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Information

Welcome to the Information page for ISSS!

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

This page was last updated on: May 20, 2022.

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News

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

COVID-19

All information from Rensselaer regarding COVID-19 is available here: covid19.rpi.edu. This is a way to remain informed about campus-wide decisions and information. 

ISSS News of the Week

Click the links to see the ISSS News of the Week:

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Scam Calls & Messages

ISSS Reminder Notices

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What Should You Do?

Do you suspect you have been scammed or received a scam message/phone call? Here are steps you can take:

  1. Report the scam to RPI.
    • Contact ISSS and contact Public Safety so they can take a report of what happened.
    • Public Safety may advise you to also file a police report with the Troy Police Department.
  2. If you provided sensitive information, like your SSN or financial information, go to IdentityTheft.gov to report identify theft and get a recovery plan
    • If the scam involved login credentials or card information, you need to contact your banks and credit card companies to inform them.
    • If the scam involved financial information or personal information, you can prevent fraud of your identity by requesting a credit freeze or placing a fraud alert on your credit.
  3. Report the scam to government agencies.

KNOWN SCAMS

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.

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.

Social Security Number Scam Calls

You are told that your Social Security Number (SSN) will be suspended, and you are asked to provide personally identifying information and/or payment to stop the suspension of your SSN. The SSN Office will never call you.

Scam Emails Targeting Students from .edu Emails

The email phishing attempt is sent from an email ending in .edu, and emails display the IRS logo and have subject lines like "Tax Refund Payment". Do not click any links in this email or submit information.

The IRS published a set of instructions for sending copies of the phishing emails to authorities. Those instructions also cover what to do for those whose tax returns are rejected because someone has already filed a return with their Social Security number.

Scam Targeting PRC Citizens in the U.S.

The caller impersonates People's Republic of China (PRC) law enforcement, a government official, a representative from a financial institution, or a shipping company and uses threats to obtain personal information and/or payment.

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 manufactured 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 about this scam is available here. Please contact ISSS if this happens to you, and do not follow the instructions in the article.

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Services + Advising

ISSS is available for limited in-person services. Please expand each section below to view information by selecting the + sign.

General Questions

For general questions, such as the process to get a travel signature or what forms to submit for a request, you can ask Kaylyn Getwright, the ISSS Operations Specialist.

You can contact ISSS via email or phone for general questions.

  • Email: ISSSoffice@rpi.edu
    • We aim to reply to all messages within 1-3 business days.
  • Phone: +1-518-276-4966
Advising

Advising will continue virtually by appointment only (students can book the same day if an advisor is available).

Documents

Documents can be dropped off and/or picked up at ISSS (1528 15th St) during the times below:

  • Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • We are not open for walk-ins at any other time.

ISSS will continue to accept documents and questions via email at ISSSoffice@rpi.edu.

Documents should be scanned by a scanner or mobile app and be clear and easy to read. For some free mobile scanning apps, see this Wirecutter article: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-mobile-scanning-apps/

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Programs

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.

Spring 2022 Programs

Your Final Semester - Now What: Immigration

  • Date: Monday, February 28
  • Details: Attend this workshop to learn about the different options and factors to consider in preparing for life after graduation. Topics will include employment, continuing studies, departing the U.S., and more.
  • This workshop was not recorded.

Free Immigration Workshop by NPZ Law Group

  • Date: Tuesday, March 8
  • Details: NPZ Law Group will present on the immigration options available to students, including the path to permanent residency (green card).
  • Recording Link: https://rpi.box.com/v/NPZworkshop-03082022

Working in the U.S.: CPT & Internships - Undergraduate Students

  • Date: Tuesday, March 29
  • Details: Join CCPD + ISSS to learn about how to get work authorization for an internship, and best practices and resources from CCPD for your job search!
  • This workshop was not recorded.

Working in the U.S.: CPT & Internships - Graduate Students

  • Date: Thursday, March 31
  • Details: Join CCPD + ISSS to learn about how to get work authorization for an internship, and best practices and resources from CCPD for your job search!
  • This workshop was not recorded.

Chinese Family Q&A Session

OPT Workshops

Students in their final semester are eligible to apply for OPT to work after graduation. Follow these steps:

  1. Complete OPT Workshop to learn about OPT requirements: https://bit.ly/RPIOPTWorkshop
    • This workshop is mandatory, and must be completed for you to apply for OPT.
    • There are no group workshops, and instead, you will complete an on-demand online workshop from the above link.
  2. Attend a Group Question & Answer sessions to ask general questions about OPT: https://rpi.box.com/v/SP22-GroupQandA
    • This step is not required, but is recommended if you have questions.
  3. Submit completed OPT application to ISSS: https://bit.ly/RPIOPTApplication
    • Allow 10 business days for processing and review of the OPT application

OPT Soft Deadline for Spring 2022 Graduates: March 7, 2022

  • ISSS will accept applications after this date. We recommend students apply with ISSS by this date to ensure their work authorization is processed in time.
Scholar Orientation

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 Orientation schedule can be found here: https://info.rpi.edu/isss/new-exchange-visitors/#Orientation

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Immigration Announcements

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

January 3, 2022: Geographic COVID-19 Entry Proclamations Revoked

From NAFSA: Association of International EducatorsProclamation 10329 of December 28, 2021A Proclamation on Revoking Proclamation 10315revoked the southern Africa entry ban effective 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on December 31, 2021.

