International Students Services Newsletter Spring 2014

WELCOME NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS!

UTSA welcomed 189 new international students this spring semester. International Student Services and the Office of International Programs are here to assist you to be successful at UTSA.

International Student Services provides support for visa-related issues. If you have questions, you can visit our website or call us and speak to an international student advisor.

International student advisors are available:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Thursday & Friday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT

To maintain your visa status, F-1/J-1 visa students must be registered full time. Full-time enrollment for undergraduate students is 12 credit hours. It is 9 credit hours for graduate students. Remember, only one online course is counted toward the full-time requirement each semester.

F-1/J-1 visa regulations state that students must make normal progress toward completing their course of study by the program end date noted on the Form I-20/DS-2019. It is important that you meet with your academic advisor every semester to learn about your degree requirements and update your degree plan.

KEEP YOUR LOCAL ADDRESS CURRENT

Remember to keep International Student Services informed using our online Change of Address form of any change of residential address. This is a requirement under U.S. immigration law. F-1/J-1 visa students must report any change of residential address to International Student Services within 10 days of the change.

Students holding a visa other than F-1 or J-1 should report the change of address to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’s online system.

International Student Services and UTSA Enrollment Services use two different databases to track local addresses: International Student Services uses a database that is linked to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and UTSA Enrollment Services uses ASAP to track local addresses.
When reporting a change of address, it is important that you update your address in both systems: International Student Services and ASAP!

CHECK YOUR EMAIL

International Student Services often emails students asking for information or calling for some action to maintain their visa status. Some students do not respond to our emails until it is too late. Please check your email frequently, so that you will not jeopardize your visa status. Be sure that we have your correct email address.

When you change your email address, you also should report the new email address to International Student Services, so you do not miss important notices. You can update your email through our online Change of Address form.

EMPLOYMENT AS AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT

F-1/J-1 visa students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week. While working on campus can be a great opportunity to learn English and immerse yourself in American culture while obtaining work experience, it also can take up your time to study and be physically exhausting. Be sure to manage your time successfully. To find an on-campus job, visit the Career Center website. A student holding a visa other than F-1/J-1 visas should check his or her eligibility to work in the United States.

OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING WORKSHOP

All F-1 visa students who are expected to graduate this semester are invited to Optional Practical Training workshops. The workshop schedule is on our website. Register now!

TAX WORKSHOP

Federal law requires all visa holders ─including visa holders who do not earn money in the U.S.─ to file income tax forms.

The deadline to file income tax forms for those who had income in the year of 2013 is April 15, 2014, and for those who had no income June 15, 2014. Christine Bodily from the UTSA Payroll Office will provide a tax workshop for international students and J-1 scholars. She will explain the basics of filing taxes and answer your questions. The workshop will be held at the University Center Retama Auditorium at 2 p.m. on February 27, 2014.

SPRING BREAK TRAVEL

Spring Break 2014 will be March 10 through March 15. If you are F-1 or J-1 visa students and you are planning to travel outside the United States during Spring Break, remember to get a travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019 form before you depart.

Request a travel signature at least one week before your travel plans start. International Student Services will take up to two business days to process your request.

The Customs and Border Protection officers at the airport and border towns may not admit you if your I-20/DS-2019 is not signed.  Make sure you have all of your original immigration documents with you even when you travel inside the United States.Be sure to bring:

  •  I-20/DS-2019 with recent travel signature from an international student advisor
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Approval notice from USCIS, if it is available

Fall 2013 Newsletter

Hello, International Students!

Nice to see you on campus; we hope to see you in the office. But if you have questions or need to find the correct forms, please be sure to use the International Gateway as your first stop for information.
Follow us on Facebook to keep up-to-date on international student news.

Important Dates

Labor Day Holiday
September 2 *All UTSA, city, state and federal offices will be closed for the national holiday.
Payment Deadline for Late Registration
  September 6 *You must pay by the deadline, or your classes will be dropped.
Census Date 5 p.m., September 13
Thanksgiving Break (no classes) November 28-30
Final Exams December 11-17
Spring Classes Begin January 13, 2014

Tuition and Fees Payment by Third Party

If you have been awarded a scholarship for tuition and fees, a stipend, or receive tuition assistance from an organization, agency or government (SACM, WAMS, Kuwait, etc.), please make sure to do the following:

  1. Submit your valid letter of financial guarantee/stipend from the sponsoring organization/agency with your student ID to UTSA Fiscal Services. UTSA Fiscal Services will bill the organization/agency for the approved amount of tuition and fees once they receive your documents. *International Student Services will not send your financial guarantee to UTSA Fiscal Services for you. It is your responsibility to submit the letter of financial guarantee/stipend to UTSA Fiscal Services.
  2. Confirm that your financial document has been received by Julia Poo by calling 210-458-2825 or emailing to Julia.Poo@utsa.edu. *If you do not complete this process by the payment deadline, your classes will be dropped. If your classes are dropped and you are not promptly re-registered, your F-1/J-1 immigration status will be terminated.

Fiscal Services has two locations:

Main Campus Downtown Campus
John Peace Library (JPL), 1.03.06 Frio Street Building, 1.508
 Office Hours
Monday – Thursday: 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Friday: 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Saturday: 9 A.M. to 1 P.M.
Monday – Thursday 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Friday: 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Reminder: Enrollment Requirements for F-1/J-1 Students

According to F-1/J-1 visa rules and regulations, F-1/J-1 visa students are required to enroll full-time each fall and spring semester.
That means:

Undergraduate students Minimum 12 credit hours
Graduate students Minimum 9 credit hours
Intensive English Program students 4 classes

If F-1/J-1 visa students fail to enroll full-time or drop courses below the required full-time hours without International Student Services approval, they will be considered out of status. These students will have their SEVIS record terminated, and consequently they may have to leave the country.

