Author: Alexander, Rae

ISSS has moved – New office location

ISSS on the Storrs campus has moved to a new building.

Our new home is the Center for International Students and Scholars located at 2019 Hillside Rd. Storrs, CT 06269. Look for the Center for International Students and Scholars at maps.uconn.edu.

The office is open Monday-Friday from 9:00-5:00.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Resources for students and scholars impacted by war in Ukraine

Embassy Contact Information

Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Telephone: (+1) 202 349 2963

Email: ukrembus@gmail.com; consuluausa@gmail.com 

Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Phone: (202) 939-8914/Emergency Line: 202-298-5700 

Email: russconswdc@gmail.com; rusembusa@mid.ru

Visas and Travel

Announcement of Processing Posts for U.S. Visa Applicants from Ukraine: U.S. visa services are not available in Ukraine, but follow these guidelines to identify appropriate consular posts to apply for the U.S. visas outside Ukraine. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/announcement-of-processing-posts-for-visa-applicants-from-Ukraine.html

U.S. F/M/J Visa Processing for applicants resident in Russia: Due to lack of consular services for nonimmigrant visa processing in Russia, the U.S. Department of State has designated specific posts for receiving applicants who are residents of Russia and need student or exchange visitors visas. Read full post: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/announcement-of-F-M-J-processing-posts-for-applicants-resident-in-russia.html  

U.S. Visa and Humanitarian Information for Ukrainians in Poland: https://pl.usembassy.gov/humanitarian_assistance_ukraine_pl/ and https://pl.usembassy.gov/visas/humanitarian-assistance-and-visa-information-for-ukrainians/

Limited National Interest Exception of vaccine requirement for some travelers from Ukraine: Currently the U.S. requires that international travelers be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. This limited National Interest Exception provides flexibility to arrive without vaccination for certain nonimmigrant travelers who were in Ukraine as of February 10, 2022. Read the full National Interest Exception, here:  https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/2022-02/22_0215_S1_national-interest-exemption_0.pdf 

Executive Order Restricting Entry to U.S. of Certain Individuals who have been determined to engage in activities in support of Russia’s recognition of DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine. Read the Executive Order, here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/02/23/2022-04020/blocking-property-of-certain-persons-and-prohibiting-certain-transactions-with-respect-to-continued   

AILA Practice Pointer: Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visa Options for Ukrainian Nationals, including travel considerations for entering neighboring countries across land borders. (Source: American Immigration Lawyers Association)

U.S. Immigration Benefits

 Temporary Protected Status for Ukraine: 

On March 3, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. Read full announcement here: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/news-releases/secretary-mayorkas-designates-ukraine-for-temporary-protected-status-for-18-months

Starting April 19, 2022 eligible Ukrainians may file for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Find filing details here: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-ukraine

ISSS recommends you seek legal assistance when filing for TPS.

Special Student Relief for Ukrainian students on F-1 visas:

Ukrainian students on F-1 visas who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the conflict in Ukraine may seek authorization to work more than 20 hours per week through on-campus employment authorization, or to work off-campus, part time or full time. Students working under SSR may also take a reduced course load and maintain F-1 status. Make an appointment with your ISSS advisor to discuss this option.

USCIS Immigration Help Available to those Affected by Special Situations

https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/immigration-help-available-to-those-affected-by-special-situations-including-the-invasion-of-ukraine

Updated April 19, 2022

Legal Resources

ISSS Legal Resources Handout- Includes immigration attorney listings close to UConn campuses.

Financial Resources

ISSS Financial Resources Handout - includes university and external financial recourses.

IIE Emergency Student Fund: ISSS can nominate a limited number of Ukrainian students on F or J visas for an IIE emergency student fund grant if, due to the crisis in Ukraine, you are unable to meet educational, living or health costs this current academic year. Contact Rae Alexander, rae.alexander@uconn.edu for more information. Nominations are due March 21.

Emotional Support

SHaW - Mental Health Services at Storrs campus provides support to students who may be struggling to cope with stressful situations and other mental health challenges. Please refer to their webpage for services currently offered and ways to access help.

At the Regional Campuses there are clinical case managers who can help you and connect you to local mental health resources: https://studenthealth.uconn.edu/regional-campuses/

If you are a staff member, or are on post-completion OPT, refer to your employer’s Human Resources department or health insurance provider for counseling/wellness program referrals. At UConn, the Employee Assistance Program for UConn staff and faculty offers counseling and mental health support: https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-assistance-program/

Psychology Today provides a listings of theapists worldwide: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/counsellors?domain=www&cc=us&cl=en

American Psychological Association article: How to handle the trauma of war from afar.

