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NEWSLETTER TO INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS, FACULTY & STAFF | FALL 2021

 
     
 
WELCOME
 
     
 

Dear International Scholars, Faculty & Staff,

Hello, and welcome! The ISSS Scholar Branch is open for document pick-up Monday through Friday from 8:30-12:00 and 1:00-4:30 in the International Studies Building. Please note that appointments and check-in will remain remote for the time being. If you need assistance, please call 217-333-1303, extension 2 or email isss-scholars@illinois.edu. 

Please be reminded that students, faculty and staff are required to have completed an on-campus COVID-19 test and received a negative result OR have a university-verified Vaccination Record Card to access university facilities (https://covid19.illinois.edu/on-campus/building-access/). Also, facemasks are currently required in all campus buildings, regardless of vaccination status. If you do not comply with these requirements, we will be unable to provide you with service.

Best wishes this semester from all of us at ISSS.

 
     
 
REMINDERS & RESOURCES
 
     
 
COVID-19 RESOURCES

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19. See University-wide resources as well as ISSS FAQs for international students and scholars.

 
     
 
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL & US ENTRY

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.

 
     
 
HOW TO UPDATE ADDRESS IN ISTART

A requirement of maintaining status in the US is reporting a valid address as your place of residence while in the US. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences, including the termination of your immigration status. Updating this information should only take a minute but is an important part of maintaining your status.

Instructions:

  • Go to the ISSS website 
  • Log into iSTART, in the top right corner of the homepage
  • Click 'Biographical Information'
  • Click 'Update Contact Information'
  • Complete form and submit

H-1B employees must provide a local address to be in compliance with their Labor Condition Application (LCA) and H-1B petition. These employees must also update their address with USCIS by filing an AR-11. Please be sure to contact ISSS before doing any work outside of Champaign County.

 
     
 
HOW TO ADD DEPENDENTS

J-2 Dependents

  • It is possible for J-1 scholars to request dependent status for spouses/children after arriving in the U.S. Requests to add dependents should be initiated via the iSTART system. After logging in, scholars should select the “Add Dependent” e-form found under “J-1 Scholar Services.”
  • J-1 scholars must demonstrate adequate funding for each dependent for the remaining duration of the program – not just for the time the dependents plan to be in the United States. Funding documentation may be required in order to add dependents. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign requires the following amounts for dependents: $600 per month for the first dependent and $300 per month for each additional dependent.
  • After reviewing an application to add dependents, ISSS will issue the dependents DS-2019s. Normal processing time is two weeks for these requests.
  • J-2 dependents will be subject to the two-year home residence requirement (212e) if the J-1 scholar is subject. Click here for more information about the two year home residence requirement.

H-4 Dependents

  • Dependents who are in the United States can request a change of status to H-4 by filing form I-539 and supporting materials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Dependents who are outside the United States can apply for an H-4 entry visa and enter the United States in H-4 status.
 
     
 
ISSS CHECK-IN PROCEDURES
 
 
  Check-in Forms
 

Check-in should be initiated as soon as possible once you arrive to begin your activities/employment or have received approval for a change of status. 

ISSS remote check-in is available for UIUC-sponsored J-1 scholars, H-1B employees, and All Other Statuses (e.g. J-1 and F-1 OPT sponsored by another institution, J-2 with work authorization, TN). Your department will need to initiate check-in by clicking on the applicable e-form in iSTART. You must then complete and submit your portion of the form.

 
     
 
UIN

You may have received a TEMP ID in iSTART before arrival to campus. Once you have obtained a UIN and netID, if you have not already reported this information to ISSS, please email isss-scholars@illinois.edu so that ISSS can update your record. Having your UIN listed correctly in our system will allow you to access the iStart system more easily in the future.

 
     
 
PASSPORT EXPIRATION & I-94

It is possible that an H-1B employee may hold a passport that expires before the H-1B end date indicated on their I-797 approval notice. If the employee travels internationally and re-enters the US, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) may change their I-94 'admit until' date to match the employee's passport expiration date. Therefore, it is extremely important that H-1B employees check their online I-94 record each time they enter the US. If the employee notices that the 'admit until' date has been changed, they should contact ISSS as soon as possible.

It is generally a good idea for all international scholars, no matter their status, to check their I-94 record upon entering the US. J-1 scholars should see 'D/S' ('Duration of Status') as the 'admit until' date on their I-94. 

All status holders will also need to plan to have a valid passport for the duration of their program.

