Happy Thanksgiving and reminders about travel and events

On behalf of the entire ISSS team, I would like to extend our best wishes to you for a restful and peaceful Thanksgiving break. We remain hopeful that with time, we will be able to see each and every one of you in person. However in the meantime, it is critical that you continue to stay strong, committed to self-care and continue to persevere. We acknowledge that this has been a challenging semester filled with uncertainties. The ISSS team continues to be here to support you, as you reach the milestone end of a semester.

Overseas Travel During Winter Break: We recognize that many of you miss your families and are considering traveling abroad for the winter break. As always, please be cautious in making that decision, but especially during these extenuating circumstances. Because of the pandemic and continued travel restrictions, your re-entry to the United States is not guaranteed. However, we also understand if you feel compelled to take that risk to be with your family. If that is the case, please make certain to review the information on this page regarding required documents once you seek re-entry into the United States. Please know that we cannot predict how your re-entry may be affected, as the experience at the port of entry is unique to each individual. Finally, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has not yet released their guidance for spring 2021. Once they do, we will be updating our website so please be sure to check back here for more up to date information.

Upcoming Programming/Events: We also want to remind you about our upcoming programming and ways to stay engaged and connected with our community. We are doing a special Thanksgiving-themed Tea Time on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 26) from 3-4pm (PST) via Zoom, and plan on hosting several social events over the winter break. You can find the latest information on our events page, by following us on Instagram @SJSUinternational, or subscribing to our ISSS Views & News blog.

Finally, thank you for being part of our vibrant Global Spartan community. We are grateful for all of you and admire your continued resilience during an incredibly challenging year. Wishing you much hope, peace and joy. Enjoy your Thanksgiving break! 

ICE Scam Alert!

For resources on current scams and how to report a scam, please visit our Scam Alerts page or you can choose to schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

Scammers are impersonating ICE Agents across the country and specifically targeting international students who have valid (F-1/J-1) status. The scammers will first spoof a local ICE phone number, call the student from this spoofed ICE telephone number and tell the student that their status is in jeopardy. The student is then told that they can either proceed to a specific ICE location or pay a disclosed amount to resolve the issue. The scammers have been reported to be very knowledgeable in immigration (F-1/J-1) terminology and can therefore be quite convincing.

Please remember that the government will not call you if they wish to get into contact with you. 

Stay safe!

Warm Regards,

The ISSS Staff

DHS SCAM ALERT!!

Recently, there have been reports of SJSU F-1 students who were targets of scam calls. The students were called by scammers claiming to be representatives from DHS (The Department of Homeland Security), who accused the students of failing to provide their Alien Registration Number (A-Number). The scammers proceeded to ask for Passport information, date of birth, bank name, and physical address. The Alien Registration Number (A-Number) can be your USCIS number if you received an EAD card in the past, or the number that you’re assigned when you apply for a Green Card. Many students simply do not have an A-Number. The students are then told that in order to avoid deportation, they must pay a fine by loading money onto an eBay gift card and provide it to the scammers.

DO NOT acquiesce to the scammers’ demands should you receive a call from “DHS.” Even if the number seems legitimate and the Caller ID on your phone clearly indicates “Department of Homeland Security” (DHS), this is known as “Telephone Spoofing.” This occurs when scammers pose as representatives calling on behalf of government agencies and will manipulate their Caller ID information to appear as if they are really calling from DHS, USCIS, SEVP, IRS, etcetera. THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT CALL YOU! If you receive a call from USCIS, DHS, SEVP, SSA (Social Security Administration), it will most likely be a scam. Should a specific government agency need to reach out to you, they will send you a letter in the mail. In extremely serious and rare situations, they will physically come to your residence. Calling is extremely rare. 

Please hang up, block the number, and report the scam call to us if this has happened to you! If you provided personal information such as Passport, bank account, or other sensitive information, then please refer to our Scam Alerts webpage for the next steps to take on how to report a scam properly to the FBI. You may also schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

We strongly recommend that all students review the Scam Alerts webpage to find out about the various scams that International Students have reported to our office over the years, including several valuable resources on how to prevent becoming a victim of a scam.

Sincerely,

The ISSS Staff

2020 Presidential Election

2020 ELECTION MADNESS

On November 3rd, 2020, our country will be selecting the 46th President of the United States! But, how did we end up with Joe Biden and Donald Trump as the two main presidential candidates? Unfortunately, it’s not a straightforward path to the presidency, in fact, it’s a circuitous path rife with twists, turns, complicated rules, and exceptions. Here’s a summary below to explain how one could become President of the United States.

ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for the presidency of the U.S., one must fulfill certain required criteria first. Not everyone can be president, fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective. You must be at least 35 years old and born in the U.S. Even if you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, that is, you were born in another country but eventually gained citizenship, you will not be eligible to become President of the United States. In addition, along with having been born in the U.S., you must have physically resided in the U.S. for at least 14 years. This means that someone who is born in the U.S. must also live in the U.S. for a required period of time and fulfill a residency requirement.

PRIMARIES & CAUCUSES

You’ve probably already heard of the “Iowa Caucus” or the “New Hampshire Primary.” Primaries or Caucuses are held in all 50 U.S. states, commencing at the beginning of the election year, to determine the “best” candidate for President from a particular political party.  This is determined by votes of official party members in each state, and these events can be held in public venues such as gyms, schools, etc. Even though the election process is generally dominated by a two-party, Republican and Democrat bi-partisan model, there will also be “third-party” (neither Democrat nor Republican) candidates represented during the presidential election by law.

Presidential candidates from each political party will proceed to feverishly “campaign” throughout the country to gain votes from their party members at the Primaries and Caucuses. Generally, the presidential nominee will be selected through this process.

NATIONAL CONVENTION

At the end of the summer during an election year, a large Democratic and Republican National Convention is hosted in a designated city to officially nominate a particular candidate from that party for President of the United States. Usually, the incumbent (current) President will be the official presidential nominee for their political party for another term unless the President has already served two terms (8 years). Since most states have already adopted Primaries and Caucuses, the presidential candidate will have most likely already been nominated BEFORE the National Convention takes place later in the summer. The presidential nominees will then continue campaigning across the U.S. in order to gain popular votes.

GENERAL ELECTION

This is when registered U.S. voters may cast their votes either by mail-in ballots, early voting, or they may go directly to the official polling stations on November 3rd, 2020. This is called the “Popular Vote,” or votes cast by registered U.S. voters.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Mandated by the Constitution to ensure equal representation of both small and large states in terms of the population during a presidential election, this is by far the most confusing and controversial part of the election process. Essentially, when residents of a state cast a majority of popular votes for a certain candidate, they are not actually voting for the President directly, rather, they are voting for several designated “State Electors” who will officially vote for the candidate chosen by the Popular Vote. This usually takes place at the State Capitol (e.g., Sacramento) after the popular votes have been counted. Because of U.S. state sovereignty and varying vote-tabulating methods/technology, federal law stipulates that the votes must be tallied (at the latest) by December 14th.

The number of State Electors depends on how many Congressional Representatives are in the state. Altogether, there is a total of 538 electoral votes among the 50 U.S. States. California has the most electoral votes at 55 and then Texas is in second place with 38. The State Electors may not already be federally elected officials so as to avoid bias and conflicts of interest in the election process.

The candidate who first receives a majority of at least 270 (or more) electoral votes will be elected President. If both candidates do not receive a majority of electoral votes, then the election process is deferred to the House of Representatives who will need to cast ballots for President. There must be a 2/3 majority of votes for the President to be elected.

Five times in U.S. history, including the most recent presidential election of 2016, even though a particular candidate received the majority of the Popular Vote, the President was ultimately elected by the Electoral College. Remember that the number of State Electors can vary significantly by state, therefore, it is possible, albeit rare, that the Electoral College could determine the outcome of the presidential election, rather than the actual Popular Vote.

PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION CEREMONY

The new President will be sworn in at the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony as the 46th President of the United States the following year in late January.

For more information on the U.S. presidential election process, please visit USA.gov.

Source: USA.gov

USCIS Application Fee Increase Suspension & I-765 Edition Clarification

Hello Global Spartans,

As many of you are probably aware, USCIS announced that they would be implementing application fee increases by October 2, 2020, which would result in the I-765 fee increasing from $410.00 to $550.00. However, effective September 30, 2020, a Federal Judge issued a preliminary injunction (temporary suspension) on the proposed USCIS application fee increases slated to begin on October 2, 2020.

This means that the I-765 FEE WILL NOT CHANGE and will continue to be $410.00. Please remember that this is merely a temporary suspension of the proposed USCIS application fee increases. It is still possible that the application fee increases could eventually be implemented by USCIS. We strongly recommend that you continue to check our website, consult our International Student Advisors, and read the ISSS Views & News Blog posts for any updates regarding this matter.

Forbes article on USCIS fee increase injunction.

Current I-765 Edition Clarification

There is also a temporary suspension of the new 10/02/2020 I-765 edition. The current I-765 edition will remain to be 08/25/2020 until further notice (see example below). ALWAYS go to the USCIS I-765 landing page to download the current I-765 edition each time that you apply for OPT (e.g., Post/Pre-Completion OPT & STEM-Extension OPT). 

 

You can find the I-765 edition date in the bottom left corner of the I-765

Warm Regards,

The ISSS Staff