These are unprecedented times; we hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy. Here is some information that may be of interest to you.
ISSO Advising Services Available
Contact an advisor
Advisors are working remotely and can answer your immigration questions in a scheduled appointment or through the Ask an Advisor eForm in iComet. Scheduled appointments are conducted through Microsoft Teams. All students and alumni on OPT have access to Microsoft Teams using your NetID and password (https://www.utdallas.edu/oit/o365/).
Ask An Advisor through iComet
Help the ISSO serve you faster by using the Ask an Advisor eForm in iComet. For students with access to iComet, the ISSO will no longer respond to emailed advising questions. All advising questions must be submitted through iComet. The ISSO will continue to maintain email boards for use by staff members, prospective students, and alumni no longer on a UTD I-20.
The mandatory CPT and OPT workshops are available online through iComet. In-person workshops are cancelled until the university re-opens.
ISSO Will No Longer Receive USCIS Mail
As of May 15, 2020, the ISSO will no longer receive government mail for students from USCIS or the Social Security Administration. If the ISSO has already received documents for you, you may request to receive them by mail - utdallas.edu/isso/expmail/. After May 15, 2020, government mail sent to the ISSO on behalf of a student may be returned to sender. If you have a pending application with USCIS and you selected the ISSO as your mailing address, please update your mailing address - uscis.gov/addresschange.
Due to social distancing requirements the ISSO staff are working remotely to serve the needs of UTD's international students. Therefore, at this time, current student I-20's issued are being signed and e-mailed to students via their UT Dallas e-mail address. The signed soft copy of an I-20 should be sufficient to verify your F-1 status or benefits. If there is a extenuating circumstance that requires a student to receive a hard copy of their I-20 the ISSO will issue those on a case by case basis.
Grants Available for International Students
Your health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance to us, please see funding opportunities for our international students most in need.
If you are struggling financially due to COVID-19, you may apply for the UT Dallas International Student Emergency Fund through iComet. This fund is specifically for international students. Funds are expected to be disbursed beginning the last week of May. The maximum aid amount is $1000.
UT Dallas has also provided an emergency fund for all students. For details about eligibility and the application process, see their webpage - utdallas.edu/deanofstudents/emergency/.
Additionally, as part of the efforts of the Secretariat for Integral Development of the OAS to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rowe Fund is offering $2,000 SCHOLARSHIPS to international students from Latin American and Caribbean countries currently completing their studies in the United States. Learn more at http://www.oas.org/en/rowefund/.
Help Support Other International Students
The International Student Emergency Fund is funded by contributions from the UT Dallas community. If you or your family are in a position to support other international students please consider making a gift in any amount at https://giving.utdallas.edu/ISEF
F-1 Student Questionnaire
Due to recent developments with the impact of COVID-19 on the United States and UT Dallas community, we want to know how you are doing. Please fill out our online questionnaire by clicking here. Please note that we will be asking you to fill out this questionnaire periodically as a way to check in with you.
ISSO COVID-19 FAQ Page
We know you have many questions about how the current COVID-19 pandemic may affect your immigration status or future. We've compiled answers to some common questions on our webpage. This page will be updated as more information becomes available - https://utdallas.edu/isso/covid19-faq/.
Be Aware of Scammers
Criminals are exploiting fear about COVID-19 by designing scams based on this topic. Criminals are attempting to use a sense of urgency to motivate victims to click links, open infected files, provide personal information, enter passwords, and donate money. Some scam emails claim to be from government agencies and employers. There were over 4,000 new internet website domains registered recently with the term “coronavirus” and some of them are fraudulent.
Official communications about COVID-19 will continue to be provided via UT Dallas email addresses and the UT Dallas website, https://www.utdallas.edu/coronavirus/. If you are uncertain about the source of communications you receive, please validate legitimacy. If the Information Security Office can be of assistance, contact us anytime at [email protected].
