An electronic news service for international students and scholars, owned by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services atBinghamtonUniversity, State University of New York
Visit ISSS on the Web! http://isss.binghamton.edu
Editor’s Note: The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will be installing a new data base system December 6-8, 2011. On those three days, ISSS will not be able to access the Federal SEVIS database which produces I-20s and DS-2019s. It is anticipated that following a successful installation, production of I-20s and DS-2019s will resume on Friday, December 9, 2011.
1. New President of Binghamton University is Announced
2. National Holidays for the Month of December
3. Health Insurance Walk-In Hours Cancelled for Tuesday, November 29
4. Fall 2011 International Student Graduation Reception Update
5. Next International Coffee Hour Thursday, December 1 (note the date change)
6. Is Your I-20 or DS-2019 Expiring Soon? Do You Need an Extension of Stay?
7. Like Us on Facebook
8. Going Global, A New Internet Job and Career Resource for International Students is Now Available
9. Traveling Over Intersession? Don’t Let This Happen to You!
10. Holiday Curtailment Dates for International Student and Scholar Services
11. Practical Training Update from the ISSS
12. Fiscal Year 2012 H-1B Cap Has Been Reached
13. SEVIS Compliance and Spring 2012 Registration
14. SEVIS Compliance for Students Not Returning for Spring 2012
15. Important Announcement Regarding Addresses for W-2 Forms
16. Tax Time is Coming!
On Tuesday, November 22, 2011, the State University of New York Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher to appoint Harvey G. Stenger Jr. as president of Binghamton University, effective Jan. 1, 2012.
Dr. Stenger served most recently as the interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University at Buffalo (UB). Prior to this appointment, Dr. Stenger served as the dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UB. To read more, click here.
The following countries are celebrating national holidays during December:
|Central African Republic||1-Dec|
|United Arab Emirates||2-Dec|
There will be no health-insurance walk-in hours on Tuesday, November 29. Those in need of assistance with their health insurance questions should come to the walk-in hours on Tuesday, December 1 from 10:15am to Noon. Individual appointments with a member of the Health Insurance Team may also be scheduled for this week (except November 29), for those who are either unable to attend the walk-in hours, who have a complicated question or questions, or who need to meet with someone sooner than the next available walk-in times.
The fourth annual Fall International Student Graduation Reception will take place, Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm in the University Union Susquehanna Room. Invitations will be sent by email later this week to Binghamton.edu addresses of students who have declared candidacy for Fall 2011, as well as to all exchange students completing their programs in December. All students completing their programs in December who plan to attend need to respond by completing the on-line reply form (once they receive the email message) no later than December 5! Be sure to indicate any guests who may accompany you by indicating the appropriate number on the response form.
The Fall International Student Graduation Reception is open to students who graduated in Summer 2011, and those who will graduate later this month. Please note that the date is the evening before Fall commencement. Desserts and beverages be served, there will be many photo opportunities, and a commemorative certificate will be given to each student being honored.
Students frequently ask about appropriate dress for the reception. While business suits are not required, consider it a Saturday evening out, so feel free to dress up in Western or traditional clothing! The reception will end before 9:00pm, so there will be plenty of time for you to enjoy other evening plans following the reception. Cameras are encouraged, as there will be lots of opportunities for picture taking. This is your evening to celebrate your achievement!
Good company! Free refreshments! Relax and celebrate the last day of classes by coming to this month's International Coffee Hour on Thursday, December 1 (note the date change for this time only) from 3:30-5pm in University Union Old Union Hall. This month's sponsors are the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and International Affairs, and the Office of International Programs.
The Coffee Hour strives to be a space where the entire Binghamton University community, including international students, U.S. students, faculty/staff, and community members are welcome. The coffee hours are informal and provide an opportunity to meet and learn more about each other in a relaxed atmosphere. They are held on the first Friday of every month during the academic year from 3:30pm-5pm. Each coffee hour has free hot and cold beverages and cookies, sponsored by a different department on campus.
International Student and Scholar Services has a Facebook page! Please go to http://www.facebook.com/ISSS.BinghamtonUniversity We hope you’ll “like” us!!!
The Career Development Center and the ISSS are proud to announce the availability of a new, free resource, "Going Global." Going Global is a career and employment internet resource for evaluating, selecting and transitioning into a successful career in the United States or a different country from your home.
This is what a current international students had to say about “Going Global:”
“I really like the USA/Canada City Career Guides, because that gives the details (including cost of living...etc) for each city, and I think that's very helpful for international students like us to learn more about each city and think about where to work after graduation. I really like the Job posting and Internship Listing section of the website and that it gives information on employers who sponsor international students for H-1B visas.”