 
     
 
DEPARTMENT OF STATE REMINDERS

The Department of State wishes to give exchange visitors reminders about health, safety, and welfare during their programs. As the country responds to the pandemic, we are also facing a variety of geographic-specific health and safety-related conditions. Exchange visitors should pay close attention to local health and safety guidelines and warnings.

Increase in Street Crime: Crime in the United States is on the rise, including physical assaults. The DOS advises exchange visitors to exercise a high level of vigilance and good judgment when spending time in new places and with people they may not know well.

Telephone Scams Targeting Exchange Visitors: Increasingly, telephone scammers are impersonating sponsors, law enforcement personnel, and immigration officers to try to extort money from foreign visitors. One telephone scam involved a caller impersonating a sponsor; the caller attempted to steal the exchange visitor’s personal information and defraud the exchange visitor of more than $1,500. A second example entailed scammers stating they were from law enforcement and that warrants had been issued for the exchange visitor’s arrest. The scammers then advised the exchange visitor to pay many thousands of dollars to stop the warrant/arrest action. Scammers often encourage exchange visitors to buy large numbers of gift cards and provide the numbers to the scammer, who then cashes them. One university-based exchange visitor provided $8,000 in gift cards to someone impersonating a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agent, who threatened action if the exchange visitor failed to provide the gift cards.

Preparedness, Survival, and Reporting of Severe Weather-Related Incidents: Regional and seasonal severe weather (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires) may cause property damage, serious injury, and loss of human life. Exchange visitors should be aware of the hazards that might impact them during a severe weather event, to monitor information from the local or National Weather Service Forecast Office, to pay attention to all advisories and warnings, and to have a safety plan in place.

 
     
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
     
 
 
 
INTERNATIONAL SCHOLAR RECEPTION

Please join ISSS for the fourth annual International Scholar Reception! International scholars and their families are welcome, as are Illinois International staff. 

Event Details
Wednesday, September 15

5:00-6:00 p.m.
Illini Union South Lounge
(1401 W. Green St., Urbana, Illinois)

Keynote Address will be given by Dr. Reitumetse Mabokela, who will speak on the topic of succeeding as an international scholar at Illinois. There will be refreshments and networking activities as well.

RSVP is not required, but appreciated. RSVPs may be submitted online through the following link: https://go.illinois.edu/scholarwelcome   

If you have any questions, please contact Nick Dunn at nickdunn@illinois.edu. Thank you!

 
     
 
 
 
FOOTBALL 101

Faculty and staff are invited to join ISSS and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics for Football 101.

This fun and interactive event will help you learn the rules of American football from former Illini players, coaches, and Illinois athletics staff. Admission is free and everyone will receive a free gift! The event kicks off at 3pm with the final whistle at 4:30pm, at Memorial Stadium North Endzone. RSVP here to let us know you’re coming and to receive event reminders: https://go.illinois.edu/Football101. Contact Nick Dunn at nickdunn@illinois.edu with any questions.

 
     
 
BIKE TO WORK DAY & LIGHT THE NIGHT

F&S is organizing Bike to Work Day (7-10 am) and Light the Night free bike lights giveaway (4-7 pm) events on Tuesday, September 14, 2021. The Campus Bike Center Grand Re-opening is also happening in that same week on Thursday, September 16, 2021 – organized by Campus Rec.

  1. Meet us at Bike to Work Day 2021: Champaign County Bike to Work Day is back! After a year off, Bike to Work Day is back! CU Bike Month Planning team is organizing Bike to Work Day on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 from 7-10 am across the Champaign County! There are a total of 17 welcoming stations in the Champaign County this year, of which nine (9) will be in the UIUC campus. Register for Bike to Work Day 2021 to celebrate Bike to Work Day! Grab a snack, get some Bike at Illinois merchandise, get a free T-shirt, and consider making a donation! You must register and be on a bicycle!
  2. Light the Night 2021: The Bike Month Planning group is organizing the 14th annual Light the Night, a free bike light giveaway event on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 from 4-7 pm at three locations: 1. Alma Mater Plaza, 2. Hallene Gateway (intersection of Illinois and Lincoln), and 3. Campus Bike Center (51. E. Gregory Dr., Champaign). You must bring your bicycle to get a bike light.
  3. Light the Night 2021 Volunteer Sign Up: Volunteer for Light the Night 2021, a free bike light giveaway, event on Tuesday, September 14, 2021! Volunteers can select one of the three shifts: First half shift - 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm; Second half shift - 5:15 pm to 7:15 pm; Full shift - 3:30 pm to 7:15 pm. Fill out the Volunteer Sign-Up.
 
     
 
SUGGESTIONS?

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

 
 
 
 
 
 
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