Reduced Course Load

The exceptions to the F-1/J-1 full course of study requirement are limited. Before F-1/J-1 students can reduce their course load, they must speak to an international student advisor to see if they are allowed to do so. Please remember F-1/J-1 students are not allowed to enroll below the required full-time hours without International Student Services prior approval.

If you are completing your degree program this fall 2013 semester and do not have to enroll full-time to complete your program, you can apply for a reduced course load. Remember you need get prior approval from the International Student Services to enroll part-time.

Graduate students who have completed their formal coursework and are engaged in their thesis or dissertation can apply for a reduced course load.

Any Change to Your I-20/DS-2019?

Check your Form I-20 or DS-2019 to see if you need to update your academic major or your financial information.

By law, F-1/J-1 students are required to report any change of the information on your Form I-20/DS-2019. If you need to update your information, please come to the Office of International Programs for instructions.

Change of Address

International students are required to update their local address on ASAP and with International Student Services within 10 days of moving. These two systems are not connected; you must update both places!

Steps to follow:

  1. Go to the International Gateway.
  2. Click on left-hand blue bar titled “Forms and Handouts”
  3. Forms are alphabetized.
  4. Change of Address is the 1st form under ‘C’.
  5. Complete ALL information including apartment number, city, state and zip code.
  6. Note: If you fail to update address, and keep it current, International Student Services will not be able to process letter requests or sign your I-20/DS-2019 form for travel.

Employment in J-1 Status

Regulations require J-1 students to obtain prior approval from International Student Services to engage in any kind of employment, including on-campus employment. The students’ employment needs to be recorded in SEVIS.

EMPLOYMENT IN F-1 STATUS

Regulations require F-1 students must not work in the United States unless the employment is specifically authorized under the regulations. In order for F-1 students to engage in any type of employment they are required to maintain valid F-1 status and to be in good academic standing.

F-1 students are allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and 40 hours per week during official school breaks. Special authorization from UTSA International Student Services is not required for on-campus work, but you must continue to maintain valid F-1 status and to be good academic standing to remain eligible for this benefit.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshops: F-1 Only

International Student Services will provide workshops to advise F-1 visa students graduating in December 2013 about how to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

OPT is temporary employment for practical training directly related to the F-1 student’s major area of study. Remember workshop attendance is mandatory for those who are planning to apply for OPT.

During the workshop you will learn:

  • What is OPT?
  • Who can use OPT?
  • When do I apply?
  • What do I need to submit and how long does it take to get approved?
  • Where can I work and for how long?

Registration is required. Only 10 students per workshop session.

Register now for an OPT workshop!

Register now for an OPT Workshop
Register now for an OPT Workshop

Sessions will be held in MB 1.202:

  • September 10, 8:30 a.m.
  • September 19, 3:30 p.m.
  • September 24, 8:30 a.m.
  • October 3, 8:30 a.m.
  • October 8, 8:30 a.m.
  • October 17, 3:30 p.m.
  • October 22, 8:30 a.m.
  • October 31, 3:30 p.m.
  • November 5, 8:30 a.m.
  • November 14, 3:30 p.m.
  • November 21, 3:30 p.m.
  • November 26, 8:30 a.m.

Internships: Be careful you do not violate your visa!

Please speak with an international student advisor before accepting a paid or unpaid internship. You may inadvertently violate your visa requirements, or affect the time given for Optional Practical Training.

You may need employment authorization before you begin your internship; there may also be special requirements for your place of employment. Read more about on- and off-campus employment on our website.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment that must be an integral part of an established curriculum, for example, required internships as published in the school catalog.

Under most circumstances, to be eligible for CPT students must have been in F-1 student status for one academic year. A job offer is required to be eligible to apply for CPT. While there is no limit to the length of time students may engage in CPT, any student who works for twelve (12) months or more in full-time CPT automatically loses the eligibility of any Optional Practical Training after completion of studies. For more information see Curricular Practical Training.

Reminder: International Student Services Hours

International student advisors provide one-to-one advising during the following hours:

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday Noon (12 p.m.) – 4 p.m.
Thursday & Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Advising is available on a first come, first-served walk-in basis. No appointment is needed.

You can drop off/pick up documents between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the International Student Services front desk.

Document Processing

It takes us 48 business hours to process documents, including letters requested through our online service. Please make your request well ahead of time!

UTSA Office of Equal Opportunity Services

DID YOU KNOW?  The Office of Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) is responsible for UTSA’s equal opportunity efforts. The EOS office investigates discrimination and harassment complaints. This includes sexual harassment complaints. UTSA’s Title IX Coordinator works in the EOS office and  investigates Title IX complaints, which include discrimination in academic programs and sexual violence.

Students, staff and faculty who have experienced discrimination or acts of harassment or witnessed the harassment of others should contact the EOS office.

Office of Equal Opportunity Services
Leonard Flaum, Title IX Coordinator and Senior Equal Opportunity Investigator
Office Phone: (210) 458-4120
Office email: eos.office@utsa.edu
Website: www.utsa.edu/os

Workshops for International Students

Several UTSA departments offer workshops that may be helpful. The UTSA Career Center has several workshops for international undergraduate and graduate students and The Graduate School offers several writing workshops for international graduate students this fall.

The Tomas Rivera Center and the Writing Center offer free tutoring services and editing help.

Spring 2013 Newsletter

Welcome Back, International Students!
We hope you had a wonderful break from classes.

If you have questions or need to find the correct forms, please be sure to use the International Gateway as your first stop for information.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook to keep up-to-date on international student news.