Dean of Students Resources

The Graduate School Support

This post will continue to be updated with more resources as they become available. Last update: 3/4/22.

Message for returning international students

 

We want to share with you important information related to the recent announcement about the spring 2022 semester starting online. This message is for students who are returning to UConn and have active I-20 or DS-2019 forms. Please read carefully, and send us your questions.

Arrival Date for students who live off-campus:

International students who are returning to UConn and live off campus have flexibility to arrive when you like, as long as you arrive by January 30 to begin classes in person on January 31.  Arriving after January 18 carries some risk; see more below.

Students who live on-campus

The University has delayed move-in for most on campus students until January 29-30.  We know that international students may have already purchased flight tickets to move in based on the original schedule, or may not have another place to stay in the U.S. 

  • January 15 or 16th, with approval from Res Life  
  • You may also delay your arrival to move in on January 29 or 30. Delaying your arrival also carries risk; see more below. If you do not submit the early arrival request form by January 6, UConn Residential Life will presume you are moving in January 29 or 30. 

What to know if you delay your arrival

  • You must be able to participate in your coursework online from your location. If time zone differences or internet restrictions prevent you from participating fully in your online coursework, you should consider traveling here before classes begin January 18. Please be advised that the UConn VPN may not be available to access courses in China. 
  • If you begin your in-person courses online from your home country, and then you cannot arrive in person to participate due to unexpected reasons (flight cancellations, illness, visa delays, travel lockdowns) you will still owe tuition, even if you cannot complete the course as planned. See the refund schedule for course tuition
  • Graduate students who will arrive after January 18 (or after January 5, if a Graduate Assistant) need approval from The Graduate School, and your Graduate Assistant supervisor, should you have a GA. The late arrival request form can be found under the “Account & Forms” area of your Application Status Portal for new students, and on this website for returning students. 
  • Due to federal laws, Iranian graduate students may only participate in courses online while outside the U.S. under limited circumstances. If you are an Iranian graduate student who cannot arrive before January 18th, your case must be reviewed by the appropriate offices at UConn. 

Returning from travel abroad

Returning students arriving from abroad need to carry their passport, unexpired F or J visa, and I-20 or DS-2019 with a recent travel signature from ISSS (signed within the last 12 months). You can find your I-20 or DS-2019 form in your ISSS Portal account by logging in to isssportal.uconn.edu and click on your Academic Objective record, listed under the term/year that you started your program. Find your scanned I-20 copies under "Attached Documents". Check the date of your last travel signature on page 2, and if you need a new one, submit a Travel Information Record . You must download, print and sign your I-20 or DS-2019 to have with you at immigration. 

Students who will delay their arrival until January 29/30 can carry a spring 2022 travel letter in your carry-on luggage, in case you are asked to document why you are arriving late.  

We know that you still may have many questions. If you need help please contact international@uconn.edu or make an appointment with your ISSS advisor

Message for new regional campus students

 

We want to share with you important information related to the recent announcement about the spring 2022 semester starting online. This is for new international students who are at the regional campuses (Stamford, Hartford, Avery Point, Waterbury), the Graduate Business Learning Center and School of Law as well as returning students who are coming on a new, initial I-20 form.  Please read carefully and send us your questions.

Arrival date for students who live off campus

International students who live off campus have flexibility to arrive when you like, as long as you arrive by January 30 to begin classes in person on January 31. Submit the ISSS Arrival Confirmation form so that ISSS knows when you will arrive.

Arrival date for students who will live on campus

The University has delayed move-in for most on campus students until January 29-30.  We know that international students may have already purchased flight tickets to move in based on the original schedule. This means you may move in:

  • January 15 or 16th  
  • You may also delay your arrival to the move on the weekend of January 29 or 30. Delaying your arrival carries risk: read more details about that below. If you do not submit the early arrival request form by January 6, UConn Residential Life will presume you are moving in January 29 or 30.

