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Current ISO Student News

Issue 7: December 1, 2017

 

Table of Contents

  1. Updates to ISO Website and Database (more)
  2. Season's Greetings and ISO Holiday Hours (more)
  3. End of Term Checks: Are your Immigration Documents Accurate? (more)
  4. Prepare your Documents for Travel this Winter (more)
  5. Winter Break University Hours and Services (more)
  6. Campus FocusDinner for Peace - Saturday, December 2 (more)

  

Updates to ISO Website and Database

A much-needed and long-overdue facelift will be published to the ISO website early next week. Be sure to check out our new look! Please note that some of our pages will have moved or been restructured to make the information more accessible and readable. If you have any ISO pages specifically bookmarked, you will want to verify if they are still working. If you have trouble navigating to the comparable information on our new site, please let us know so we can point you in the right direction. Additionally, the ISO is preparing to launch a new database that will better manage our immigration and institutional responsibilities. While this has no immediate impact to our student and scholar populations for now, we will require a brief office closure to allow for systems migration and training. This is currently scheduled for late January and we will have more information available in the new year. We hope you will find these upgrades to be as valuable as we do!

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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:

Wednesday, December 13  ....... Open from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Monday, December 25th  ....... Closed (UR Holiday)
Tuesday, December 26th to
  Friday, December 29th ....... Open from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., daily
Monday, January 1st ....... Closed (UR Holiday)

ISO Office Hours at the Eastman School of Music are scheduled to end on Wednesday, December 13th and will resume for the spring semester on Tuesday, January 16th.

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 US border or potential immigration complications from a personal or medical situation, you are welcome to contact UR Public Safety at +1 585-275-3333 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 will 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 2017. Bi-weekly newsletters will resume mid-January 2018.  

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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 United States, 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 (+1 585-275-2866) 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 US 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 United States. 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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Winter Break University Hours and Services

Many offices and campus services will be closed or have limited hours during the winter break, which is 12/22/2017 to 1/16/2018 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 UR Breaks 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 12/17/2017. 

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: +1 585-275-3333).

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Campus FocusDinner for Peace - Saturday, December 2

Dinner for Peace
Saturday, December 2 – 7:00 p.m.
Douglass Ballroom, River Campus

Join SADACA (Students' Association for the Development of Arab Cultural Awareness) and Education for Peaceful Middle East, Inc. for their annual benefit, Dinner for Peace, which aims to raise awareness about the Middle Eastern refugee crisis and to highlight the challenges that refugees are facing. Guests will enjoy traditional Middle Eastern food and learn more about Middle Eastern culture. The event will include performances by the Yellow Jackets and Sihir belly dance, a documentary on the crisis, and a key note speaker who will share his experiences as a refugee. Following these programs, a panel of individuals – refugees, those who have been working with refugees, and professors educated about this topic – will be available to answer questions from the audience.

The ticket proceeds will be donated to Education for Peaceful Middle East, Inc., a non-profit organization which aims to improve the education of Middle Eastern refugee children by supporting them with expenses associated with applying to universities and colleges, and which also offers a mentorship program that guides the students throughout the application process.

Tickets will cost $10/student and $15/public.

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Editor: Lena Ovcharov, Immigration Advisor