Going Global’s 80,000 page database contains Country Career Guides, USA and Canadian City Career Guides, corporate profiles, worldwide job and internship openings and H1B visa employer listings. Get professional advice on such topics as: the current employment outlook, hiring trends, job search resources, executive recruiters, staffing agencies, work permit regulations, salary ranges, resume/CV writing guidelines, professional and social networking groups, trade associations, interview and cultural advice.
Going Global’s H1B Plus database is an incredibly robust system which contains all Department of Labor H1B visa application records. Listings can be simultaneously searched by job title, occupation, employer, location and/or wage.
Going Global also provides more than 16 million worldwide job and internship listings. Opportunities are posted for major multinational companies and are updated daily.
To access Going Global, click here and sign in using your Pods user name and password. This link is also available from the Career Development Homepage (under Popular Links) and the ISSS Homepage (under “News”).
This is the time of year when many international students whose I-20 or DS-2019 will expire this month, but who will be continuing their studies for Spring 2012, are applying for an extension of stay. Students who will begin a new level of study (e.g., completing bachelor’s and commencing master’s or completing master’s and commencing PhD) receive a new I-20 for the new level of study. Changes in level of study require an admission letter from the Graduate School (if completing a bachelor’s and commencing master’s) or from the student’s academic department (if completing master’s and commencing PhD) verifying that the student has been approved for the new level of study, and the semester that the new level will begin.
Student’s with I-20s or DS-2019s expiring in December 2011 but who will continue their studies at BU must begin the extension of stay process (or change in level of study process) well before that date so that the new I-20 is issued before the I-20 expiration date.
Complete information and the required forms are available in the ISSS, or on-line at:
http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/immigration/index.html Select “F-1 Extension of Stay” or “J-1 Extension of Stay” as appropriate.
During intersession break, International Student and Scholar Services staff receive a number of worried phone calls and emails from BU students who are traveling outside the United States. The reason? Either the student has forgotten to travel with their current I-20 (or, if in J status, their DS-2019), and tells ISSS staff that the I-20 (or DS-2019) was left behind in their Binghamton apartment or residence hall, OR the student has the I-20 (or DS-2019) with them, but the form lacks a current travel signature.
Either way, that creates a very big problem for the student upon his or her return to the United States, because the student will be stopped by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Official for failure to present the appropriate documents. At the very least, this will result in delays at immigration inspection at the U.S. port of entry, and possibly, the issuance of only a 30-day stay in the United States.
So, don’t let this happen to you! Be sure to have your I-20 or DS-2019 when you travel (and if you have multiple documents, have them with you to present in case you are asked to do so). Also, check your most recent I-20 (or DS-2019) to be sure you have a currently valid travel signature. The travel signature should be less than one year old as of the date you will return to the United States.
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services, along with most other university offices, will be participating in what is traditionally known at the University as the "holiday curtailment" period. The official holiday curtailment starts at the close of business on Friday, December 23, 2011 with offices re-opening on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. During this period, there will be no mail delivery into or out of offices. Voice mail, e-mail and fax will be monitored periodically, but not every day.
International students and scholars who have paperwork that needs to be processed by the ISSS should note these dates and anticipate that after Friday, December 23, there will be a wait until January 3 before work resumes. It is strongly recommended that any requests for documents be made no later than Wednesday, December 14 to assure timely processing. Remember not to wait until the last minute!
If you are graduating in December, are in F-1 status, and have been planning to apply for post-completion optional practical training, but have not yet done so, do not delay! Fall 2011 graduates must send their completed applications to the USCIS Vermont Processing Center so that it arrives there before February 16, 2012, which is 60 days following the completion date for Fall graduates.
Please keep in mind that the ISSS office will curtail services at 4:30pm on Friday, December 23, 2011 and will not reopen until Tuesday, January 3, 2012.
We remind our F-1 students to allow 10 business days for the ISSS portion of the processing of OPT applications. Traditionally, the ISSS has advised students to allow 12 weeks for application processing by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. You are urged to consider these dates when submitting your paperwork. Applications are available in the ISSS.
Once you receive your EAD card, please bring it to the ISSS so that a copy can be made for your file. This will prove very useful to you in case the card is ever lost or misplaced. Remember: you cannot begin employment any earlier than the starting date on the EAD card.
The following information comes from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website: www.uscis.gov
On November 23, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2012. USCIS is notifying the public that yesterday, Nov. 22, 2011, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2012 (October 1, 2011-September 30, 2012). Last year, the cap was not reached until January.
Properly filed cases will be considered received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition; not the date that the petition was postmarked. USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for new H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in FY 2012 that arrive after Nov. 22, 2011.
As of Oct. 19, 2011, USCIS had also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the ‘advanced degree’ exemption.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. In addition, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted toward the FY 2012 H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as scientists, engineers or computer programmers.
13. SEVIS Compliance and Spring 2012 Registration
It's very important that all BU students in F or J status who will be registered for the Spring 2011 semester know the SEVIS rules for being in compliance.