    What to know if you delay your arrival

    • You must be able to participate in your coursework online from your location. If time zone differences or internet restrictions prevent you from participating fully in your online coursework, you should consider traveling here before classes begin January 18. Please be advised that the UConn VPN may not be available to access courses in China. 
    • If you begin your in-person courses online from your home country, and then you cannot arrive in person to participate due to unexpected reasons (flight cancellations, illness, visa delays, travel lockdowns) you will still owe tuition, even if you cannot complete the course as planned. See the refund schedule for course tuition
    • Graduate students who will arrive after January 18 (or after January 5, if a Graduate Assistant) need approval from The Graduate School, and your Graduate Assistant supervisor, should you have a GA. The late arrival request form can be found under the “Account & Forms” area of your Application Status Portal for new students, and on this website for returning students. 
    • Due to federal laws, Iranian graduate students may only participate in courses online while outside the U.S. under limited circumstances. If you are an Iranian graduate student who cannot arrive before January 18th, your case must be reviewed by the appropriate offices at UConn. 

      If I delay my arrival, will UConn update my I-20 or DS-2019 start date? 

      Students who already have their visa will not need an updated I-20 or DS-2019 form. You can carry a spring 2022 travel letter in your carry on luggage in case you are asked to document why you are arriving late. Students who will have their visa appointment after January 11th and will not arrive by January 18th may request an updated I-20 form or DS-2019. You will need to email international@uconn.edu and provide your date of visa appointment and planned travel date.

      We know that you still may have many questions. If you need help please contact international@uconn.edu or make an appointment with your ISSS advisor.  

      Message for new Storrs grad and undergrad int’l students

       

      We want to share with you important information related to the recent announcement about the spring 2022 semester starting online. This is for new international undergraduate and graduate students to UConn, including students who started their UConn programs abroad and will arrive for the first time. Please read carefully and send us your questions.

       

      Arrival date for students who live off campus

      International students who live off campus have flexibility to arrive when you like, as long as you arrive by January 30 to begin classes in person on January 31. Submit the ISSS Arrival Confirmation form so that ISSS knows when you will arrive. Arriving after January 18 carries some risk; see below for more information.

      Arrival date for students who live on campus

      The University has delayed move-in for most on campus students until January 29-30.  We know that international students may have already purchased flight tickets to move in based on the original schedule. This means you may move in:

      • January 13, 2022 between 8:30 and 4:30 pm., with approval from Res Life
      • You may also move in January 15 or 16th, with approval from Res Life  
      • Graduate students living in on-campus housing may have arranged different move-in dates individually with Res Life.  Follow the instructions provided to you by Res Life, and submit your ISSS Arrival Confirmation form, so that ISSS knows when you will arrive. 
      • You may also delay your arrival to the move on the weekend of January 29 or 30. Please see more details about that below. If you do not submit the early arrival request form by January 6, UConn Residential Life will presume you are moving in January 29 or 30. 

      What to know if you delay your arrival

      • You must be able to participate in your coursework online from your location. If time zone differences or internet restrictions prevent you from participating fully in your online coursework, you should consider traveling here before classes begin January 18. Please be advised that the UConn VPN may not be available to access courses in China. 
      • If you begin your in-person courses online from your home country, and then you cannot arrive in person to participate due to unexpected reasons (flight cancellations, illness, visa delays, travel lockdowns) you will still owe tuition, even if you cannot complete the course as planned. See the refund schedule for course tuition
      • Graduate students who will arrive after January 18 (or after January 5, if a Graduate Assistant) need approval from The Graduate School, and your Graduate Assistant supervisor, should you have a GA. The late arrival request form can be found under the “Account & Forms” area of your Application Status Portal for new students, and on this website for returning students. Undergraduates do not need to seek special approval to arrive after January 18, as long as you are here by January 30.
      • Due to federal laws, Iranian graduate students may only participate in courses online while outside the U.S. under limited circumstances. If you are an Iranian graduate student who cannot arrive before January 18th, your case must be reviewed by the appropriate offices at UConn. 

      If I delay arrival, will ISSS update my I-20 or DS-2019 form?

      Students who already have their visa will not need an updated I-20 or DS-2019 form. You can carry a spring 2022 travel letter in your carry on luggage in case you are asked to document why you are arriving late. Students who will have their visa appointment after January 11th and will not arrive by January 18th may request an updated I-20 form or DS-2019. You will need to email international@uconn.edu and provide your date of visa appointment and planned travel date.

      ISSS In Person Orientation

      The required in-person ISSS orientation and welcome activities January 14-17 will be postponed to a later date after in-person classes begin. Instead, we will offer a synchronous online orientation program on January 14 and 17 to help you adjust to your first few weeks of remote learning. We will send you more details soon.

