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Current ISO Student News

Issue 14: April 17, 2017

 

Table of Contents

  1. Delays Possible for Visa Renewal Applicants (more)
  2. Summer 2017 Intensive English Program (more)
  3. Tax Forms Must be Postmarked by Tuesday, April 18! (more)
  4. Update on H-1B Cap & Cap-Gap Extension (more)
  5. RGC Spotlight: 60th Anniversary Celebration w/Keynote Speaker Garth Fagan - May 3 (more)
  6. Campus Focus: Balinese Percussion Ensemble - Monday, May 1 (more)

 



Delays Possible for Visa Renewal Applicants

If you are traveling this summer and will need to renew an expired F-1 or J-1 visa, please plan ahead and allow time for delays in securing a visa interview appointment. The recent Executive Orders on immigration policy from January 27 and March 6 included language to suspend common Visa Interview Waiver Programs that allowed US Consulates to waive the requirement for an in-person visa interview in some situations. Despite legal action to block certain provisions of the Orders from being implemented, the sections on visa interview security are not covered by any restraining order and are currently in effect. For applicants whose visa expired less than 12 months ago and are renewing for the same visa classification in their home country, current regulations allow that the interview waiver may still be available. However, if your visa has been expired for more than year or there are other circumstances beyond a basic visa renewal, the Department of State may require that you schedule an interview before issuing a new visa.  

Since this policy means higher numbers of visa applicants needing interviews, ISO expects the suspension will cause delays for those seeking to apply for new or renewal visas. You should contact the US Consulate where you intend to submit your visa application to verify procedures, policies, and eligibility for an interview waiver. If there’s a chance you could be delayed, we recommend that you also make plans with your academic department and/or employer as needed. For more detailed discussion of your travel plans, please schedule an appointment to speak with an ISO Advisor. As a reminder, you may remain in the United States with an expired visa. Therefore, if you remain in the country or you travel this summer to return prior to the expiration of your current visa sticker, it is not a problem if your visa expires while you maintain your F-1 or J-1 status. Also, this policy is not to be confused with the Visa Waiver Program, which remains unaffected by these Orders.

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Summer 2017 Intensive English Program

University of Rochester ONCAMPUS, part of the Cambridge Education Group, is offering opportunities for international students to practice and refine advanced practical English skills this summer and fall. The Intensive English Program offers modules on US study skills, academic speaking and listening, academic writing, academic reading, and creative and critical thinking. Current UR students interested in the program can choose which modules they want to take. For F-1 and J-1 students on their annual vacation term or who are already maintaining full-time enrollment, these classes will not impact your immigration status. For F-2 dependents and others without full-time study permissions, you may want to consult with ISO before completing registration. Fees apply. Additional information may be found online: http://www.rochester.edu/global/programs/iep/.

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Tax Forms Must be Postmarked by Tuesday, April 18!

Tomorrow is Tax Day in the United States! In order to avoid late fees or penalties, all required tax forms must be in the mail no later than Tuesday, April 18. The Postal Service will likely hold extended hours on this day, to allow late filers to meet this deadline. To find out which branches will offer extended hours, you can use PO Locator to find locations that will be open late to postmark your tax return. Partner locations that provide postal services do not offer late postmarking, so verify their last collection hours.

If you are unable to complete your tax return and mail it today, you may want to request an extension. “Requesting an automatic extension” means you send the government a form that will automatically grant you an additional six months to file your tax form without penalty for filing late. You should send a separate extension request to both the Internal Revenue Service for your federal taxes, and to New York or any other state where you earned money in 2016. However, all extension requests must also be postmarked by April 18! This automatically gives you until October 16 to file your completed tax forms with the IRS and the state(s). While most students will not owe any additional money for taxes, any money that you do owe may be subject to interest charges. You should keep a copy of each form and enclose a copy with your tax return when you do file. Please see Issue 13 of ISO Student News for instructions about how to file for an extension.

Reminder: International students must be careful to file the appropriate tax forms depending on their tax status. Most tax software programs assume that the filer is a US citizen, Permanent Resident, or Resident Alien for tax purposes. If you are a Non-Resident Alien for tax purposes, the GLACIER Tax Prep software will calculate your taxes and prepare the correct forms. GLACIER Tax Prep is your best resource for guidance through the non-resident alien tax process, unless you prefer to pay for professional services or prepare the forms on your own. You should not use TurboTax, or other similar software programs, unless you are a Resident Alien for tax purposes. As a reminder, your GLACIER Tax Prep record determines your current tax status. It is considered fraud to file tax forms that are not appropriate to your status. If you are a non-resident alien for tax purposes who has used tax software other than GLACIER Tax Prep in error, please contact our GLACIER Tax Prep assistants (tax@iso.rochester.edu) for information about how to amend your tax returns.

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Update on H-1B Cap & Cap-Gap Extension

As of April 7, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received enough H-1B petitions to reach the mandated cap of 65,000 as well as the additional 20,000 available for advanced degree holders. USCIS will now proceed to reject and return all unselected cap-subject petitions with their filing fees. If an H-1B petition has been successfully filed on your behalf, please be sure to inform the ISO by using the online H-1B Application Details & OPT Cap Gap Request form and submit a copy of your H-1B receipt to opt@iso.rochester.edu. The filing of your H-1B petition may make you eligible for the cap-gap extension, which extends your OPT work authorization to the time when the H1-B will start on October 1. Please see the ISO webpage about the Cap-Gap Extension for more information. You can also find more information about the H1-B cap online.

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RGC Spotlight
60th Anniversary Celebration with Keynote Speaker Garth Fagan - Wednesday, May 3

60th Anniversary Celebration with Keynote Speaker Garth Fagan
Wednesday, May 3 – 5:00 to 7:30 pm
ARTISANworks, 565 Blossom Rd # L
Rochester, NY 14610

Enjoy an evening of international cultural performances by RIT Bhangra, buffet dinner with international desserts, and award recognition for the 60-year partnership with University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology. RGC’s annual report to the membership and introduction of new Board members will be presented. Together, we will celebrate the diversity, successes and accomplishments of our international community in Greater Rochester and promote the value of cultural exchange. International attire is encouraged. Tickets are $40.00 and may be purchased online.

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 most events and activities.  For more information about RGC, visit their website at www.rochesterglobalconnections.org.

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Campus Focus
Balinese Percussion Ensemble - Monday, May 1

Balinese Percussion Ensemble
Monday – May 1, 8:00PM
Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music

As part of the Eastman School of Music's World Music Concert Series, Eastman's Gamelan Lila Muni and Gamelan Sanjiwani will perform a Balinese Percussion Ensemble. “Since 1993, Eastman Gamelan has provided students and members of the Rochester community the privilege to learn music from two very different Balinese gamelan ensembles: Gamelan Lila Muni (Heavenly Sound) and Gamelan Sanjiwani (Life Force). Gamelan Lila Muni is an ancient four-tone gamelan angklung which traditionally performs music for rituals and ceremonies. Gamelan Sanjiwani, of the five-tone gamelan gong kebyar, is an ensemble developed in the 20th century associated with youthful exuberance and characterized by explosive changes in tempo and dynamics." Tickets may be purchased in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, phone (585-274-3000), or online.

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Editor: Lena Ovcharov, International Student Advisor