SEVIS Registration Deadline
The SEVIS deadline for continuing students to be registered for the Spring 2012 semester is March 1, 2012 (30 days following the first day of classes). Although the University has a late registration deadline of February 10, 2012, some graduate students, especially those taking dissertation or thesis credit, sometimes register after the University’s late registration deadline.
Graduate Students Who Can Be Certified Full Time
Graduate students (both master's and PhD) who are course-completed and register for thesis, project, pre-dissertation, dissertation or other course rubrics that are eligible to be certified as full time even though the number of credits will be below the normal full-time course load must submit the Graduate School's "Certification of Full-Time Working Towards Degree Status For Students Not Receiving Funding” OR “Certification of Full-Time Working Towards Degree Status Funded Students Only” to their department each semester for filing with the Graduate School.
A graduate student who can be considered as “full-time” with fewer than 9 credits (such as a student taking thesis or dissertation credit) should still show as 9 credits in BU Brain because additional credits of GRAD 700 (if not funded) or GRAD 701 (if funded) will be added by the Graduate School to bring the student to 9 credits, once the student submits the required “Certification of Full-Time Working Towards Degree Status Form.”
Students Graduating in May 2012 Who Will Be Less Than Full-Time
Undergraduate students who will be graduating at the end of the Spring 2012 semester and plan to register for less than a full-time course load because they need fewer than full-time credits to graduate must complete a "Request for a Reduced Course Load Due to Course Completion" form, available in the ISSS or by downloading the form from the web at:
Graduate students who are graduating at the end of Spring 2012 and are registered for a course rubric that cannot be certified as full time must also complete this form.
14. SEVIS Compliance for Students Not Returning for Spring 2012
Students not returning to Binghamton University for the Spring 2012 semester need to complete a departure form with the ISSS, unless they will be on optional practical training. The departure form is available on the ISSS website. Visit:
Those needing to complete a departure form include:
Annual W-2 statements of earnings will be mailed directly to faculty, staff and student home addresses in January 2012. If you are paid on the NYS payroll (Graduate Assistants, Adjuncts, Teaching Assistants, most faculty and professional staff), the Office of Human Resources needs to confirm that home addresses are correct in their systems to ensure the mailing is successful. We ask that all faculty, staff and students check the address as recorded on their paychecks to be sure it is accurate. If you need to make any changes, report this to your department and they will submit the necessary Oracle personal data change form. Otherwise, print this form:
At the end of the month, many of you will receive in the mail annual statements from your bank or credit union, listing your 2011 interest earnings "for income tax purposes." Some of you who filed tax forms last year may receive new forms in the mail from both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and New York State. By the end of January, those of you who were employed in the U.S. during 2011 will receive a Wage and Tax Statement for 2011, also known as a W-2 form.
What does all this mean, and what should you do with these forms?
What follows is an introduction to U.S. income tax basics:
ALL students in F and J status are required to file tax returns, even if you have earned no income in the United States. The ISSS will have both federal and state tax forms available in late January, and will provide information on how to complete the forms. Watch future issues of ISSS-BU News for details. During December, the ISSS will be updating the Taxes section of the ISSS web site, http://www2.binghamton.edu/isss/taxes/index.html
The ISSS provides free income tax compliance software, known as Glacier Tax Prep (formerly called CINTAX), to all international students, international faculty and scholars, and international alumni who are eligible to be considered as non-residents for tax purposes (see the next paragraph for information on what qualifies someone to be a non-resident. Glacier Tax Prep provides an easy to use web interface for entering information regarding your income tax liability, and then enters the information onto the required forms so that you can print them. Glacier Tax Prep is password-protected so that only you have access to the information. Do not attempt to complete your income tax forms using the e-filing options recommended by the Internal Revenue Service. It is not possible to e-file tax returns if you are a non-resident for tax purposes. Information about how to access and use Glacier Tax Prep will be announced in January.
International students in F or J status for 5 years or less (since 2007 or later) and their dependents, file tax forms as non-residents. Research scholars or faculty in J-1 status for 2 years or less (since 2010 or later) also file as non-residents.
If you did not earn any U.S. income during 2011 other than bank or credit union interest, then you need only file form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition. The purpose of the 8843 is to verify that the non-resident qualifies to exempt days of presence, and thus shields the non-resident from being taxed as a resident. Being taxed as a U.S. resident allows the IRS to tax your world-wide income.
The deadline for filing tax forms is April 16, 2012. International students who have been in for F or J status for more than 5 years, research scholars and faculty who have been in J-1 status for more than 2 years, or those who are in other non- immigrant statuses, are generally eligible to file as residents for tax purposes, and must use different forms.
International Student and Scholar Services staff are neither qualified nor permitted to give individual tax advice. Students with complicated tax situations may wish to consult with a tax preparation service, professional tax accountant, or tax attorney who is knowledgeable about nonresident tax law.
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Last Updated: 4/10/12