      We know that you still may have many questions. If you need help please contact international@uconn.edu or make an appointment with your ISSS advisor.  

      New Travel Restrictions to U.S. Effective Today

      The U.S. has announced new restrictions on travel to the U.S., effective today (November 29, 2021), in light of the new COVID-19 variant of concern. The new travel restrictions apply to noncitizens who were present in the following countries within 14 days of planned entry to the U.S.: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. You can read the full Presidential proclamation here.  While there are some exceptions to the policy, currently there is no national interest exception for international student or exchange visitor travelers. ISSS will contact students and exchange visitors individually who we believe could be affected by this policy.   

      These newest restrictions are a stark reminder that travel policies may change at any time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here in the U.S. and worldwide. We continue to urge caution to international students and exchange visitors who are here and considering taking a temporary trip abroad, due to the risk of travel policy changes that may prevent you from returning in time for spring semester commitments.

      Travel Signature Week at ISSS Storrs

       

      November 29-December 3 is Travel Signature Week at ISSS in Storrs

      While we urge that students and exchange visitors consider any international travel with great caution due to the ongoing pandemic, if you will travel abroad during winter break you can apply for your travel signature during Travel Signature Week. If you do not attend Storrs campus, check with your ISSS Advisor at your campus about a deadline for submitting your travel signature request for winter break travel.

      How to report your international travel and get a travel signature:

      1. Submit your online Travel Information Record.  Enrolled students: Submit your record here.  Visiting scholars: Login to the ISSS Scholar Portal with your email and password (do not use Net ID), click on requests, and click on Travel Signature.
      2. Between November 29 and December 3, drop off your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 document to the ISSS front desk between 8 am and 5 pm. Enrolled students should also drop off a full time enrollment verification document from the UConn Registrar. Pick up your full time enrollment verification at the Registrar office in Wilbur Cross building, or email registrar@uconn.edu and request the document be sent to you as a pdf.
      3. Your I-20 or DS-2019 with travel signature will be ready for you to pick up no later than December 10. The ISSS front desk will email you if your document is ready earlier than December 10.  We will also return your enrollment verification to you, so that you have it with you for travel.

      Questions? Email international@uconn.edu.

      Updated Travel Guidelines for Noncitizens

      The U.S. government has confirmed plans to change the entry requirements for noncitizen, nonimmigrant entry to the U.S., effective November 8, 2021, 12:01 am. Read the full proclamation here. Some key points from this proclamation include the following: 

      • The geographic entry restrictions that previously restricted travel from Brazil, China, India, Iran, South Africa, UK, Ireland, and Schengen Area of Europe will be lifted.   

      • A vaccination requirement will go into effect, requiring all noncitizen, nonimmigrant air travelers to the U.S. to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The definition of fully vaccinated, accepted vaccines, and documentation guidelines are outlined here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html#covid-vaccines. Proof of negative COVID-19 test will still be required to travel.

      • Noncitizen travelers who are coming on nonimmigrant visas other than B-1/B-2 (such as F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2) and who are citizens of the countries listed here may qualify for an exemption of the vaccination requirement. The country list will be updated every 90 days.

      • Travelers who qualify for an exemption to the vaccine requirement will need to be tested for COVID-19 with a viral test 3-5 days after travel, self-quarantine for 7 days and isolate if you test positive. If your stay is longer than 60 days, you will need to obtain a vaccination within 60 days after arrival (some exceptions apply).  

      • Full details for noncitizen nonimmigrants traveling to the U.S. can be found on the CDC web page: Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air travel to the United States. Read this carefully if you intend to travel to the U.S. in the coming months. 

      Although the proclamation included certain exemptions to the vaccine requirement, we understand there could still be international students and visiting scholars who are negatively impacted by this policy change. Please reach out to ISSS if you need assistance to understand how this requirement applies to you and your plans for travel to the U.S.

       
      ISSS will discuss these updates further at our next Stay Informed! meeting, which will take place on November 3 at 12 pm. Join the meeting here, and please contact international@uconn.edu if you have questions.
       

      Reminders for J-1 Scholar Hosting Departments

      Dear academic departments,


      We hope your fall semester is off to a great start. ISSS would like to provide you with some updates and reminders related to hosting visiting scholars/exchange visitors on J-1 visas. 

