We hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy as we begin the spring semester. Here is some information that may interest you. .
ISSO Live Chats
The ISSO advisors will be available to chat online during regular advising hours. To chat, visit utdallas.edu/ic/issoadvising/ and look for the “We Are Here” widget during advising hours. This chat is for general questions only. Do not share your ID number or other private information, as the live chat is not encrypted.
- Mondays 10am - 11:45am and 3pm - 4:45pm CST
- Tuesdays 10am - 11:45am and 3pm - 4:45pm CST
- Wednesdays 6pm - 7:45pm CST
- Thursdays 10am - 11:45am and 3pm - 4:45pm CST
- Fridays 3pm - 4:45pm CST
Contact an advisor
Advisors are working remotely and can answer your immigration questions in a scheduled appointment or through the Ask an Advisor eForm in iComet (http://utd.edu/t/6085).
ISSO Office Phone Lines
You can call the ISSO! Our welcome desk staff will answer phone calls to our main office line 972-882-4189 between 11 am - 2 pm. The welcome desk staff are not advisors and cannot offer immigration advising.
ISSO Group Chats
The ISSO hosts small group sessions on a variety of hot topics and answers your questions. Advisors will meet with small groups of students via Microsoft Teams. Upcoming topics will include CPT and OPT. See the schedule and sign up online: utdallas.edu/ic/issoadvising/.
The mandatory CPT and OPT workshops are available online through iComet. In-person workshops are cancelled until further notice.
Time Sensitive Reminders for F-1 Students
Graduation and Beyond
Before February 6, 2021. If you are an F-1 student, have completed your academic requirements and will remain in the U.S. after graduation, make appropriate preparations such as applying for OPT, starting another academic program or transferring out to another school.
Change of Level
Before Census Day, February 3, 2021. Students who will complete an academic program or end OPT in the Fall 2020 semester and will continue or begin another degree program in the Spring 2021 semester, must obtain a Change of Level I-20 to maintain their F-1 status.
Change of Major
Census Day, February 3, 2021. Students whose primary major will change to a different Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code for the Spring 2021 semester, will be issued a Change of Major I-20 by the International Center beginning Census Day of the Spring 2021 semester. These students will receive an e-mail notification when their new I-20 has been issued.
USCIS Delays and Lockbox Changes
Most students who have applied for OPT are experience extreme delays in receiving their receipt notice for their application. USCIS is experiencing a high volume of incoming applications and slower processing times due to social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are forwarding some cases to other processing centers, to help improve processing times. The filing location for OPT applications has changed to the Chicago Lockbox Any applications received at the Dallas lockbox will be either processed by Dallas lockbox or routed to Chicago for processing. If you have already mailed your application, it will be processed. There is no action for you to take as a result of this change.
Spring 2021 Enrollment Requirements
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has extended the fall guidance on enrollment requirements for spring 2021. Continuing students who were in active F-1 status on March 9, 2020 may choose to enroll online or in person as they wish. Students whose F-1 status began after March 9, 2020 must have at least one class with an in-person component (face-to-face, hybrid, HyFlex).
Spring Graduation OPT Dates
If you are completing your academic program this semester and plan to apply for post-completion OPT, the ISSO will begin accepting OPT applications for Spring 2021 graduates on February 14, 2021. ISSO processing times for OPT applications are 7 business days. USCIS must receive your OPT application no later than July 14, 2021. F-1 students applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) are required to complete the online OPT workshop in iComet before applying for post-completion OPT.
Ensure your Home Address in Galaxy is up to date for Spring 2021 Study
Check your Galaxy account to make sure your current physical address is listed as your home address. If you are a continuing F-1 student who will be studying outside the U.S. for the spring 2021 semester, the ISSO will be sending you a new, electronic I-20 by February 18, 2021. The new I-20 will include a remark stating that you are studying outside the U.S. for this semester. You do not need to submit a request - the ISSO will automatically issue the I-20 for all F-1 students with home addresses in Galaxy that are located outside the U.S.
Not All On-Campus Employment is Allowed for F-1 Students
On-campus employment options depend on where the work is physically located and who the employer is. F-1 students may work on campus, employed by UT Dallas, or by on-campus commercial firms that directly serve the UT Dallas student population (Chartwells, University Bookstore, etc). Positions with third parties not providing services directly to students (alumni call center) or personal services for faculty or staff (housekeeping, lawn care) is not allowed. Refer to information on the F-1 Student Employment page for more information.
Refer to travel and re-entry information for information on re-entering the United States after holiday travel in F-1 status. If you have received a soft copy Form I-20, it can be used for travel. You will print it, sign it, and carry it with you while traveling. Check page 2 of your current I-20 to see if you already have a travel endorsement. Travel endorsements are valid for 12 months for current students and for 6 months for students on OPT.
Report Your OPT Employment
F-1 students currently on OPT are required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to report any changes to employment or residential address within 10 days of the change. Failure to timely report may jeopardize your F-1 status and OPT benefit. Visit the OPT webpage for further information.
Winter Storms Season
While severe winter storms are rare in Texas, the International Center would like you to be prepared. Review the Winter Storms information on the UT Dallas Emergency Preparedness Information webpagefor detailed information. It is located under the "Know Your Hazards" section. In the event that International Center staff are unavailable due to an emergency, call the UT Dallas Police Department at 972-883-2222. If the UT Dallas Police are unavailable, and you need critical immigration assistance or evacuation, contact the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at [email protected], or call 703-603-3400.
Don't Get Scammed!
The ISSO has received reports of scammers calling students, pretending to be ISSO, Registrar or other university or U.S. government officials and threatening deportation. U.S. government agencies do not call, text, or email. The ISSO and Registrar's office will only call you if you have scheduled an appointment. If you have any questions about a potential contact or scam, call the UT Dallas Police at 972-883-2222. You may also report potential scams to [email protected]
Official communications from UT Dallas about COVID-19 will continue to be provided via UT Dallas email addresses and the UT Dallas website, utdallas.edu/coronavirus/. If you are uncertain about the source of communications you receive, please validate legitimacy. You may also contact the UT Dallas Information Security Office [email protected].