Important Dates

Payment Deadline for Late Registration
January 24  *You must pay by the deadline, or your classes will be dropped.
Census Date 5 p.m., January 30
Spring Break (No classes) March 11-16
Final Exams May 4-10
End of Spring 2012 Semester May 11

Tuition and Fees Payment by Third Party

If you have been awarded a scholarship for tuition and fees, a stipend, or receive tuition assistance from an organization, agency or government (SACM, WAMS, Kuwait, etc.), please make sure to do the following:

  1. Submit your valid letter of financial guarantee/stipend from the sponsoring organization/agency with your student ID to UTSA Fiscal Services. UTSA Fiscal Services will bill the organization/agency for the approved amount of tuition and fees once they receive your documents. *International Student Services will not send your financial guarantee to UTSA Fiscal Services for you. It is your responsibility to submit the letter of financial guarantee/stipend to UTSA Fiscal Services.
  2. Confirm that your financial document has been received by Julia Poo by calling 210-458-2825 or emailing to Julia.Poo@utsa.edu. *If you do not complete this process by the payment deadline, your classes will be dropped. If your classes are dropped and promptly re-registered, your immigration status will be terminated, if you are an F-1/J-1 student.

Fiscal Services has two locations:

Main Campus Downtown Campus
John Peace Library (JPL), 1.03.06 Frio Street Building, 1.508
 Office Hours
Monday – Thursday: 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.**Friday: 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.Saturday: 9 A.M. to 1 P.M.* Monday – Thursday 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.**Friday: 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.
*Saturday office hours for Spring 2013 are available on the following dates at the John Peace Library (JPL1.03.06) office only.

  • February 2
  • March 2
  • April 6

Reminder: Enrollment Requirements for F-1/J-1 Students

According to F-1/J-1 visa rules and regulations, F-1/J-1 visa students are required to enroll full-time each fall and spring semester. That means:

Undergraduate students Minimum 12 credit hours
Graduate students Minimum 9 credit hours
Intensive English Program students 4 classes

If F-1/J-1 visa students fail to enroll full-time or drop courses below the required full time hours without International Student Services approval, they will be considered out of status. These students will have their SEVIS record terminated, and consequently they may have to leave the country.

Reduced Course Load

The exceptions to the F-1/J-1 full course of study requirement are limited. Before F-1/J-1 students can reduce their course load, they must speak to an international student advisor to see if they are allowed to do so. Please remember F-1/J-1 students are not allowed to enroll below the required full time hours without International Student Services prior approval.

If you are completing your degree program this spring 2012 semester and do not have to enroll full-time to complete your program, you can apply for a reduced course load. Remember you need get prior approval from the International Student Services to enroll part-time.

Graduate students who have completed their formal coursework and are engaged in their thesis or dissertation can apply for a reduced course load.

Employment in J-1 Status

Regulations require J-1 students to obtain prior approval from International Student Services to engage in any kind of employment, including on-campus employment. The students’ employment needs to be recorded in SEVIS.

Any Change to Your I-20/DS-2019?

Check your Form I-20 or DS-2019 to see if you need to update your academic major or your financial information.

By law, F-1/J-1 students are required to report any change of the information on your Form I-20/DS-2019. If you need to update your information, please come to the Office of International Programs for instructions.

Change of Address

International students are required to update their local address on ASAP and with the International Student Services within 10 days of moving. These two systems are not connected; you must update both places!

Steps to follow:

  1. Go to the International Gateway.
  2. Click on left-hand blue bar titled “Forms and Handouts”
  3. Forms are alphabetized.
  4. Change of Address is the 1st form under ‘C’.
  5. Complete ALL information including apartment number, city, state and zip code.
  6. Note: If you fail to update address, and keep it current, International Student Services will not be able to process letter requests or sign your I-20/DS-2019 form for travel.

Feeling overwhelmed?

Starting college classes and moving to a new country can result in culture shock, stress, and depression. Be sure you know the signs. If you need to talk with someone, UTSA Counseling Services is available on campus free of charge. All staff are professionally trained.

Do not wait to make an appointment, call or email now.

Tax Workshops for International Students

International students need to file forms with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) annually, even if they did not earn any income. The UTSA Payroll Office and the Office of International Programs will hold a tax workshop for international students. No registration is needed.

  • Date: February 28, 2013
  • Time: 1 p.m.
  • Location: Business Building, University Room, 2.06.04

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshops: F-1 Only

The International Student Services will provide workshops to advise F-1 visa students graduating in May 2013 and during the summer 2013 semester on how to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is temporary employment for practical training directly related to the F-1 student’s major area of study. Remember workshop attendance is mandatory for those who are planning to apply for OPT.

During the workshop you will learn:

  • What is OPT?
  • Who can use OPT?
  • When do I apply?
  • What do I need to submit and how long does it take to get approved?
  • Where can I work and for how long?

Registration is required. Only 10 students per workshop session.Register now for an OPT workshop!

Register now for an OPT Workshop

Register now for an OPT Workshop

Sessions will be held in MB 1.202:

  • February 12, 8:30 a.m.
  • February 28, 3:30 p.m.
  • March 6, 8:30 a.m.
  • March 19, 8:30 a.m.
  • April 3, 8:30 a.m.
  • April 18, 3:30 p.m.
  • May 13, 8:30 a.m.

Internships: Be careful you do not violate your visa!

Please speak with an international student advisor before accepting a paid or unpaid internship. You may inadvertently violate your visa requirements, or affect the time given for Optional Practical Training.

You may need employment authorization before you begin your internship; there may also be special requirements for your place of employment. Read more about on- and off-campus employment on our website.

Trinity University Offers Career Workshop for International Students & Faculty

Trinity University will hold a free Career and Immigration Workshop for international students and faculty with guest speakers that can inform them about how to get a job in the U.S. and work legally here. There will be individual advising sessions also available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sign up to participate.

Reminder: International Student Services Hours

International student advisors provide one-to-one advising for international students during the following hours:

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday Noon (12 p.m.) – 4 p.m.
Thursday & Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Advising is available on a first come, first-served walk-in basis. No appointment is needed.

You can drop off/pick up documents between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the International Student Services front desk.

Document Processing

It takes us 48 business hours to process documents, including letters requested through our online service. Please make your request well ahead of time!

UTSA Office of Equal Opportunity Services

DID YOU KNOW?  The Office of Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) is responsible for UTSA’s equal opportunity efforts. The EOS office investigates discrimination and harassment complaints. This includes sexual harassment complaints. UTSA’s Title IX Coordinator works in the EOS office and  investigates Title IX complaints, which include discrimination in academic programs and sexual violence.

Students, staff and faculty who have experienced discrimination or acts of harassment or witnessed the harassment of others should contact the EOS office.

Office of Equal Opportunity Services
Leonard Flaum, Title IX Coordinator and Senior Equal Opportunity Investigator
Office Phone: (210) 458-4120
Office email: eos.office@utsa.edu
Website: www.utsa.edu/os

Workshops for International Students

Several UTSA departments offer workshops that may be helpful. The UTSA Career Center has several workshops for international undergraduate and graduate students and The Graduate School offers several writing workshops for international graduate students this fall.

The Tomas Rivera Center and the Writing Center offer free tutoring services and editing help.

Stay Cyber-safe this Semester

From The UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security and the Office of Information Security
  1. Be careful with your phone, laptop or tablet. Others could use them to impersonate you, harass you or steal your money.
    1. Always know where your devices are
    2. Keep the software on them up-to-date
    3. Protect them with passwords and anti-virus software and keep the software up-to-date
    4. Encrypt your devices, and back up all your important information
    5. If you lose a mobile device report it immediately to UTSA Police and change passwords to online accounts
  2. Be careful with your email, text and voicemail. Others could use them to trick you into giving away student ID numbers, account numbers and other personal information.  They could then use the information to impersonate you, harass you or steal your money.
    1. Be very suspicious of links or attachments in emails
    2. Check links by hovering your cursor over them to see where they lead
    3. Be very suspicious of links or attachments in Twitter feeds or Facebook posts
    4. Be very suspicious of texts, posts or voicemails about money
  3. Be careful how you share information online.
    1. Do not download copyrighted material illegally – UTSA monitors the campus networks for illegal file sharing and you could be fined, expelled from the university and even go to jail. This would result in a loss of your visa status and you may be deported.
    2. Only use your  personal phone, tablet or computer for sensitive tasks like banking, social media and university business
    3. “Shared folders” are accessible to anyone who is on the same network as you
    4. Do not use public Wi-Fi for personal business like banking or shopping
    5. Protect your personal wireless Internet connection with WPA2 encryption
    6. Never agree to meet someone alone who you only know online
    7. Think before you post. If your post could be used to hurt or embarrass you or someone else, do NOT post it
  4. For more information go to:
    1. The U.S. Government’s cyber safety website
    2. The OIT security  website
    3. The cyber-hygiene leaflet from the CIAS website

Shipping, Photos and More at The UPS Store

The UPS Store in the University Center offers a wide range of services to benefit international students at UTSA.In addition to black and white and color copies, document binding and lamination, The UPS Store offers UPS, United States Postal Service, and FedEx shipping.

The UPS Store also offers DHL shipping—a global shipping company that reaches more than 220 countries around the world. You can also stop in for passport photos for passports, visa applications or other similar needs.Finally, students can receive a special rate for an on-campus mailbox. Mailboxes at The UPS Store are available anytime the UC is open and come with package notification service.

For questions about The UPS Store, call 210-458-4945, e-mail store6150@theupsstore.com or visit the location in the University Center North building—just inside the Fiesta Dancers entrance.

The store is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

Fall 2012 Newsletter

Welcome Back, International Students!
Summer is over, and it is great to see you on campus! We hope you had a wonderful break from classes.

If you have questions or need to find the correct forms, please be sure to use the International Gateway as your first stop for information.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook to keep up-to-date on international news.

Get involved!

Want to meet new people? Need something to do? Student organizations and activities are available at UTSA.

There are student organizations that celebrate different cultural backgrounds and countries, fraternities and sororities, professional organizations, and everything in between.

Use this handy search tool to find other students who have similar interests.

Reminder: Enrollment Requirements for F-1/J-1 Students

According to F-1/J-1 visa rules and regulations, F-1/J-1 visa students are required to enroll full-time each fall and spring semester. That means:

Undergraduate students Minimum 12 credit hours
Graduate students Minimum 9 credit hours
Intensive English Program students 4 classes

If you fail to enroll full time, you will be considered out of status. Your SEVIS record will be terminated. Consequently, you may have to leave the U.S.

Before You Drop Below Required Credit Hours

F-1/J-1 visa students must maintain a full course of study (12 hours for undergraduates/9 hours for graduate students) to keep their immigration status. Dropping below the required number of hours without the International Student Services authorization puts you in violation of your visa regulations. This will lead to the termination of your visa status.

If you are considering withdrawing from classes, you must speak with an international student advisor. You must notify us before you leave the United States.

There are additional academic, financial and housing procedures required to withdraw from UTSA in good academic and financial standing. Contact the appropriate UTSA offices to make proper arrangements in those areas.

