ISSS-BU News 09 April 2012 ISSS-BU News

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1. International Coffee Hour On Friday, April 13
2. U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa Fees to Increase April 13, 2012
3. Last Minute Instructions for Income Tax Filers
4. Income Tax Season is Coming to a Close
5. Pre- Registration for Fall 2012 Begins This Week
6. Attention Undergraduates! Get Help With Planning Your Fall 2012 Course Schedule
7. Taste of Asia on Monday, April 16
8. Russian National Ballet Theatre to Perform Full-length Swan Lake on April 23
9. Will Your I-20 or DS-2019 Expire Soon?
10. Latest News on H-1B Cap Filings
11. Will the Travel Signature on Your SEVIS I-20 or SEVIS DS-2019 Expire Soon?
12. Have You Submitted Your Practical Training Application Yet?
13. Replacement ID Cards
14. Limits for F-1 Students Who Take On-Line or Distance Education Courses
15. Job Fairs for Japanese-Speaking Students

1. International Coffee Hour On Friday, April 13

Good company! Free food! An opportunity to gather prior to the start of Spring break and visit with friends and classmates!

This month's International Coffee Hour will be held on Friday, April 13 from 3:30-5:00pm in the University UnionOld Union Hall. This month's sponsors are the Career Development Center and International Student and Scholar Services. The date is changed because the usual “first Friday of the month” falls during Spring Break this year. We are also recognizing the international cultural organizations at this Coffee Hour, so please come to support them.

The Coffee Hour strives to be a space where the entire Binghamton University community, including international students, U.S. students, faculty/staff, and community members are welcome. The coffee hours are informal and provide an opportunity to meet and learn more about each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Each coffee hour has free hot and cold beverages and cookies, sponsored by a different department on campus.

2. U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa Fees to Increase April 13, 2012

The U.S. Department of State has published an interim final rule that increases certain non-immigrant visa fees effective April 13, 2012. The fee for most non-petition based non-immigrant visas will increase from $140 to $160. This category includes B1/B2 (tourist) visas, F-1 and J-1, among others. Students planning to travel home this summer to apply for a new visa should anticipate paying the higher fee.

Visa fees for H, L, O, P, Q and R visas will increase from $150 to $190. Visa fees for the E category will decrease from $390 to $270. Visa fees for the K category will decrease from $350 to $240.

Changes have been made to certain immigrant visa filing fees as well.

To read the full text of the rule making, go to:

3. Last Minute Instructions for Income Tax Filers

As a helpful guide to our readers, we would like to remind you that the deadline for filing federal and state income tax returns is Tuesday, April 17, 2012. Income tax forms must be mailed by this date. Forms may continue to be mailed after that date, but if you owe tax, you may be charged a penalty.

Non residents for tax purposes (F and J students and their dependents who have been in the United States for five or fewer years in that status—entered the United States in 2007 or later, and J scholars who have been in the United States for two or fewer years in that status – entered the United States in 2010 or later, are eligible to use GLACIER Tax Prep, a free web-based tax preparation product for filing federal tax forms.

If you have not yet logged into GLACIER, you may still do so following the instructions at this link:

If you had no U.S. income for calendar year 2011 (other than bank interest) and are a non-resident for tax purposes, file form 8843.

If you had U.S. income for calendar year 2012 and are a non-resident for tax purposes, you file form 1040NR EZ or form 1040NR

Please note that federal non-resident income tax forms cannot be e-filed. You must mail in the forms.

GLACIER Tax Prep will choose the correct federal income tax forms for you, and complete them based on the information you provide. You will then be able to print them from the web and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service.

If you had any New York State–sourced income for 2011, and your total income (from NYS and other states) as reported on your federal tax return was more than $7500, you must also file a New York State tax return. If your income was less than $7500 but New York State tax was withheld and you would like a refund of that tax, you should also file a New York State tax return.

It is strongly recommended that you view one of the ISSS on-line webcasts for complete instructions on completing your New York State income tax return. There is also an on-line web cast on federal income tax and GLACIER. All webcasts and the New York State income tax forms may be accessed from the following link:

Need more time to complete your tax filing? You may request up to a six-month extension of your filing deadline, if you complete the appropriate extension form by Tuesday, April 17. See the following link for full details:

4. Income Tax Season is Coming to a Close

With the passage of April 17, 2012, this year’s income tax season will come to a close. The ISSS wishes to thank Mr. Jim Rollo for providing volunteer income tax services this year. Mr. Rollo’s final day in the ISSS will be Thursday, April 12 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. GLACIER Tax Prep is available for the preparation of a 2011 tax return until July 15. After July 15, users will be able to access the “finished return” pdf only, not to complete the return. Be sure to print and save a copy of all income tax returns, and keep them in a safe place with your important records. The ISSS will continue to provide GLACIER access to any student who is filing late, and will maintain its supply of income tax forms for several months, to allow for students who need to file amended returns or those who are filing late. Then, the forms will be placed in storage.

