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Current ISO Student News

April 1, 2020

 

Table of Contents

  1. Current ISO Operations (more)
  2. Address and Employment Reporting Reminders (more)
  3. Completing Your Degree Requirements Soon? (more)
  4. 2019 Taxes: Filing Deadline Extended, Webinar 4/3 (more)
  5. UHS Virtual Programming (more)

 

Current ISO Operations

Following some temporary limitations while moving ISO operations to a virtual environment, our office has now been able to modify and resume several services that were initially impacted by remote work arrangements.  We appreciate your patience and understanding during this period of adjustment!!  The ISO team remains committed to supporting UR’s international populations, even more so during this uncertain and difficult time for all.

Contacting ISO: Student inquiries may be addressed via email to questions@iso.rochester.edu, or by calling our temporary phone line at +1 (585) 371-8736.  These accounts are monitored weekdays between regular office hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm EDT, except Wednesdays when we begin at 9:30am.  During these hours, staff are available to provide information and assistance, but may also need additional time to research various circumstances or consult other resources.  Please note that changing guidance from government agencies and the realities of remote work may slow some responsiveness.

Appointments & Walk-Ins: Individual appointments with an ISO Advisor, as well as regularly scheduled Walk-In Hours, have now resumed via the Zoom teleconferencing platform.  For appointments, please contact us to schedule time with an advisor and our staff will provide a link to join the meeting online.  To participate in Walk-In Hours, please join our standard Zoom meeting (https://rochester.zoom.us/my/isowalkins) on weekday afternoons from 1:30pm to 4:30pm, Eastern time (excluding Wednesdays).  You will be admitted to the meeting to speak with the advisor individually on brief immigration issues or other concerns.  Since most UR offices are closed to visitors, we have canceled all ISO Satellite Hours at River Campus and Eastman School of Music for the remainder of spring semester, but our Zoom advising should easily replace that need.

Documentation: ISO continues to accept forms and processing requests during this time.  For now, you may email these, or coordinate with your department if academic approval is needed.  Within the next week or two, we will be launching an online platform that will allow you or UR administrators to submit documentation to ISO securely, using NetID authentication.  If you need to receive documentation from ISO (I-20, USCIS Notices, EAD card, etc.), there is no option currently to pick it up and we will have to coordinate with you by mail.  As a result of local government and University restrictions, our staff can deal with mailing needs only twice a week.  Shipments will necessarily be delayed for now, but we will continue to service your document distribution needs.  In some cases, it may be appropriate to obtain an electronic version of your document in advance, but again, digital security is a concern and we will recommend that you avoid sending or receiving personal information over email when possible.  ISO can also issue documentation but wait to distribute it when some routine office operations resume.

Other Services: The ISO has hosted two virtual Town Hall meetings so far, covering our Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 and a more in depth discussion of employment topics.  Both of these sessions were recorded and are now available on our Events Archive page.  We intend to hold additional sessions in the weeks to come, including more info on our new document submission platform, travel issues, and emerging employer trends and related government guidance.  Unfortunately, in this virtual working space, ISO does not have resources to sustain support services for Federal tax requirements.  While our website, video tools, and webinars remain available, we have had to cancel all GTP Assistant appointments and can no longer provide guidance on individual tax inquiries by email.  Requests for a referral or technical support may still be directed to tax@iso.rochester.edu.

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Address and Employment Reporting Reminders

As a result of distance learning arrangements and various workplace changes, ISO is aware that many F-1 and J-1 students have left their previous US residence, and perhaps departed the country altogether.  Some students may be thinking about adjustments to their academic load this term, and those pursing work permissions may be subject to remote work arrangements.  Keep in mind that significant changes should be reported to your SEVIS record.  ISO will soon launch a brief survey tool to collect important information about your current situation, but in the meantime, please consider the following reminders:

* Changes of residential address must be reported within 10 days. International students are required to notify the ISO promptly when their address has changed. You can report this information at any time using the appropriate online registration tool for your UR division. Students pursuing post-completion employment, please use the appropriate reporting tool online.  If you are currently living outside the US, please do NOT change your US address for now; it should remain the last place you lived while in the country.

* 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.

* Alternate work arrangements should be documented. If you are currently authorized for F-1 Practical Training (CPT or OPT), please review your I-20 and/or the SEVP Portal for continued accuracy.  If you suspect changes should be made or have questions, please contact ISO. For students on OPT or J-1 Academic Training (AT), updates can be submitted to ISO using the appropriate reporting tool online.

* Keep your immigration & other records up-to-date. If you anticipate changes to your immigration record, please check our Forms & Links page for access to guidance, forms, and relevant deadlines.  ISO will continue to accept and process immigration requests and recommendations as needed!

