ISSS Announcements

IMPORTANT UPDATES (DECEMBER 2016): FEE CHANGES FOR OPT, STEM OPT & 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.

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IMPORTANT UPDATES (NOVEMBER 2016): ONLINE FORMS SYSTEM OUTAGE SCHEDULED

NOTICE: I-20 ONLINE REQUEST FORM & ONLINE OPT INFORMATION FORM WILL BE UNAVAILABLE THIS SUNDAY, 11/13, FROM 6AM UNTIL 12 NOON (approx.) DUE TO UPGRADES TO THE BACKEND DATABASE. PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY.

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This announcement is ONLY for F-1 students and their F-2 dependents: (June 11, 2015)

Great news!  ISSS is happy to announce a recent change to the regulation regarding F-2 dependent’s eligibility to study in the U.S.  The following is a summary of the new rule and this is effective immediately.

  1. F-2 Post-secondary study at a SEVIS-certified school (e.g. community college, university)
    a.  F-2 spouses are permitted to be engaged in study, degree or non-degree & credit or non-credit, as long as it is part-time (less than a full-time course load).  Pursuant to respective regulations, full-time is defined at UConn as:
  • Study at the undergraduate level = 12 credits per semester
  • Study at the graduate level = 9 credits per semester
  • Study at the professional level = varied, confirm with ISSS
  • UCAELI (ESL study) = 18 hours per week
  • Study  during summer = Varied.  Contact an ISSS advisor to learn the full-time definition for a particular summer session in which the F-2 visa holder wishes to enroll

If study by the F-2 takes place at a school other than UConn, including UConn Health Center, the F-2 must confirm with a Designated School Official (DSO) at the attending school, in writing, their full-time definition(s) to avoid any status violation.

b.  F-2 dependents must NOT pursue full-time study at post-secondary institutions.  If the F-2 wishes to study on a full-time basis, s/he must change his/her status to F-1 and full-time study can begin only after obtaining F-1 status.  If the F-2 is engaged in full-time study, s/he is considered to have violated F-2 status and is subject to SEVIS termination.  If the F-2 wishes to change status to F-1 to study at UConn, please contact ISSS for guidance.

  1. F-2 children are allowed to study at elementary and secondary study even on a full-time basis (kindergarten through twelfth grade).
  1. F-2 dependents are NOT permitted to be engaged in employment, including practical training.  If an academic program in which the F-2 enrolls requires internships or practicums for the program, s/he will need to change his/her status to F-1 and comply with all F-1 regulations, including full-time enrollment.

Please note that these are brand new rules, which still require further detailed guidance from the government.  This means that all advice and information provided by ISSS regarding F-2 study is subject to change upon future guidance releases.

Should you have any questions, please contact ISSS.

Happy Summer!

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IMPORTANT UPDATES (MAY 2015): J VISA HOLDERS – NEW MEDICAL INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS 

This message is for J-1 visa holders, students and scholars, and their dependents:

As you may already know, the U.S. Department of State substantially changed J-1 exchange visitor program rules and regulations recently.  One of the  changes is about medical insurance requirements.

Effective from May 15, 2015, the medical insurance requirements will change and you can find the new requirement information at http://isss.uconn.edu/medical-insurance/.  You and your J-2 dependents, if any, are required to have insurance coverage meeting the new requirements on and after 5/15/2015.

If you participate in UConn’s student insurance plan (even as a scholar through Bailey Agencies), your plan meets the new regulatory requirements.  If you have different insurance plan(s) and have questions about your insurance coverage, please refer those questions directly to your particular insurance provider.  Your insurance companies are the best resources for you to confirm your compliance with the insurance requirements.  ISSS is not authorized to analyze individual insurance policy benefits.

Additionally, all J exchange visitors, including J-2 spouses and dependent(s), may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  For more information on the Affordable Care Act, see http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/ and https://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com/explained/the-aca-and-international-students.php (note that J-1 scholars and J-1 students have different exempt periods: 2 years vs. 5 years).

