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  • ISSO Newsletter: April 2014

    The ISSO sends out a monthly web-based newsletter. It contains the latest information about immigration and ISSO services, as well as important reminders about work authorization, visa applications, and more. Please read it! View the ISSO newsletter archive here.

    Newsletter Contents:

    1. Immigration News and Reminders
      Travel Reminders: Leaving the U.S. at Spring Break?
      Ready to APPLY for OPT? Try out our speedy FAXed application service!
      Planning on working OFF-campus this summer?
      May Graduates: Discuss your Future Plans with ISSO!
    2. Tax Information
      General Tax Information
      U.S. Federal Tax Forms
      Accessing the Software
      New York State Forms
      W-2 and 1042-S
      Warning: Identity Theft Scam disguised as tax refund!!
    3. New Health Requirement for International Students
    4. Upcoming ISSO Trips and Programs
    5. PREPARE Volunteer Information
    6. From Gannett: Mental Health Services Available
    7. EISS Summer English Program
    8. Let's Talk: CAPS Off-Site Counseling at ISSO
    9. Have Immigration Questions? Come to ISSO Office Hours

    Immigration News

    Travel Reminders: Leaving the U.S. at Spring Break?
    Make sure you have the correct Re-Entry Documents!!! If you will be leaving and re-entering the U.S., PLEASE be sure that you have all the documents for re-entry as described on these web pages:

    Ready to APPLY for OPT? Try out our speedy FAX in your application service!
    If you are ready to apply for OPT, and you don't have any questions, just FAX in your application and we will email you when your new I-20 is ready! Click here for more information. If you do have questions you are welcome to come to the ISSO and sign in to speak to an advisor while we complete your OPT I-20.

    Planning to work OFF-campus this summer?
    F-1 Students: If you are planning to work OFF-campus this summer you MUST APPLY for work authorization through the ISSO. Read about F-1 work authorization here or come to one of our workshops on off-campus work authorization.

    J-1 students: If you are planning to work OFF-campus this summer you MUST APPLY for work authorization through the ISSO. If your DS-2019 form was issued by Cornell, you may read about J-1 student off-campus work authorization, known as "Academic Training," and download an application from our J-1 Academic Training web pages. If your DS-2019 is not issued by Cornell University, you must contact your sponsor (whoever issued your DS-2019) to discuss whether or not Academic Training is allowed.

    May Graduates: Discuss your Future Plans with ISSO!
    If you are graduating from Cornell this May, and you plan to stay in the U.S. to either work or to pursue another degree, please come to the ISSO to discuss your plans. In order to maintain your valid immigration status in the U.S., there are specific procedures you will need to complete in order to do any of the following:

    Check with the ISSO advisor on duty about any of the above or any other plans you may have after you graduate.

    We also invite you to attend the President's Reception for Graduating International Students on May 6!

    Tax Information

    Read the ISSO tax information here.

    Read the tax frequently asked questions here.

    Tax season is here! The deadline to file your tax return is April 15, 2013.

    If this will be your first time filing tax forms in the U.S., or if you are confused about the U.S. tax system, please click here and start by reading through our TAX FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) here.

    U.S FEDERAL TAX forms:
    The ISSO has purchased web based software for all internationals in the Cornell Community to assist with filing U.S. Federal NON-RESIDENT Tax Forms. All internationals temporarily residing in the U.S. are required to file at least one U.S. Federal Tax Form (the 8843) even if you were not employed. The tax software will help you fill out that form and will determine if you need to fill out other forms as well. To determine if you are Non-Resident for tax purposes, click here.

    You only need your net id and password to access the software. Click here to get to our tax information page and to read important information about what you need before you fill in the tax forms using the software.

    The software described above does NOT complete New York State tax forms. Click here for everything you need to file your New York State tax forms. (PLEASE NOTE: You must complete your federal tax form BEFORE you may complete your New York State tax form.)

    Questions about W-2s and 1042s's:
    Click here for any questions regarding W-2 and / or 1042s forms.

