News

Update on Executive Order and Immigration

Details of U.S. President Trump’s executive order signed on Friday contain several measures that directly affect international students and scholars in the United States.  ISSS is deeply troubled by the executive order. We care about you and your well-being, and we are here to support you. It is very uncertain at this time how this and other executive orders will actually play out, and there are legal developments taking place, which could impact the outcomes. ISSS advising on the topic may change as more information comes in.

We encourage students to reach out to ISSS advising staff with questions. ISSS will hold two events at our center in Storrs that may be of interest to students:

International Chat  – Tuesday, 3-4 pm International chat is a weekly event where students can come together with UConn staff to discuss life in the U.S., current events, tips for living abroad, etc. This week, students who want to talk or listen about the recent events are encouraged to attend. Spouses and other dependents are also welcome.

Information Session on Executive Order – Wednesday, 12 – 1 pm This session will go over the details of the order, and how affected students can plan for these changes.

Students and scholars should note two main parts of the order:

  1. Entry to the U.S. and visa issuance will be restricted for individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days while the government reviews the visa approval process and related security measures. Students, scholars and their accompanying dependents from these countries should not travel for the time being, as you may not be able to reenter the US. This includes dual citizens who hold passports from one of the seven designated countries, as well as a non-designated country, even if you plan to travel on the passport of the non-designated country. If you must travel, we encourage you to consult with an Immigration Attorney before traveling: http://isss.uconn.edu/isss-forms-a-z/immigration-attorney-list/
    If you are from one of the seven designated countries and are currently outside the United States, please email international@uconn.edu with your details. If you are on a visa that is not sponsored by UConn (e.g. not F or J), then an immigration attorney can best advise you on these matters.
  2. The order eliminates the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which allowed certain eligible visa applicants to waive the consular interview for visa renewals. This is a different program than the Visa Waiver Program, which allows nationals of certain designated countries to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days for tourism purposes without a visa. With the elimination of this program, and in the current climate, students and scholars should expect longer visa processing times and should plan accordingly.

Note on visa revocations: Several U.S. schools have reported patterns of students having their visas revoked, including students from countries not listed in the order. The students were notified of the visa revocation through an email sent from the U.S. consulate overseas that issued the visa. Out of an abundance of caution, we would encourage students and scholars to monitor your email inbox, and if you receive any communication from a Nonimmigrant Visa Division overseas, to please notify ISSS. A visa revocation means that the visa stamp in your passport is no longer valid for use, and if you depart the U.S. you must apply for a new visa. It does not mean that you are required to depart the U.S.

Thank you and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We will continue to update you as we learn more information.

For more information see: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/news/executive-order-on-protecting-the-nation-from-terrorist-attacks-by-foreign-nationals.html

Important Fee Changes for OPT, STEM OPT and Academic Training Applications

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 International Student Spotlight: Anna Middendorf & Charlotte Veitner

Anna Middendorf and Charlotte Veitner were both named Longstreth/NFHCA Division I First Team All-Americans this week.  Middendorf and Veitner have received the All-America honors in the past, once before for Veitner and twice before for Middendorf.  Additionally Veitner was named All-Mideast Region Player of the Year and Middendorf was named Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year.  Read this great article detailing the honors received by these international student athletes.

http://today.uconn.edu/2016/12/innovative-device-could-offer-new-hope-for-heart-patients/

ISSS International Student Spotlight: Islam Mosa

UConn international student Islam Mosa is ready to dramatically change the world of cardiac pacemakers; he’s winning awards and getting recognition for his work too.  Mosa recently won the People’s Choice Award in the 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition sponsored by Universitas 21. Read this terrific article in UConn Today and watch his 3MT presentation below.

http://today.uconn.edu/2016/12/innovative-device-could-offer-new-hope-for-heart-patients/

ISSS Thanksgiving Luncheon Photos

Group of International Students and what they are thankful for International Student Thankful for Newborn

Last Tuesday, ISSS welcomed dozens of international students to our Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon! ISSS staff served some traditional Thanksgiving foods like turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce to hungry students in celebration of the U.S. holiday. For some it was their first Thanksgiving in the U.S.!

Students shared what they are thankful for this holiday season and took photos. ISSS staff is thankful for all of our amazing and inspiring international students! We hope you have a wonderful break!

ISSS Thanksgiving Meal

ISSS Election Results

ISSS Election Results

International students and scholars had a chance to voice their opinion on who should be the next U.S. president with a mock ballot box at the ISSS Front Desk. While turnout was low, the results may surprise you! The winner, with 15 votes, went to republican nominee Donald Trump. He was followed close behind by democratic candidate Hillary Clinton (12) votes. Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green Party) each got one vote. And finally, the following candidates each got a “write-in” vote: Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, and our own Arthur Galinat! Thanks to those who participated!

ISSS Welcomes New Advisors!

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!

New ISSS AdvisorsNEW ISSS Advisor Assignments – Who should you contact?

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) sm.uconnisss@gmail.com

Annie Casarella: All other undergraduate programs, Pharm D annie.casarella@uconn.edu

Neena Kapoor: CLAS, Education, Pharmacy graduate programs neena.kapoor@uconn.edu

Maximilian Kort: CANHR, Fine Arts, Nursing, Law, Social Work and all Exchange Students maximilian.kort@uconn.edu

Jennifer King: Engineering graduate programs jennifer.king@uconn.edu

Rae Alexander: Business graduate programs rae.alexander@uconn.edu (temporary)

Arthur Galinat: Visiting scholars arthur.galinat@uconn.edu

Rae Alexander
Director
International Student and Scholar Services