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  • ISSO Newsletter: February 2011

    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
      Visas After Graduation talk Monday February 21, 7pm!
      Graduating in May? Apply EARLY for F-1 OPT!
    2. Tax Information
    3. General Tax Information
      U.S. Federal Tax Forms
      New York State Forms
      W-2 and 1042-S
      Warning: Identity Theft Scam disguised as tax refund!!
    4. International Student Admissions Ambassadors (ISAA) Seeking Applicants
    5. ISSO February/March Programs
      Feb 10 Valentine's Day Celebration at Coffee Hour
      Feb 11 Men's Basketball Game, Cornell Big Red vs. Penn
      Feb 13 Skiing, Tubing, or Snowboarding at Greek Peak (full)
      March 9 Job Search Workshop for International Students
      March 19-22 Spring Break Trip to Washington D.C.
    6. Congratulations to our 2010-2011 ISSO Book Award Recipients
    7. Weathering Winter's Worst (from Gannett)
    8. Letís Talk: CAPS off-site counseling at ISSO (winter hours)
    9. Have Immigration Questions?: Come to ISSO Office Hours

    Immigration News

    Visas after Graduation Talk
    Monday, February 21st, 7-9pm, Kaufmann Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall
    Presented by the Miller Mayer Immigration Law firm and ISSO Staff

    Come find out everything you will need to know about staying in the U.S. after graduation. The Miller Mayer law firm and ISSO staff will explain the procedures for working immediately after graduating, working long-term in the U.S. and eventually becoming a permanent resident (green card holder) if you so desire. This information is particularly crucial at the present time, given the H-1B cap and new backlogs with employment-based green cards.

    Graduating in May? Apply EARLY for F-1 OPT!
    If you are graduating this Spring semester, and you want to work on F-1 OPT after graduating, APPLY EARLY for your F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization. The OPT application does go to the immigration service centers and these applications can take 3 months or more for most people to receive their OPT work cards. You may start applying NOW if you will graduate this Spring semester. Please read about OPT, and download an application from our OPT web pages, or come to one of our workshops on F-1 work authorization--the first one is February 9th.

    Tax Information

    Read the ISSO tax information here.

    Read the tax frequently asked questions here.

    Tax season is almost here but NOT YET! Wait until our tax software is ready mid-February before filing your tax returns! The deadline to file your tax return is not until April 18, 2011

    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.

    Turbo-Tax Warning: U.S. Non-residents for tax purposes should NOT use it!!! Click here for more information.

    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. This software will not be available until mid-February. We will send a message out to you as soon as it is available!

    The software described above does NOT complete New York State tax forms. We will provide materials and workshops to help you fill out the New York State tax forms but you should NOT try to do this until AFTER you fill out your federal 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.

    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:

    International Student Admissions Ambassadors (ISAA) Seeking Applicants

    The International Student Admissions Ambassadors (ISAA) is accepting applications for membership. The ISAA is a student organization at Cornell that works with the Undergraduate Admissions Office to provide a more personal and comprehensive view of Cornell for prospective international students. ISAA members serve as liaisons helping to create a stronger connection between current international students at Cornell and prospective and incoming international students. ISAA members take part in activities including responding to email inquiries, organizing and hosting online chat sessions and other electronic/Web communication events, serving on panels, welcoming new students to Cornell, and visiting their former high schools to provide information about living and learning at Cornell. If you would like to join the ISAA, and play a role in international recruitment and outreach, email to request an application for selection as a new international admissions ambassador. The deadline for submission is Saturday, February 12 at 11:59 PM. Applicants will be notified of their selection decision no later than February 20.

    Guo Jie
    Secretary, ISAA

    ISSO February/March Programs

    Valentine's Day Celebration at Coffee Hour

    Thursday, February 10
    3:30-5:30 PM, Big Red Barn

    Men's Basketball Game, Cornell Big Red vs. University of Pennsylvania

    Friday, February 11
    Come to the ISSO Pre-game Pizza Party, 5:30 PM, Kaplan Room in Bartels Field House.

    Skiing, Tubing, or Snowboarding at Greek Peak (full)

    Sunday, February 13
    This trip is already full.

    Job Search Workshop for International Students

    Wednesday, March 9
    presented by Cornell Career Services 5:00 PM-6:30 PM in Room B-45 (auditorium) in Warren Hall.

    Spring Break Trip to Washington D.C.

    Saturday-Tuesday, March 19-22
    Sign up online starting at 9 AM on Tuesday, February 15
    More trip information can be found here.

    2010-2011 ISSO Book Award Recipients

    The ISSO Book Award was established in 2001 to recognize the vast contributions that the international student population adds to Cornell. It is awarded each year to international students who have made significant contributions, through extracurricular and academic pursuits, to the international community at Cornell, and have promoted international education and communication on campus, in the Ithaca community, and beyond.