    Questions about the 1098-T:
    Click here for any questions regarding the 1098-T form. Most international students file U.S. tax forms as Non-Residents and should IGNORE the 1098-T form. The 1098-T form is a tax document that Cornell fills out to reports to the student (and the IRS) any tuition charges and financial aid for a calendar year. Cornell University issues 1098-T forms “Tuition Statement”, to all students at Cornell, including foreign nationals, when the following criteria is met; tuition charges exceed financial aid.

    The 1098-T form assists students in evaluating whether s/he is eligible for one of the following educational credits, the Hope Credit or Life Time Learning Credit. Unfortunately, any international who is filing federal tax returns as a Non-Resident for Tax purposes, is NOT eligible for any of these educational credits and you should ignore the 1098-T form. For more information read here.

    Tax Refund Spam Emails!

    We want to warn you of an identity theft hoax that is targeting internationals. This one comes to you as an email notification from someone with an email address with "" in it. In the email, they say that you are eligible for a tax refund and that therefore you need to sent them information such as your SSN and the PIN # of my ATM Card. DO NOT RESPOND AND DO NOT SEND ANY INFORMATION. This is absolutely a scam.

    If you ever receive any request from an office claiming to be related to a U.S. government office, please do check with us first or with an attorney. In general, the various branches of the U.S. government do not contact you by email unless you are already in correspondence with a particular individual.

    You may find the following links helpful which are on identity theft and fraud:


    New Health Requirement for International Students

    Beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, all international students will be required to purchase the Cornell University Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). This decision was made in part because private insurers have aggressively marketed their plans to international students, with some companies using the Cornell name in their advertising. Self-purchased plans have been found to include exclusions which limit students from receiving the maximum benefit of the plan, and students are put at risk when they do not have the right level of protection or think they have better coverage than they actually do. Requiring health insurance for international students will help to safeguard students who are living far from home and to lessen the confusion about health insurance, especially for students coming from countries with different methods of delivering health care.

    • There is aggressive marketing from private insurers, some of which use the Cornell name in their advertising.
    • Private insurers will continue to market potentially dangerous insurance products to international students.
    • There is confusion over the benefits of self-purchased plans (e.g. students thinking they have better benefits in their plans than they actually do).
    • Many of the plans purchased have exclusions written into their policies which prevent the students from receiving the maximum benefit that the policy offers.
    • Students are put at risk when they do not have the right level of protection.
    • As Anita Barkin, Director of Carnegie Mellon University Health Services, noted, students are “looking at cost rather than cost-benefit.”
    • A mandate would lessen the level of confusion about health insurance, especially for students coming from countries with different methods of delivering health care.
    • Experts suggest that many schools will be making the transition to requiring international students to be on their student health plans.
    • As a part of their visa requirements, international students often need proof of health insurance well before they arrive at Cornell. If SHIP is mandatory, those proof of insurance letters can be issued earlier, at the time that the student requires them.


    Upcoming ISSO Programs


    Spotlight: Reception for Graduating International Students

    Friday, May 23, 2-5 p.m., Memorial Room, Willard Straight Hall

    Graduating students and families are invited to celebrate the completion of their program with an ice cream social. Enjoy Cornell Dairy ice cream, special performances and guest speakers – guests welcome, no RSVP needed. 


    13 Sunday 
    Day Trip to Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY 
    Register for this trip, and purchase a ticket online beginning at 9:00 am on Tuesday, March 25. Once details have been finalized, trip information will be available at:


    23 Friday 
    Reception for Graduating International Students 
    2-5 pm in Memorial Room in Willard Straight Hall. See above for details

    *Every Thursday while classes are in session, join us for International Coffee Hour from 3:30-5:30 PM in the Big Red Barn. Meet new friends over light refreshments and world music. All are welcome!

