Welcome to the News page for ISSS!

Here is where you can find information about upcoming ISSS Programs and Announcements.

This page was last updated on: November 15, 2019.



ISSS holds programs during the year to provide support for the international population at Rensselaer. These programs range from orientation sessions and informational workshops to social events.

Please expand each section below to view the schedule for each workshop series by selecting the + sign.

Orientation for New Students - Spring 2020

ISSS Orientation has been scheduled for the Spring 2020 semester date listed below. Please plan your travel in advance to ensure you can attend on the appropriate date.

  • Graduate and Undergraduate Students: Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The agenda for the F-1 Orientation will be linked here as it becomes available.

The orientation schedule for Exchange Visitors (J) Orientation can be found here:

Scholar Orientation for 19-20

ISSS holds a Scholar Orientation session each month to help the scholars understand the requirements of maintaining status in the U.S. and to answer any questions.

The Fall 2019 Orientation schedule can be found here:


OPT Workshops

ISSS developed a workshop series to help F-1 students prepare for their OPT application and ask questions. We recommend that students who are in their final semester and intend to apply for OPT participate in a workshop to be prepared for their OPT application.

The Fall 2019 OPT workshop schedule is available here:

Please register in advance for the workshop you plan to attend here:

  • September 10, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. - Low Center for Industrial Innovation, Room 4034
  • September 18, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. - Low Center for Industrial Innovation, Room 4034
  • September 26, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. - Low Center for Industrial Innovation, Room 3045
  • October 4, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. - Russell Sage Laboratory, Room 2715
  • October 7, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. - Russell Sage Laboratory, Room 2715
  • November 5, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. - Low Center for Industrial Innovation, Room 4034

ISSS has a soft deadline for you to apply for OPT: Friday, October 18, 2019. We will still process applications submitted after this date.



Please expand each section below to view announcements by selecting the + sign.

ISSS News of the Week

Click here to see the ISSS News of the Week:

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Open Hours

ISSS offers Open Hours for students, exchange visitors, and alumni to come in and speak with an advisor in person.

  • View the ISSS Open Hours for November 2019 here:
    • ISSS is closed on Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th for the Thanksgiving Recess. Please plan your requests in advance.
Scam Calls

Scam Calls - March 22, 2019

IRS Scam Calls

Be ware of people calling who pretend to be the IRS. The IRS does not call to ask you for money. They only send you payment notifications via paper mail.

Often these callers say frightening words, such as they threaten to arrest you if you do not make payment [which is often via a gift card], or they will report you to ICE. If you receive a call, please note the caller's phone number and say that you will call them back, then contact ISSS via phone immediately.

DO NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENTS OVER THE PHONE. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and are able to mask the number they call from so it looks like the FBI or the IRS.

DHL Scam Calls

Scammers have been pretending to be DHL representatives and indicating a package the student shipped from the U.S. to another country was stopped by customs and contains illegally manufacted documents, like fake passports and debit cards. The student did not ship this package, but are kept on the line and then "transferred" to the local police to provide their national identification number [such as the Chinese ID number]. Students are not asked for money, but asked to provide identity proof. DO NOT PROVIDE YOUR NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER and instead get their phone number and name, and then contact ISSS. Link to more details here.

USCIS or Department of Homeland Security Scam Calls

Be ware of people calling who pretend to be from USCIS or the Department of Homeland Security. Often the caller threatens to deport you if you do not pay to keep your visa status.

USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security will never contact you via phone.


ISSS is in process of switching to a new software called Terra Dotta. We will keep you posted of any changes and let you know how to access your account when it is ready.

If you receive any automated emails from Terra Dotta, please forward them to ISSS along with your RIN so we can look into why that is occurring.


Immigration Announcements

Please expand each section below to view immigration announcements by selecting the + sign.

Unlawful Presence Policy - Effective August 9, 2018

USCIS has revised their policy regarding unlawful presence, effective August 9, 2018.

Please see this link for additional information:

November 08, 2019: F-1 Students & OPT Concerns

Students have reached out about possible OPT policy changes.

See the ISSS information provided to address these concerns:

June 06, 2019: Social Media Question on Visa Applications

"The Department of State (DOS) has added a "social media" question to Form DS-160,  the standard online application used by individuals to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. The item requires applicants to use a drop-down list to indicate the social media platforms that they have used during the five years preceding their visa application, and to provide any identifiers or handles they used on those platforms. DOS also added a similar item to the Form DS-260 immigrant visa application" (NAFSA Release).

Find more information in this NAFSA article:

November 19, 2018: OPT & STEM OPT Unemployment Counter Update

USCIS released a news alert which pertains to F-1 students who are currently on Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT.

For more information, please see this link:

September 28, 2018: Cap-Gap & Pending H1-B Petition Alert

USCIS released a news alert on Friday, September 28, 2018 which pertains to F-1 students who have an H1-B petition that remains pending on October 1, 2018

** Note that this affects a small portion of the Rensselaer population. You are only impacted by this if your employer filed an H1-B petition on your behalf and it is still in a pending status as of October 1, 2018.

For more information, please see this link:

August 17, 2018: STEM OPT Employment - Third Party Employers

USCIS has updated their policy regarding third party employers for students on STEM OPT.

Please see this link for more information: