These are unprecedented times; we hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy. Here is some information that may be of interest to you.
ISSO Advising Services Available
Contact an advisor
Advisors are working remotely and can answer your immigration questions in a scheduled appointment or through the Ask an Advisor eForm in iComet. Scheduled appointments are conducted through Microsoft Teams. All students and alumni on OPT have access to Microsoft Teams using your NetID and password (https://www.utdallas.edu/oit/o365/).
The mandatory CPT and OPT workshops are available online through iComet. In-person workshops are cancelled until the university re-opens.
ISSO Live Event
A recording of the UT Dallas ISSO Live Event, a moderated discussion of topics important to the international student community will be posted on the International Center YouTube page. youtube.com/user/ISSOPrograms
ISSO COVID-19 FAQ Page
We know you have many questions about how the current COVID-19 pandemic may affect your immigration status or future. We've compiled answers to some common questions on our webpage. This page will be updated as more information becomes available - https://utdallas.edu/isso/covid19-faq/.
Fall Enrollment Requirements for Current Students
On July 6, 2020 SEVP issued a temporary regulation in Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Broadcast Message 2007-01 regarding COVID-19 and Fall 2020. This temporary regulation will require F-1 students to take some in-person classes in the fall 2020 semester to maintain F-1 status. The university and the ISSO are committed to working with each of you to ensure that together we comply with these new temporary regulations, while simultaneously securing the safety and well-being of all students, faculty, and staff. For more information, please see our FAQ page: utdallas.edu/ic/isso/immigration-news/dhs-fall-2020.html.
Time Sensitive Reminders for F-1 Students
Change of Level
Students who will complete an academic program or end OPT in Spring 2020 and who will continue or begin another degree program in the Summer or Fall 2020 semester, must obtain a Change of Level I-20 to maintain their F-1 status. You must request for your Change of Level I-20 in a timely fashion in order to maintain your F-1 status. See the ISSO Change of Level webpage for more details.
Applying for STEM OPT
If your OPT end date is approaching and you plan to apply for STEM OPT, please make sure to submit your request as early as possible. Due to a high volume of requests, it may take 10 - 14 business days to process requests. Processing times begin from the date the ISSO receives all required documents. If your STEM OPT I-20 application documents are incomplete, processing times may take longer. In order to expedite processing, please ensure you are submitting a complete request and that your forms are correctly filled out. Review the application instructions and the sample I-983.
STEM OPT Validation Reports
You must report to the ISSO every 6 months, from the start date listed on your STEM OPT EAD card. Your reporting deadlines are based on your STEM OPT start date, not your employment start date. Every 6 months you must submit a OPT STEM Reporting Form to confirm that your name, address, employer name and address, and employment status are correct. You must completely fill out both Section B and C, even if none of your information has changed. Every 12 months, you must a OPT STEM Reporting Form AND submit a copy of your I-983 with the student evaluation on page 5 completed by you and your employer.
You must submit your validation report to the ISSO within 10 days of the due date, which is exactly 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after the start date listed on your STEM OPT EAD card. Then, the ISSO is allowed 21 days to update SEVIS with your validation information. Once you have submitted your validation documents in a timely manner, you have met your requirement to report.
On 6/22/2020 President Donald J. Trump signed a proclamation which suspends and limits entry into the United States of some foreign nationals, including those on H-1B. This affects individuals who are outside the U.S. and do not have a valid non-immigrant visa or other official travel document. This proclamation is in effect as of June 24, 2020, and will expire on December 31, 2020.
For more information please visit our Presidential Actions webpage.
Financial Aid for Students from Latin America and Caribbean
The Rowe Fund program of the Organization of American States (OAS) provides financial aid, in the form of interest-free loans to students from Latin America and Caribbean countries for studies in the United States. Eligible students can obtain support for a maximum of $15,000 USD to cover tuition and/or living expenses. The Rowe Fund is also offering emergency scholarships in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UT Dallas International Student Emergency Fund
Due to the high volume of applications, our UT Dallas International Student Emergency Fund (UTDISEF) application portal has been closed, and there are no plans to reopen it, at this point. The application review process is complete. The Financial Aid Office is managing the awarding and is contacting our student applicants to disburse the funds. UT Dallas continues providing other kinds of financial support for students. Please visit https://impact.utdallas.edu/project/20530 for additional information.
Submit Processing Requests to ISSO Early
Due to a high volume of student and alumni requests, ISSO processing is consistently delayed beyond normal processing times. Don't wait until the last minute! Submit requests to ISSO 3-4 weeks in advance of when you need them.
I-765 Expiration Date
The most current I-765 shows an expiration date of 05/31/2020. Even though the expiration date has passed, since USCIS has not released a new version of the I-765 form, students applying for benefits like OPT should continue to use the I-765 form that is published on the USCIS website. When USCIS does release a new form, they will generally indicate a specific date, after which they will no longer accept the old version of the form. Always check the USCIS webpage before filing your application to ensure you are using the most updated version of the form.
Student Counseling Center Resources
Subscribe to the Student Counseling Center YouTube page to see weekly webinars related to mental health and coping. Subscribe to the SCC's to watch all the webinars and take care of yourself while you're at home. Additionally, follow them on Instagram and Facebook to see more resources, strategies, and positive messages for students. Tag your posts as #UTDalonetogether to share ways that you are finding connection and coping during this time.
Be Aware of Scammers
Criminals are exploiting fear about COVID-19 by designing scams based on this topic. Criminals are attempting to use a sense of urgency to motivate victims to click links, open infected files, provide personal information, enter passwords, and donate money. Some scam emails claim to be from government agencies and employers. There were over 4,000 new internet website domains registered recently with the term “coronavirus” and some of them are fraudulent.
Official communications about COVID-19 will continue to be provided via UT Dallas email addresses and the UT Dallas website, https://www.utdallas.edu/coronavirus/. If you are uncertain about the source of communications you receive, please validate legitimacy. If the Information Security Office can be of assistance, contact us anytime at [email protected].