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ISO Student News

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December 1, 2022 Issue

ISO Student News: 12/01/2022

Table of Contents

  1. ISO Holiday Hours (more)
  2. Winter Break Travel (more)
  3. Applying for F-1 OPT (more)
  4. Update Your Glacier Record by 12/15 (more)
  5. Campus & Community Events (more)

ISO Holiday Hours

The ISO will be holding adjusted office hours around upcoming University holidays in December:

Thursday, Dec. 15: ISO will close at 3:00pm

Friday, Dec. 23: ISO will close at 3:00pm

Monday, Dec. 26: CLOSED for Holiday

Tuesday, Dec. 27 & Thursday, Dec. 29: Phone & Virtual Drop-Ins only: 10:00am – 12:00pm, No Service Desk Hours

Wednesday, Dec. 28 & Friday, Dec. 30: CLOSED If you have an immigration emergency while the ISO is closed, please contact UR Public Safety at +1-585-275-3333.


Winter Break Travel Reminders

As we approach winter break and begin to shift focus to next semester, we understand that many students may be preparing to travel, arrive, and/or return in the coming month or two. Please review the topics below as you consider your plans.

International Travel

Before you travel internationally, be sure to check entry requirements for your country of destination if necessary. ISO cannot advise on other countries’ immigration requirements or visa application processes. In addition, please check to make sure you will have appropriate, up-to-date travel documents at the time you re-enter the United States. For currently enrolled students, these include:

  • Passport – valid at least 6 months into the future
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa sticker in your passport – unless you are traveling only within North America and are eligible for automatic revalidation
  • I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature on page 2 – travel sign to these essential documents, you may also want to carry additionnatures are valid for 1 year**
  • Printed copy of your most recent I-94 record

In additioal documentation to prove your enrollment status and financial support – in case you are questioned – such as your student ID card, an enrollment verification letter from the Registrar’s office, financial documents, and/or your SEVIS I-901 payment receipt.

If you have any questions about international travel, please contact ISO BEFORE you travel. If you need an updated I-20 or DS-2019 with a new travel signature, please access our URcompass client portal and submit our E-form for a document reprint. Once you access the URcompass link, you’ll need to:

  1. Log in
  2. Click F-1 & J-1 Student Services on the left menu
  3. Select I-20/DS-2019 Reprint Request and provide the requested information.

As a reminder, travel is a personal decision. Please continue to monitor any COVID-19 updates. Since travel restrictions are subject to change, we also recommend that you access updated information directly from relevant government agencies, including, but not limited to the following:

Renewing an F-1 or J-1 Visa

If you are planning to renew your F-1 or J-1 US visa stamp during the winter break, you should make plans to do so as early as possible. The ISO’s website has an overview of the visa application process—please review this in advance of your travel, since you may want to gather helpful documentation before your trip. For example, you may need an updated I-20 or DS-2019 if your funding information has changed, since you will likely need to demonstrate proof of funding during a visa renewal. In addition, if you anticipate that your application may be subject to additional security clearance processing, you should also prepare in advance for potential delays and ask your department for a letter of support.

Visa application/renewal procedures can vary by country, so please seek out specific information about visa renewal procedures from the consulate where you will be applying. If you will be required to attend a visa interview, make sure that you schedule that appointment as early as possible to ensure that you have sufficient time to complete the visa application process within the winter break. Please note that once you are in the process of renewing a visa, any remaining validity on your old visa is cancelled and you will need the new visa in order to re-enter the US.

Generally, it is most straightforward for students to apply for visas in their home country. If this is not an option for you and you plan to renew your visa in a third country, please refer to the bottom of our Visa Application Process webpage for information on applying for a visa outside your home country and contact ISO so we can further advise you on this process.

If you have any questions about renewing your F-1 or J-1 US visa, please contact ISO as far in advance of your travel as possible.

