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ISSS-BU News 06 February 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

Visit ISSS on the Web!   http://isss-new.binghamton.edu

Editor’s Note: There have been a number of questions asked in the ISSS regarding income taxes. Within the next 7-10 days, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services will open access to Glacier Tax Prep (formerly known as CINTAX), the web-based income tax preparation software for filing your federal tax forms as non-residents. E-mail messages will be sent as soon as Glacier Tax Prep is available. There will also be an announcement once income tax forms are available in the ISSS. However, if you will use Glacier Tax Prep, it will print all the necessary Federal forms. The ISSS will also offer a series of on-line webinars on income tax preparation. Those will become available later this month. Walk-in hours for income tax assistance will begin in mid-March. For more information on tax filing, read today’s income tax article, below.

CONTENTS:
1. Welcome New International Students to ISSS-BU News
2. New Full-Time Certification Procedure for Graduate Students Registered for Thesis, Project, Pre-Dissertation or Dissertation Research

3. International Student Grant-In-Aid Applications Available Beginning February 6
4. Emergency Alert Messages
5. Have a Question for the ISSS? Use These E-mail Addresses to Get the Answers!
6. CDC Job and Internship Fair Thursday, February 9
7. Courses Canceled for Students Who Failed to Confirm Enrollment
8. International Student Handbook is Now On-Line
9. 2012-13 Scholarship for BU Undergraduate International Students: Preference for South Korean Students
10. Do You Know the Rules for Off Campus Employment?
11. When Should I Apply for OPT?
12. This Week’s Campus and Community Connections Newsletter
13. Has Your Binghamton-Issued I-20 or DS-2019 That Has Been Lost, Stolen or Damaged?
14. Web Links for Foreign Embassies and Consulates in the United States
15. Information for Japanese-English Bilingual Students
16. Income Tax Information: Upcoming Income Tax Webinars

1. Welcome New International Students to ISSS-BU News

We are pleased to welcome our Spring 2012 new student subscribers to ISSS-BU News. You will soon receive your issues in your Binghamton.edu email account. Each Monday, ISSS-BU News brings you information regarding immigration and other U.S. federal regulations, announcements, and employment opportunities.

The best way to read ISSS-BU News is to first scan the “contents” section for articles of interest to you. Weekly editions of ISSS-BU News are also posted to the ISSS website; http://isss-new.binghamton.edu Just go the website and click on “ISSS-BU News.” Generally, the website is updated each Monday with the latest issue.

2. New Full-Time Certification Procedure for Graduate Students Registered for Thesis, Project, Pre-Dissertation or Dissertation Research

Are you a graduate student (master's or PhD) who is registered for thesis, project, pre-dissertation, dissertation or other course rubrics that are eligible to be certified as full time even though the number of credits is below the normal full-time graduate course load of 9 credits for advanced graduate students? Then you must visit your academic department and request to have sufficient non-billable certification credits added to your schedule to bring them to nine credits total. This new procedure replaces the Graduate School's "Certification of Full-Time Working Towards Degree Status For Students Not Receiving Funding” OR “Certification of Full-Time Working Towards Degree Status Funded Students Only”.

A graduate student who can be considered as “full-time” with fewer than 9 credits (such as a student taking thesis or dissertation credit) should still show as 9 credits in BU Brain because additional credits of GRAD 700 (if not funded) or GRAD 701 (if funded) will be added by the student’s department to bring the student to 9 credits.

3. International Student Grant-In-Aid Applications Available Beginning February 7

Each semester, awards of up to $500 are made to a small number of international students who have a severe financial need. To be eligible, students must be in F-1 or J-1 status, have been in attendance at Binghamton University at least one year (began their studies at Binghamton University in Spring 2011 or earlier), document need, have no outstanding obligations to the university, and be full-time students in good standing.

Some students may find themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own. Examples can include reduced support from a sponsor, or unanticipated expenses. Applicants are strongly advised to carefully document their financial situation when submitting the application form, as there are always more students seeking assistance than there are funds.

Students with outstanding balances in their student account with the University should note that based on BU policy, any scholarship award will first be applied towards the balance on their student bill. Applications are available now in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services and must be submitted no later than Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

4. Emergency Alert Messages

Do you want to know when classes are cancelled, or if there is an emergency condition on campus or in the community? The RAVE Emergency Alert System is used to alert you of campus emergencies: including fire, weather and police emergencies. You can have messages sent to your mobile phone and to your email account. All students are urged to register with RAVE.

To learn more about RAVE, visit:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/registrar/students/rave.html

To register for RAVE and set up your account, visit:

https://www.getrave.com/login/binghamton

Applications are due by Tuesday, February 15th!

