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Dear Colleagues,

This newsletter is intended for 'department contacts' who work with ISSS to host international scholars, faculty, and staff. It includes reminders about international travel and US entry as well as ISSS procedures. Any new regulatory information will be communicated directly by email.

While our office remains closed to foot traffic, ISSS continues to offer services remotely. If you need assistance, please call 217-333-1303, extension 2 or email isss-scholars@illinois.edu.

Best wishes from all of us at ISSS.


It is highly recommended that scholars who plan to travel internationally consult the following before their departure.

  • Active travel bans, including country-specific restrictions, may affect entry into the US. 
  • As of 1/26/21, all travelers to the US are required to provide their airline with a negative COVID-19 test taken in the 72 hours prior to boarding. Failure to do so will mean they are not allowed to board. This applies to all travelers to the US including US citizens. The CDC have issued an FAQ.
  • ISSS cannot advise on requirements to enter other countries, so travelers should be doing their own research to collect that information before traveling.

Please notify ISSS in advance of any changes to scholar/employee activities or appointments. We can advise if the new activities are appropriate and if any additional steps are needed to maintain the individual's visa status. 


We are aware that some students and scholars have been contacted by individuals claiming to be USCIS, the IRS, and other organizations. The callers claim that the individual's immigration status is in jeopardy if they do not pay excessive sums by purchasing gift cards. This is a scam! See more from ISSS on scam safety.


ISSS Scholar Branch has expanded its remote check-in services to all immigration statuses for international scholars, faculty, and staff. The following remote check-in forms are now available in iSTART:

  • Remote Check-In Form: UIUC-Sponsored J-1
  • Remote Check-In Form: H-1B Employees
  • NEW! Remote Check-In Form: All Other Statuses (e.g. F-1 OPT, J-2, TN, outside-sponsored J-1 scholars, etc.)

Please initiate the check-in process for all international scholars, faculty, and staff who are beginning their appointment/visit to UIUC, or who have recently changed immigration statuses. Please also initiate the check-in process for any individuals who arrived or changed status since March 2020 and have not already checked in. The only exceptions to the check-in requirement are F-1 OPT students who received their degree from UIUC and B-1 visitors. As a friendly reminder, federal regulations require that J-1 scholars complete check-in within 30 days of the start date listed on their DS-2019 document.


If you are working with ISSS on an H-1B request and have posted Labor Condition Application (LCA) notices, please keep them posted until your building is unlocked and open to the public. If your building is already unlocked, then keep the notices posted for 10 full business days. Do not count the day of posting, the day you take the postings down, or any weekends or university holidays in the ten-day count. The postings can then be returned to ISSS via campus mail (M/C 486) or the dropbox outside our office in the International Studies Building. ISSS would recommend you keep copies for department records if returning LCA notices by mail.

If an employee has H-1B status and is working remotely, please be sure they post their LCA and submit the completed forms to our office. This is necessary in order to remain in compliance with federal regulations. Please have them refer to the information in the ISSS email sent to them for instructions or contact dlbenton@illinois.edu if they have additional questions.


Some reminders from the Department of State about the Exchange Visitor Program (J-1).

  • Screen program candidates to ensure the purpose of the program will be met. Candidates should be able to articulate their motivation for participating in the Exchange Visitor Program, including how their experience in America will assist them when they return to their home country at the end of the program. 
  • Prepare candidates. Pre-departure materials and orientation reminders should reinforce the message that exchange visitors must return home upon completion of their programs. They should also reiterate the importance of maintaining contact with their respective sponsor organizations and reporting any changes in circumstance affecting program participation.
  • Conduct frequent monitoring of exchange visitors. This allows sponsors to proactively identify and resolve issues that arise to ensure exchange visitor program.
  • Encourage exchange visitors to report program issues. Program dissatisfaction may contribute to an exchange visitor’s decision to abscond from program. Emphasize your role as an advocate in resolving issues that arise and stress to exchange visitors the importance of timely reporting of program-related issues to their sponsor.
  • Timely report to ISSS exchange visitors who cease participating in program activities or who vacate their housing without prior notice.
  • Accurately maintain records and let ISSS know if you believe the exchange visitor fails to pursue the activities for which he or she was admitted to the United States. 

ISSS offers a variety of programs to international students, scholars, faculty, and staff. See our calendar of events and social media for more details.


Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program is now seeking U.S. Institution Hosts. On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, the Institute of International Education (IIE) invites your institution to apply to host a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (S-I-R) during the 2022-2023 academic year. 

To expand the number and diversity of host institutions and better support potential applicants, IIE has developed an institutional interest survey to gather information about how to address your interests and needs, provide application assistance, and strengthen your ability to submit a successful S-I-R proposal in this application cycle or in the future. IIE strongly encourages you to complete this survey as soon as possible and no later than May 15, 2021.

Unique among Fulbright Programs, the S-I-R program is entirely driven by each U.S. institution’s internationalization needs. The S-I-R Program benefits institutions through support to:

Bring an international scholar to your institution for an academic semester or full year.
The Fulbright Program provides J-visa sponsorship, travel, and a modest living stipend to Fulbright S-I-Rs who enhance internationalization efforts at diverse U.S. institutions through:

  • Teaching courses
  • Curriculum development
  • Guest lecturing
  • Cross-campus activities
  • Developing study abroad/exchange partnerships
  • Community engagement

Institutional hosts may apply to host an S-I-R in a discipline that would benefit from a comparative or international perspective. This may include regional or area studies, although foreign language teaching is normally supported through the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program. Hosts also have the option to propose a specific scholar or IIE can work with Fulbright Commissions or U.S. Embassies abroad to recruit Scholar-in-Residence candidates.

Engage in a transformational experience with a wide-ranging impact.
A significant number of former S-I-R institutional hosts and S-I-Rs report that their Fulbright experiences were professionally and personally transformative and led to a longer-term impact for U.S. host institutions and Scholars-in-Residence.

Share in our commitment to diversity in the Fulbright Program.
All institutions are eligible to apply for the S-I-R Program, however, the U.S. Department of State and IIE encourages Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), community colleges, small liberal arts colleges, rural colleges and universities, and military colleges and universities, or institutions to submit an S-I-R application.

The application deadline for the academic year 2022-2023 is October 15, 2021. Visit the S-I-R Website for full program details and to find details on how to apply. Attend an upcoming Webinar. For more information, contact: Sarah Causer, Outreach and Recruitment Specialist, Institute of International Education, sir@iie.org


If you'd like to propose content for a future newsletter, please email isss-scholars@illinois.edu with 'Newsletter' in the subject line.