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ISO Student News: 12/1/2021


Table of Contents

  1. Modified Service Schedule Effective Monday, 12/6 (more)
  2. COVID-19 Travel Considerations & New Entry Restrictions (more)
  3. Immigration Planning for Spring 2022 (more)
  4. Reminder: Applying for F-1 OPT (more)
  5. Update Your GLACIER Record By 12/15 (more)
  6. Writing and Speaking Center Upcoming Events (more)
  7. UHS Upcoming Event: Nourish to Flourish Snack Attack (more)

Modified Service Schedule Effective Monday, 12/6

Given rising COVID-19 hospitalization rates and burdens on our local health systems, Monroe County has entered a state of emergency and has encouraged local organizations to take steps to limit potential exposure. As stated in @Rochester from December 1st: “The policies and practices that are in place at the University are in line with those recommended by the county executive, public health commissioner, and our own epidemiologists and public health experts. In addition to health and safety practices, the University implemented a new remote work policy over the summer.” With ISO already functioning in a hybrid space and able to retain our services virtually, we will implement a modified service schedule on Monday, 12/6/2021. Details will be announced in a separate communication later this week; please stay tuned! Our staff will remain accessible for general inquiries, virtual advising by appointment or Drop-In Hours for students, and in-person document collection by appointment.

COVID-19 Travel Considerations & New Entry Restrictions 

In response to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the Biden Administration issued new travel restrictions effective November 29, 2021, on travelers from the southern Africa region. The recent proclamation is limited to eight countries: the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe. To monitor the fluctuating nature of travel during the ongoing pandemic, ISO has launched a new website on COVID-19 Travel Considerations. Please review this page regularly for current requirements and restrictions for entry to the US as a noncitizen or nonimmigrant.

Please travel with caution! While we cannot predict the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and any accompanying restrictions, travel is a personal decision and ISO recommends that you engage in a careful evaluation of your plans before leaving. Our staff will continue to monitor and share any pertinent developments. Be sure to check your UR email regularly for direct notifications and to review online resources for information relevant to your plans:


Immigration & Travel Planning for Spring 2022

As we begin to shift focus to next semester, we understand that many students are preparing to travel, arrive, and/or return in the coming month or two. Please review the topics below and continue to consult the University’s COVID-19 Resource Center for updates on changing options or requirements.

Spring 2022 Enrollment Options:
As a reminder, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced in April 2021 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, the 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 next semester.

As required by the temporary guidance, ISO reported to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) the University’s current academic plans for this semester/year. This includes the continuance 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. However, as needed, schools may identify unique circumstances and coordinate with ISO to adapt study plans on a case-by-case basis. If you anticipate difficulties maintaining full-time enrollment in-person from Rochester in the upcoming 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! More information is available in ISO’s COVID-19 FAQs on Maintaining Status and Academics & Online Study.

Arrival or Return to Campus:
As students arrive for Spring 2022, the University will continue to follow public health guidelines from New York State and Monroe County; please review UR’s COVID-19 Travel Guidelines for updates. If you will be arriving for the first time to enroll in January, or are returning with a new SEVIS record from a break in study, you will need to complete your mandatory Immigration Check-In upon arrival.

For undergraduates living in University housing, please refer to updated information on the Office for Residential Life & Housing Services main webpage. In particular, the Winter Stay webpage offers information for students who plan to stay on campus during the winter break along with policies for those who are leaving their on-campus housing during winter break.


Reminder: Applying for F-1 OPT 

F-1 students intending to work in the United States after graduation will likely need to apply for F-1 Optional Practical Training. If you are interested in applying for this type of work authorization, please plan to make an appointment with an ISO advisor and/or look at available information on the ISO’s website as early as possible in your final term. If you are completing your program this month or later in the winter and you would like to apply for OPT, please contact ISO as soon as possible for further guidance. **J-1 students should consult with ISO regarding work after graduation, as there will be different considerations.

Please note, you must be in the United States to apply for OPT. This question has come up given the new ability to apply for OPT online. If you are outside the US, you must re-enter the country before the program end date on your I-20 in order to apply for OPT. You will not be able to re-enter the US during a grace period.

