The University of Connecticut has approved a new student fee for eligible active UConn students on F-1 and J-1 visas.
When will the Visa Compliance Fee be applied?
To accurately capture which students have enrolled, the fee will be applied to bills in two batches. The first batch of students will receive the Visa Compliance Fee on their bill the week of 7/10/2017, and the second batch of students will be charged on the 11th day of Fall semester, 9/11/2017. All students will receive an email notification once the fee has been applied to their bill.
What expenses will the Visa Compliance Fee cover?
This fee will cover expenses associated with the University’s sponsorship of F and J visas for international students. It is not a government fee, or a fee tied to your individual visa application. For international students to study on a student visa, the University must sponsor your visa. This means UConn is responsible for maintaining your SEVIS immigration record, assessing and processing your applications for immigration benefits, providing advising to help you maintain your immigration status while supporting your academic and career goals, and reporting regularly to the U.S. government on the status of your visa. This requires adequate staffing, resources, and professional training, which will be met through the Visa Compliance Fee.
What benefits will I receive from the Visa Compliance Fee?
Direct benefits of the fee to international students include:
-Increased advising immigration support staff to meet your immigration processing and advising needs.
-Full-time international advisors based at the UConn Stamford campus and in Hartford to serve the new UConn Hartford campus, Graduate Business Learning Center and School of Law.
-The ability to continue providing walk-in advising services at the Storrs campus.
-Improved application processing time.
-Improved email response time.
-Improved application services, including web-based applications.
The $350 fee is charged as part of the required University tuition and fees for each semester that a student is enrolled, Fall and Spring terms only. Students who have been charged the fee but will not enroll in the next semester will have the charge removed after day 10 of the next semester. Payment for the Visa Compliance Fee will be due on October 15 for the Fall 2017 semester (Spring semester payment deadline TBD).
Who should I contact with questions about the Visa Compliance Fee?
Please be advised of recent fee changes associated with applying for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) and J-1 Academic Training (AT).
1) For F-1 students: USCIS will raise OPT filing fees effective December 23rd, 2016. Applications postmarked or filed on or after December 23rd must include the new filing fee, or USCIS will reject your application. The filing fee for all I-765 applications for OPT (including pre-completion OPT, post-completion OPT and OPT STEM extension) will be raised to $410 (from the current $380).
2) For F-1 and J-1 students: The University of Connecticut will begin implementing a Post-Completion Training SEVIS Maintenance Fee for all F-1 and J-1 students who will apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (F-1) or post-completion Academic Training (J-1). This fee will be assessed at the time that you apply for post-completion OPT or AT, and will cover expenses related to maintaining your SEVIS record after you have graduated from the University. This fee will not be assessed for applications for pre-completion OPT or AT. The fee will be $150 per 12 months of practical training that you are requesting. For example, if you are applying for 12 months of post-completion OPT, you fee will be $150. If you are applying for the 24-month STEM OPT extension, the fee will be $300. Details on how to pay the fee are posted on the ISSS webpage OPT application instructions. For OPT applicants, this fee is in addition to the USCIS filing fee mentioned above. The Post-Completion Training SEVIS Maintenance Fee will be required for OPT and AT applications submitted for approval to ISSS on or after January 1, 2017.
Please contact ISSS if you have any questions about these important changes.
ISSS Welcomes New Advisors!
ISSS is happy to announce two new members of our advising team. Annie Casarella joined us in September. Prior to joining ISSS, Annie worked in non-profits around the Boston area serving minority populations and taught English in Ecuador for several years, for World Teach and the University of Cuenca. Most recently she worked for UConn’s School of Business as a Fiscal Assistant. Annie is the designated international advisor for undergraduate students in the Schools of Business, Nursing, Fine Arts, Engineering, Education, Pharmacy and the College of Agricultural, Health and Natural Resources. Sarah Manning also joined ISSS as an international advisor in October. Before coming to UConn, Sarah taught adult ESL learners for many years in many different setting. Most recently she was an International Student Advisor at a school in New Haven. Sarah is the designated international advisor for undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and UCAELI students. Please welcome Annie and Sarah!
