International Student Services Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

The Center for International Affairs and the Office of International Student Services (ISS) understand the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation has many implications for Case Western Reserve University's international students so we have compiled information to address many of the questions we have received and help our students transition to remote learning.

Fall 2020 Arrival Guidance

The COVID-19 pandemic has added many factors to the arrival plans for new and returning students. We recognize that challenges in securing visas mean many international students face profound uncertainty as to whether they will be able to get to campus in time for the August 24 start of classes.

One factor that has stayed remarkably consistent over the past several months involves the length of COVID-19-related quarantines. In situations where the possibility of exposure to the coronavirus exists, infectious disease experts call for a 14-day period where individuals remain alone indoors, taking their temperature twice daily and monitoring for such symptoms as coughing, difficulty breathing, or sore throat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to direct those entering the country from abroad to observe a 14-day quarantine, and Case Western Reserve will follow that practice. 

We have detailed information regarding recommended arrival dates and quarantine implementation based on student status available at the link below.

Fall 2020 Arrival Guidance Details

Student and Exchange Visitor Program Updates

On July 14, the U.S. government agreed to rescind the July 6 guidance indicating that international students taking only online courses would imperil their visa status.

After the agreement regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) was announced, the federal government issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document regarding the fall semester and then posted a second document with additional clarifications

We have compiled information to provide context for our international students as they evaluate their options for Case Western Reserve's fall semester. You can view that information at the link below.

Fall 2020 SEVP Guidance Details

Changes to Our Services

The ISS staff (and the rest of the Center for International Affairs staff) is primarily working remotely, but we want our international students to know that our staff is still available to provide support and guidance through virtual advising hours and appointments conducted through Zoom or on the phone. 

Starting August 24, Center for International Affairs staff will return to the office in a limited capacity three days per week. Information about services available to students at that time can be found in the "In-Person Appointments for Document Pickup & Drop off" section below.

For students’ convenience, ISS:

  • will offer the option of electronic I-20s whenever a new one needs to be issued to you. After it is created, this I-20 will be immediately available and accessible anywhere, anytime through your Terra Dotta (visas.case.edu) account. Students will still have the option to request a physical document to receive through either FedEx or a pick-up/drop-off appointment if they would prefer that. Please remember that these appointments are not for advising purposes.

    At this time, the Department of State has not authorized the issuance of electronic DS-2019s.

  • has standardized requests for employment verification through Terra Dotta.

  • is developing virtual OPT and CPT workshops hosted by ISS advisors. More information will be available later in the semester. Online workshops will continue to be an option and information about OPT and CPT is always available on our website.

The services mentioned below have been adapted to be offered remotely. If an international student does not see the service they need below, the service continues being offered and there is no new procedure to follow.  As plans evolve, we will continue to provide updates through email and update this website as needed.  

If any international students have questions or concerns, please feel free to email our ISS staff at international@case.edu so we can help.

All advising hours will now be offered virtually, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 11 am to 3 pm.  An advisor will be available to answer international students' questions using the chat box here. 

Please be patient if you have to wait to connect with an advisor; there may be times when we are trying to work with multiple students.

International students who would like to request an appointment are asked to do so by emailing international@case.edu and including a brief description of what they would like to discuss.  

An ISS staff member will respond by email to schedule the appointment and give the option to meet via Zoom or phone.

Please note we generally require 24 hours’ notice for appointments and do not schedule same-day appointments. This is so that we can be best prepared to help our students. 
 

As of Monday, August 24, the Center for International Affairs will be offering limited, in-person appointments for students picking up or dropping off documents only on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, between 10 am to 3 pm.

ISS expects students with appointments for picking up or dropping off documents to arrive at the office promptly. Staff members will be masked and students must be as well; staff will not meet with students who are not properly wearing masks and abiding by safety precautions. Upon arriving, students should call 216.368.2517 to check-in. A staff member will meet with them in the lobby to exchange documents.

Students who are picking up documents will receive specific instructions when their documents are ready for pick-up and can schedule their appointments here.

Students who are dropping off documents will need to contact ISS at international@case.edu and make specific arrangements. There may be certain exceptions that do not require emailing international@case.edu to make specific arrangements, and in those instances, instructions about how to drop off documents will be included in an existing request process. Unless otherwise noted, students should not expect same-day service for processing documents that they are dropping off at the office.

Appointments will be managed by all members in the Center for International Affairs so students should not expect to meet with an ISS staff member who can answer specific questions. Students are welcome to use the virtual chat during advising hours, email, or set up a virtual appointment to further discuss their situations with ISS staff.

While ISS staff is working remotely, we will be unavailable to provide travel signatures on current I-20s or DS-2019s.  

ISS will instead reprint these documents for students who need a travel signature.  

The request form for I-20 Reprints and DS-2109 Reprints is here.  

Once a student submits a request, it will be reviewed by an ISS staff member, and the student will be notified by email when their I-20 is ready.  

That email will also include instructions about how to request and pay for FedEx shipping of the new document.
 

We encourage international students who need an extension to start working on their requests now with a goal of submitting them by the beginning of April.