Reduced Course Load

The exceptions to the F-1/J-1 full course of study requirement are limited. Before F-1/J-1 students can reduce their course load, they must speak to an international student advisor to see if they are allowed to do so.
For more information on how to apply for a reduced course load.

Feeling overwhelmed?

Starting college classes and moving to a new country can result in culture shock, stress, and depression. Be sure you know the signs. If you need to talk with someone, UTSA Counseling Services is available on campus free of charge. All staff are professionally trained.

Do not wait to make an appointment, call or email now.

Change of Address

International students are required to update their local address on ASAP and  with the International Student Services within 10 days of moving. These two systems are not connected; you must update both places!

Steps to follow:

  1. Go to the International Gateway.
  2. Click on left-hand blue bar titled “Forms and Handouts”
  3. Forms are alphabetized.
  4. Change of Address is the 1st form under ‘C’.
  5. Complete ALL information including apartment number, city, state and zip code.
  6. Note: If you fail to update address, and keep it current, International Student Services will not be able to process letter requests or sign your I-20/DS-2019 form for travel.

Internships: Be careful you do not violate your visa!

Please speak with an international student advisor before accepting a paid or unpaid internship. You may inadvertently violate your visa requirements, or affect the time given for Optional Practical Training.

You may need employment authorization before you begin your internship; there may also be special requirements for your place of employment. Read more about on- and off-campus employment on our website.

Point of Entry Change

You will no longer need to have your I-20 stamped by an Customs and Immigration officer at the point of entry to the U.S. The CPB stamps have been discontinued.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshops: F-1 Only

Register now for an OPT workshop!

Register now for an OPT Workshop

Register now for an OPT Workshop

Sessions will be held:

  • October 17, 11 a.m.
  • November 1, 3 p.m.
  • December 3, 11 a.m.

OPT is a temporary 12-month employment authorization that allows F-1 students to gain work experience in their field of study.

International Student Services is offering mandatory OPT workshops for graduating students who are interested in applying for this temporary employment authorization.

Attendance is mandatory if you plan to apply for OPT. Act now if you plan to take advantage of this benefit!

Reminder: International Student Services Hours

International student advisors provide one-to-one advising for international students during the following hours:

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday Noon (12 p.m.) – 4 p.m.
Thursday & Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Advising is available on a first come, first-served walk-in basis. No appointment is needed.

You can drop off/pick up documents between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the International Student Services front desk.

Document Processing
It takes us 48 business hours to process documents, including letters requested through our online service. Please make your request well ahead of time!

Workshops for International Students

Several UTSA departments offer workshops that may be helpful. The UTSA Career Center has several workshops for international undergraduate and graduate students and The Graduate School offers several writing workshops for international graduate students this fall.

The Tomas Rivera Center and the Writing Center offer free tutoring services and editing help.

Shipping, Photos and More at The UPS Store

The UPS Store in the University Center offers a wide range of services to benefit international students at UTSA.In addition to black and white and color copies, document binding and lamination, The UPS Store offers UPS, United States Postal Service, and FedEx shipping.

The UPS Store also offers DHL shipping—a global shipping company that reaches more than 220 countries around the world. You can also stop in for passport photos for passports, visa applications or other similar needs.Finally, students can receive a special rate for an on-campus mailbox. Mailboxes at The UPS Store are available anytime the UC is open and come with package notification service.

For questions about The UPS Store, call 210-458-4945, e-mail store6150@theupsstore.com or visit the location in the University Center North building—just inside the Fiesta Dancers entrance.

The store is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

International Education Week: Nov. 12-18!


Watch for events! We will celebrate the many cultures at UTSA. If you are interested in participating in the cultural fair and talent show, please email Ryota.Yoga@utsa.edu.

Photo contest
Help celebrate international experiences: Enter your photos!!

The top 10 student entries and top 3 faculty/staff entries will be displayed in a Gallery 23 art show! Entry information can be found at the International Education Week website.

Roadrunner Reference: Learn more about UTSA!

Learn about UTSA tradition, information and jargon on the Roadrunner Days website and navigate some of the events at UTSA.
You can also find a dictionary of common words that we use on campus, such as add/drop, incomplete, prerequisites and UC.

It offers a quick history of the campus and various events, such as Homecoming, that will happen throughout the year.

Be sure to join us for the first Rowdy Rally!!  It will happen Friday, September 8 to cheer the team before the game with Texas A&M Commerce!

Be there:  3 p.m., UC Paseo, free Orange Crush floats!

Football ticket information and transportation to games can all be found at the UTSA Game Day site: utsa.edu/gameday

Spring 2012 Newsletter

Important Dates

Late Registration Ends  01/23/12
Payment Deadline for Late Registration*Students, you must pay by this deadline or your classes will be dropped. 5 p.m., 1/26/12
President’s Day (No classes) 02/20/12
Spring Break (No classes) 03/12/12 – 03/17/12
Final Exams 05/05/12 – 05/11/12
Commencement Ceremonies 05/10/12 – 05/12/12
End of Spring 2012 Semester 05/12/12\

Tuition and Fees Payment by Third Party

If you have been awarded a scholarship for tuition and fees, a stipend or receive tuition assistance from an organization, agency or government, such as SACM, WAMS, Kuwait and the like,  please make sure you submit your valid letter of financial guarantee/stipend from the sponsoring organization/agency  to UTSA Fiscal Services. You will need to bring your student ID.

International Student Services will not send your financial guarantee to Fiscal Services. You must do this in person. Fiscal Services will bill the organization/agency for the approved amount of tuition and fees once they receive your documents.

