International Student Services COVID-19 Updates

The Center for International Affairs and the Office of International Student Services (ISS) understand the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic 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 a hybrid learning model.

Changes to Our Services

The ISS staff (and the rest of the Center for International Affairs staff) want international students to know that we continue to be 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.

ISS is now offering both in-person and virtual advising to students:

  • Virtual advising is available on-demand Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 11 am to 1 pm
    • An ISS advisor will be available to answer international students' quick questions using the chatbox here.
  • In-person walk-in advising is available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 3 pm 
    • Students who would like to be advised in person can come to the Center for International Affairs in Tomlinson Hall, Room 143. 

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 August 2, students no longer need to make an appointment to pick up or drop off documents.

Students who are picking up documents will receive specific instructions when their documents are ready for pick-up.

Unless otherwise noted, students should not expect same-day service for processing documents that they are dropping off at the office.

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 continues virtual advising only, 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 collect the document either in-person or by requesting and paying 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 no later than 2 weeks prior to the printed end date on the I-20 or DS-2019.

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 collect the document either in-person or by requesting and paying for FedEx shipping of the new document.

OPT and CPT workshops are available through both a virtual advisor-led format and a self-guided online module.

Additional detailed information about applying for OPT and CPT can be found here and links to applications can be accessed under the Practical Training Related Links.  

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

That email will also include instructions about how to collect the document either in-person or by requesting and paying 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 about how to collect their new I-20s when they are ready.  For more detailed information about the OPT application process, please visit this page.

Eligibility

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.

Mailing Your Application

If you are planning to apply for OPT this semester and are planning to use ISS’ address, we strongly urge you to reconsider and use another address at which you can receive your mail.  There could be delays in ISS receiving mail and delays in ISS notifying you about received mail. Using another address will minimize any inconvenience in you receiving your mail from ISS.

If you have already submitted your application to USCIS and used ISS’ mailing address, you should update your mailing address with USCIS immediately so that you can receive your materials elsewhere.  You can change your address here:

  • Click Continue
  • Click Yes
  • Selecting I765
  • Selecting I765- Based on a request by a qualified F-1 academic student
  • Entering your receipt number
  • Entering the zip code you used when you filed
  • Click Add
  • Entering all of your personal information in the fields below.
  • Click box to electronically sign
  • Click Submit

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.

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.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information for International Students

As of Monday, March 29, all residents of Ohio ages 16 and older can receive the vaccine. 

International students at Case Western Reserve University are considered residents of Ohio. That means all international students at Case Western Reserve are now able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The university is working with officials in Cleveland and elsewhere to determine whether we will be able to distribute additional doses for students at our campus site. As soon as we have details, we will inform the campus community. International students will be eligible for these opportunities, as long as they meet the other criteria set by the City of Cleveland.

For now, we encourage everyone who is eligible - including international students - to schedule an appointment wherever they can obtain a dose. Students should visit the State of Ohio Department of Health’s website to find and schedule an appointment to be vaccinated. 

If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, please visit the university’s COVID-19 website for more information.

Student and Exchange Visitor Program Updates

On April 26, 2021, it was announced that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will extend the guidance originally issued in March 2020 for the 2021-22 academic year.

The March 2020 federal COVID-19 guidance is on the ICE website.

We want to provide the information below to help provide context as you make plans to enroll at Case Western Reserve for the Fall 20201 semester.

Please take your time to read through it carefully. We welcome any questions you may have. Please email international@case.edu and we will do our best to answer your questions for you.

Please keep in mind that new developments may arise that require changes to this information; we will provide follow-up information as events warrant.

Fall 2021 - Spring 2022 SEVP Guidance Details