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ISO Student News: 12/15/2021

Table of Contents

  1. Season’s Greetings & ISO Holiday Hours (more)
  2. Travel Overview & Reminders (more)
  3. Completing your Degree Requirements Soon? (more)
  4. SCAMS: Common Red Flags (more)


Season’s Greetings & ISO Holiday Hours

Happy Holidays from the ISO!! This will be the last ISO Student News of the semester and of 2021—we will be back in January 2022! The staff of the ISO would like to extend warm wishes to all of our students, scholars, and employees for a happy and successful new year. We truly enjoy working with the university’s international community year-round!

ISO will remain open throughout winter break periods, with access to a variety of virtual services for convenience and continuity. Our ISO Holiday Hours flyer offers a summary of adjusted office hours through the end of the year. In addition to University holidays on 12/24 and 12/31, ISO will close early on 12/23 at 3:00pm, and hold abbreviated hours 12/27 – 12/30 from 11:00am to 1:00pm.

Other than the times noted, ISO will maintain our regular service schedule. If you anticipate specific ISO assistance during these times, please review the posted schedule and contact our office to coordinate in advance when possible. For urgent immigration emergencies when ISO is closed, UR Public Safety remains available to connect students and scholars with our staff (+1-585-275-3333).



Travel Overview & Reminders

As posted last week through UR's COVID-19 Resource Center, Global Engagement has been monitoring various travel issues relevant to the University community. Please see the recent article on international travel and US entry due to the omicron variant. Specifically: "International Services Office (ISO) strongly advises against international students leaving the US right now. This suggestion is based on the expectation that the US may continue to close its borders to more non-US citizens in the coming weeks in response to the omicron variant, which presents a lot of uncertainty as to whether students will be able to re-enter the US following winter break."

To monitor the fluctuating nature of travel during the ongoing pandemic, ISO recently launched a webpage 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.

Ultimately, travel is a personal decision and ISO recommends that you engage in a careful evaluation of your plans before leaving. Be sure to check your UR email regularly for direct notifications and to review online resources for information relevant to your plans:



Completing Your Degree Requirements Soon?

If your answer is “yes,” or even “maybe,” now is the time to think about your post-completion plans! 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.

If you intend to work in the United States after graduation, you will likely need to apply for F-1 Optional Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training. If you are interested in applying for either of these work authorizations, please plan to make an appointment with an ISO advisor and/or look at available information on the ISO’s website up as early as possible in your final term. If you are completing your program this month or later this winter and you would like to apply for OPT, please contact ISO as soon as possible for further guidance.

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 record to 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. Both of these steps must be taken within your grace period after completion.

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. If you have concerns about being able to depart the US in a timely fashion this summer due to COVID-19, please contact ISO for further guidance.

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.



SCAMS: Common Red Flags

Our office continues to receive reports that international students have been the victim or target of various scams, most recently a scam related to the Social Security Administration.  


 Calls and/or voicemails from individuals pretending to be any government agency using threatening language, particularly saying you will be arrested or deported if you do not make an immediate over-the-phone payment!! 

 Attempts to collect blackmail payments to prevent a recorded image from social media and/or video conferencing from being shared publicly; 

 Offers of employment that involve handling money between you and the employer, which often results in a bounced check; 

 Threats of arrest or deportation if you don’t pay a fine to correct a false error in your immigration record; 

 Aggressive notifications of fake penaltiesrelated to alleged errors or failure to pay US taxes

Please USE CAUTION when pursuing opportunities or inquiries with unknown individuals! For threatening claims about your immigration or tax status, keep in mind that legitimate government officials will NEVER demand immediate action over the telephone or deny you the option of consulting ISO, an attorney, or other source of support. For offers of easy employment that involve your own financial accounts, please be suspicious. Additionally, all off-campus employment will require work authorization and you should not pursue those activities without consultation with ISO and your academic program first. 

For incidents happening at the University, the Department of Public Safety will continue to investigate these situations. Please contact them at +1 585-275-3333 for guidance. For other reporting purposes, please consider reviewing the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information or notifying law enforcement when appropriate.


Prepared by: ISO Student Services