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IMPORTANT UPDATES (DECEMBER 2014): NEW J-1 REGULATIONS

The U.S. Department of State will make significant changes to the J-1 regulations.  Below is a list of several new rules that will affect J visa holders and their hosting departments.  All new rules, except changes to insurance amounts, are effective on January 5, 2015.  The new insurance requirements are effective on May 15, 2015.

 1.       New Insurance Requirements:

 

Item Current Requirements New Rule (effective 05/15/2015)  
Medical benefits $50,000 $100,000
Repatriation of remains $7,500 $25,000
Medical evacuation $10,000 $50,000
Maximum Deductible per accident or illness $500 $500

Additionally, all J exchange visitors, including J-2 spouses and dependent(s), may be subject to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  For more information on the Affordable Care Act, see the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services  website.

2.       Requirement to report the email address of J-1 and J-2 visa holders to the government.

3.       Requirement to report the departure of J-2 visa holders to the government, if they leave the U.S. before their J-1 principal completes their exchange program.

4.       Requirement that J visa holders report any loss or theft of Forms DS-2019s. 

5.       Requirement to verify exchange visitors’ English proficiency, most likely via a recognized English language test (e.g. TOEFL), before ISSS may issue a Form DS-2019.

6.       Requirement that hosting departments provide cross-cultural interaction and experiences for J-1 and J-2 visa holders.

For more information, please visit http://isss.uconn.edu/department-information/department-information-j1-visiting-scholar-request-form/

ISSS will conduct informational sessions/trainings for hosting departments in early 2015 in order to appropriately respond to these new rules.

 

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IMPORTANT NEWS REGARDING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL  & EBOLA (October 2014):
 

Please refer to this media release from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) regarding screening of travelers at airports.

CDC DHS

 

 

 

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IMPORTANT UPDATES (August 2014): New Procedures to Request Forms I-20 for Admitted International Graduate Students

  1. ISSS has launched a secure online system for newly admitted international graduate students to request an I-20 and submit required support documents for the immigration purpose.  This system will increase efficiency and separate the academic admission process performed by the Graduate School and the immigration paperwork process performed by ISSS.  Currently all documents, for academic and immigration decisions, are collected by the Graduate School through their online “ApplyYourself” application system at the time students apply to the University.  This will change with the new ISSS system and procedures. The new system will require immigration materials directly and only from applicants who are admitted by the Graduate School.  Applicants who are officially admitted by the Graduate School will be provided the information on how to request an I-20 with the admission acceptance notice from the Graduate School.  The applicants will then be directed to submit all required documents for I-20 issuance (e.g. passport, financial documents, etc.) directly to ISSS through the secure online system. With the new system and procedures, the applicants will be notified directly by ISSS with updates during the review and I-20 production process.  The new system is available at I-20 Online Request. The Graduate School and ISSS will jointly conduct information sessions on these new procedures for academic departments in early fall.  We will provide the same session multiple times to accommodate your schedules.  We strongly recommend that your department representative attends one of the sessions to be well informed, so that you may also assist your new international students through the admission process.  Session dates and times will be announced through Daily Digest.
  2. Effective from the Spring 2015 admission cycle, ISSS will set a deadline for I-20 requests from students who are required to apply for an F-1 visa at a consular office overseas.  Considering that all students are required by law to report to the University by the first day of the semester and due to the visa application processing times at the consular offices, this new practice is necessary to provide the students enough time to travel and settle at UConn in a timely fashion.

Upcoming I-20 request deadlines are:

Spring 2015:        December 19, 2014

Fall 2015:              July 31, 2015

Admitted international students must place their I-20 requests along with all required support documents through the above mentioned online system by these deadlines.  These newly implemented deadlines will ensure that ISSS will review and process submitted I-20 requests within an efficient timeframe.  Academic departments may still continue academic admission selections per the Graduate School admission date guidelines; however, please be aware that the admit term for those who cannot meet the I-20 request deadline should be deferred to an approved future term.

These deadlines are not applicable to the following groups that are not required to apply for a visa abroad:

  1. Students currently in the U.S. in F-1 status with another school
  2. Students currently in the U.S. in another visa status that allows study in the U.S. while an F-1 change of status application is pending
  3. Students who are Canadian citizens, as they are not required to have a visa stamp in the passport pursuant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations.