U.S. and Turkey Suspend Nonimmigrant Visa Services
October 16, 2017
On October 8, 2017, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced that it temporarily suspended nonimmigrant visa services at posts in Turkey, including the embassy at Ankara and the consular posts in Istanbul and Adana. There is no defined ending date for the suspension. The suspension applies to all visa applicants wishing to apply for a U.S. non-immigrant visa in Turkey (including Iranian citizens); it is not restricted to Turkish citizens. Turkish citizens may apply for a non-immigrant visa outside of Turkey at any U.S. consulate or embassy that accepts third country nationals at the time of the visa application. Turkish citizens needing a new U.S. visa or visa renewal will need to also consider whether or not the country in which they wish to apply for their U.S. visa also requires a visa for entry. For example, Turkish citizens require a visa to enter Canada, and the Canadian visa process can take several weeks. Please remember that it is not necessary to maintain a valid U.S. visa stamp in one’s passport in order to remain legally in the U.S. The I-94 granted at a U.S. Port of Entry or by USCIS grants the legal status inside the U.S. A valid U.S. visa that properly reflects one’s purpose for entering is necessary in order to return to the U.S. from international travel.
Attention Students with Dependents
August 15, 2017
The FSU Health Center is no longer able to offer insurance coverage to domestic or international dependents. If your spouse or children were covered under the FSU student health insurance, their coverage ended on Monday, August 14. If you would like similar comprehensive coverage that provides benefits for pre-existing conditions, pregnancy and childbirth, wellness exams, and immunizations, we recommend that you first obtain a non-renewal letter from United Healthcare, as well as a copy of your tax return or other income information from 2016, and then visit the Florida Blue Center on Apalachee Parkway (https://www.floridablue.com/center/tallahassee) with that documentation. When speaking to an insurance agent there, be sure to mention the following:
- Your spouse or child should be eligible for a special enrollment period, due to their inability to renew the United Healthcare coverage;
- Your spouse or child is not eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, because they are not a qualified non-immigrant; and
- Your spouse or child is not eligible for a Social Security number, because of their immigration status (some dependents may have an SSN from a previous immigration status or an ITIN obtained during tax season, and this should be provided in those cases).
United Healthcare may also have short-term or individual Marketplace plans available (https://www.uhc.com/individual-and-family). Please review any plan you choose very carefully to ensure that you understand fully what you will pay in the event of an illness or injury, as well as the premium cost for the plan. Typically, the more you pay in premiums, the less you will pay for your healthcare costs, and vice versa. Students who have been in the U.S. for 5 years or more will also need to consider, when making their decision, whether or not they will incur a tax penalty if they choose a plan that does not comply with the Affordable Care Act (https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/).
Important Information for the FSU International Community
January 31, 2017
A Message From The President
January 30, 2017
Multiple Events: Job Fair, MLK Week, Tax Workshop, etc.
January 12, 2017
Happy New Year and Welcome to Returning and New International Students!
The CGE would like to be sure you are aware of some upcoming events:
- FSU reCycle Bike Distribution for Spring: TODAY! Wednesday, January 11 from 5 pm – 7 pm at the Mendenhall Maintenance Complex. You need to get there early (before 5) and stand in line or you probably won’t get a bicycle. Take $60 for the rental fee. The fee includes the bike, helmet, lock, and front and rear lights plus basic repairs at University Cycles.
- Part-Time Job Fair: Thursday, January 12 from 10 am – 12 noon in the Oglesby Union Ballrooms. Remember that F-1 students may work up to 20 hours/week on campus without special authorization. You can find a list of on-campus employers participating in the job fair on the Career Center website under Events.
- Engineering Day: Tuesday, January 24 from 9 am until 3 pm at the FSU College of Engineering. The Career Center website includes a list of participating employers and information on how to prepare for Career Fairs.
- Seminole Futures: This general career fair is Thursday, January 26 from 9 am - 12 noon and 1 pm - 4 pm at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. The list of participating employers and information on how to prepare for a career fair is on the Career Center website.
- See theCareer Center website for information on other upcoming fairs such as ones for graduate and professional school, law school, health professions, etc. Also, take advantage of Career Center resources like resume and cover letter writing, interviewing tips, etc. The Career Center offers regular workshops as well as drop-in advising.
- Filing 2016 Tax Returns: Although HR is making W-2 tax forms available now and within a few weeks will issue 1042S forms to individuals with FSU scholarships or fellowships and int’l employees who have claimed tax treaty benefits, you don’t need to file immediately. You can wait until after the tax workshop. In addition, the CGE will offer access to special tax preparation software that is specifically for non-resident tax returns. We will send an announcement when the software is available.
- Tax Workshop: Friday, March 3 from 1 pm until 5 pm. Alison Riley, a CPA will provide information for both international students and scholars filing as residents and those (most common) filing as a non-resident for tax (not immigration) purposes. We will send more information closer to the date.