Where to Submit Your  Letter of Financial Guarantee/Stipend 

Downtown Campus, Fiscal Services: Frio Street Building Room 1.508

Main Campus, Fiscal Services: John Peace Library Building Room 1.03.06

Please do not forget to confirm that your document has been received by Julia Poo. Call  210-458-2825 or email a copy or your signed letter to Julia.Poo@utsa.edu.

Your classes will be dropped if you do not complete this process by the payment deadline. This may lead to termination of your immigration status if you are an F-1/J-1 student.

Enrollment Requirement for F-1/J-1 Students

According to F-1/J-1 visa rules and regulations, F-1/J-1 visa students are required to enroll full-time each fall and spring semester. Full time is defined as follows:

Undergraduate students Minimum 12 credit hours
Graduate students Minimum 9 credit hours
Intensive English Program students 4 classes

If F-1/J-1 visa students fail to enroll full time, they will be considered out of status. Their SEVIS record will be terminated.  Consequently, they may have to leave the country.

Reduced Course Load

The exceptions to the F-1/J-1 full course of study requirement are limited.

Before F-1/J-1 students can reduce their course load, they must speak to an international student advisor to see if they are allowed to do so.

You can apply for a reduced course load, if you are completing your degree program this spring 2012 semester and do not have to enroll full time to complete your program. For information on how to apply, go to our website and complete the reduced course load form.   Remember you need get approval from the International Student Services before you can enroll part-time.

Graduate students who have completed their formal coursework and are engaged in thesis or dissertation work can apply for a reduced course load. Read more at to our website and  complete the reduced course load form. 

Change of Address

International students are required to update their local address on ASAP and  with the International Student Services within 10 days of moving. These two systems are not connected; you must update both places!


To do so, you must:

Go to: http://international.utsa.edu.

  1. Click on left-hand blue bar titled “Forms and Handouts”
  2. Forms are alphabetized.
  3. Change of Address is the 1st form under ‘C’.
  4. Complete ALL information including apartment number, city, state and zip code.

Note:  If you fail to update address, and keep it current, International Student Services will not be able to process letter requests or sign your I-20/DS-2019 form for travel.

November 2011

Help Us Celebrate:
International Education Week is Nov. 14-18!

Join the UTSA community as we celebrate and promote international education and cross-cultural exchanges!

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of their efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment attracting future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

International Education Week Photo Competition: Deadline is Nov. 1. Be sure to send your entries to sherrie.matthews@utsa.edu. Rules and requirements can be found on the International Education Week website.

Schedule of Events

Monday, November 14, 2011
International Education Week (IEW) 2011 Kick-off
Date:  Monday, November 14, 2011
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Location: University Room, Business Building 2.06.04
Sponsor: COB – Office of International Engagement, Latin Dance Club

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
World Quest – Global Trivia Challenge
Date:  Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Time: 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Location: Harris Room – UC 2.212
Sponsor: Honors College

Photo Contest Reception
Date:  Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Time: 5:15 – 6:00 pm
Location: JPL 4th Floor
Sponsor: Office of International Programs, The UTSA Libraries and College of Business – Office of International Engagement

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Challenges and Alternatives for Democracy in Mexico
Date:  Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Location: Art Gallery
Durango Bldg 1.122 Southwest Conference Room – DB 1.124
Sponsor: Mexico Center

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Naturalization Ceremonies
Date:  Thursday, November 17, 2011
Time: 2 pm
Location: Institute of Texas Cultures
Sponsor: Institute of Texas Cultures

International Student Organization Fair: Want to participate? Email ryota.yogo@utsa.edu.
Date:  Thursday, November 17, 2011
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Main Building Ground Floor Lobby & Auditorium – 0.104 & 0.106
Sponsor: Iranian Student Association, Indian Student Association, Chinese Christian Student Fellowship, Chi Alpha International, Saudi Student Club, Japanese Club, The French Club, and UTSA international students

  • 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: French film, Main Building small auditorium
  • 5:45 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Cultural booths, Main Building ground floor
  • 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Cultural performances, Main Building small auditorium

Friday, November 18, 2011
French Poetry Night
Date:  Friday, November 18, 2011
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: Mesquite – UC 2.01.24
Sponsor:  The French Club

Are You Ready to Travel? 

If you are an international student who is planning to travel outside of the U.S. during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday OR during winter break, be sure to come to the Office of International Programs for a travel signature from an international student advisor.

Be sure that you have the required travel documents on your person (NOT in your luggage) when you travel abroad. You will need:

Required Documents

  • Passport (should be valid for at least six months into the future)
  • Visa stamp in your passport should be valid for travel and return into the U.S.
  • Original immigration documents, including your I–20 (for F visa holders) or your DS–2019 (for J visa holders), signed for authorized travel by an International Student Services international student advisor
  • I–94 Form
  • An original I–797A Form (Approval Notice), if you are an H-1B, H-4, E-2, L-2, or other non-immigrant visa holder
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), if you are an F–1 student approved for Optional Practical Training
  • Letter from your employer, which confirms your current employment if you are on OPT, or if you are an H-1B or TN visa holder

Optional Documents

  • Visa status verification letter issued by the International Student Services if you are an F-1 or J visa student
  • Proof of financial support (scholarship letter, teaching assistantship letter, bank statement, etc.)

If you are planning to travel inside of the U.S., you should carry the following documents with you at all times:

  •  Passport (should be valid for at least six months into the future)
  • Visa stamp in your passport should be valid for travel and return into the U.S.
  • Original immigration documents, including your I–20 (for F visa holders) or your DS–2019 (for J visa holders), signed for authorized travel by an International Student Services international student advisor
  • I–94 Form
  • An original I–797A Form (Approval Notice), if you are an H-1B, H-4, E-2, L-2, or other non-immigrant visa holder
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), if you are an F–1 student approved for Optional Practical Training
  • Letter from your employer, which confirms your current employment if you are on OPT, or you are an H-1B or TN visa holder

Optional Documents

  • Visa status verification letter issued by the International Student Services if you are an F-1 or J visa student
  • Proof of financial support (scholarship letter, teaching assistantship letter, bank statement, etc.)

