The University of Connecticut takes student safety very seriously. Public safety (police) staff are located on each of the UConn campuses to respond to student situations on campus. Local municipal police serve the towns and areas off-campus.
In the event of a fire, medical or safety emergency, always call 911. This number connects to all emergency response services.
The University does not provide students with legal assistance. ISSS cannot provide legal advising beyond F and J visa matters, and may sometimes refer students to seek professional assistance through an immigration attorneys.
Preparing to Meet with an Attorney
When you have identified an attorney that you would like to work with, follow these tips to ensure that you get the most out of your meeting.
- The initial consultation could be in person, or by phone. You may be asked to complete an intake form before the initial consultation – be sure to fill this out as completely as possible and return before your initial consultation.
- Understand the pricing structure. Do they charge for an initial consultation? Following the initial consultation, do they charge an hourly rate, or a flat fee for a particular service?
- Be prepared for your meeting. Bring all relevant documents and create a timeline of dates and events relevant to your situation.
- If your questions cannot be answered through an initial consultation, you may need to retain their services for a longer period of time. This can be expensive, though necessary, if you are dealing with a complicated immigration or legal issue.
Immigration Attorney List
ISSS cannot recommend any particular attorneys, but provides these lists as a courtesy. ISSS does not vouch for the capabilities or services of any attorney on these lists. We encourage you to review references, practice history and disciplinary history of any attorney before selecting an attorney to perform legal services. Neither ISSS nor the University of Connecticut receives compensation for providing these lists.
If you have immigration concerns related to professional employment at UConn, please consult with the Office of the General Counsel before contacting any other law firm in order to learn UConn’s policies on visa sponsorship and usage of outside attorneys.
These lists were compiled from a geographic search of attorneys registered with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) as of September 2010. ISSS does not guarantee the accuracy of the information on these lists.
Other Legal Assistance
Search Connecticut Bar Association for attorneys by practice.
Low cost legal services based on qualifying income levels are available through Connecticut Legal Services (statewide, including Willimantic) and the Connecticut Community Law Center at the UConn School of Law (Hartford).
If you are summoned to appear in court, or even arrested by police, you should notify ISSS, or follow the steps listed on this webpage to ensure the best outcome for your situation. The most common occasion that a student or scholar is summoned to appear in court is for driving violations. Also, if you get a traffic ticket, you will normally be asked to pay the fine for the ticket, or if you disagree with the violation, you may appear in court to contest the ticket.
If you are arrested, there can be consequences on your immigration status.
- If you are arrested it is important to work with your attorney to follow all necessary steps to resolve your case.Â Consult with a criminal attorney who can advise on your legal rights and procedures, and who seeks consultation with an immigration attorney on immigration implications. If your criminal attorney does not do this, you may need to also seek counsel from an immigration attorney.Â
- Notify your home country’s embassy/consulate.
- After the case is closed, keep all records associated with the case. You could need these at future visa appointments.
- Remember, on the visa application DS-160 you are asked if you have ever been arrested. In the future you will need to answer this question as yes, even if your case was dismissed or resolved.
Driving under the Influence and Drug Possession
If you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, known as a “DUI” (driving under the influence) or “OUI” (operating under the influence), then your visa could be automatically revoked.Â A visa revocation cancels the validity of the visa stamp in your passport, but does not necessarily cancel your legal status in the United States. However, but if you travel outside the U.S. you will need to apply for a new visa to reenter. Having the DUI in your history may complicate this process. You should seek the guidance of an immigration attorney if this occurs.
In some U.S. states and neighboring countries, the purchase and possession of marijuana is legal. However, marijuana is still illegal under federal (U.S.) law. Therefore even if you legally purchase marijuana under state law, the purchase or possession is still illegal under federal law. You may not violate federal law while on your student or exchange visitor visa. Under no circumstances should you try to bring legally purchased marijuana from Canada back with you to the United States. If U.S. border authorities suspect that you have engaged in drug use while in Canada, your entry to the U.S. could be denied.
Department of State – Rights and Protections of Nonimmigrant Workers
International students can be vulnerable targets for criminals impersonating government officials online, via email or by telephone. Telephone scams are most common, and are often conducted by scammers from outside of the United States. They may claim to be officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies. These criminals try to gain access to personal information (name, date of birth, social security number, address) or they may try to scare students into paying them money. Â Read through the information on this page and follow the steps below to protect yourself from falling victim to a criminal/scammer.
