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Editor's Note: The ISSS Newsletter is distributed monthly. Between monthly newsletters, please follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram to learn more about programs, events, and updates.

1. Reminder of ISSS Availability
2. Together: International Student Support Group
3. Workshop: Visas after Graduation
4. Next International Coffee Hour: Friday, April 13
5. Income Tax Reminders
6. Beware of Phone Scams
7. Leadership Volunteers Needed - Fall 2018 International Student Orientation
8. Bus Service from JFK to Binghamton University
9. Apply Now for Optional Practical Training
10. Health Insurance and OPT

1. Reminder of ISSS Availability

Advising Walk-In Hours:
The office of International Student and Scholar Services holds walk-in advising hours on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10:00am to 11:45am and Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1:30pm to 3:30pm. Please be advised that ISSS advising walk-in hours are cancelled for Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Please visit the ISSS Website for updates.

Special Notice Regarding ISSS Unavailability:
Due to Technology Maintenance Day, the ISSS will have limited availability and services on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Thank you for your patience and please plan accordingly. Please visit the ISSS website or additional updates regarding availability.

2. Together: International Student Support Group

Discussion facilitator: Dr. Sangmoon Kim, staff psychologist at University Counseling Center
When: Tuesdays, 3:30-5:00p.m.
Where: UU 121 (University Union, Room 121)

Hello international students at Binghamton University! You are warmly invited to the Together: International Student Support Group. You will meet fellow international students. Together aims to promote international students' social interaction and sense of belonging as well as academic success. You can practice and enhance your English skills. We will meet most Tuesdays; our next meeting is Tuesday, April 10. Weekly attendance is not required but recommended. If you have any question about the Together, please email Dr. Sangmoon Kim.

3. Workshop: Visas after Graduation

Hilary Fraser, a partner at Miller Mayer LLP, will give a summary of immigration options for international students after graduation. Fraser has practiced immigration law at Miller Mayer since 1991. She represents EB-5 families, physicians, engineers, teachers and other highly-trained professionals as well as hospitals, colleges, IT companies and religious organizations in pursuit of work authorizations and other immigration benefits. This workshop will be held Wednesday, April 11 from 4pm to 6pm in UU209 (University Union, Room 209). All students are welcome.

Note that space is limited. To attend, register on B-Engaged. You can register by selecting the circular button on the right side of the B-Engaged Event webpage that says I will be attending and then by clicking the grey button below it that reads RSVP TO EVENT.

Questions? Contact International Student and Scholar Services at 607-777-2510 or

4. Next International Coffee Hour: Friday, April 13

Good company! Complimentary refreshments! Relax at this month's International Coffee Hour, 3:30-5 p.m. Friday, April 13, in Old Union Hall. This month's sponsor is the Graduate School. April coffee hour participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the sponsor while mingling with both international and domestic students. There will be games, prizes, interactive activities and complimentary coffee, tea and cookies! If you have any questions about International Coffee Hour, contact Linda Torricelli, ISSS programming coordinator. All are welcome!

5. Income Tax Reminders

Remember that the deadline for filing tax forms this year is Tuesday, April 17, 2018. All F-1 and J-1 students who were present in the U.S. in 2017 must file a tax return, even if you did not work.

The ISSS provides free income tax compliance software, known as Glacier Tax Prep, to all international students, international faculty and scholars, and international alumni who are eligible to be considered as non-residents for tax purposes. Glacier Tax Prep provides an easy to use web interface for entering information regarding your federal income tax liability (whether you worked or not), and then enters the information onto the required forms so that you can print them, make copies for your records, and then mail the originals to the IRS. Glacier Tax Prep is password-protected, so that only you have access to the information. Do not attempt to complete your income tax forms using the e-filing options recommended by the Internal Revenue Service. It is not possible to e-file tax returns if you are a non-resident for tax purposes. Information about how to access and use Glacier Tax Prep can be found on the ISSS website.

After you have completed your Federal Tax Return, you will then proceed to complete your non-resident State Tax Return. Glacier Tax Prep cannot be used to file state taxes, but the ISSS website includes links to state tax resources and software for filing state taxes.

Be sure to complete your Federal Returns before you begin your State Tax returns.

Please note that the staff at the Office of International Student and Scholar Services are neither qualified nor permitted to give individual tax advice. Students with complicated tax situations may wish to consult with a tax preparation service, professional tax accountant, or tax attorney who is knowledgeable about nonresident tax law.