With new staff, ISSS has shifted the designated international advisor contacts for students, scholars and programs. ALL international advisors can help you during Walk-In hours and regional campus advising visits. However, if you have questions to email, please contact your designated ISSS advisor below, based on your program of study:
Sarah Manning: CLAS undergraduate programs, UCAELI (ESL) firstname.lastname@example.org
Annie Casarella: All other undergraduate programs, Pharm D email@example.com
Neena Kapoor: CLAS, Education, Pharmacy graduate programs firstname.lastname@example.org
Maximilian Kort: CANHR, Fine Arts, Nursing, Law, Social Work and all Exchange Students email@example.com
Jennifer King: Engineering graduate programs firstname.lastname@example.org
Rae Alexander: Business graduate programs email@example.com (temporary)
Arthur Galinat: Visiting scholars firstname.lastname@example.org
International Student and Scholar Services
The Olympic Torch
by Pauline Batista Souza da Silva, ’16 M.A.
As we all know, in spite of all controversy this year, the Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A Latin American capital we all know very well through the life stories of Pelé, Tom Jobim, Hollywood, Carmen Miranda and many other sources of the glamour 20th century entertainment brings.
Because eight years ago, me – from the Rio nobody shows in Hollywood (at least from an amicable perspective), a young woman who’s story has drastically changed, joined other 12 thousand Olympic Torch Bearers this summer.
I left the favela when I was 9 years old, moved to Paraty, a very charming town three hours away from Rio where my family has now become financially successful. I have always studied hard. I now have a bachelors degree as well as a masters degree and have already accepted a PhD candidacy offer. Nissan (one of the Olympic Games’ sponsors) found my story quite appealing and decided to make me an Olympic Torch bearer this summer. Precisely on July 27th, I crossed Paraty, bearing the torch and the hope for all of those who come from underrepresented communities in South America and who have ambitious dreams.
In Memoriam: ISSS remembers our former international student, Nataliya Plesha. We were saddened to hear of her recent passing, and will remember her for her warmth, humor and energy. In 2012, we asked international students to share with us photos that capture an important or significant moment from their life in the United States. Nataliya shared with us this photo from when she won a national award for teaching. She will be greatly missed.
We are pleased to announce that ISSS will begin to offer “walk-in” advising services to the international student and scholar population effective Tuesday, July 5th. During walk-in advising times, you can meet with an ISSS advisor to discuss routine questions you may have for ISSS, without having an appointment. Advisors can allot around 20 minutes, which is sufficient time to discuss most ISSS matters. ISSS will not process any benefit requests during walk-in advising hours (e.g. travel signatures, CPT applications, OPT applications). Please continue to submit all applications to the ISSS front desk, or by emailing the request to email@example.com if you are unable to visit the Storrs campus.
“Walk-ins” can visit ISSS during the following times to meet with an ISSS advisor:
Monday – 1 pm to 3:30 pm
Tuesday – 9 am to 11:30 am
Wednesday – 9 am to 11:30 am
Thursday – 9 am to 11:30 am
Friday – 1 pm to 3:30 pm
Moving forward, students and scholars should plan to meet with advisors during walk-in advising times, which is a change from the appointment system that has been in place. However, if you have a more complicated situation to discuss with an ISSS advisor that you expect could take longer, we suggest that you email an international advisor to set up an appointment. Please see the contact list below to see who you should email based on your academic program or visa type, and please include in your email the topic that you need to discuss:
All Undergraduate Students at Storrs campus: Arthur Galinat, Arthur.firstname.lastname@example.org
All Exchange Students: Maximilian Kort, Maximilian.email@example.com
All Regional Campus Students: Nadine Boudissa, Nadine.firstname.lastname@example.org
All Visiting Scholars: Rae Alexander, email@example.com
All UCAELI Students: Jennifer King, Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org
All Sponsored Students (Fulbright, LASPAU, USAID, etc.): Arthur Galinat, Arthur.email@example.com
School of Business: Nadine Boudissa, Nadine.firstname.lastname@example.org
CANHR, School of Fine Arts, Nursing: Maximilian Kort, Maximilian.email@example.com
CLAS, NEAG School of Education: Neena Kapoor, Neena.firstname.lastname@example.org
Pharmacy: Arthur Galinat, Arthur.email@example.com
We hope that this system will better serve our international students and scholars. Please let me know if there are any questions.
International Student and Scholar Services