Government officials will not call/email you asking for money. Contact ISSS if you receive a phone call/email from someone claiming to be a government official asking for money. Do NOT pay by phone. Do NOT give out or “confirm” your date of birth or your social security number by phone. Collect all the information you can about the office (name of the government office, amount of money, reason you must pay) and tell them you need to speak with ISSS first. HANG UP THE PHONE!
Government officials will not use fear! Government officials will not threaten to immediately arrest or deport you if you don’t pay a fee or a tax over the phone. Many criminals/scammers may tell you that if you don’t pay the police will be dispatched to your apartment to arrest you. This is a scam. HANG UP THE PHONE!
Government officials will never ask you to pay a debt using gift cards. Government officials will never ask you to pay a debt by purchasing gift cards from Target, Walmart, Amazon etc. If anyone asks you to pay a debt this way, this is a scam.
Government offices (IRS, USCIS, DHS) will send paper notices by postal mail. Government office will always send paper notices by postal mail with updates about your status, pending cases or if there are fees owed. If you receive an unexpected paper notice from a government office come to ISSS to verify its authenticity.
Government offices may email you. The embassy/consulate in your home country may send email to the email address you used to schedule your visa appointment. The Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) may send you email if you have not paid the SEVIS I-901 fee. Come to ISSS with these notices to verify their authenticity.
ISSS WILL contact you by email or telephone. If you receive an email/voicemail from ISSS, this is legitimate UConn business and you should follow up with ISSS staff about the issue.
Some legitimate institutions will require your personal information. For example if you have a bank account in the U.S. they will require your date of birth and your social security number, but they will never call you and ask for this over the phone. They will either ask you to come into the bank with this information or postal mail you official paperwork to submit to the bank. Similarly, when you apply for services that involve a check of your credit history (e.g. apartment rental, mobile phone purchase), you will be asked on the application form to provide your social security number, if you have one.
Know about the different types of scams:
IRS Impersonators (claiming you owe unpaid taxes)
Immigration Impersonators (claiming to be USCIS, DHS, “U.S. Immingration” telling you that you owe an international student “tax”, “fee”, or “immigration tax” and you will be deported)
Kidnapping Scam – you are told that your family overseas has been kidnapped and you must pay for their release. Scammers scare you and keep you on the phone so you cannot contact your family. Ask for proof, ask to speak with your family, use Facebook, messenger apps, twitter etc. to connect and confirm your family’s situation, before you send them money, believing they are actually kidnapped.
Identity Theft – Identity theft is when criminals steal your personal identifying information (e.g. SSN, Date of Birth, ID information) and use it for financial gain. Learn more about how to protect yourself!.pdf
Job Scams – Be wary of companies that ask you pay them to help you get a job. Always contact ISSS and make sure you have proper work authorization before you work off-campus.
Online Dating/Social Media Scams – making new friends online is great, but beware of people you don’t know who may try to lure you off of the dating site or get you to share personal information with them for financial gain.
Apartments for Rent and Items for Sale – Be careful when purchasing items from individuals advertised online. Never go to a stranger’s house alone to purchase an item. Meet in a public place, bring a friend or notify your friend of your whereabouts. Be careful not to pay for a car or apartment without testing it or viewing it first. Some scammers will post photos of apartments or houses they do not own and try to get you to pay a deposit to them. Always visit legitimate resources to search for apartments like offcampushousing.uconn.edu or the website of a realty company.
What to do if you feel you are being scammed:
Report the scam to UConn Police (860)486-4800
Report the scam to ISSS (860)486-3855 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission
Report Identity Theft (SSN, Personal ID or Debit Credit Card) to Federal Trade Commission
Report the scan to the agency or company from which the scammer claims to be calling, in the case of fraudulent calls. All government agencies will have a section of their website that talks about fraudulent activity and scams, and how to report it to that office.
Federal Trade Commission Publication: IRS Imposter Scams.pdf
Federal Trade Commission Publication: Online Dating Scams.pdf
Federal Trade Commission Publication: Job Scams.pdf
USCIS: Avoid Scams
USCIS: Most Common Scams