An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at Binghamton University, State University of New York
Visit ISSS on the Web! http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/index.html
There have been a number of questions asked in the ISSS regarding income taxes. Later this week, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services will open access to CINTAX, the web-based income tax preparation software for filing your federal tax forms. E-mail messages will be sent as soon as CINTAX is available. There will also be an announcement once income tax forms are available in the ISSS. However, if you will use CINTAX, it will print all the necessary Federal forms. The ISSS will also offer a series of on-line webinars on income tax preparation. Those will become available later this month. Walk-in hours for income tax assistance will begin in mid-March. For more information on tax filing, read today’s income tax article, below.
We are pleased to welcome our Spring 2011 new student subscribers to ISSS-BU News. You will receive your issues in your Binghamton.edu email account. Each Monday, ISSS-BU News brings you information regarding immigration and other U.S. federal regulations, announcements, and employment opportunities.
The best way to read ISSS-BU News is to first scan the “contents” section for articles of interest to you. Weekly editions of ISSS-BU News are also posted to the ISSS website; http://isss.binghamton.edu Just go the website and click on “ISSS-BU News.” Generally, the website is updated each Monday with the latest issue.
Each semester, awards of up to $500 are made to a small number of international students who have a severe financial need. To be eligible, students must be in F-1 or J-1 status, have been in attendance at Binghamton University at least one year (began their studies at Binghamton University in Spring 2010 or earlier), document need, have no outstanding obligations to the university, and be full-time students in good standing.
Some students may find themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own. Examples can include reduced support from a sponsor, or unanticipated expenses. Applicants are strongly advised to carefully document their financial situation when submitting the application form, as there are always more students seeking assistance than there are funds.
Students with outstanding balances in their student account with the University should note that based on BU policy, any scholarship award will first be applied towards the balance on their student bill. Applications are available now in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services and must be submitted no later than Monday, February 28, 2011.
If you’re like many Binghamton University ESL students, you may find that, for a variety of reasons, you have few opportunities outside of class to hear English being spoken and to speak it yourself. This lack of opportunities to practice English may slow down your learning of the language and perhaps prevent you from doing your best work in your courses. What can you do about this situation? One answer is to participate in the English Conversation Pairs Program.
In this program, a native English speaker and a non-native English speaker will join to form a conversation pair. Each pair will meet together approximately once a week, perhaps over lunch. These meetings will give the non-native speakers opportunities to practice spoken English and to ask questions about puzzling aspects of the language and American culture. In return, the native speakers will get a valuable chance to learn more about a culture different from their own.
There will be one organizational meeting Wednesday February 23rd at 4:45 in the Old University Union Room 111, where you will meet your partner. After that, each pair will decide when and where they will meet. If you join this program, you should be committed to spending one hour a week in conversation with your partner, even if you are busy. You should also plan to call your partner sometimes to arrange your meetings; don’t let your partner do all the work!
To fill out an application online visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YRFZRSW
If you have any questions about this survey please contact the English Conversation Pairs Director Shannon Hilliker-VanStrander at firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications are due by Tuesday, February 15th!
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services offers students four dedicated email accounts to answer questions. The addresses are:
Health Insurance: email@example.com
Extensions of Stay: firstname.lastname@example.org
All other inquiries: email@example.com
The Career Development Center’s Job and Internship Fair is this Wednesday, February 9th from 11:00am-3:30pm in the Events Center. All majors are encouraged to attend. Nearly 60 organizations will be present to discuss internship & job opportunities. Non-Profit, Government, and For-Profit organizations will all be in attendance. Visit the CDC website at http://binghamton.experience.com/stu/cf_details?fhnd=4902 for more information and a list of participating organizations. This fair is for ALL BU students!
Bring copies of your resume and dress professionally!
International students in F-1 or J-1 status are reminded that all off-campus employment, including internships, must be authorized before employment can begin. Questions? Come to the ISSS or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
On Friday, January 28, students (graduate and undergraduate) who did not confirm their enrollment via BU BRAIN had their spring 2011 course registration canceled. Students may wish to check BU-Brain to be sure your registration is still in order. Students whose courses were dropped will need to re-enroll. Students may only re-register online for courses that have open seats. If a course is closed, the student will need to petition with the department and/or instructor to be added
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services is pleased to announce that the BU International Student Handbook is now on line! This is the same handbook we make available to new students at Orientation, and the contents have been updated for Spring 2011.
The advantage of the on line handbook is that much of the information is very valuable to new students, who may find the on-line edition easier to consult than the paper version. Further, current students who have outdated copies of the Handbook from when they participated in Orientation can now have the advantage of viewing the latest materials with ease.
The Handbook is available at:
A contents index may be viewed on the left side of the screen.
Do you want to help new students and families get to know Binghamton University, and make connections with current faculty, staff, and students on campus? Looking for ways to gain great leadership experience? Consider becoming an Orientation Advisor! You can find more information about the position, as well as how to apply, by visiting: http://www2.binghamton.edu/orientation/staff/selection.html
The application is available on-line at the web link. There is also a required interview once the application is submitted. Applications are due by Friday, February 23, 2011.
Federal regulations exact heavy penalties for those students in F and J status who work off campus without authorization. The ISSS reminds all F and J students that all off-campus employment must be authorized before it can begin. This includes internships, curricular practical training (CPT), and other types of off-campus experiences, whether or not you are receiving college credit for it.
