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.

*****

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.

Student Spotlight: Haruka Ogawa

Haruka Ogawa

    • Undergraduate Student
    • Major: Political Science
    • Home Town: Saitama, Japan

Haruka is a volunteer Peer Mentor in the iSucceed Mentorship Program for international students. She is also involved in the Career Development Club, serving as the Event Coordinator.

What is your dream job?

My future goal is to become an academic counselor for international students in community colleges, and volunteering as an iSucceed peer mentor helps me to obtain essential experience. 

What types of activities are you involved in at SJSU or in your community?

I participated in the Virtual International Program last semester and I liked it because I had a chance to share my culture and learn about American cultures and perspectives through my partner. It was very reflective and I learned so much! 

What is something you want others to know about your hometown, home country, or culture?

I went to Shibuya Sky last year to see the sunset and it was absolutely amazing! Highly recommended place if you are making a plan to visit Tokyo! 

What do you enjoy most about SJSU?

I enjoy the environment of SJSU and it is very diverse! I like getting involved in school and student community at SJSU because it is so diverse and it allowed me to learn about many different cultures and engage students who have different backgrounds!  

Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?

Grassy area on campus! 

What do you wish you had known sooner about life in the U.S. or being a student at SJSU?

Where I can ask for help and get involved in the local community and students. I am so happy that SJSU has a well-organized system to support international students because my community college did not have one. I decided to join the Career Development Club to get involved with the student community and VIP program that I mentioned previously. It would be better if I knew these support systems and clubs earlier.    

What message do you have for our Global Spartan community?

I would say being active, not being passive! People will support you to achieve your goals once you show your activeness! I do understand that it might be scary to break out of your comfort zone, but you made it to come to SJSU from your country to study, so I believe you can do beyond that 🙂 

Stay safe and connected, my international friends!

Happy New Year and warm wishes for the spring 2021 semester!

‘There is always light. Only if we are brave enough to see it. Only if we are brave enough to be it.’  ~ Amanda Gorman 

On behalf of all of us in International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS), Happy New Year! We hope the year ahead is filled with light, hope, excitement, renewed energy and much celebration. All of us in ISSS are proud of you, our Global Spartans. We value your perseverance, despite the challenges and obstacles of the past year, and commend your brave ability to see the light.

As you begin the spring 2021 semester, either as a new student or a continuing student, we remind you that ISSS is here to support you and to help you succeed while at SJSU and beyond. Although our services are virtual for now, we continue to be available for you. You can schedule an appointment with an advisor to discuss the more complex questions or stop by for a quick question during our daily zoom Q&A sessions. Please also take advantage of the many virtual events we have planned for you to keep you engaged and connected with the Global Spartan community. And don’t forget to tap into our wonderful Global Leaders who continue to be an amazing resource for you and offer a unique peer to peer perspective.

Please also remember that effective January 26th, all air passengers entering the United States will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight. Here is a short video with more information from our Student Health Center. In short, you will need: 1) to get your COVID testing completed within 3 days of your departure; 2) provide written confirmation of your negative test results to the airline before boarding (previously infected passengers can provide documentation of their recovery in lieu of a negative test result); 3) get tested again within 3-5 days of arrival and self-isolate for one week or more.

Please also continue to monitor the immigration policy updates page on the website, for the most up to date information. With the most recent inauguration of our 46th U.S, President, Mr. Joseph R. Biden, and our 49th Vice-President, Madame Kamala Harris, some of the previous administration’s executive orders will continue to be revoked and altered. We encourage you to continue to read carefully any email messages from ISSS, as it will most likely contain important information and updates regarding your immigration status.

Finally, I am confident that 2021 will bring light and hope for all of us, but we must remain patient. I find comfort in knowing that this new administration will strengthen our commitment to embracing and celebrating our differences. The young poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, articulated the feelings and emotions so eloquently in her poem shared at the recent inauguration on January 20th:

‘We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.’

From all of us in ISSS, best wishes for a most successful and rewarding spring 2021 semester!