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ISO Student News: 1/14/2022


Table of Contents

  1. Welcome and Welcome Back for 2022! (more)
  2. Online Start for Spring Term & COVID-19 Enrollment Requirements (more
  3. Important Reminders for International Students (more)
  4. F-1 Employment Webinars: OPT, Internships & STEM (more)
  5. Getting Ready for Tax Season (more)
  6. Mindful University Project - Upcoming Events (more)

Welcome and Welcome Back for 2022!

Welcome and welcome back for 2022! The International Services Office (ISO) would like to offer a warm welcome to the newest members of our international community at the University of Rochester. To our returning students, we wish you a wonderful new year and a good term at UR. 

For those who are not familiar, ISO Student News is our semi-monthly email newsletter. Through this publication, we will announce upcoming events, report on changes to regulations and policies, and provide reminders about immigration responsibilities and benefits relevant to international students. New issues of ISO Student News will be sent automatically to students’ current UR email address. University staff, faculty, or affiliates who would like to be added to the mailing list should email us at

Our staff looks forward to supporting you throughout your academic program and beyond! Please review our current ISO Service Schedule and visit our Contact page for details on how to connect with us. In summary:

  • ISO operates weekdays from 8:30am to 4:30pm throughout the year, except holidays. On Wednesdays, we do not schedule phone coverage or specific advising services so staff can focus on immigration casework and document processing tasks.
  • Student Immigration Advisors are available for individual 30-minute appointments to discuss any variety of immigration, employment, or personal issues. We also offer short consultations during our Drop-In Advising Hours, which are generally 5-10 minutes and may require a wait while the advisor finishes with others ahead in the queue. Both appointments and Drop-Ins are offered virtually via Zoom meeting.
  • In response to local COVID-19 health concerns, we are limiting in-person services for document distribution purposes by appointment only. To schedule a visit to our office in College Town, ISO staff will review your situation and share a link that allows you to select an upcoming appointment time that suits your schedule.


Online Start for Spring Term & COVID-19 Enrollment Requirements

Considering University plans for online learning to start of the Spring 2022 semester, ISO continues to follow current guidance from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding instructional adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporary permissions and modified enrollment requirements for our international students remain in place and are summarized here: Full-time Study Options for F-1 & J-1 Students during COVID-19. In general, students who maintain full-time enrollment in valid F-1 status may pursue online study beyond the normal limits on distance education while school operations require it. However, individual immigration requirements depend largely on the status of your SEVIS immigration record. In reviewing this summary, please consider whether you are already maintaining your SEVIS record with ISO (“Active”) or are pursuing a new program or a new F/J record with ISO (“Initial”).

While most classes have moved online temporarily, the expectation is that in-person instruction will resume later this semester. Once that timing is announced, students facing any ongoing travel issues should first contact their school or program to determine appropriate academic arrangements. If you will pursue a Leave of Absence or other change to your full-time enrollment for Spring 2022, please notify ISO so we can review your immigration options. Again, these will be shaped in part by the status of your SEVIS record, so we encourage you to work directly with our staff rather than relying on the input of peers.

As public health considerations continue to evolve, please monitor the UR’s COVID-19 Resource Center for updated information. All students arriving to campus must satisfy current vaccine/booster and pre-arrival testing requirements. For those able to delay travel to Rochester for now, you are encouraged to make plans to arrive to campus for in-person instruction set to begin on January 31, 2022. You may also reference ISO’s COVID-19 Information and recent Spring 2022 FAQs for International Students.



Important 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 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. (Please see above for important enrollment requirements during COVID-19).

* 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.

* All changes of residential address must be reported within 10 days. International students are required to notify the ISO within 10 days of moving. Current students must report address updates via UR Student, according to specific ‘Usage Tag’ requirements for ISO. Students pursuing post-completion employment, please use the appropriate reporting tool online.

* 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.


F-1 Employment Webinars: OPT, Internships & STEM

ISO’s spring webinar series on F-1 off-campus employment authorizations will be offered over the coming weeks. For detailed topic descriptions, session schedules, and Zoom links, please visit our Events page. These workshops are useful to get a sense of the timing and procedures required for common employment activities. Scheduled sessions include:

  • 1/28 – Work After Graduation and F-1 OPT Application Procedures
  • 2/11 – Work After Graduation: Overview and Extended Q&A
  • 2/25 – Academic Internships During an F-1 Academic Program
  • 3/11 – Understanding the F-1 OPT STEM Extension

Each session will be delivered virtually, recorded, and posted to our website shortly after the event. Time is dedicated during each workshop for moderated Q&A with our advising team! Students who expect to graduate this semester should consider joining us on Friday, January 28th for our first OPT workshop. Other event reminders will also be posted in future newsletters.


Getting Ready for Tax Season

The US tax season is upon us! We understand that filing your taxes can be difficult, but don’t worry, the ISO has you covered. To assist you with this process, the ISO is working with a company called Sprintax, which provides students with a user-friendly software tool designed to help you file your taxes with the Federal government and relevant state authorities.

International students who were present in the United States between January 1st and December 31st 2021 must comply with Federal and State tax reporting requirements. All F-1 and J-1 students who are categorized as Non-Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes must file a Federal Tax Statement (Form 8843), regardless of whether any income was earned. Additionally, any student who has earned income while in the United States during 2021 may also need to file income tax forms for Federal and State earnings. Fortunately, the Sprintax system can help you with these and will take you step-by-step through the filing process! Please watch your email and the ISO website for more information about Sprintax.

Over the next several weeks, you may receive important tax forms by mail from the University, off-campus US employers, banks, or other financial institutions. Do not discard these forms! You will need to use them when preparing to file your 2021 taxes. You have lots of time to file, as the deadline for the 2021 year is April 18th, 2022.


Mindful University Project - Upcoming Events

Learn the fundamentals of mindfulness meditation during the next virtual Koru mindfulness four-week workshop! In the 4-week workshops, participants will learn about and practice two new meditation techniques weekly and bring more mindfulness and gratitude into their lives. They are also offering two new Koru classes this semester: OUTbreath for LGBTQ+ folks and Stay Woke & Meditate for POC!

For more information, visit their website here. Registration is required. Open to the entire U of R community. Brought to you by the Mindful University Project.


Prepared by: ISO Student Services, ISO Support & Engagement