Time Sensitive Reminders for F-1 Students
Do Not Delay Your Graduation
Postponing graduation when you have completed all the courses required to earn your degree is a violation of the immigration regulations. For more information visit the ISSO Graduation and Beyond webpage.
Not Graduating in Spring 2020?
If you applied for graduation this Spring, but find that you will not be eligible for graduation, notify the ISSO on or before May 8, 2020 and request an extension of your I-20. Failure to notify the ISSO in time may result in being ineligible for an extension. Submit your complete program extension request to [email protected] as soon as you know you will not graduate.
If you have already applied for Optional Practical Training and you find that you will not graduate this semester, you must notify the ISSO as soon as possible. Failure to notify the ISSO before your program end date on your I-20 could negatively affect your F-1 status.
Change of Level
Students who will complete an academic program or end OPT in Spring 2020 and who will continue or begin another degree program in the Summer or Fall 2020 semester, must obtain a Change of Level I-20 to maintain their F-1 status. You must request for your Change of Level I-20 in a timely fashion in order to maintain your F-1 status. See the ISSO Change of Level webpage for more details.
Summer 2020 Student Health Insurance
If you are an international student enrolled in Summer 2020 classes, you are automatically assessed a student health insurance fee to cover the cost of the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). If you choose to obtain alternative insurance you must request a waiver of the student health insurance fee. If you will be taken classes at UTD this summer while NOT residing in the United States, please email [email protected] for more information about health insurance requirements.
The Summer 2020 waiver period ends May 24, and waiver requests must be submitted online each semester. If you are not enrolled in summer classes, then you are not automatically enrolled in the SHIP. However, the Student Health Center recommends that you maintain health insurance coverage continuously while in the U.S. If you have any questions about the waiver or purchasing summer insurance coverage, email [email protected], or visit the Student Health Center website.
On 4/22/2020 President Donald J. Trump signed a Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak. Affected individuals include those who are outside the United States, do not have an immigrant visa and do not have an official travel document other than a visa. Individuals not affected include those who are inside the United States, are applying for a non-immigrant visa or are a Lawful Permanent Resident. Visit the ISSO webpage for more information: utdallas.edu/isso/presidential-actions/
Student Health Center Virtual Services
The UT Dallas Student Health Center office is currently closed; however, there are still services available to students. For students who are currently covered by the Student Health Insurance plan, virtual doctor appointments are available. Please review the Student Health Center webpage for more information or contact them via email at [email protected]
Student Counseling Center Resources
Subscribe to the Student Counseling Center YouTube page to see weekly webinars related to mental health and coping. Subscribe to the SCC's to watch all the webinars and take care of yourself while you're at home. Additionally, follow them on Instagram and Facebook to see more resources, strategies, and positive messages for students. Tag your posts as #UTDalonetogether to share ways that you are finding connection and coping during this time.
Stimulus Check Questions
If you are considered a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you are NOT allowed to receive a stimulus payment. An international student who entered the U.S. on an F, J, M, or Q visa after 01/01/2015 is a nonresident alien for tax purposes for both 2018 and 2019 tax years. If you have received a stimulus check in error, it is important that you do not spend the check. You will need to correct your records with the IRS and return the stimulus payment. See the ISSO COVID-19 FAQ page for more information: utdallas.edu/isso/covid19-faq/.
Comet Cruiser Bus Route Updates
Comet Cruiser made adjustments to the hours and routes of service due to COVID-19. Please take note of the schedule changes, effective April 20. Additionally, per Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins order, beginning Saturday, April 18, all those over the age of two will need to wear a form of face covering that covers the nose and mouth when using public transportation. This order includes all 883 Comet Cruiser routes. Those in noncompliance will be denied access to the 883 Comet Cruisers to ensure compliance in maintaining the safety of riders and employees.
Don't Get Scammed!
If you receive a call from anyone you do not know demanding money, money orders or iTunes gift cards, contact UT Dallas Police at 972-883-2222. As a general guideline, never give out personal information, such as a Social Security number or bank account numbers, or send money to people you do not know.