To work off-campus without the appropriate authorization is considered illegal employment according to federal immigration law and is a potentially deportable offense. SEVIS regulations require that all unauthorized employment be reported. So, now more than ever, it's essential for international students to understand the off-campus employment rules that pertain to them.
Special Note: International students who are employed off-campus as part of a cooperative arrangement with their BU academic department AND are paid by either the State or SUNY Research Foundation payroll under the terms of a GA or RA stipend are considered to be authorized for this employment. The SPIR program is an example of this kind of cooperative arrangement.
"The term employee means an individual who provides services or labor for an employer for wages or other remuneration." 8 CFR 274a.1(f)
Remuneration means something is given to you because you provided a service. It can be a paycheck, a bonus payment, a stipend, or it can be meal vouchers, room and board, or payment of your travel costs. Any of these would be considered to be employment under federal regulations. Simply put, if you receive anything for providing a service you are employed.
Volunteering is defined as engaging in an activity that anyone (US citizen or citizen of another country) would engage in without expectation of compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the service provided.
Complete information on all of the different employment categories for F and J students can be found by visiting the ISSS website at http://isss.binghamton.edu and clicking on "employment." If you are unsure if an activity would be considered employment, ask the ISSS!! And, view one of our employment webinars: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/empWebinar.html
Do you plan to begin working on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) on May 23th, immediately after graduation? Then you should submit your OPT Academic Advisor's Recommendation Form to the ISSS the week of February 14th to be sure you receive your EAD card in time.
It can take ISSS up to ten days to process your new I-20 for OPT. Then it takes on average of twelve weeks for USCIS to process your OPT application and issue your EAD card. You cannot begin working until the EAD card is in your hand and the start date has occurred.
If you haven't seen it already, please view our OPT webinar: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/empWebinar.html
All necessary forms and further information about OPT is on our website: http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/employment/index.html#opt Or, pick up an OPT packet at the ISSS office.
If you have a quick question about OPT or would like ISSS staff to review your OPT application before you mail it, please come to the Employment Walk-In Hours: every Tuesday from 1:30pm - 3:15pm at the ISSS Office.
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to send an e-mail message to email@example.com or make an appointment with either Shawna Szabo or Karen Keefe-Guzikowski by calling (607) 777-2510.
Connect by Hertz welcomes its newest addition to the fleet: a 2010 Ford Escape parked in front of Mohawk Hall. This car has a full leather interior, sunroof, touch-screen GPS and power everything. Reserve it today! Membership is free for students, faculty and staff. See http://facebook.com/binghamtonconnect for details.
Things can happen to paper I-20s or DS-2019s. They can be lost, stolen or damaged.
A Binghamton-issued I-20 or DS-2019 that is lost, stolen or damaged can be readily replaced in the ISSS at no cost. It is essential to have the I-20 (or DS-2019), along with your passport, with you when you travel, even for domestic travel within the United States or New York State.
Do you need to contact your home country’s Embassy or Consulate here in the United States? Do you need to contact another country’s Embassy or Consulate here in the United States? These useful links will help you. The home page of the embassy generally includes contact information, and links to the consulates.
Link to Foreign Embassies in the United States
For students from Taiwan:
Link to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Offices in the United States:
http://www.taiwanembassy.org/us/mp.asp?mp=12 (in Washington, D.C.)
http://www.taipei.org/ (in New York City)
DISCO International, organizer of the largest job fair for Japanese-English bilingual students, the Boston Career Forum, is encouraging students, especially if you wish to work in Japan, to begin thinking about your career early.
By starting the basics of job searching, such as self-analysis and creating your resume, as early as your sophomore year, it gives you more time and more opportunities to find the right career for you.
Learn how DISCO can assist you with your job searching process at:
Job fair for Japanese-English bilinguals - Career Forum
Unlike typical job fairs, you have the opportunity to meet and interview face-to-face with companies during the Career Forums. There's no fee to register and travel scholarships are available to help defray the cost of traveling.
For more details on our Career Forums, go to:
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. income tax law is very confusing (even more confusing than immigration law!). This is why the Office of International Student and Scholar Services has purchased the CINTAX tax preparation software for use by international students and scholars. With the availability of CINTAX, the focus of the tax webinars will include an overview of income tax law, tips for using CINTAX and instructions on how to file New York State tax forms. The webinars will not address filing federal income tax forms, because CINTAX helps prepare those forms for you. Then, all you need do is mail them. If you plan to view the income tax webinars on New York State tax filings, it’s important for you to have already filled out your federal income tax forms using CINTAX, and have a copy of your completed federal forms in hand.
Webinars will be ready within the next two weeks. This will be the fifth year that the ISSS is offering its series of income tax webinars, via the ISSS website. The on-line format is a great help for current and former students because you can view the webinars at a time convenient for you.
The webinars will be for F and J students who have been in the United States in F or J status 5 years or less (since 2006 or later). Students who were employed during the 2010 calendar year should have received a W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement) from their employer(s). By law, employers must send out W-2 forms to their employees no later than January 31. If you had more than one employer, you should receive a W-2 form from each. These forms are usually in three or four parts. One copy is for the employee, one copy is filed with the U.S. federal tax return, and one copy is filed with certain state tax returns.
The W-2 form contains very important information that you will need when you prepare your income tax forms.
International students and scholars in F and J status must file income tax forms each year, even those who were not employed.
ISSS-BU is a listserv owned and managed by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services, Division of Student Affairs, at the State University of New York at Binghamton. It is the publisher of ISSS-BU News. Permission is granted to freely distribute the information posted to this list as long as its contents remain unchanged.
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Last Updated: 6/5/12