- Martin Luther King Week: January 17 - 21, multiple events. Monday, January 16, is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the university is closed. Go to Cascades Park that day for the commemorative festival and go to this FSU Student Government page for information on all the week's events.
- Campus Recreation: Look at the Campus Recreation website for information about signing up for intramural soccer, bowling, basketball, wallyball, etc. or for information on trips (paddling, backpacking, caving, hiking, etc.) organized by Outdoor Pursuits.
Important Reminders as the Fall Semester Ends
December 5, 2016
Happy Fall! As the end of the Fall semester comes to a close, our office would like to remind you of a few important things:
- As you are finalizing your schedule for Spring, please keep in mind the following enrollment/registration requirements for F-1 students:
- - Undergraduate student: full-time enrollment is 12 credit hours (at least 9 credit hours must be face-to-face).
- - Graduate student: full-time enrollment is 9 credit hours (at least 6 credit hours must be face-to-face).
- - Graduate students in thesis/dissertation hours: 3 hours is considered full-time after enrolling for 6 thesis hours or 24 dissertation hours.
- - Final Term: if Spring is your final term, please enroll in hours required to complete your degree and please make sure to submit the Final Term Form no later than 2 weeks into the Spring semester.
- - If your department requires you to enroll in more than the credit hour requirements above, please do so.
- If you are planning to travel during winter break, please check your I-20 to see if you need a travel signature. If you do, please visit our office this Wednesday, 12/7, anytime from 8-5pm for our I-20 Travel Signature Day. Cookies and hot drinks will be provided while you wait to get your I-20 signed
- If you are doing an internship, practicum or research off-campus in the Spring, please remember to apply for CPT. Authorization is required BEFORE you start.
- Our Undergraduate Tuition Waiver application is now open. The application deadline is December 13, 2016 at 11pm. All undergraduates should have received an email with information on how to apply.
- Spring OPT Workshop dates are available on our CGE calendar. Registration for the workshops is open.
Please note: The CGE is open until 5pm on December 23rd, 2016 (unless noted otherwise) – F-1 advisors will be available to assist you as normal.
I-20 Travel Signature Day: Wednesday, December 7th, 8 AM - 5 PM
November 29, 2016
As you start making plans for your winter break, please review our F-1 Student Travel webpage for important information about traveling inside and outside the US.
If you need* a travel signature come to the CGE on Wednesday, December 7th anytime between 8 AM and 5 PM with your I-20 and Travel Signature Request Form (you can also fill this out when you arrive). We will provide travel signatures on a first-come, first-served basis and will have cookies and hot drinks for you to enjoy while waiting.
*You need a travel signature only if:
- you are planning on traveling outside of the US during the winter break
- and the second page of your I-20 does not have a travel signature that will be valid when you re-enter the US. (Travel signatures are valid for one year unless you are on post-completion OPT, in which case they valid for only 6 months.)
You may also obtain a travel signature by seeing an advisor during walk in hours, Monday – Friday, 2 – 4 PM, or by dropping off your I-20 and the Travel Signature Request Form anytime outside of walk in hours and picking it up when emailed that it is ready (typically by the next business day).
Finally, please remember to bring or email to the CGE any new documents (new I-94, renewed visa or passport, etc.) when you return. We will need to make copies for your file.
Enjoy your winter break!
Open Discussion Post Election / Pizza Lunch
November 17, 2016
Dear international students and scholars:
I hope that all of you took the time to read President’s Thrasher’s message to the campus community on Tuesday in which he noted Florida State University’s “dedication to having an open and welcoming environment that respects and values every individual”. Your presence here at FSU is highly valued and you are a very important part of this community.
The recent FSU Strategic Plan, passed two weeks ago, set campus internationalization as a priority. FSU seeks to expand its global footprint and continue to foster a culturally rich learning environment on campus. There will be increased efforts to welcome more international students and scholars to campus as well as to send more FSU students out on study abroad and exchange programs.
If you have any questions or concerns, or have experienced unfriendly encounters on campus or in the community, please come to the Center for Global Engagement and let your international student advisor or me know right away. Please also be sure to report any incidents that you perceive as harassing or discriminatory at report.fsu.edu.
Please join the CGE staff for a pizza lunch and an open discussion about issues or concerns you might have post-election tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 18 at noon in Globe Room 2400.
Cynthia Green, Ed.D.
Center for Global Engagement
Florida State University
Thanksgiving Dinner Opportunity
November 14, 2016
International students have been invited to join Westminster Oaks Retirement Community for a Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, November 20 at 6 pm. Westminster Oaks is a very large retirement community made up of a lot of retired FSU faculty and people who are interested in meeting students from around the world. The Center for Global Engagement has taken international students to this event for many years and it is a great opportunity for you to meet and talk to Americans and enjoy some great food.