    Are you interested in taking one of our trips? Here is what you need to know! Trip announcements will be sent to iPrograms-L and international-L e-lists. Spaces are generally limited and participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. In most cases, minimal trip fees will apply. Registration and payment for trips are being processed online through University Ticket Sales. Prior to registering for a trip, if you have not already done so for a previous trip, you will need to create an account at

    Email any questions to


    PREPARE Volunteer Information

    Attention undergraduate students...Are you an international student who would like to welcome new international undergraduates to Cornell?  Or are you an American student who has had experience living in another
    culture and knows how it feels to dive into something so different? Then use your experience to help welcome new international students to Cornell!

    The ISSO is looking for motivated and enthusiastic undergraduate volunteers for PREPARE 2014 (August 18-21).

    PREPARE is a four-day, intensive pre-orientation program for new international undergraduates, where participants and volunteers have the opportunity to meet one another and help each other acclimate to life at Cornell. Over 260 new students, plus 60 volunteers will participate in PREPARE. For details about PREPARE visit:

    Volunteers are crucially important, and are expected to attend all events throughout the program. They may not be Orientation Leaders for the new student orientation, as conflicts of time and commitment often arise.

    PREPARE will run from August 18-21, with a mandatory training session for volunteers on August 16-17.  Volunteers who have on-campus assignments for the fall will be allowed to move into their rooms beginning on Friday, August 15.

     Questions?  Please contact Adriana Rovers,

    Get involved!  Help new international students!  Have fun!  Sign on to the PREPARE Team!

    From Gannett: Mental Health Services Available


    The Cornell experience is as varied as the number of students on our campus and the countries they call home. Though part of what draws students to Cornell is the challenge, depending on the year, semester, or even project, the challenges can feel invigorating and inspiring or stressful and overwhelming (or all of the above at the same time). To help meet the needs of all students, including international students, Cornell offers a host of mental health support services. Opportunities are located across campus. Which services would help boost your mental health and well-being?

    Learn more about the variety of campus support services available on Cornell’s Caring Community and SHARE websites.

    Have questions about any of the mental health support services offered at Cornell? Call Gannett at 607 255-5155. We can help connect you to the appropriate person.

    Submitted by: 
    Heather Stone ( 254-7468 
    Public Health Communications Specialist

    EISS Summer English Program

    English for International Students and Scholars (EISS) will be offered at Cornell University from June 23-August 1, 2014. 

    This full-time program provides intensive English instruction and cultural orientation for those interested in working and studying in an academic environment in the U.S. or in using English professionally. It credit or offers instruction at all levels.

    The program features small class sizes to enhance students' ability to learn English and to enable instructors to provide personal attention and encouragement. Core classes are scheduled from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. weekdays, with additional afternoon and evening events, speakers and field trips.

    We welcome incoming international graduate students as well as undergraduates and professionals from abroad and visiting scholars. 

    Summer EISS participants are eligible to receive a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant [F-1] Student Status). Interested students should apply early to allow time for visa processing. 

    For more information and to register for the program, please visit the website or contact the Professional Studies office at or 607.255.7259.

    Let's Talk: CAPS off-site counseling at ISSO

    Each Monday, from 2:30-4:30 PM, counselor Steven Andrews, Ph.D., from Gannett Health Services will be available at the ISSO for free and confidential counselling and consultation. No appointment is necessary!Graduate students, undergraduate students, and family members are welcome to come talk to him about:

    • personal growth and challenges
    • depression, anxiety and stress
    • relationship issues
    • family issues
    • cultural, racial and ethnic issues
    • sexual health concerns
    • negotiating academic environment
    • any other issues of concern
    • referral and information

    For more information about Counselling and Psychological Services and a schedule of available times for off-site, walk-in consultations visit:

    Have Immigration Questions?
    Come to ISSO Office Hours

    ISSO Advising Hours:
    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 9-12:00; 1:00-4:30
    Wednesday 1:00-4:30

    Advisors are available on a walk-in basis except from 12-1 P.M. daily, or by appointment. You may stop by to see us during office hours, check out our website, email us at, or call us at 255-5243.