December 3, 2021: Requirements for Air Travel to the U.S. Effective December 6, 2021

From CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Travel Requirements have changed. Starting December 6, all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States."

Review all COVID-19 requirements for entry to the U.S. at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/noncitizens-US-air-travel.html

The "CDC has determined that for purposes of travel to the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines."

Review this link from the Department of State for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/covid-19-faqs-for-travel-to-the-us-information.html

July 6, 2021: Proposed Rule to Change Duration of Status Withdrawn

Update from July 06, 2021: Proposed Rule to Change Duration of Status Withdrawn

From NAFSA: Association of International Educators: "On July 6, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security officially withdrew its September 25, 2020 proposed rule to eliminate duration of status for F students and their dependents, J exchange visitors and their dependents, and I media representatives."

Original Annoucement from October 16, 2020: Proposed Rule to Change Duration of Status

There is a proposed rule published in the Federal Register that may impact international students. This proposed rule intends to remove "D/S", or Duration of Status, and replace it with a particular time period for students to remain in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status. It has not yet been written into regulation, so it is not currently an active rule.

We understand that this possible change is concerning to the international community, and we share your concern. Please see a message in the below link to help explain the process (timing), to identify how you might be affected (potential impact), and what you can do to advocate (action items).
- Link: https://rpi.box.com/v/2020proposedruleDS

August 5, 2020: Unlawful Presence Policy

From NAFSA: Association of International Educators:

"On July 31, 2020 DHS filed a motion to dismiss its own appeal of the lower court's decision. For now, USCIS has returned to applying prior policy guidance based on its unlawful presence memo issued on May 6, 2009. Under that prior policy, individuals admitted for duration of status do not begin accruing unlawful presence until an immigration judge finds a status violation in the course of an immigration proceeding, or an immigration officer finds a violation of status in the course of an application for an immigration benefit."

Previous Update from February 06, 2020

A permanent nationwide injunction was issued blocking the August 2018 policy from USCIS.

From NAFSA Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigration Resource: “On February 6, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a permanent nationwide injunction blocking the August 8, 2018 USCIS policy memo that sought to change how days of unlawful presence are counted following a violation of F, M, or J nonimmigrant status.”

Previous Update from 2019

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

Please see this link for additional information: https://rpi.box.com/v/USCISunlawfulpresence

June 1, 2020: Presidential Proclamation 10043

From NAFSA Resources: Proclamation Suspending Entry of Chinese Students and Researchers Connected to PRC “Military-Civil Fusion Strategy".

"On May 29, 2020, the President issued Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China. The proclamation is effective at 12:00 p.m. eastern daylight time on June 1, 2020, and will remain in effect until terminated by the President.

Section 1 of the proclamation suspends "entry into the United States as a nonimmigrant of any national of the PRC seeking to enter the United States pursuant to an F or J visa to study or conduct research in the United States, except for a student seeking to pursue undergraduate study," and who either:

  • Currently "receives funding from or who currently is employed by, studies at, or conducts research at or on behalf of... an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s 'military-civil fusion strategy'," or
  • In the past "has been employed by, studied at, or conducted research at or on behalf of... an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s 'military-civil fusion strategy'"

Under the proclamation, "the term “military-civil fusion strategy” means actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC’s military capabilities."

Section 1 wholly exempts F and J undergraduate students from the proclamation. Likewise, graduate students and researchers are also exempt from the proclamation if they do not have any of the specific current or past funding, employment, study, or research nexuses with "an entity in the PRC that implements or supports the PRC’s 'military-civil fusion strategy'."

ARCHIVED Immigration Announcements: 2021

ARCHIVED Immigration Announcements - from 2021

December 01, 2021 Geographic COVID-19 Entry Proclamations

November 01, 2021 Travel Requirements

October 21, 2021 Travel Restrictions Based on Country

April 08, 2021 Update on Presidential Proclamation 10052

January 27, 2021 USCIS OPT Employment Compliance Unit [Rescinded]

January 26, 2021 COVID-19 Test Requirements for Air Passengers

January 20, 2021 Presidential Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States

ARCHIVED Immigration Announcements: 2020

ARCHIVED Immigration Announcements - from 2020

July 16, 2020 Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services

June 23, 2020 Presidential Proclamation 10052

June 18, 2020 Department of Transportation Order

April 23, 2020 Presidential Proclamation 10014

April 22, 2020 Travel Restriction Updates

February 21, 2020 Travel Ban Updates

January 31, 2020 Novel Coronavirus Update - Travel Restrictions

 

ARCHIVED Immigration Announcements: 2018 - 2019

ARCHIVED Immigration Announcements - from 2019 and earlier

December 12, 2019 OPT & STEM OPT Reporting Policy Guidance

November 08, 2019 F-1 Students & OPT Concerns

June 06, 2019 Social Media Question on Visa Applications

November 19, 2018 OPT & STEM OPT Unemployment Counter Update

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

August 17, 2018  STEM OPT Employment - Third Party Employers