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.

Changes to Our Services

We will be working remotely as of Wednesday, March 18, 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. 

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. 
 

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.

If you are going to be leaving the United States for the rest of the semester, be sure that you take any necessary steps early on to apply for a new visa or apply for a new passport (if you need to) while you are abroad.  

Many U.S. Embassies and Consulates are suspending services as are other countries' government agencies.  It could be very challenging to secure the documentation that you need.  Preparing early will help make your return to CWRU easier.