There will be traditional Thanksgiving food including turkey and many sides and the CGE will also take several types of international food.
Please sign up right away at https://cfprd.oti.fsu.edu/dsa/IC/?filteredEvents=26&ws=0 for the Thanksgiving Dinner if you would like to attend. There is limited seating due to transportation.
You will need to be at the CGE by 4:45 on November 20 and the bus and vans will depart sharply at 5 pm. The drive takes about 30 minutes and we should arrive by 5:30. The buffet line will begin at 6.
USCIS Fee Increase Effective December 23, 2016
Ocotber 26, 2016
USCIS fees will go up starting December 23. A useful information page regarding the increase and an easy-to-read chart with all the fee increases is on this page.
Increases most relevant to students and departments are:
|Form||Form Description||Cost Effective 12/23/2016|
|I-765||(used for OPT and J-2 work authorization)||$410|
|I-539||(used for reinstatement and changes of status)||$370|
|I-129||(used for H-1B applications)||$460|
|I-140||(used by FSU for immigrant visa petitions)||$700|
No Eyeglasses Allowed in Visa Photos Starting November 1, 2016
Ocotber 10, 2016
The U.S. Department of State announced that, starting November 1, 2016, visa applicants may no longer submit photos in which they use eye glasses. For more information see the Department of State website.
Center for Global Engagement: Diversity Visa (Green Card) Lottery Open Now
October 5, 2016
Online registration for the US government’s Fiscal Year 2018 Diversity Immigrant Visa program (also known as the Green Card Lottery) began on October 4 and will end on Monday, November 7, 2016 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time.
The program awards up to 50,000 Immigrant Visas to individuals born in countries with low immigration rates to the United States, or qualifying through a couple of very specific alternative eligibility requirements.
The U.S. Department of State advises you to be aware of fraudulent e-mails and letters sent regarding the Diversity Visa program. There is no fee to participate in the program and instructions are available on the U.S. Department of State website.
For comprehensive information on the 2018 Diversity Visa Program,eligibility requirements, fraud warnings, and for a link to the Application Instructions if you would like to apply, go to the Diversity Visa Program Entry Instructions.
Travel and Visa Tips for F-1 International Students (and dependents)
October 3, 2016
Please keep in mind the following information when you make plans to travel outside Tallahassee and the U.S.:
Passport and Immigration Documents - While leaving your passport and immigration documents at home is not a problem in Tallahassee (although it is a good idea to have a copy with you), you should take those documents with you when you leave Tallahassee. It is always your responsibility to be able to prove your legal status in the U.S.
Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) & Florida Driver License - Some TSA airport clearance offices will not accept the Florida driver license as proof of identity because of the “temporary” designation written on it. While TSA officers may not accept temporary driver licenses for identification, we are not certain that the use of “temporary” on the Florida license to designate a temporary stay in the U.S. is what the guidelines intend to prohibit. We are working to get clarification on this but, in the meantime, it is best if you use your passport as identification, even for domestic air travel.
Travel Signature - Remember to check your I-20 to be sure you have a valid travel signature from an international student adviser. A travel signature on Page 2 of the I-20 is valid for one year, or 6 months in the case of students using post-completion OPT. To request a new travel signature, if necessary, come to the CGE during walk-in hours, 2-4 pm. Alternatively, you can drop your I-20 off at the CGE when it is convenient for you and then return to pick it up when you receive email telling you it's ready. The form you must complete to request a travel signature is here.
Revoked Visas – The U.S. Department of State is revoking visas of individuals arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) when the arrest occurs after the issuance of the visa. The Department of State is notifying individuals of the revocation using the email address that was used at the time of the visa application. While the revocation DOES NOT affect an individual’s nonimmigrant status or stay in the U.S., it does mean that the individual must apply for a new visa before returning to the U.S. The new visa application process could require clearance by a panel physician. If you are in this situation, note that the physician could determine that you are not immediately eligible for a visa. If you have been arrested in the U.S. (you were probably arrested if you were fingerprinted or received a summons to appear in court), we recommend that you consult an immigration attorney prior to leaving the U.S. and applying for a new visa – even if you did not receive notification from the U.S. State Department.
Fall 2016 OPT Workshop
September 12, 2016
The fall OPT Workshop schedule has been added to the CGE website calendar. Please remember, the OPT workshop is required prior to submitting your OPT application. To complete the OPT workshop, you have two options:
- Do the ONLINE OPT Workshop (you can find link in Blackboard, under the Center for Global Engagement tab)
- Register for an in person OPT Workshop. You will be able to register for a workshop immediately.The workshop dates are posted below:
- October 5, 2016 2:00 - 4:00 pm
- November 2, 2016 2:00 - 4:00pm
- November 16, 2016 2:00 - 4:00pm