5. Have a Question for the ISSS? Use These E-mail Addresses to Get the Answers!

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services offers students four dedicated email accounts to answer questions. The addresses are:

Health Insurance: intl.insure@binghamton.edu

Employment: intl.work@binghamton.edu

Extensions of Stay: intl.extend@binghamton.edu

All other inquiries: isss@binghamton.edu

6. CDC Job and Internship Fair Thursday, February 9

The Spring 2012 Job and Internship Fair will take place Thursday, February 9, 2012 from 11:00am to 3:30pm in the Events Center. There will be an OCCT Shuttle from the UU Bus Stop to the West Gym from 11:00am to 3:00pm.

Bring copies of your resume and dress professionally!

For more information, visit http://binghamton.experience.com/stu/cf_details?fhnd=5392

International students in F-1 or J-1 status are reminded that all off-campus employment, including internships, must be authorized before employment can begin. Questions? Come to the ISSS or send an e-mail message to intl.work@binghamton.edu Representatives of the ISSS will also be at the Job and Internship Fair.

7. Courses Canceled for Students Who Failed to Confirm Enrollment

On Friday, February 3, students (graduate and undergraduate) who did not confirm their enrollment via BU BRAIN had their spring 2012 course registration canceled. Students may wish to check BU-Brain to be sure your registration is still in order. Students whose courses were dropped will need to re-enroll. Students may only re-register online for courses that have open seats. If a course is closed, the student will need to petition with the department and/or instructor to be added

8. International Student Handbook is Now On-Line! 

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services is pleased to announce that the BU International Student Handbook is now on line! This is the same handbook we make available to new students at Orientation, and the contents have been updated for Spring 2012.

The advantage of the on line handbook is that much of the information is very valuable to new students, who may find the on-line edition easier to consult than the paper version. Further, current students who have outdated copies of the Handbook from when they participated in Orientation can now have the advantage of viewing the latest materials with ease.

The Handbook is available at:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/handbook/index.html

A contents index may be viewed on the left side of the screen.

9. 2012-13 Scholarship for BU Undergraduate International Students: Preference for South Korean Students

The Office of Financial Aid Services announces that applications are now being accepted for the 2012-13 Stanley Prep Scholarship for BU undergraduate international students. The scholarship is sponsored by Stanley Prep. To apply, students must meet the following criteria:

1) Be an undergraduate student enrolled full-time at BU with demonstrated academic merit (GPA of 3.5 or higher)
2) Preference for a student of South Korean descent (others may apply but students from South Korea are given first preference)
3) Must participate actively in school activities. Candidates are required to submit an essay describing their involvement in student activities at BU, along with a copy of their resume. You will also be asked which (if any) Korean Studies coursework you have taken at Binghamton University.

Go to this link for the required application cover sheet, which must be submitted with the essay and resume: http://www2.binghamton.edu/financial-aid/pdf/stanley-prep-scholarship.pdf

Deadline for submitting: Friday April 6, 2012 at 4:00pm to the Financial Aid and Student Records Office, Student Wing Room 109, or by fax to 607-777-6897 or by email to finaid@binghamton.edu

  10. Do You Know the Rules for Off-Campus Employment?

Federal regulations exact heavy penalties for those students in F and J status who work off campus without authorization. The ISSS reminds all F and J students that all off-campus employment must be authorized before it can begin. This includes internships, curricular practical training (CPT), and other types of off-campus experiences, whether or not you are receiving college credit for it.

To work off-campus without the appropriate authorization is considered illegal employment according to federal immigration law and is a potentially deportable offense. SEVIS regulations require that all unauthorized employment be reported. So, now more than ever, it's essential for international students to understand the off-campus employment rules that pertain to them.

Special Note: International students who are employed off-campus as part of a cooperative arrangement with their BU academic department AND are paid by either the State or SUNY Research Foundation payroll under the terms of a GA or RA stipend are considered to be authorized for this employment. The SPIR program is an example of this kind of cooperative arrangement.

Definition:

"The term employee means an individual who provides services or labor for an employer for wages or other remuneration." 8 CFR 274a.1(f)

Remuneration means something is given to you because you provided a service. It can be a paycheck, a bonus payment, a stipend, or it can be meal vouchers, room and board, or payment of your travel costs. Any of these would be considered to be employment under federal regulations. Simply put, if you receive anything for providing a service you are employed.

Volunteering is defined as engaging in an activity that anyone (US citizen or citizen of another country) would engage in without expectation of compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the service provided.