Domestic Travel

For students who will travel within the United States, ISO recommends that you carry your original immigration documents as well. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are often present at travel hubs such as airports and train/bus stations, and may approach you even if you are not traveling internationally. Recommended documents for domestic travel include:

  • Passport – valid at least 6 months into the future at all times
  • I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature on page 2 – travel signatures are valid for 1 year**
  • Printed copy of your most recent I-94 record

If you experience an immigration emergency at a US port of entry or elsewhere (such as being arrested, detained, or refused entry to the United States), please contact ISO at +1 585-275-2866 or Public Safety at +1 585-275-3333 if the ISO is closed.

**Travel signatures are valid for 1 calendar year for currently enrolled students. For students on post-completion OPT or STEM OPT, signatures are valid for 6 months. Please contact ISO if you have questions about travel while on OPT.

Arrival/Return to Campus & Winter Stay:
If you will be arriving for the first time to enroll in January, or are returning with a new SEVIS record following a break in your studies, you will need to complete ISO’s mandatory Immigration Check-In upon arrival to the US. Students in these categories will receive a separate communication from ISO inviting them to complete the Immigration Check-In based on their scheduled program start date.

All students arriving or returning for Spring 2023 should continue to monitor UR’s COVID-19 Resource Center for any updates.

For students living in University housing, please refer to the updated information on the Office for Residential Life & Housing Services main webpage regarding housing during the winter break. In particular, the Winter Stay webpage offers information for undergraduate students who plan to stay on campus during the winter break.


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 OPT, please watch our recorded OPT Webinars for more information. If you have questions after reviewing the webinars, please contact us to make an appointment with an ISO advisor.

**Please note, J-1 students should consult with ISO regarding work opportunities after graduation, as there will be different considerations.

Please keep in mind, you must be in the United States to apply for OPT. 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 ISO’s OPT Departmental Recommendation Form.
  2. Submit the necessary application materials to USCIS for employment authorization. Review the ISO website for information on filing for OPT.

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 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 an electronic process to change your education level.
  • If you will be leaving the United States within your grace period after your completion date, please complete 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 or later than the date on the document — you can correct this end date by completing 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 2022 calendar year, updated documents should be submitted to the Payroll Office by December 15, 2022. This is also the deadline for timely submitting documents to renew your tax treaty for 2023, if applicable. Changes made after this date will take effect in 2023.

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 2022.

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 guidance on completing your GLACIER record, you can 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 any further questions about updating your GLACIER record, please contact

Please also make sure that your UR Student record is updated with your current address to allow for smooth delivery of any necessary tax documents, such as the W2 for student employees. Please reference the University IT tutorial on Updating an Address in UR Student, as needed, or contact the Registrar’s office with any UR Student address questions.


Campus & Community Events

Friday, December 2 - Friday, December 23: Roc Holiday Village

This downtown festival features free ice skating and skate rentals, a unique shopping village, live music, and more!


Friday, December 2, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM: Holiday Shopping Fair

Stop by the Hirst Lounge to do local holiday shopping without leaving campus! The fair will feature an assortment of crafts from vendors around the Rochester area!


Tuesday, December 6, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Crisis Abroad

Join this drop-in group for Chinese students dealing with crisis as a result of protests in their home county. The group will be on the 2nd Floor of the UHS building.


Saturday, December 10, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Deck the Town

Celebrate the holiday season at College Town. Enjoy kettle corn, hot cocoa, meet and greets with your favorite holiday characters, and more!




Prepared by: ISO Support and Engagement


Previous Issue:

Archived Issues of ISO Student News

Top Stories

1. Save the Date: International Student Celebration

2. Save the Date: ISO Thanksgiving Dinner

Student Services Reminders

3. Completing Your Degree Requirements Soon?

4. Travel Reminders for Thanksgiving Break

5. ISO Holiday Hours

Support and Engagement Reminders

6. Campus & Community Events

7. Your Event Suggestions