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).

Sincerely,

ISSS

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: https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-lockbox-updates.

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

 

Sincerely,

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 international-office@sjsu.edu

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.

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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.

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