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Completing Your Degree Requirements Soon?

If your answer is “yes,” or even “maybe,” now is the time to think about your post-completion plans! 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.

If you intend to work in the United States after graduation, you will likely need to apply for F-1 Optional Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training. If you are interested in applying for either of these work authorizations, please plan to make an appointment with an ISO advisor and/or look at available information on the ISO’s website up as early as possible in your final term.

If you will be starting a new degree program at another school 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 some paperwork to change your education level.

If you will be leaving the United States within your grace period after your completion date, please complete the 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 than the date on the document or vice versa—you can correct this end date by completing the ISO’S Program Extension/Shorten Form.

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2019 Taxes: Filing Deadline Extended, Webinar 4/3

On March 21, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the filing deadline for federal taxes has been extended to July 15, 2020. This follows their previous announcement on March 18th that the payment deadline had been extended.

As of now, there are now two different federal tax-related deadlines:

  • June 15, 2020: Deadline to file Form 8843 for individuals NOT required to file income tax forms.
  • July 15, 2020: Deadline to file federal income tax forms (Forms 1040, 1040NR, & 1040NR-EZ) and pay any required balance, OR to request an automatic extension for your federal income tax return. **Anyone who earned more than $5 during 2019 is required to file a federal income tax return.**

In addition, on Saturday, March 28, 2020, New York State announced that the NYS tax filing and payment deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020 as well. Please note that each state in the US individually decides about any tax filing and payment deadlines, so if you earned income outside of New York State in 2019 make sure to check each applicable state deadline.

If you have questions about your nonimmigrant tax filing obligations, this year the ISO has been facilitating webinars to help address these concerns. These webinars are hosted by a licensed tax preparer who has expertise in nonresident and resident tax filing. The final webinar in this series will be Friday, April 3, 2020 from 2:00 – 3:30pm—please see here for access information!

Finally, please keep in mind that the above information about deadlines is subject to change. The federal government and/or individual states may announce additional updates or deadline extensions in the coming weeks. Please see the 2019 Tax Filing section of our website for more details and resources to assist with completing your tax reporting requirements.

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UHS Virtual Programming

University Health Services is continuing to provide health and wellness programming to both students and staff in our new virtual environment. Please see below for more information!

Programming for students:

Mindful Yoga for Athletes

Student athletes, this yoga class is for you! Taught by the Mindful University Project’s Lucinda Snyder, this class will focus on how to stay mentally and physically strong as we navigate our new way of life. It will include 15 minutes of mindfulness practice followed by a 30 minute yoga practice. Classes are held via Zoom every Saturday at 11:00am EST through May 2nd. Registration is required for each session.

Zzzzs to As Online Sleep Challenge
The UHS Health Promotion Office offers this online program to help students calm the mind for a better night’s sleep. The 21-day challenge includes informational emails about sleep & diet, relaxation and mindfulness training as well as sleep logs and other helpful tracking tools. Registration is open and you can begin any time. To sign up, visit the registration page. 

EAT Mindfully Online Program
Challenge yourself each day to implement a new strategy to help you pay attention to what you eat and how you eat it. That could mean turning off the technology while you enjoy lunch, becoming more aware of when you’re hungry (and when you’re not), or feeling motivated to choose foods that are both satisfying and nourishing . This program is customized to YOU, so that you can make the changes you need to EAT Mindfully. Read more & register…

Virtual Meditation: For Students, By Students

Join Jessica Silverstein, class of 2020 and meditation facilitator for the Mindful University Project, for three virtual 20-minute meditation sessions each week. She will hold space on Zoom for: Be Mindful Mondays at 10am, Bed-Time Meditation on Tuesdays at 10pm, and Happy Hour Meditation on Fridays at 5pm. All times are EST. Prior meditation experience is not necessary. Zoom access: https://rochester.zoom.us/j/2919260736

Programming for students, staff, & faculty:

21 Days of Mindful Reflection

Journaling is a great way to work through all the mixed emotions that you may be feeling in these unsettled times. The Mindful University Project will be launching a new Instagram program, the 21 Days of Mindful Reflection beginning on Friday, March 27th. Each morning we’ll post a journaling prompt to help get your creativity going. Find us @URMindfulUniversityProject.  

Koru Mindfulness: 4-Week Learn to Meditate Workshop

Explore a path to a happy life through the practice of mindful meditation. Participants will learn new breathing and meditation techniques every week. The next series begins on Friday, April 3rd and will meet virtually every week from 12:30 – 1:45 EST. Registration is required. Brought to you by the Mindful University Project.  

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Editor: Wendy Owens, Immigration Advisor