obtain the ITIN instead. Note: J-1 students may obtain the SSN upon arrival without a current work relationship; please contact ISO to discuss.

If you intend to apply for a US Taxpayer ID number this semester, please consult our website for information about SSN/ITIN eligibility and relevant procedures. Whether you are applying for the first time or need a replacement, most F-1 & J-1 students require documentation from ISO in order to complete their application. Individual eligibility may also change over time. For students who are newly hired, your hiring department should prepare an SSN Eligibility Letter on your behalf and send that to ISO. You will then be invited to access online tools to help you prepare the required application materials. For students scheduled to receive a non-service payment, please review a direct communication sent last week regarding the ITIN application process and option to meet with an accountant who will process your application with the IRS. If international students or campus administrators have questions about these processes, please contact ISO appropriately: SSN inquiries to; ITIN inquiries to

GLACIER Records: Students typically need to complete their GLACIER Tax Compliance record upon arrival to ensure that the University has the appropriate taxation information and forms on file.  Additionally, this record should be maintained for accuracy throughout your program of study, especially in regards to days physically present in the US.

When you are ready to submit your GLACIER Tax Summary and other documents to Payroll, you can mail them through USPS (to the address provided on your documents) or use Intercampus Mail to send them to “GLACIER Admin, Box 278893” (envelopes and drop-off are available from your mail department or any UR office). Alternatively, ISO is temporarily offering an online tool to upload your GLACIER materials via the URcompass client portal, which will then be securely delivered to Payroll.

Please note: Your GLACIER record and tax forms are not valid unless you arrive in the US and are maintaining F-1 status. Therefore, if you will receive authorized UR payments from abroad this semester, please contact the UR Payroll Office to request a Foreign Sourced Statement, which will confirm that those payments are exempt from US income tax and reporting. Upon arrival to Rochester, the full GLACIER record and required tax forms will be required to replace the Foreign Sourced Statement. 


UHS Programming: Koru Basic Mindfulness

Did you know that a daily mindfulness practice can help to decrease perceived stress, improve quality of sleep, self-compassion, mood, and academic performance in both college and graduate students? Learn the fundamentals of mindfulness meditation during the next Koru mindfulness four-week workshop. In this 4-week workshop series, participants will learn about and practice two new meditation techniques weekly, and bring more mindfulness and gratitude into their lives. Four sessions are beginning early September. Registration is required. Open to all students, faculty, and staff. Brought to you by the Mindful University Project.


Prepared by: ISO Student Services