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ISSS-BU News 20 August 2012 ISSS-BU News


An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services atBinghamtonUniversity, State University of New York

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CONTENTS:
  1. ISSS Has a New Self-Service Check In for Office Visitors
  2. Changes in U.S. Immigration Document Processing Creating Problems for International Students Nationwide
  3. Employment Walk-In Hours Cancelled for Tuesday, August 21 and 28
  4. Summer Hours End August 24, 2012
  5. International Student Orientation Begins Monday, August 27
  6. ISSS Staff Availability During the Week of August 27
  7. No Health Insurance Walk-In Hours on Tuesday, August 28
  8. University Fest Volunteers Needed On Saturday, September 1
  9. Important Caution to BU International Students When Taking On-Line Courses

1. ISSS Has a New Self-Service Check In for Office Visitors

Visitors to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will notice a new self-service check-in station inside our doorway, on the right. This station allows all visitors to enter their BU ID (for example, B00123456) or BU email address id (for example, jsmith34), select the reason for their visit from a drop-down menu, and then submit it. For visitors who are not international students, there is also an option to sign in as a guest, with just your name. This check-in allows us to serve our visitors more efficiently. If you need assistance, just ask a member of the front desk staff.

2. Changes in U.S. Immigration Document Processing Creating Problems for International Students Nationwide

In the past two weeks, international student offices at U.S. colleges and universities have begun to hear from international students who are having difficulty obtaining drivers licenses from state Department of Motor Vehicle Offices (DMV), and Social Security Numbers from the U.S. Social Security Administration, and also reporting that I-20s and DS-2019s are no longer being stamped at the U.S. ports of entry. What’s going on?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are the agents you see at airports, seaports and land ports at the immigration booths who examine your passport and visa documents, and inspect your luggage. They have begun to discontinue stamping I-20s at DS-2019s at the port of entry. They will continue to stamp and mark I-94 cards. The problem is that DMV offices and Social Security Administration Offices expect to see stamps on I-20s and DS-2019s. US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Office of Public Engagement will be the office handling the outreach regarding the discontinuation of the I-20 and DS-2019 stamp. They provided the following guidance:

"If specific issues arise with a DMV or other government agency rejecting a student’s unstamped I-20, we request that the student or their DSO email USCIS at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov so that we can contact the government agency to clarify the benefit."

It is recommended that students bring the USCIS ELIS Factsheet with them to the local DMV office. Here is a recent message from the Office of Public Engagement (OPE):

“USCIS is engaging actively with DMVs and AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators) to alert them to changes regarding the Form I-20 and DS-2019. If specific issues arise with a DMV or other government agency rejecting a student’s unstamped I-20, we request that the student or their designated school official (DSO) email USCIS at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov so that we can contact the government agency to clarify the benefit. I would encourage you to share the USCIS ELIS Factsheet with the local DMV offices. I understand that students in your area are experiencing problems because at Port of Entries U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is no longer stamping the Form I-20.”


There appears to be another issue related to the DMV and information in the database not “matching”. This appears to be impacting continuing students as well so it is not an issue of the new CBP I-20 stamp policy. This issue has been brought to the attention of government officials and we are hoping for a solution soon.

CBP has also announced that there will be delays of 30 days or more in entering travel information into the I-94 database. This is the same database used by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Motor Vehicles to access information. Thus, this delay may also cause a delay for newly arrived international students and scholars applying for a social security number or driver’s license. For more information, you can visit the notice on the CBP website.

The ISSS will post additional information on these issues as we learn more.

3. Employment Walk-In Hours Cancelled for Tuesday, August 21 and 28

For the week of August 20, employment walk in hours are cancelled on Tuesday, August 21 due to orientation training. For the week of August 27, employment walk-in hours are cancelled due to International Student Orientation. Employment walk-in hours will resume its regular schedule on Tuesday, September 4.

4. Summer Hours End August 24, 2012

University summer office hours of 8:00a.m.-4:00p.m. will end at the close of business on Friday, August 24, 2012. The University will return to the core office hours of 8:30a.m.-5:00p.m. on Monday, August 27, 2012. Please note that many offices, including International Student and Scholar Services post different service hours for the public.

5. International Student Orientation Begins Monday, August 27

Monday, August 27 will be the first day of new international student orientation. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services thanks the many students who have assisted our new arrivals. International Student Orientation check-in will be in the University Union Old Union Hall from 9:30am to 2:30pm on August 27. There are different orientation schedules for graduate students, undergraduate students, exchange students and Dual Diploma students from Turkey. All of the orientation schedules will be posted on line later this week.

The orientation program features special presentations on the immigration regulations that all new students are required to know. We wish our new students "welcome" and much success with their academic program.

Although Orientation is still one week away, many new international students have begun to arrive on campus. If you happen to meet a new student, please be sure to direct them to the office of International Student and Scholar Services. Although ISSS will not be photocopying visa documents until Orientation, ISSS is recording new student arrivals and distributing their very helpful early arrival information sheet. ISSS looks forward to welcoming another large entering class of new international students this Fall!

6. ISSS Staff Availability During the Week of August 27

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services will be open for regular office hours throughout the week of August 27, except on Wednesday August 29. However, most staff will be away from the office during much of the week, participating in various New Student Orientation activities.

This means that obtaining appointments, document processing and responses to e-mails may take somewhat longer than usual while staff takes care of the newest class of international students. ISSS thanks you for your patience and understanding!

7. No Health Insurance Walk-In Hours on Tuesday August 28

The usual Tuesday morning walk-in hours for health insurance that are normally held from 10:15am to Noon are cancelled on Tuesday August 28, while staff participate in orientation activities. There will be health insurance walk-in hours this week, on August 21. After that, the next health insurance walk-in hours will take place on Tuesday, September 4.

8. University Fest Volunteers Needed On Saturday, September 1

Volunteers are needed once again for this year's University Fest to be held from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 at the East Gym parking lot. We are looking for faculty and staff to work in and around the free giveaway book tent area. All volunteers are given meal tickets and a T-shirt for working. This year the book tent will be setting up a day early, so shifts include times during the work day on Friday as well as shifts during the event on Saturday. Job descriptions for each volunteer position can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/d9nlhwm. Register as a volunteer at http://bit.ly/OgnXNd.

9. Important Caution to BU International Students When Taking On-Line Courses

Most international students are aware that US federal regulations limit the number of on-line or distance learning classes that can be taken by F-1 visa holders, even if the classes are offered by Binghamton University. A full description of the rules can be found at:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/immigration/rulecourse.html

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.

Recently, several students who took only a distance learning class in their final semester have found that they are not eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) because the distance learning course taken by itself, with no other physical presence courses, is a violation of F-1 regulations. Don’t less this happen to you! If you have questions, send an email message to isss@binghamton.edu or set up an appointment with one of the advisors.

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Last Updated: 8/28/14