The request form for an extension is located here.  

While the process for an extension request has not changed, we want to be sure that we are able to communicate with students and faculty if there are questions and process requests in accordance with federal regulations.

 You will be notified by email when your new I-20 is ready.  

That email will also include instructions about how to request and pay for FedEx shipping of the new document.

As the university is prohibiting on-campus meetings, gatherings and/or conferences larger than 25 people, ISS has cancelled all in-person OPT and CPT workshops until further notice.

The OPT Online Workshop and Training are available to you and can be accessed under the Practical Training Related Links.  

The CPT Application, Online Workshop, and Assessment are available to you and can be accessed under the Practical Training Related Links.  

Additional detailed information about applying for OPT and CPT can be found here as well.  

You will be notified by email when your new I-20 is ready.  

That email will also include instructions about how to request and pay for FedEx shipping of the new document.

If you have questions, you are welcome to contact us during virtual advising hours or through email.

 

We have been getting a lot of questions from students about their OPT applications.  ISS is still processing OPT requests submitted through Terra Dotta (visas.case.edu) and emailing students with instructions to request FedEx shipping when their new I-20s are ready.  For more detailed information about the OPT application process, please visit this page.

If you are remaining in the United States to finish your semester through online education and have otherwise properly maintained your visa status, you will be eligible to apply for OPT.  ISS will assist you through the process while we are working remotely.

If you intend to apply for OPT and have plans to depart the United States soon, ISS strongly recommends that you apply for OPT before leaving. The Form I-765 application currently states, "You must file Form I-765 while in the United States" in Part 3, Applicant's Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature. 

If you intend to apply for OPT but have already departed the United States, contact ISS at international@case.edu so that you can consult with an advisor about your specific situation.  

If SEVP and USCIS provide additional guidance about OPT eligibility, ISS will share that information with all students through email.

We know that applying for OPT is complicated even when COVID-19 is not a factor.  ISS will continue to do everything we can to make this a smooth process for you.

A staff member will be collecting the office mail once per week. 

Any student who has used ISS' mailing address will be sent an email when staff sees that mail has arrived for you.

In the notification email, there will be instructions about how to request and pay for FedEx shipping of your mail.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this process. We are doing our best to notify and send things to you as fast as we are able.

 

FedEx shipping is the only option for ISS to provide international students with their documents at this time.  

When a document is ready, the student is sent an email with instructions to request and pay for FedEx shipping.  

If you have already been notified that your document is ready, you can follow the FedEx instructions in that email. If you are still waiting for your email notification, your FedEx instructions will be included.

Important 2019 Tax Year Information

If you are an international student who is considered a non-resident alien for tax purposes but filed your tax return as a resident alien for tax purposes, you need to amend your tax return.  

If you received refunds, some or all of the tax refund will likely need to be paid back to the IRS. You can read more about how to do this and get assistance by using Sprintax - just log into your Sprintax account to start amending. 

There is new information from the IRS regarding the Economic Impact Payments and includes how to return payments received in error.  The link to the full guidance is on the IRS website.

New information specific to international students from the posted guidance is included below.

Q11. A person who is a non-resident alien in 2020 is not eligible for the Payment. A person who is a qualifying resident alien with a valid SSN is eligible for the Payment only if he or she is a qualifying resident alien in 2020 and could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer for 2020. Aliens who received a Payment but are not qualifying resident aliens for 2020 should return the Payment to the IRS by following the instructions about repayments.

A41. You should return the payment as described below.  Do not forget to keep copies of the check and anything else that you send back to the IRS for your personal records.

If the payment was a paper check:

1.    Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
2.    Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
3.    Don't staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
4.    Include a note stating the reason for returning the check. 

If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:

1.    Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
2.    Write on the check/money order made payable to "U.S. Treasury" and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
3.    Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.
4.    For your paper check, here are the IRS mailing addresses to use based on the state:

If you live in…

then mail to this address

Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont

Andover Refund Inquiry Unit
310 Lowell St Mail
Stop 666A
Andover, MA 01810

Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia

Atlanta Refund Inquiry Unit
4800 Buford Hwy
Mail Stop 112
Chamblee, GA 30341

Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas

Austin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Mail Stop 6542
Austin, TX 78741

New York

Brookhaven Refund Inquiry Unit
5000 Corporate Ct.
Mail Stop 547
Holtsville, NY 11742

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Fresno Refund Inquiry Unit
5045 E Butler Avenue
Mail Stop B2007
Fresno, CA 93888

Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia

Kansas City Refund Inquiry Unit
333 W Pershing Rd
Mail Stop 6800, N-2
Kansas City, MO 64108

Alabama, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee

Memphis Refund Inquiry Unit
5333 Getwell Rd Mail
Stop 8422
Memphis, TN 38118

District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

Philadelphia Refund Inquiry Unit
2970 Market St
DP 3-L08-151
Philadelphia, PA 19104

A foreign country, U.S. possession or territory*, or use an APO or FPO address, or file Form 2555 or 4563, or are a dual-status alien.

Austin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Mail Stop 6542 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741