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Current ISO Student News

Issue 7: December 2, 2016

 

Table of Contents

  1. Season's Greetings and ISO Holiday Hours (more)
  2. End of Term Checks: Are your Immigration Documents Accurate? (more)
  3. Prepare Your Documents for Travel this Winter (more)
  4. Fake Employment Offer Scam (more)
  5. RGC SpotlightThank You and Events Planned for the Spring  (more)
  6. Campus FocusWinter Break University Hours and Services (more)

  

Season's Greetings and ISO Holiday Hours

Happy Holidays from the ISO!!  Another year is almost gone, with perhaps only a few papers or exams left.  We hope you are looking forward to the upcoming break from your studies and some time to share with friends and family.  The staff of the ISO would like to extend warm wishes for a happy and successful new year.  We truly enjoy working with the international community at UR all year round!

The ISO will maintain normal office hours, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday to Friday, for most of the winter break period.  During the winter holidays, we will have the following modified hours:

Friday, December 23rd ....... Open from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Monday, December 26th  ....... Closed (UR Holiday)
Tuesday, December 27th to
  Friday, December 30th ....... Open from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM, daily
Monday, January 2nd ....... Closed (UR Holiday)

ISO Office Hours at the Eastman School of Music are scheduled to end on Wednesday, December 14th and will resume for the spring semester on Tuesday, January 12th.

Please do not leave your immigration questions or processing until the last minute!!  The ISO will have fewer staff available during some periods and may require additional time to assist you with program extensions, work authorizations, travel, etc. 

In cases of emergencies, an ISO staff member can be reached even when the office is closed.  If you encounter travel difficulties at a U.S. border or potential immigration complications from a personal or medical situation, you are welcome to contact UR Public Safety at 585-275-3333 and ask for an ISO Advisor to return your call.  However, please understand that requests for travel signatures and other documentation needs cannot be accommodated when the office is closed.  These are NOT viewed as emergencies and be handled when the office is open during posted business hours.  Please plan accordingly.

ISO Student News will also be taking a vacation this holiday season!  This will be our last ISO Student Newsletter for 2016.  Bi-weekly newsletters will resume mid-January 2017.  

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End of Term Checks: Are your Immigration Documents Accurate?

This is an excellent time of year to check your immigration documents for accuracy!  Please make sure that your passport will remain valid through at least your next 6 months in the U.S., or take steps to renew or replace it.  Similarly, please verify the completion date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.  If you will need more time to finish your studies, for example, you must request a Program Extension before the current completion date passes.  If you are finishing your program earlier than expected, you should request ISO to shorten your program end date and consider whether you want to apply for available F-1 or J-1 work permissions.

If your I-20 or DS-2019 requires a change, you must get an updated document from ISO before you leave for the semester.  Such changes may include a change in your official major, an extended completion date, updated funding, or changes in your personal or dependent information.   If you intend to travel this winter, your I-20 or DS-2019 must match your SEVIS record and it can be very difficult to obtain an updated document while you are traveling.

All forms and more information is available on our website.  If you would like to discuss your plans with an advisor, you may contact ISO to schedule an appointment.  To schedule an appointment, please email (questions@iso.rochester.edu) or call (585-275-2866) ISO.

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Prepare Your Documents for Travel this Winter

As a reminder, all students should have an up-to-date F-1 travel signature or J-1 validation signature before traveling overseas.  If you still need to update your I-20 or DS-2019 signature, please be sure to visit ISO during business hours to renew it.  To renew your U.S. visa stamp during the winter break, please make an appointment with the local consulate as early as possible.  If you anticipate Security Clearance processing during the visa application, you should also prepare in advance for potential delays and ask your department for a letter of support.  Most clearances are processed within 3 to 4 weeks.  You should carry your original immigration documents with you whenever you travel, even within the U.S.  These include your I-20 or DS-2019, passport, and valid I-94 record.  More information is available online: http://www.iso.rochester.edu/travel/index.html.

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Fake Employment Offer Scam

The ISO has recently learned of a scam involving a fake company offering employment opportunities.  The company involved in this particular scam posed as a Finance/Accounting firm based in New York City.  The representative that conducted the interview and hiring process never requested that the student meet with them face-to-face for an interview and instead carried out all communications electronically.  Upon accepting the job offer, the student was directed to deposit a check from the company prior to performing any work; receiving payment without completing any work is a red flag that the opportunity is likely a scam!  Prior to accepting a job offer, be sure to do your research and verify that the employer offering the opportunity is legitimate.  There are several things you can do to avoid this type of scam.  Review the business’s website and check whether they have posted the open position on their website.  Look out for any communications with typos or bad grammar.  Be cautious if the job says that it pays much higher than other similar jobs.  And lastly, be wary of on-the-spot job offers!  While you may be an excellent candidate, employment opportunities offered without a meeting in person or via phone/skype interview may be a scam.  

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RGC SpotlightThank You & Events Planned for the Spring

The ISO would like to thank RGC for the wonderful activities hosted this fall that celebrate and unite our international community here at UR!  It’s been a wonderful year and we have much to look forward to for the spring.  Stay tuned for our next issue of ISO Student News for more information on the upcoming RGC events scheduled for the spring semester, and be sure to follow RGC's Facebook page.  You can also find more information about RGC's Events by visiting their website: http://www.rochesterglobalconnections.org/.

Rochester Global Connections (RGC) is a community-based volunteer organization that provides services to international students and Department of State visitors in the Rochester area. The International Services Office (ISO) hosts RGC at the University of Rochester and co-sponsors many events and activities.

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Campus FocusWinter Break University Hours and Services

Many offices and campus services will be closed or have limited hours during the winter break, which is 12/22/2016 to 1/16/2017 for most UR academic programs.  Be sure to check the University's Winter Break page (http://www.rochester.edu/college/odos/breaks.html), to be posted soon, for modified schedules of various services such Dining and Transportation if you will need to access those services during this time.  Also, there is a Winter Break Facebook page (www.facebook.com/URBreaks) which you can "Like" to get updates about new winter break programs planned and to connect with other students staying on-campus during the break!

*If you are an undergraduate student planning to stay on River Campus during the break, please be sure to register!  More information is available here: https://www.rochester.edu/reslife/winter-break.html, and registration is required by 12/15/2016. 

During the break, you will still be able to contact Campus Security at any time (on-campus: x13 in an emergency or x5333; off-campus: 275-3333).

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Editor: Lena Ovcharov, International Student Advisor