Free Access to Sprintax Tax Preparation!

Dear International Students,

It’s important to be aware that, as a non-resident student in the US, you’re legally required to file a tax return if you received US income during 2020.  And even if you didn’t work or receive income in the US, you’re still obliged to file a Form 8843 with the IRS.

San Jose State University has arranged free access to Sprintax Tax Preparation for you! Sprintax will guide you through the tax preparation process, arrange the necessary documents and check if you’re due a tax refund.

Sprintax was used by over 324,116 international students and scholars last year, and the average Federal refund received by eligible students was over $1,126.

All you need to do is:

1. Register and follow the simple instructions
2. Complete the online questionnaire
3. Enter your unique code: SpR20SJSU601F in the box on the ‘Review your order’ page
4. Sprintax will prepare your tax return

Finally, once you complete the preparation process in the Sprintax software, you must print, sign and mail your documents to the IRS.

If you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via their 24/7 live chat facility. You can also join a Sprintax webinar for SJSU students on March 3, 2021 from 1:00-2:00 pm (PT).



USCIS Receipt Notice Delays

USCIS recently announced that it will take approximately 6 to 8 weeks for applicants to receive a filing receipt for their I-765 OPT Applications. This delay began in November 2020, which subsequently affected thousands of international students who have since applied for Post-Completion OPT or STEM-Extension OPT. 

You are asked to please be patient while USCIS continues to clear its substantial backlog.  After 60 days, you may contact USCIS for assistance if you still have not received a filing receipt (I-797). The OPT Application Form I-765 is your personal application for employment and only you can speak with a USCIS Representative regarding any topics pertaining to your I-765.  For more information about the USCIS receipt notice delay, please go here:

For specific information as to how the receipt notification delays may affect the automatic 180-day extensions for requested STEM-Extension OPT (I-765) applications, please schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor



ISSS Staff

ISSS Immigration Reminders for the Spring 2021 Term

Welcome to the spring 2021 academic semester at SJSU! We wanted to share immigration information with you as we start the spring semester.

If you are currently in the US studying at SJSU, please keep in mind the following:

Advising Appointments: Have questions regarding your F-1 status? Then please schedule an appointment to meet with an ISSS Advisor. 

Academic Advisor vs. International Student Advisor: Please remember that ISSS Advisors cannot advise on course enrollment queries or department-specific eligibility requirements for certain courses. An Academic/Major Advisor should be able to address these questions. However, International Student Advisors can discuss the specific rules that pertain to F-1 students’ immigration status in terms of full-time course enrollment, online vs. in-person vs. hybrid courses, and concurrent enrollment/RCL possibilities.

Employment: You are eligible to work on-campus for SJSU in F-1 status without ISSS authorization. Make plans to attend the F-1 Employment Options Workshop on February 3rd to learn more about employment options for F-1 students (on-campus, CPT, OPT). ISSS Webpage for Calendar

Completing your program at the end of Spring 2021: Review the OPT tutorial and make plans to attend a Spring 2021 Post OPT workshop. F-1 Employment Workshops

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for International Students:

*FAQs for Continuing Students

*FAQs for New/Initial Students (Spring 2021)

First Semester at SJSU: If you are in the US, then complete the required immigration document upload. Information regarding this should have been emailed to your SJSU email address.

Full-time enrollment: You are required to be enrolled full-time: 12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students. The last day to add a class is February 15th.

I-94 Record: Did you travel outside the US recently? Check your I-94 to see if your record shows your most recent entrance into the US, as well as the correct visa class (F-1) and an admit until date of “D/S,” (Duration of Status). If there are any issues, email ISSS at

Know your I-20 end date: We recommend that you schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor approximately 1 or 2 semesters before you plan on completing your degree to discuss options after graduation.

Travel Signatures: This can be found on page 2 of your I-20. Travel endorsements are valid for one calendar year. Starting February 15th, we will start to accept travel signature requests. Please submit the Travel Signature Request form.


Students Who Have Graduated from SJSU and are now on post-completion OPT: 

*Know your reporting requirements and update your SEVP portal within 10 days of any changes in physical address, and/or employment.

*Travel signatures are valid for 6 months. Please submit the Travel Signature Request form.


Students Who Have Graduated from SJSU and are now on STEM OPT: 

*Know your reporting requirements of updating ISSS via the Employment Update Report within 10 days of a change in physical address, and/or employment, in addition to the required 6-month validation reports. 

*Travel signatures are valid for 6 months. Please submit the Travel Signature Request form.

2021 Presidential Inauguration

The 59th Presidential Inauguration: Why Is It So Important?

The 59th Presidential Inauguration for the 46th President (President-Elect Joe Biden) will be taking place on Wednesday, January 20th. Per the Constitution, the day of the Inauguration will always take place on January 20th unless January 20th falls on a Sunday, then it will take place the following day on January 21st. The President-Elect is sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as the new President of the United States.