There are Immigration Inspection Stations along the highways in the U.S. states that border Mexico.  You will be requested to present your immigration documents at these stations; please remember to carry the documents listed above.

Dropping Courses below Full-Time

If you are on an F-1/J-1 visa, you are required to be enrolled full time each semester by law. Full time enrollment is defined as follows:

  • For undergraduates 12 credit hours or more
  • For graduates 9 credit hours or more
  • For IEP 4 classes or more

Before you drop a course which put you below full time course load, you must get approval from the International Student Services. Otherwise, you will be considered out of legal status, and your SEVIS record will be terminated.

Withdrawal from School

If an F-1/J-1 visa student interrupts his or her studies, your I-20/DS-2019 will become invalid. You will not be eligible to remain in the United States.
Students must contact International Student Services before they interrupt their studies for any of the following reasons:

  • The student is planning to request a leave of absence from UTSA during the fall or spring semester.
  • The student is being academically dismissed or is under review for academic dismissal.
  • The student is planning to withdraw from all of their classes at any point during the fall or spring semester.

The student’s F-1/J-1 status will be terminated in the SEVIS database if they depart UTSA for any of the above reasons. The student will need to request a new initial I-20/DS-2019 with a new SEVIS ID and have a new, valid F-1/J-1 entry visa to return.

NOTE: Undergraduate and International English Program students must reapply to UTSA. Graduate students should contact the Graduate School in order to continue their program.

Want to help with International Student Orientation 2012?

International Student Services needs student volunteers willing to work with new international students during International Student Orientation on January 9, 2012. If you will be in San Antonio, we would appreciate your assistance.

We will have two meetings for students who are interested:

Training, pick one:

  • 3:30-4:30 p.m., Nov. 30 in the Office of International Programs
  • 9-10 a.m., Dec. 6 in the Office of International Programs

If you have questions, please contact Fermina.Alarcon@utsa.edu.

Walk-through:

January 6 at 1 p.m. learn the orientation areas, if volunteers are able to attend.

New Meningitis Vaccination Requirement

A new State of Texas law will require vaccination of all new students for meningitis. This law applies to all students admitted for the spring 2012 semester. If you are enrolled this semester and plan to stay in school next semester, you will not have to be vaccinated.

If you sit out a semester and are not continuously enrolled, you will need to show proof of the vaccination before you can register for classes.

To read more about meningitis and the vaccine, please visit Student Health Services.

Fall 2011

Aside

Welcome Back, International Students!

Summer is over, and it is great to see you on campus! We hope you had a wonderful break from classes.
Welcome to our new international students! More than 500 new international students join us during the fall 2011 semester at UTSA.
If you have questions or need to find the correct forms, please be sure to use the International Gateway as your first stop for information.

Reminder: F-1/J-1 Visa Student Enrollment Requirements

F-1/J-1 visa students must be enrolled in the proper number of hours in order to maintain their immigration status.

• 4 classes for Intensive English Program students
• 12 credit hours for undergraduate students
• 9 credit hours for graduate students

Check the Full-Time Enrollment Requirements on the International Gateway.
Need a refresher on what you must do to maintain legal status at UTSA? We have this PowerPoint to help:

Before You Add or Drop Classes

F-1/J-1 visa students must maintain a full course of study (12 hours for undergraduates/9 hours for graduate students) to keep their immigration status. Dropping below the required number of hours without the International Student Services authorization puts you in violation of your visa regulations. This will lead to the termination of your visa status. You can be deported.
If you must drop below full-time hours, you must visit with an international student advisor before you drop. Authorized Reduced Course Loads are allowed in limited circumstances.
If you are considering withdrawing from classes, you must speak with an international student advisor. You must notify us before you leave the United States.

There are additional academic, financial and housing procedures required to withdraw from UTSA in good academic and financial standing. Contact the appropriate UTSA offices to make proper arrangements in those areas.

One ID and Password

Log on to Blackboard and ASAP with your myUTSA ID (abc123) and password beginning fall semester 2011!

It's here! One log in!

If you have forgotten your myUTSA ID password, you can go to https://idm.utsa.edu to reset your password. Students who require additional assistance can drop by one of the Student Computing Labs. Faculty and staff members can contact OIT Support Services, 458-5538, for more help.

Change of Address

If you have a new local address – even if the apartment number is the only part of your address that has changed – you must update both International Student Services and ASAP.
F-1 and J-1 visa holders
By law all F-1/J-1 visa students must report any changes to their address within ten (10) days. This information is used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for record purposes. Failure to report any changes of address is considered as a violation and may lead to the termination of their immigration status.
H-1B, O, TN, L-4, H-2, E-2 visa holders
Foreign nationals of all other visa types (L2, H-4, E2, and the like) must report within ten (10) days any change of their address to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by filing an AR-11 Form/Change of Address Card. Download it from www.uscis.gov. This information is used by USCIS for record purposes. Failure to report any changes of address is considered as a violation of your immigration status. You must also update your address with the International Student Services and ASAP.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshops

Register now for an OPT workshop

Register now for an OPT workshop!

OPT is a temporary 12-month employment authorization that allows F-1 students to gain work experience in their field of study.
International Student Services is offering mandatory OPT workshops for graduating students who are
interested in applying for this temporary employment authorization. Visit the International Gateway to register for an OPT Workshop in order to sign up for one of the workshops.
Attendance is mandatory if you plan to apply for OPT. Act now if you plan to take advantage of this benefit!