Complete information on all of the different employment categories for F and J students can be found by visiting the ISSS website at http://isss-new.binghamton.edu and clicking on "employment." If you are unsure if an activity would be considered employment, ask the ISSS!! And, view one of our employment webinars: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/empWebinar.html

11. When should I apply for OPT?

Do you plan to begin working on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) on May 22nd, immediately after graduation? Then you should submit your OPT Academic Advisor's Recommendation Form to the ISSS the week of February 13th to be sure you receive your EAD card in time.

It can take ISSS up to ten days to process your new I-20 for OPT. Then it takes on average of twelve weeks for USCIS to process your OPT application and issue your EAD card. You cannot begin working until the EAD card is in your hand and the start date has occurred.

If you haven't seen it already, please view our OPT webinar: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/empWebinar.html

All necessary forms and further information about OPT is on our website:http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/index.html#optOr, pick up an OPT packet at the ISSS office.

If you have a quick question about OPT or would like ISSS staff to review your OPT application before you mail it, please come to the Employment Walk-In Hours: every Tuesday from 1:30pm - 3:15pm at the ISSS Office.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to send an e-mail message to intl.work@binghamton.edu or make an appointment with either Shawna Szabo or Karen Keefe-Guzikowski by calling (607) 777-2510.

12. This Week’s Campus and Community Connections Newsletter

The latest Campus and Community Connections newsletter has been posted at:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/cce/connect/CCC-Spring2012-23.pdf

The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) publishes Campus and Community Connections to provide BU students with information on ways to participate in activities both on campus and in the local community, including:

* Upcoming Campus & Community Events

* Volunteer & Service Opportunities

* Internships (Credit & Non-Credit)

* Community-Based Research Project

Previous newsletters are archived at: http://www2.binghamton.edu/cce/campusconnect.html

For more information on the Center for Civic Engagement, visit http://www2.binghamton.edu/cce/

13. Has Your Binghamton-Issued I-20 or DS-2019 That Has Been Lost, Stolen or Damaged?

Things can happen to paper I-20s or DS-2019s. They can be lost, stolen or damaged.

A Binghamton-issued I-20 or DS-2019 that is lost, stolen or damaged can be readily replaced in the ISSS at no cost. It is essential to have the I-20 (or DS-2019), along with your passport, with you when you travel, even for domestic travel within the United States or New York State.

14. Web Links for Foreign Embassies and Consulates in the United States

Do you need to contact your home country’s Embassy or Consulate here in the United States? Do you need to contact another country’s Embassy or Consulate here in the United States? These useful links will help you. The home page of the embassy generally includes contact information, and links to the consulates.

Link to Foreign Embassies in the United States

http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm

For students from Taiwan:

Link to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Offices in the United States:

http://www.taiwanembassy.org/us/mp.asp?mp=12 (in Washington, D.C.)

http://www.taipei.org/ (in New York City)

15. Information for Japanese-English Bilingual Students

DISCO International, organizer of the largest job fair for Japanese-English bilingual students, invites you to the New York Career Forum.

--- New York Career Forum ---

February 24th & 25th, 2012 (Fri. & Sat.) Penn Plaza Pavilion http://www.careerforum.net/event/ny/index.asp?lang=E

- No fee to register or attend

- Meet face-to-face with companies

- Travel scholarships available

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at cfn@careerforum.net

16. Income Tax Information: Upcoming Income Tax Webinars

U.S. income tax law is very confusing (even more confusing than immigration law!). This is why the Office of International Student and Scholar Services has purchased the Glacier Tax Prep software for use by international students and scholars. With the availability of Glacier Tax Prep, the focus of the tax webinars will include an overview of income tax law, tips for using Glacier Tax Prep and instructions on how to file New York State tax forms. The webinars will not address filing federal income tax forms, because Glacier Tax Prep helps prepare those forms for you. Then, all you need do is mail them. If you plan to view the income tax webinars on New York State tax filings, it’s important for you to have already filled out your federal income tax forms using Glacier Tax Prep, and have a copy of your completed federal forms in hand.

Webinars will be ready within the next two weeks. This will be the sixth year that the ISSS is offering its series of income tax webinars via the ISSS website. The on-line format is a great help for current and former students because you can view the webinars at a time convenient for you.

The webinars will be for F and J students who have been in the United States in F or J status 5 years or less (since 2007 or later). Students who were employed during the 2011 calendar year should have received a W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement) from their employer(s). By law, employers must send out W-2 forms to their employees no later than January 31. If you had more than one employer, you should receive a W-2 form from each. These forms are usually in three or four parts. One copy is for the employee, one copy is filed with the U.S. federal tax return, and one copy is filed with certain state tax returns.

The W-2 form contains very important information that you will need when you prepare your income tax forms.

International students and scholars in F and J status must file income tax forms each year, even those who were not employed.

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Last Updated: 8/28/14