You are welcome here. You belong here. We support you here.

ISSS News

Welcome to the News page for ISSS!

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

This page was last updated on: October 18, 2021.

Accordion

Announcements

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:

Need to convert the image to plain text? Use this free online OCR service: www.onlineocr.net/

Open Hours

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

ISSS has an online platform for advising. You can schedule a 15 minute meeting with an ISSS advisor.

GO HERE to schedule an appointment: https://go.oncehub.com/RPIISSSOffice

  • If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please do so as soon as possible to open the space to others who need assistance.

Appointments will be held in the WebEx platform. The link to access the meeting will be provided in the booking notification emailed to you after the appointment is scheduled.

Scam Calls & Messages

ISSS Reminder Notices

Need to convert the image to plain text? Use this free online OCR service: www.onlineocr.net/

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.

Accordion

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.

Fall 2021 Programs

Working in the U.S. for Incoming International Students

Your Final Semester - Now What: Immigration

  • Recorded Monday, October 11, 2021
  • This workshop discussed the different options and factors to consider in preparing for life after graduation. Topics included employment, continuing studies, departing the U.S., and more.
  • Link: https://rpi.box.com/v/finalsem-immigration-20211011

International Career Planning Seminar

  • Friday, October 29 at 12:00 p.m. on WebEx
  • Join CCPD + ISSS to begin your career planning for the future. Learn about office services, information from CCPD about your resume, cover letter, and interviews, and information from ISSS about the work authorization lifecycle (CPT, OPT, STEM OPT).
  • Link: https://rpi.joinhandshake.com/events/857885/share_preview

NPZ Law Group: Free Immigration Session - Fall 2021

  • Tuesday, November 2 at 11:00 a.m. on WebEx
  • NPZ Law Group will present on the immigration options available to students, including the path to permanent residency (green card).
  • Link: https://bit.ly/NPZfall2021workshop
    • Event number: 2621 386 6796
    • Event password: NPZfall2021RPI (67932552 from phones)
Travel Signature Week

ISSS will be holding a Travel Signature Week for Fall 2021! This is a chance for you to get a travel signature from ISSS.

You do not need to request a travel signature if:

  1. You are not planning to leave and re-enter the U.S., or
  2. You have a travel signature that will be valid when you plan to re-enter the U.S.
    • Signatures are on Page 2, and are valid for one year

PROCESS

Step 1: Complete the ISSS I-20 Request Form

Step 2: Email the completed form to ISSS and drop off your I-20 between November 1 - 5

  • List the subject line as “I-20 Signature Request” and email to ISSSofffice@rpi.edu
  • Drop off your I-20 between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on November 1 - 5

Step 3: Pick up your I-20 from November 15 - 19 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m..

  • Pick-up at ISSS Office, 1528 15th St. Troy, NY 12180
  • Bring your RPI ID card to access the building
  • This time is only for pick up, not questions.

NOTE:  If you submit a request later than Nov 5, we cannot guarantee that it will be ready for pick up.

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/FA21-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
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

Accordion

Immigration Announcements

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

Travel Restrictions Based on Country as of August 25, 2021

As of April 30, 2021, this page has been reorganized to reflect requirements by country in alphabetical order. Countries are listed in bold for ease of navigating this section.

Brazil

Canada

  • From NAFSA COVID-19 Resources: "Canada-Mexico "Essential Travel" Restrictions. Two Federal Register notices published on March 24, 2020 announced the decision to temporarily allow entry to the United States through land ports of entry along the U.S.-Canada and U.S. Mexico borders for "essential travel" only. The restrictions have been consistently extended on a monthly basis, and will be in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 21, 2021."
  • The notices do permit "essential travel" by individuals traveling to attend educational institutions.
  • Accessed on 05/28/2020, 6/25/2020, 7/21/2020, 08/20/2020, 09/22/2020, 10/23/2020, 11/23/2020, 01/26/2021; 02/24/2021; 03/19/2021; 04/22/2021; 05/25/2021; 06/23/2021; 07/22/2021; 08/25/2021; 09/21/2021; URL: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/covid-19-restrictions-us-visas-and-entry#canadamexico

India

Islamic Republic of Iran

Mexico

  • From NAFSA COVID-19 Resources: "Canada-Mexico "Essential Travel" Restrictions. Two Federal Register notices published on March 24, 2020 announced the decision to temporarily allow entry to the United States through land ports of entry along the U.S.-Canada and U.S. Mexico borders for "essential travel" only. The restrictions have been consistently extended on a monthly basis, and will be in effect until 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 21, 2021."
  • The notices do permit "essential travel" by individuals traveling to attend educational institutions.
  • Accessed on 05/28/2020, 6/25/2020, 7/21/2020, 08/20/2020, 09/22/2020, 10/23/2020, 11/23/2020, 01/26/2021; 02/24/2021; 03/19/2021; 04/22/2021; 05/25/2021; 06/23/2021; 07/22/2021; 08/25/2021; 09/21/2021; URL: https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/covid-19-restrictions-us-visas-and-entry#canadamexico

People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau

Republic of Ireland

South Africa

The European Schengen Area (this includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland)

The United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe

July 06, 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

January 26, 2021: COVID-19 Test Requirements for Air Passengers Arriving in the U.S.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

"If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than 3 days before you travel by air into the United States (US) and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

On January 12, 2021, CDC announced an Order requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to present the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. Air passengers will also be required to confirm that the information they present is true in the form of an attestation. This Order is effective as of 12:01am EST (5:01am GMT) on January 26, 2021."

August 05, 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 01, 2020: Presidential Proclamation

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

April 08, 2021 Update on Presidential Proclamation 10052

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

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