Reminder: International Student Services Advising Hours

International student advisors provide one-to-one advising for international students during the following hours:

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday          Noon (12 p.m.) – 4 p.m.

Thursday & Friday                                  9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Advising is available on a first come, first-served walk-in basis. No appointment is needed.

You can drop off/pick up documents between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the International Student Services front desk.

Document Processing

It takes us 48 business hours to process documents, including letters requested through our online service. Please make your request well ahead of time!

Workshops for International Students 

Several UTSA departments offer workshops that may be helpful.

The UTSA Career Center has several workshops for international undergraduate and graduate students and  The Graduate School offers several writing workshops for international graduate students this fall, as well.

Roadrunner Reference: Learn more about UTSA!

Need to catch up? Learn about UTSA tradition, information and jargon on the Roadrunner Days website and navigate some of the events at UTSA. It offers a quick history of the campus and various events, such as Homecoming, that will happen throughout the year.

You can also find a dictionary of common words that we use on campus, such as add/drop, incomplete, prerequisites and UC.

Spring 2011

Visit the New International Gateway!

The website for International Student Services has changed! Our new International Gateway was launched in early March 2011. The new design provides easier access to important information and services. International Gateway

Go to http://international.utsa.edu and click on International Student Services.

Tax Deadline Extended

The deadline to file U.S. taxes has been extended until the end of the business day Monday, April 18, 2011.

Summer 2011 Enrollment Requirements

The end of the spring semester is near! The last day for the spring semester is officially May 7, 2011. For F-1 and J-1 students who will continue their studies in the fall 2011 semester, summer course enrollment is optional. This means that summer is considered a vacation. You do not need to register for classes.

If you choose to enroll in summer semester courses at another university, you should speak with your academic advisor to see if there are any restrictions or requirements to transfer credit hours.

If you will complete your degree program at the end of the summer semester, you must enroll for at least 6 credit hours. If you need fewer than 6 credit hours to complete your program, you must obtain prior approval from International Student Services to be enrolled below the required number of credit hours. Be sure to read and complete the Request for Reduced Course Load Form.

Employment Rules for Summer

F-1 and J-1 students who work on campus during the summer semester may work up to 40 hours per week.

Check with your current employer about working during the summer. If you work as a TA/RA/GA on-campus, you should contact the Graduate School for information on possible restrictions.

Please remember off-campus work is NOT allowed for F-1 and J-1 students! Working off campus without authorization from International Student Services is a violation of your nonimmigrant status. Don’t take a risk of losing your immigration status!

Immigration Document Maintenance

passport/visa informationIf you are an F-1 or J-1 student, take a few moments to look at your Form I-20 or DS-2019. Check the program end date listed on the document. If your program expires at the end of the spring 2011 semester, and you plan to continue your studies at UTSA, you must apply for an extension of stay before the program end date.

The Extension of Stay page has more information. You must not allow your Form I-20 or DS-2019 to expire if you will continue to be enrolled after the spring 2011 semester.

If you have a visa other than F-1 or J-1, please check the expiration date of your legal stay in the U.S., which is listed on your I-94. If your legal stay expires soon, please consult your immigration attorney. You may come to our office if you have questions.

Travel

Because many students travel abroad during the summer break, now is a good time to make sure your passport and U.S. visa are still valid.

A valid passport and U.S. visa are required to be able to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad. F-1 and J-1 students will also need a travel signature on their Form I-20 or DS-2019.  A travel signature should be obtained each semester. If you plan to travel abroad and have not obtained a travel signature within the last semester, bring your Form I-20/DS-2019 to International Student Services and request a travel signature at the Office of International Programs front desk. You can return to International Student Services in 48 business hours to pick up your signed form.

Students may renew visas only in their the home country. Passports may be renewed either in your home country or by your home country embassy in the United States. Please visit www.usembassy.gov for more information.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Workshops


F-1 students are eligible to apply for OPT, which is a temporary 12-month employment authorization. This employment authorization allows F-1 students to gain work experience in their field of study. International Student Services is offering mandatory OPT workshops for graduating students who are interested in applying for this temporary employment authorization. Visit the International Gateway to register for an OPT Workshop in order to sign up for one of the workshops.

Attendance is mandatory if you plan to apply for OPT. Act now if you plan to take advantage of this benefit!

Maintaining Your Current Address

International students at UTSA are required by law to keep International Student Services updated with their current U.S. local address. Whenever you change your address – even if it is just your apartment number — you have 10 days to report this change to International Student Services. The International Gateway has a Change of Address Form – an easy way to report your new address.

As a student, you must also update your personal information onASAP. This will allow UTSA to keep updated on your new personal information. These are two separate databases; they do not share information. It is important to update both International Student Services and ASAP whenever you have a change in personal information.

Requesting Services Online

If you need a letter from International Student Services, you can request the letter online! The Online Letter Request Form allows you to request your student status letter. Your letter will be available for pick-up at International Student Services front desk 48 business hours later. Letter pick up is available Monday – Friday between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Be sure to bring a picture I.D.

Health Insurance for Summer 2011

Health Insurance Waiver (HIW) Application for Summer 2011 will be available at the Office of International Programs and on the International Gateway starting May 2, 2011. Health Insurance Waiver applications will be accepted for new incoming students and TA/RAs only.

If you are a TA/RA and have been reappointed for summer employment, you must submit a Health Insurance Waiver for a possible refund of summer insurance fee.

The DEADLINE DATE is June 15, 2011. NO EXCEPTIONS!