6. Beware of Phone Scams

International students have received phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS or from U.S. Immigration. The students were told that there was an issue with their tax returns, a criminal issue against their social security number, a visa status issue, or that laws had been violated. They were asked for personal information and/or payment. The IRS will never ask for instant payment to resolve an issue. Do not purchase money orders, prepaid credit cards and/or gift cards; the IRS and U.S. Department of Homeland Security would never ask for these items as a type of payment.

If contacted via phone, you should immediately be suspicious. Ask for the person's full name, agency, and reporting office, and for a government telephone number to call the person back. They will probably tell you that your only opportunity is at the time of the call and that you have to take action now. Don't believe them. Never release personal information over the phone, and be aware that a U.S. government agency would never go about any formal proceedings with a phone call. Hang up and contact ISSS if you have any questions about a phone call. Should you ever get any requests in print, please bring them to ISSS immediately and we will review them and advise accordingly.

Please note that students have also received IRS scam calls where the caller tells the student that the caller is aware of the student's recent credit card purchases. Contact your credit card company immediately if someone calls you saying they know about credit card purchases. You can find more information about credit card fraud on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's website. Your credit card information may have been stolen. Your credit card company can issue you a new card and may be able to cancel charges to you that you did not make. Do not release personal information over the phone to someone who has called you.

USCIS and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) want to stop scams about income tax payments or immigration violations. You will not get in any trouble for reporting a scam. Additional information about common scams and about how to report such scams can be found on the USCIS Website and on the IRS website.

7. Leadership Volunteers Needed - Fall 2018 International Student Orientation

Are you interested in helping new international students during orientation and adding leadership and cross-culture training experience to your resume? Then, sign up to be a Leadership Volunteer! All international and domestic students are welcome! Leadership Volunteers are a select group of Binghamton University students, who join ISSS staff to welcome new international students during Fall International Student Orientation. Leadership Volunteer recruitment is now underway.

Leadership Volunteers engage in a 2-day training program to help prepare them for their role during Orientation. The training program is organized by the 5 goals of the Orientation program: help new students feel comfortable in a new environment (networking), meet students' needs, share important information, learn about U.S. & foreign culture, and build trust and make new friends.

During Orientation, Leadership Volunteers greet new international students at check-in, welcome them during the introductory meeting, participate in group events, provide reassurance and essential information, and most importantly contribute to a warm and sincere presence during the new international student's first few days on campus. Many new students tell the ISSS how important the Leadership Volunteers were to their initial experience at Binghamton University. Many Leadership Volunteers tell the ISSS how valuable the training was to their own professional and personal development.

Leadership Volunteer Training will take place Monday, August 13 and Tuesday, August 14. International Student Graduate Orientation is Wednesday, August 15. International Student Undergraduate Orientation is Thursday, August 16 and Friday, August 17.

If you are interested in becoming a Leadership Volunteer, please click here to complete the application form. Please note that your application must be submitted by April 22, 2018. Questions? Contact Linda Torricelli, ISSS Programming Coordinator.

8. Bus Service from JFK to Binghamton University

Several departments on campus have collaborated to create a bus service for students traveling from JFK to Binghamton University. This bus service is for new and continuing international students. Buses will run in late July and early/mid-August. The deadline to register for this service is July 2, 2018. Additional information can be found here. If you have any questions, please email

9. Apply Now for Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training is an employment authorization for international students in F-1 status. This authorization allows F-1 students to work in a job related to your academic major after graduation. You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT. The OPT application process takes about 3 months, so we recommend applying as early as possible.

Your OPT application is processed in two steps:
Step 1: You Submit the Academic Advisor's Recommendation Form to the ISSS Office and we prepare an I-20 for OPT for you. This step in the process takes 7-10 working days. We will email you when your I-20 for OPT is ready.
Step 2: After you receive your I-20 for OPT, mail your OPT application to USCIS. If your application is approved, USCIS issues an EAD card that authorizes employment under OPT. This step in the process takes about 90 days.

If you are thinking of applying for OPT and are not sure what to do, you need to review the information and guidance on our website. Visit the links below:
How to apply for OPT
Deadlines for Applying for OPT
Kinds of Employment Allowed during OPT
Know the rules for Unemployment Limits and OPT
Arranging Health Insurance While on OPT

10. Health Insurance and OPT

If you are an international student applying for OPT, health insurance coverage through GeoBlue International Insurance is available to you only if you enrolled in GeoBlue Insurance Services. If you are currently a RA, GA, or TA using the GSEU insurance, NYSHIP, of the Research Foundation insurance, POMCO, then you must switch over to GeoBlue Insurance when you employee coverage expires. This must be done before the end of the semester, or by July 15, 2018. Click here  to learn more about GeoBlue insurance during your authorized OPT period.

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Last Updated: 1/3/19