      ISSS Services for you and your scholar:

      • ISSS at Storrs is open 5 days a week in person, from 8 am to 5 pm. The front desk is open for procedural questions, and international advisors are available to meet with J-1 exchange visitors for both in-person and virtual appointments. You can find your ISSS Advisor liaison and your scholar’s assigned advisor, here: https://isss.uconn.edu/isss-advisors/  Your scholar can follow the links on their advisor’s profile to schedule a virtual or in-person appointment.

      • ISSS also has drop-in advising each afternoon from 1:30 to 3:30 pm (in-person) and online chat advising in the morning from 9 am to 10 am, and afternoon from 2 pm to 3 pm. These services are intended for quick questions only. If your scholar has a more complex issue to discuss, they should schedule an appointment with their assigned ISSS Advisor.

      J-1 Visa Sponsorship Policies:

      • J-1 visa sponsorship requests can only be made for exchange visitors who will be conducting their program in-person. Remote participation is not appropriate for J-1 visa sponsorship.  

      • New J-1 visa sponsorship requests must be fully submitted (all sections completed by the hosting department and the exchange visitor, offer/invitation letter signed and approved for hire) at least 7 weeks before the anticipated start date to UConn to allow adequate time for visa processing. For exchange visitors in STEM fields, we recommend at least 12 weeks advance notice due to the anticipated background checks needed for the visa process. Exceptions may be granted for exchange visitors who are currently in the U.S. and transferring their J-1 visa sponsorship to UConn. 

      • Newly arrived J-1 exchange visitors hosted at the Storrs campus must check-in at the ISSS office in Storrs as soon as possible after arrival. Please remind your scholar to come to ISSS during the designated check in days: Tuesday and Friday, between 2 and 4 pm. Failure to check in with ISSS can lead to a termination of the visiting scholar’s visa sponsorship. The scholar will need to bring their passport, DS-2019, and medical insurance documentation when they check-in. Scholars at the regional campuses will check-in online and then meet with their ISSS Advisor for an orientation meeting.

      • If your visiting scholar cannot arrive and begin their program by the start date listed on the offer letter/DS-2019 form, then you will need to amend both the offer letter and the DS-2019 form before their arrival. Request the DS-2019 amendment from ISSS following these instructions: https://isss.uconn.edu/department-information/department-information-hosting-an-exchange-visitor/amend-start-date-j-1-exchange-visitor/ 

      • You must notify ISSS if your visiting scholar/exchange visitor decides to end their program early. Please notify both Dana Foster and your ISSS Advisor liaison if your scholar will end their program and return home before their DS-2019/offer letter end date.

      • ISSS publishes further details for hosting departments about the J-1 visa sponsorship process here: https://isss.uconn.edu/department-information/department-information-hosting-an-exchange-visitor/

      COVID-19 Resources and Information for visiting scholars:

      • Visiting scholars who arrive from abroad to start their program may be wondering if they need to quarantine upon arrival before coming to campus. HR has advised ISSS that new visiting scholars who arrive from abroad should follow the same general guidelines following international travel as other staff who return from international travel. More information on these guidelines can be found here: https://isss.uconn.edu/isss-covid-19-faq/#collapsepanel-10144-0-0-734 

      • More information related to travel, health and COVID-19 can be found on the ISSS COVID-19 FAQ: https://isss.uconn.edu/isss-covid-19-faq/ 

      Thank you, and please reach out if you have further questions. 

      U.S. Extends Visa Interview Waiver Eligibility

      The U.S. Department of State announced yesterday that through the end of 2021, certain applicants for F, M, or J academic visas may be granted a waiver of the requirement to have an interview at a U.S. consulate as part of the visa application. Prior to this announcement, some F or J visa applicants seeking to renew the same visa were eligible to have the interview requirement waived.

      This announcement extends the possibility for interview waiver to include:

      • F or J visa applicants in participating countries who were previously issued a U.S. visa of any type (with certain conditions).
      • First time F or J visa applicants who are citizens of countries that currently qualify for Visa Waiver Program for tourism purposes.

      Please note that:

      • The consulate has discretion to determine whether a visa applicant is subject to the interview.
      • Not all countries or missions will be able to implement this extended interview waiver eligibility. You must still follow the directions for visa application or renewal provided through the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are located. See U.S. Travel Docs for full application instructions, or review the website of your closest U.S. mission for more details.

      This announcement only extends eligibility for a waiver of the interview associated with the visa process; it does not waive the need for a visa.
      Read the full announcement here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/important-announcement-on-F-M-and-academic-J-Visas.html