However, for many Americans, including the rest of the world, the upcoming American Presidential Inauguration will have much more significance than ever before in light of the recent violence that has taken place at the U.S. Capitol. Historically, the Presidential Inauguration has always represented two extremely important facets of the American Democracy: a peaceful transfer of power and continuity of our system of government as prescribed by the Constitution.

History of the Presidential Inauguration & Swearing-In

The first Inauguration Ceremony took place in New York City in 1789 and began with our first President, George Washington. Washington established many of the traditions that we currently practice today, such as the incoming President placing their left hand on a Bible during the swearing-in as well as the many festivities that occur after the President is sworn in.  Interestingly, not all presidents have been sworn in with a Bible and actually chose different texts to place their left hand on, including a law text and a Roman Catholic Missal (a small book of biblical verses and hymns for a singular church service.) The most important part of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony consists of the swearing-in/Oath of Office of the new President by the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

What is the “Oath of Office”?

The President takes an “Oath of Office,” which is mandated by Article II, Section One of the Constitution, by placing their left hand on a Bible while raising their right hand in the air and then proceeding to recite the following Oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Technically, even before the new President takes their Oath of Office and is sworn in, the Vice-President will have taken the following Oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

This Oath is also recited to swear in other federal employees such as Senators and Congressional Representatives.

Schedule of Events for the Inauguration Ceremony

Since the very first Presidential Inauguration, there has always been a “ceremony” attached to the official swearing-in that features several festivities and a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue. At a typical Inauguration Ceremony, excluding 2021 due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions and security concerns, there is usually a crowd of approximately 200,000 attendees to witness the Oath of Office and the ensuing events throughout the day. Below is the official schedule for the 59th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony provided by PBS (KQED):

  • 11 a.m. – Joe Biden arrives at the U.S. Capitol.
  • 11:15 a.m. – The inauguration program begins.
    • Invocation – Father Leo J. O’Donovan
    • Pledge of Allegiance – Andrea Hall
    • National Anthem – Lady Gaga
    • Poetry Reading – Amanda Gorman
    • Musical Performance – Jennifer Lopez
  • 12 p.m. – Biden is sworn in as 46th president.
  • 2:30 to 3p.m. – Biden lays a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.
  • 3:15 to 3:30 p.m. – Joe and Jill Biden receive a presidential military escort to the White House.
  • TBD – The virtual “Parade Across America” begins once the Bidens enter the White House and will feature communities around the country.
  • 8:30 p.m. – Actor Tom Hanks hosts a 90-minute special featuring remarks by Biden and Harris and performances by Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, and others.

What is Different About This Year’s Inauguration?

  1. As mentioned above, Covid-19 restrictions as well as the recent uprising at the U.S. Capitol have led to a few significant changes to the normally scheduled events during the Presidential Inauguration. Traditionally, the outgoing President and his family invite the incoming President and his family to the White House for a friendly breakfast, which will not take place this year due to multiple reasons.
  2. After breakfast, the families travel together to the Inauguration as a symbolic display of solidarity. However, this year’s Inauguration will be different in that the outgoing President has announced that he will not attend the incoming President’s swearing-in, which would make him the fourth President in U.S. history not to attend their successor’s swearing-in.
  3. The crowd attending the Inauguration will be significantly smaller than ever before. While most Inaugurations are attended by nearly 200,00 spectators, this year’s Inauguration only permits Congressmen to bring one guest to the Inauguration due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions and severe security concerns.
  4. The Parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in addition to events taking place later in the evening will be virtual and available online.

Looking Forward

Presidential Inaugurations are one of the many staples of the American Democratic system and will remain to represent a peaceful transfer of power. As a country, this smooth transition from one democratically elected official to another is what differentiated the U.S. from many other countries after its inception over 200 years ago. It is imperative that we remember from where and from whom we come as a nation, and that we have always been a fluid and vast tapestry of cultures and creeds, but ultimately we are all considered to be Americans.









Second Stimulus Payments & How They Apply to Nonresidents

Dear International Students,

The Sprintax team has graciously provided an overview of the second stimulus payment in their latest blog post to help with questions you may have in terms of how the additional stimulus payments could affect international students/nonresidents.

Sprintax Blog Post on the Second Stimulus Payment

In the above blog post, Sprintax runs through topics such as:

  • Who is eligible to keep/receive the second stimulus payment
  • Who is not eligible to keep/receive the second stimulus payment
  • What to do if you have received the payment in error
  • What to do if you already amended your tax return, returned the first stimulus payment but have now received the second payment
  • Other useful Q and A around the topic


Sprintax & ISSS