5. Pre-Registration for Fall 2012 Begins This Week

The Registrar’s Office has posted the Fall 2012 Schedule of Classes on BU Brain It can be viewed as a grid schedule of classes and as a detailed schedule of classes. The online schedule is the most up to date and accurate source of course information and is the only published version of the Schedule of Classes.

Fall 2012 Pre-Registration will begin April 10 for Graduate students and April 11 for Undergraduate students. Pre-registration ends on Friday, May 11th. For general information on registration times visit: For your specific registration time for Fall 2012 pre-registration, go to BU Brain

Students with outstanding financial obligations and students who haven't complied with health requirements to the Health Service office will be blocked from registering. Students can also view their account balances and pay any outstanding debts through BU Brain.

Accessing your schedule: You can view and print your schedule online by logging into the BU BRAIN. Room assignments shown online are the most accurate and up to date, but know that these assignments are subject to change.

Credit limit: The maximum number of credits you may register for are listed by student level and term at These limits include HPEY or MUSP credits and are enforced regardless of GPA. If you seek to register for more than the stated limit, please follow your school's procedure for petitioning for an overload (see

6. Attention Undergraduates! Get Help With Planning Your Fall 2012 Course Schedule

Undergraduates are invited to attend a series of programs where you can receive assistance with selecting courses during the Fall 2012 pre-registration period.

Undergraduates from all schools are invited to an Academic Advising and Scheduling Fest on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 from 4:00pm to 5:30pm in University Union Old Union Hall. This event is sponsored by the Discovery Center.

The Harpur College Academic Advising Office is offering three “Spring into Advising” programs for Harpur College undergraduates. These programs provide extended walk-in hours in the Harpur College Academic Advising Office, Academic B Room G 18 during pre-registration. They will be held on Wednesday, April 18, Thursday April 26 and Tuesday May 1. All three will take place from 1pm to 5pm.

7. Taste of Asia on Monday, April 16

Please join the Multicultural Resource Center and 15 Asian Student Groups for the Taste of Asia Event that will be held in the Mohawk Great Room on Monday, April 16, 2012 from 5-7pm.
ALL are welcome! The event is $3 to sample foods from China, India, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Korea.

8. Russian National Ballet Theatre to Perform Full-length Swan Lake on April 23

[From Dateline] The Russian National Ballet Theatre will bring the timeless tale of Swan Lake to life in four acts on the Anderson Center stage at 8 p.m. Monday, April 23. A classic fairy tale filled with princes, princesses, evil and true love, Swan Lake is one of the most popular ballets from the 19th century. Founded in Moscow in the late 1980s, the Russian National Ballet is dedicated to upholding the tradition of classical Russian ballet and operates under the artistic directorship of legendary Bolshoi principal dancer, Elena Radchenko, who was selected by presidential decree to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of this company of over 50 dancers. General public, $41; faculty, staff and seniors, $36; students, $21. For tickets, call 607-777-ARTS or visit

9. Will Your I-20 or DS-2019 Expire Soon?

This week, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will send out e-mail messages to all currently registered degree students whose most recent SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 will expire in May or during the summer. Exchange students whose programs end in May are not included in this mailing. Do not let your I-20 or DS-2019 expire if you will be continuing at Binghamton beyond the form's expiration date! If you have questions, please come to the ISSS or send an email message to

10. Latest News on H-1B Cap Filings

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that 22,323 cap subject H-1B petitions have been received as of April 5, 2012, just three days after the filing season began.

According to USCIS, the number of filings received in the first few days of the H-1B season this year is almost double the number of filing received by USCIS at the same time last year.

At this rate, it is anticipated that available H-1B visas for cap-subject employers will run out earlier than last year’s cut off date, which was November 23, 2011.

USCIS will continue to provide periodic updates at this link

Read the H-1B announcement at this link

Read a helpful Q & A on the F-1 Cap Gap for H1-B Filers at this link

11. Will the Travel Signature on Your SEVIS I-20 or SEVIS DS-2019 Expire Soon?

In the next two weeks, the ISSS will begin publishing its annual Spring travel series, with up-to-date information on what you need to know if you are an international student who will travel this summer.

