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New STEM OPT Regulations
[sent to all F-1 students on 3/11/2016]:   We write to share the update that the new STEM OPT final rule has now been published.  The rule is available in its final form on the Federal Register's Current Issue page at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-03-11/pdf/2016-04828.pdf.   The STEM Designated Degree Program list is…

Global Entry for Faculty and Staff
Do you travel internationally? Would you like to skip the long lines in Customs when you return to the U.S.? We are glad to share with you that Penn Global / International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) has invited U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct Global Entry enrollment interviews…

ISSS Seeking International Student Orientation Coordinator
2016 International Student Orientation Coordinator International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is seeking a Penn graduate or undergraduate student to help prepare and facilitate Fall 2016 orientation activities for incoming international students and assist with ISSS office operations. International and U.S. graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to apply. Description: Working…

2014 1042-S Withholding Credit Denial
February 29, 2016 Dear International Students and Scholars: You are receiving this email because you may have received a notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stating that the 1042-S information that you reported on your 2014 Income Tax Return does not match what Penn reported to them. Our office has…

Court Ruling on STEM OPT
[sent to all F-1 students with STEM majors on 1/26/2016]: As many of you are aware, the existing STEM OPT program has been undergoing some significant changes following last summer's court decision. We are writing to inform you that the February 12, 2016 deadline that the court imposed on the Department…

IRS Phone Call Scam
Please be alerted that if you receive a phone call from an “IRS agent” demanding that you have to complete Form 2555 and pay a fine or you and your family will be deported, you should report it to Penn Police.  ISSS has confirmed with Penn's Department of Public Safety about…

Visa Processing Glitch at US Consulates
The Department of State has released information on the system glitch that has been causing visa processing delays at the U.S. Consulates around the world.  Their system is still performing below its normal operational capacity.  Therefore, it will take some weeks before they are back to normal turnaround times on issued…

US Visa Processing Suspended in Tel Aviv, Israel
Due to the current security situation in Tel Aviv, routine visa application processing has been canceled.  Please see http://israel.usembassy.gov/consular/niv/nonimmigrant.html for more details. If you are affected by ths situation, please contact ISSS (see http://global.upenn.edu/isss/hours).

Update on Visa Processing at US Consulates in Canada
The U.S. consulates in Canada will temporarily suspend Third Country National (TCN) processing during the peak demand period of June, July, and August 2014. TCNs, in this case, are individuals who are not citizens or Landed immigrants of Canada, but want to obtain a visa sticker at one of U.S.…

Penn Philippine Association - Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda
The Penn Philippine Association (PPA) would like to offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of those affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda and many thanks to all those who have shown support so far. As a student organization with members both from the Philippines and with family…

Impact of Government Shutdown on Immigration Agencies
Updates Date of Announcement: October 18, 2013 Both chambers of the U.S. Congress passed a temporary budget deal which was signed by President Obama shortly thereafter. Federal workers have been instructed to return to work effective today, October 17, 2013. As federal agencies resume operations, it may take time for immigration-related…

Updated J-1 Scholar Minimum Funding Requirements
Date of Announcement: June 21, 2013 Starting 9/1/2013, the minimum will be slightly raised to $25,400 from $24,595 a year.  Funding requirements for J-2 dependents will not change. For post docs, please continue to follow the requisite stipend levels.  Completed J-1 scholar eforms submitted to ISSS on or after 9/1/2013 should…

Important Travel Update - Additional Inspection upon Entry to the U.S.
Date of Announcement: May 13, 2013 Dear F-1 and J-1 Students and Scholars, Due to heightened security concerns, please note that if you are currently or will be traveling outside the U.S., you will likely experience significant delays when reentering.  Per a recent memorandum from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), all…

I-94 Automation Information Sessions
Date of Announcement: May 2, 2013 As we previously announced, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), began automating the I-94 process at air and sea ports by eliminating the paper Form I-94 as of April 30, 2013. ISSS is offering information sessions…

Scheduled Renovation for ISSS
Date of Announcement: July 25, 2013 Dear Penn Community: The office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is pleased to inform you that we are returning to our newly-renovated space.  Thus, our office will be closed on Friday, August 2 and will reopen at 1pm on Monday, August 5.  We…

DHS will automate I-94 starting April 30, 2013
Date of Announcement: March 28, 2013 On April 30, 2013, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will begin automating the Form I-94 process at air and sea ports by eliminating the paper Form I-94.   At this point, there is…

Be aware of scam emails, phone calls, or letters
It has been reported to our office that one of our foreign nationals was contacted by someone claiming to be a Department of Homeland Security officer.  The foreign national was asked to wire money to a specified account.  Please note that U.S. government officials or agencies will NOT contact you for…

Visa Services in Damascus Suspended
Date of Announcement: February 6, 2012 The following announcement has been posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria: U.S. Suspends Consular Operations in Damascus Effective February 6, 2012, the U.S. Embassy has suspended operations and is not open for normal consular services.  Neither U.S. passports nor visas…

Form I-94 copy to ISSS for review
Date of Announcement: December 4, 2012 Starting today, we are requesting a copy of Form I-94, Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record, from all Penn-sponsored individuals in H-1B, E-3, O-1 or TN status for all future entries to the United States for which a new Form I-94 is issued. This is to ensure that…

Travel During Summer
Dear Students and Scholars, As summer is approaching, we are writing to provide important travel information.   It is crucial for you to proactively prepare for your return to the US to avoid travel delays/problems, such as an I-515A, etc.  We recommend that you meet with an OIP-ISSS advisor to review your…