The ISSO releases a monthly newsletter to keep you informed of relevant immigration changes from USCIS and the International Center.
ISSO Immigration Workshops Available in December
The ISSO puts on many workshops for students during the Fall. See below for opportunities that might interest you.
- OPT Workshops for F-1 Students
Learn about the OPT application process, reporting requirements, employment, and travel considerations on Thursday, Dec. 8 and Friday, Dec. 16 from 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. in SSB 3.107.
- Overseas Travel for International Students
Topics include procedures for renewing your visa and what to expect when re-entering the U.S. Bring your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 and a picture ID, so advisors can provide a travel signature and a status letter to you if you need them. The workshop takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 13 from 2 – 3:30 p.m. in SSB 3.107.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Resources
- Post-Completion OPT Workshop Mandatory
F-1 students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) are now required to complete either the in-person OPT workshop or the OPT eLearning workshop before applying for post-completion OPT. Only students who have applied for Fall 2016 graduation will have access to the OPT eLearning workshop.
- OPT Packet Review Instructional Video
Avoid waiting in line and review your OPT application packet yourself! The ISSO has created a post-completion OPT application packet instructional video to assist students with reviewing the documents required by USCIS to apply for post-completion OPT.
- Form I-765 Instructional Video
Ready to apply for Post-Completion OPT? The ISSO has created an instructional video to assist F-1 students when completing the required USCIS Form I-765 needed for Post-Completion OPT applications. View the UT Dallas ISSO Form I-765 Instructional Video.
USCIS News Reminders
- USCIS Filing Fee Increases
USCIS recently announced fee increases for many USCIS applications and petitions effective Dec. 23, 2016. This includes Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. For I-765 OPT applications, the fee will increase to $410. For I-539 change of status, reinstatement, and economic hardship applications, the fee will increase to $370. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23, must include these new fees or USCIS will reject your submission.
- New Passport Photograph Requirement
As of Nov. 1, USCIS is no longer accepting passport photographs with glasses. When mailing your OPT application, please make sure that your passport photographs do not contain glasses.
- Temporary Protected Status Extended for Nepal
The Department of Homeland Security has extended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Nepal (and those without nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) for an additional 18 months, effective Dec. 25, 2016, through Jun. 24, 2018.
International Center Closed For Winter Break
The International Center will be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 21 through Sunday, January 1 due to the winter break. The International Center will re-open on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 at 8 a.m. Arrange to collect your documents from the ISSO by Tuesday, Dec. 20. If you experience an immigration emergency while the university is closed, please visit Emergency Contacts for assistance.
ISSO Advising and Processing Not Available
In preparation for the winter break, students must submit all requests to the ISSO by Monday Dec. 12 in order to receive their documents by Friday Dec. 16. The ISSO will not be processing requests on Monday Dec. 19 or Tuesday Dec. 20. Change of level requests will be processed on Dec. 16. Students who are unable to collect their documents before departing the U.S. may request express mail before Tuesday Dec. 20. Immigration advising will only be available from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday Dec. 20. Please plan accordingly.
Mail Delivered to the International Center
Mail addressed to the International Center that arrives during the winter break will be held at UT Dallas Central Receiving. Central Receiving will not be open during the winter break. Please make arrangements to collect your mail from the International Center by Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. Please note it may take 3 – 4 business days after the university reopens for any mail received over the break to be delivered to the International Center. If you are expecting USCIS mail to be delivered to the International Center over winter break, you may change your mailing address with USCIS here.
Time Sensitive Notifications for F-1 Students
- Graduation and Beyond
Before Feb. 13, 2017. If you are an F-1 student, have completed your academic requirements and will remain in the U.S. after graduation, make appropriate preparations such as applying for OPT, starting another academic program or transferring out to another school.
Before Dec. 15, 2016. If your I-20 is expiring, or you applied for Fall 2016 graduation but require another semester to complete academic requirements, notify the International Center at [email protected].
- Change of Level
Before Census Day, Jan. 25, 2017. Students who will complete an academic program or end OPT in the Fall 2016 semester and will continue or begin another degree program in the Spring 2017 semester, must obtain a Change of Level I-20 to maintain their F-1 status.
- Change of Major
Census Day, Jan. 25, 2017. Students whose primary major will change to a different Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code for the Spring 2017 semester, will be issued a Change of Major I-20 by the International Center beginning Census Day of the Spring 2017 semester. These students will receive an e-mail notification when their new I-20 is ready to pick up.
Updated UT Dallas STEM Eligible Programs
UT Dallas will offer a STEM eligible Master of Science in Financial Engineering and Risk Management beginning Spring 2017. Due to reclassification of the CIP code for both the PhD in Management Science and the MS in Management Science, these programs are now STEM eligible. Consult the ISSO for advising on how this may impact your eligibility for CPT and OPT.
Be aware of scams on and off campus. Common scams involve receiving an email or call from someone claiming to be from a trusted source such as a bank, sweepstakes company, or even a government agency such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Do not respond to any demands made by phone or email. Do not deposit money in unknown accounts or provide your credit information to persons unknown to you. If you receive such a call, contact UT Dallas Police at 972-883-2222 to report any suspicious activity. Learn more about how to avoid scams on the DHS website.