A large number of international students have SEVIS I-20s or SEVIS DS-2019s that are in need of an updated travel signature. Do you need a new travel signature from the ISSS? Take a look at your most recent I-20 or DS-2019. If you have an I-20, look at page 3. If you have a DS-2019, look at the travel signature in the lower right hand corner of page 1. If the date that the ISSS staff person signed the I-20 or DS-2019 for travel will be more than one year old upon your return to the United States, bring in the I-20 or DS-2019 to the ISSS for an updated signature. If you have a spouse and/or children with a dependent I-20 or DS-2019, the travel signature on that form should be updated as well.

Students already on authorized post-completion Optional Practical Training require a travel signature on page 3 of the I-20 that will be less than six months old upon your return to the United States.

Note: If you have submitted an application to the ISSS for curricular practical training, optional practical training or extension of stay, or plan to do so soon, you will receive an updated SEVIS I-20 with a new signature as part of the CPT, OPT or extension process. Also, if you will be applying for a new U.S. F-1 (or J-1) visa while abroad, a new I-20 (or DS-2019) is required, not just an updated travel signature.

12. Have You Submitted Your Practical Training Application Yet?

International students in F-1 status who will be graduating in May 2012 and plan to apply for optional practical training are reminded to file their practical training applications well in advance of the date they would like practical training to begin. Currently, the USCIS Processing Centers are taking approximately twelve weeks to process EAD cards for practical training.

In general, the ISSS recommends that practical training applications be filed at least twelve weeks (three months) in advance of the requested starting date. Your application must be received by the USCIS Lockbox Facility no later than sixty days following your degree completion date, which is May 20, 2012 for Spring 2012 graduates. However, remember that an application filed that late will take an additional 12 weeks to process, and you cannot be employed until you have the Employment Authorization Document in hand. Applications are available in the ISSS. Please allow 7 to 10 days for ISSS processing. Still have questions? Then make an appointment with Karen Keefe-Guzikowski, Associate Director or Shawna Szabo, Assistant Director. Or, send your OPT questions to

13. Replacement ID Cards

Lost your BU ID Card? Replacement cards cost $20, which will be assessed to your student account upon receipt of your request. For details on how to request a replacement ID card via e-mail or in person, go to

14. Limits for F-1 Students Who Take On-Line or Distance Education Courses

On-line courses have become increasingly popular for students, and many colleges and universities, including Binghamton, have greatly expanded their on-line and distance education course offerings in the past few years. But, the US federal government limits the number of on-line courses that an F-1 student can count towards a full-time course load during a required term.

Here is the text of the federal regulation:

For F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing.

What does this mean?

For Binghamton F-1 students, a full-time course load is required only during the Fall and Spring semesters. There is no requirement that students be enrolled during the Summer or Winter sessions, which are optional. Thus, a F-1 student can take as many on-line or distance education courses from Binghamton or from another institution as they wish (with Binghamton’s approval) during Summer or Winter session. But, during the Fall and Spring semesters, an F-1 student is limited to only one on-line or distance education course that can be counted towards a full-time course load. If the course requires the student to come to the sponsoring university’s location for a class, examination, or some other purpose integral to the completion of the course, then it is not considered “on-line” or “distance education” for the purposes of the federal definition, and is not subject to the federal limit.

If a student needs only one course to finish his or her program of study in the final semester (and this includes Summer Session or Winter Session), it cannot be taken through online/distance education. There must be a physical presence requirement for the course. If a student remains in the United States without reporting to any class, it becomes a security issue and cannot be allowed.

Confused? Don’t be. Send your questions regarding on-line or distance education courses to the ISSS at

15. Job Fairs for Japanese-Speaking Students

Mynavi Global Career EXPO 2011 announces its Summer Job Fair Series in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, Japan

The job fairs are for those who speak Japanese (at least business-communication level) and one additional language. These are entry level positions only, and more than 100 employers will be participating.

June 23-24, 2012 @11:00-18:00
Tokyo Big Site (East 4 Hall)

June 27, 2012 @11:00-18:00
My Dome Osaka (3F Exhibition Hall)

July 2, 2012 @11:00-18:00
Wink Aichi

Website (in Japanese):

All majors are welcome. Companies from the following industries participated in 2011.

Automobile/ Banking/ Chemical/ Communication/ Consulting/ Education/ Electronic/ Energy/ Entertainment/ Financial/ Food/ Human Resources/ Insurance/ IT/ Manufacturing/ Media/ NGO/ NPO/ Publication/ Real Estate/ Research/ Trade/ Travel etc.

Questions? Contact Mainichi Communications USA Inc.

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Last Updated: 4/12/16