Applications for post-completion OPT may be filed as early as 90 days before the completion date listed on the I-20 and up to 60 days after completion (only if you are in the US before your completion date). 

To apply for OPT you must complete the following steps:

  1. Obtain an OPT recommendation from the University by completing and submitting the OPT Departmental Recommendation Form.
  2. Submit the necessary application materials to USCIS for employment authorization. Review the ISO website on filing for OPT for resources.

If you are completing your degree requirements soon, but are not pursuing OPT, please consider the following options:

  • If you will be starting a new degree program at another school in the United States after graduation, you may be eligible to transfer your SEVIS immigration recordto the new institution, depending on when your new program starts. If you will be attending a new degree program at the University of Rochester, you will need to complete some paperwork to change your education level.
  • If you will be leaving the United States within your grace period after your completion date, please complete the ISO’s Student Departure Form once you have booked your travel out of the US. Please note that you cannot re-enter the US in F-1 or J-1 status once you have left during your grace period.
  • Finally, if your I-20 or DS-2019 currently lists an incorrect program end date—if you will be finishing earlier than the date on the document or vice versa—you can correct this end date by completing the ISO’S Program Extension/Shorten Form. This should be submitted at least 1-2 weeks in advance of your current, incorrect completion date.

Every student has a different set of circumstances to consider when making immigration decisions, so you cannot assume that what works for your friends will also be the best option for you. Please note that many immigration processes require students to take action before the end of their program.


Update Your GLACIER Record by 12/15 

GLACIER is a software used by the university Payroll Office to ensure that international students’ tax withholding forms are generated correctly. Keeping your GLACIER record up-to-date ensures that most payments you receive from the University of Rochester will have the correct amount of tax withheld from them.

If you need to make any changes to your information in GLACIER for the 2021 calendar year, updated documents should be submitted to the Payroll Office by December 15, 2021. This is also the deadline for timely submitting documents to renew your tax treaty for 2021, if applicable. Changes made after this date will take effect in 2022.

Before this deadline, please take a few minutes to access your GLACIER record and verify that all of the information listed in your record is up-to-date. This includes contact information like your email address and mailing address as well as immigration information such as your program completion date and days spent outside of the US in 2021.

If you do change any information in your GLACIER record, you will need to update your record by accessing the forms generated by GLACIER and submitting those forms (along with copies of your US visa, I-20/DS-2019, and most recent I-94) to the university Payroll Office. For more information on how to sign and submit your GLACIER documents, please refer to ISO's GLACIER webpage.

For detailed guidance on completing your GLACIER record, we recommend that you view the informational video in TIPS On Demand Module G (Unit 2: Creating Your GLACIER Record). All TIPS On Demand modules are available in the International Services Organization in Blackboard. If you have questions about completing GLACIER, please contact


Writing and Speaking Center Upcoming Events

The Writing and Speaking Center has two events coming up to support students in writing their final assignments: Write-a-Thon and UR Night to Write.

The Writing Fellows will be available for 10 straight hours to tutor your papers—from any discipline and at any stage in the writing process—while you refuel with snacks!  
When: Sunday 12/5, 5pm – 3am Monday 12/6  
Where: RR Library, Room G-122 (Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program main office)  

UR Night to Write 
At UR Night to Write, students can drop in anytime and write as long as they would like. Snacks, coffee, and good company will help fuel productivity and fight end-of-semester procrastination. Writing tutors and librarians will be available to help and answer questions.  
When: Monday 12/6, 7pm – 10pm 
Where: RR Library, Hawkins-Carlson Room 
Co-Sponsored by the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program and River Campus Library 


UHS Upcoming Event: Nourish to Flourish Snack Attack

Did someone say charcuterie? Come take a study break and learn about creating a compassionate relationship with food and your body - all while making charcuterie boards!

There will be fruits, nuts, crackers, hummus, honey ham, hot chocolate, tea, and the first screening for the Nourish to Flourish mini-documentary about mindful eating. This will take place on Saturday, December 4th from 2:00-3:00pm in the Douglass Community Kitchen – open to all undergraduate students. Registration required.


Prepared by: ISO Student Services