    We are delighted to announce this year's recipients of the ISSO Book Award...Congratulations to our undergraduate student winner Xiao (Jimmy) Wang, and our graduate student winner Javier I. Perez Burgos. Below is a brief sampling of their individual contributions and achievements:

    Jimmy Wang, of Canada, is an undergraduate student in the college of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Biological Sciences. He has served as Co-President of the International Student Admissions Ambassadors (ISAA) and Treasurer of the Cornell Asian and Pacific Islander Student Union. Jimmy has also been a volunteer in the ISSO's PREPARE program and an active participant in many other campus organizations, including Model United Nations, student publications, cultural groups, and music-oriented clubs.

    Javier Perez-Burgos, of Colombia, is working on his Ph.D. in the field of City and Regional Planning. He was the 2008-2009 City and Regional Planning Ph.D. Liaison in his college's student council, where he fought to save the International Planning program when it was threatened by budget cuts; and Treasurer and President of the Colombian Students Association. He has also worked as a Graduate Resident Fellow at Carl Becker House, where he developed several internationally focused programs; and has been a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Romance Studies.

    Beat the Winter Blues (from Gannett)

    Weathering Winter's Worst

    As you have likely seen in your first few days back on campus, "spring" semester doesn't tend to fit its name this time of year. The cold temperatures we have been experiencing bring along with them the risk of cold-weather health conditions and injuries. It's essential to be prepared for the bitterly cold days that we will likely have to endure over the coming weeks. Take some time to review the information below to learn what to watch out for and how to avoid the health effects of winter weather.

    Dry, itchy skin

    By now many of us have noticed our skin and scalp have become dry, flaky or itchy; and our lips may be quite chapped. Cold temperatures, wind, harsh soaps and too-frequent showering take a toll on skin health. Increasing the level of moisture in your room, office or apartment with a vaporizer or humidifier can bring some relief. You also can apply moisturizers and lotions (including inexpensive options such as baby oil or mineral oil) to the skin after bathing to help the skin retain moisture. Others find using a milder soap, such as Dove or Ivory, helps them retain more essential skin oils.


    Frostnip is a problem that occurs when the skin is exposed to extreme cold and wind, creating surface skin temperatures often below zero. Frostnip is a superficial blanching or freezing of surface skin tissue. The tip of the nose, ears, fingers and upper part of the cheeks are the first areas usually affected. This can be rapidly treated by re-warming the affected part by cupping the area with a warm hand, putting cold fingers on a warmer body part or blowing warm breath(be careful to dry the affected area as soon as it is re-warmed to prevent rapid cooling) on the injured skin. Keeping exposed skin covered with gloves, a scarf, neck gaiter, or jacket hood can keep you safe from frostnip.


    When frostnip is left untreated and exposure continues, it will progress to superficial frostbite. Ice crystals form in the exposed tissue, giving the skin a white and waxy appearance. The area will feel frozen to a gentle touch, but with pressure, soft and pliable tissue can be felt beneath the frozen area. The severity of injury depends on the temperature and length of exposure. Other variables such as tight clothing, the wind-chill factor, dampness, immobility during exposure, smoking and certain drugs (i.e. alcohol) can also influence the degree of frostbite. Frostbite may be painful at first, but pain gradually disappears giving way to a complete loss of sensation. As frostbite begins to reach deeper tissue, the injured part becomes very hard. Unlike frostnip, treatment for frostbite should come from a medical professional; the injured part must re-warmed very gradually and not be rubbed, as this may break the skin surface and cause infection.

    Precautions for keeping warm (and safe) this season:

    • Cover your skin! Hats, warm mittens and insulated boots are a must. Cover the rest of you with warm, loose, clothing. Dress in layers to keep moisture away from the skin and maintain body temperature. Tightly-woven, moisture-resistant outerwear is best. 

    • Keep dry. Wet clothes and shoes increase chance of heat loss. Even sweating in shoes/boots can make your feet wet enough to chill much more rapidly. If you plan on being outdoors for an extended period, bring extra socks and gloves as a backup.

    • Use protective lotions and creams on facial skin, lips and hands to insulate and moisturize the skin.

    • Delay washing, shaving and use of aftershave until after the day's outing as these activities can further dry the skin.

    • If you are an outdoor exercise enthusiast, take extra steps to prevent cold-weather injuries or consider modifying your routine in this sort of weather (e.g. shorten your outdoor routine, run on a treadmill instead of outside.

    If you suspect you have frostbite:

    DO seek immediate medical attention. You can call Gannett for advice 24/7 at 255-5155
    DO NOT rub or bump the affected area. DO NOT use direct heat such as a heating pad or hair dryer to warm the affected area. DO NOT pop blisters that appear.

    For more information, visit the CDC website.

    Submitted by:
    Janis Talbot ( 255-4782
    Health Educator, International Student Health Advocate

    Let's Talk: CAPS off-site counseling at ISSO (winter hours)

    Each Thursday, from 2:30-4:30 PM, counselor Bevyn Rowland 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 her 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.