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Office of International
Students and Scholars

International Center 125
University of New Orleans
2000 Lakeshore Drive
New Orleans, LA 70148

Phone: (504) 280-6021
Fax: (504) 280-7317





Issue #42—April/May 2016


•  Optional Practical Training for graduating students— F-1 students who will be graduating in May 2016 and plan to apply for post-completion optional practical training are reminded that they should schedule an appointment with an OISS advisor as soon as possible to complete their OPT application.

F-1 students who have not yet begun the practical training application process are urged to do so soon, so that you will have the best possible opportunity to obtain your employment authorization card in a timely manner. Currently, it is taking the USCIS Texas Service Center approximately three months to process OPT employment authorization applications. Employment cannot begin unless you have the card "in hand."

•  Graduating students who will not apply for practical training— Students who will be ending their studies in May but have no plans to apply for practical training (F-1), academic training (J-1) or continue at a new school or in a new field or level of study must depart the United States within sixty days of completion of their academic program if they are in F-1 status, or within thirty days if they are in J-1 status.   Please check the dates on your I-20s and DS-2019s. If you are graduating and the program date needs to be shortened, please come to OISS.

•  New STEM OPT extension rules – New rules for STEM OPT were published in March 2016 and will go in effect on May 10, 2016. Whether you are currently on OPT (regular or STEM), or you are still a student these changes may affect you. The new rules extend the STEM OPT period to 24 months, expand the designated STEM degrees, as well as add new requirements for STEM students and employers.
For more information please visit: .
The OISS website will be updated soon with more information about new regulations and procedures related to the STEM extension of OPT.

•  Income Tax Information —International students are not exempt from filing income tax forms – even if the U.S. has a tax treaty with the country of origin. If you are an international student who needs help filling out your tax forms, come to one of the income tax sessions. There is only one more day of tax sessions scheduled before the tax filing deadline: April 13 at 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 Kirschman Hall Room 209. For more information on the tax sessions, please check: . Please remember the deadline for filing taxes is Monday, April 18, 2016.


•  I-20 or DS-2019 expiring? —Check your documents for the end date of your I-20 or DS-2019. If it is expiring in May 2016 and you will not be graduating, please make an appointment with an OISS advisor as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

Students who will begin a new level of study (e.g., completing bachelor's and commencing master's or completing master's and commencing PhD) will need to request their new I-20 at OISS. Updated financial documents are needed.

Returning Students - Make sure to check your university student account to ensure that all university fees are assessed correctly and make sure to pay your fee bill by May 27 th at 4:30 pm for summer and August 12 th at 4:30 pm for fall to avoid late fees.

•  Complete and submit the OISS “Change of Address” form (available on OISS website) within 10 days of moving.


•  Health Insurance - Insurance Coverage Evaluation Forms must be submitted for the summer and fall semester, even if you submitted one in the spring. All students must submit a new Insurance Coverage Evaluation Form each semester . Insurance requirements and forms are available at . Forms must be submitted to OISS no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1 for summer and Tuesday, August 23 for fall.


Graduating or departing students (not returning) - If you are graduating this semester or leaving UNO, let OISS know your plans. You can come into our office or email .

•  Returning to your home country

•  Transferring to another university in the United States

•  Returning to UNO for another degree program and/or a new level of the same program

If you are graduating and would like to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training, make an appointment with an OISS advisor as soon as possible.

Students in F-1 status who are graduating and are not going to pursue Optional Practical Training (OPT), not transferring to a new U.S. school nor beginning a new degree program in the U.S. are required to depart the U.S. within 60 days of the end date on the I-20 or the completion of studies date.  Students in J-1 status are required to depart the U.S. within 30 days of the end date on the DS-2019, or the end of their programs. Please check the dates on your I-20s and DS-2019s. If you are graduating and the program date needs to be shortened, please come to OISS.

•  Employment Authorization - If you plan on working, please keep in mind that you need to meet with an International Advisor before beginning any employment (student worker positions, Internship through COOP, Internship for Academic credit, Graduate or Teaching Assistantship positions)

•  Travelling over Summer Break? — Be sure to have your I-20 or DS-2019 when you travel, as well as the other recommended documents listed on our Travel Instructions Handout at . Also, make sure that you have a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019. The travel signature should be less than six months old as of the date you will return to the United States. If you need a travel signature please bring your I-20 or DS-2019 in to OISS for processing at least 10 days before your trip.

**You must be registered for the fall 2016 semester in order for OISS to process a travel signature. **

Fall classes are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 17. Please be sure to make your travel arrangements to return to New Orleans in time.

•  Processing Requests - Please allow 5-7 business days for processing requests such as bank letters, employment authorization, Social Security letters, travel signitures etc. Please plan accordingly and allow enough time for your request to be processed.

•  Have you ever received a new I-20 or DS-2019 from OISS? What should you do with your old I-20 or DS-2019? You should always keep any immigration documents that have been issued to you, even when you are given a new document with updated information or transfer to a new school. The forms I-20 or DS-2019 issued to you throughout your time in the U.S. are a record of your immigration status and these original documents will be needed in the future to apply for immigration benefits. Do not throw these documents away. Always keep them in a safe place for your records.


•  Jazz Fest 2016— The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is a highlight of New Orleans' unique culture and musical heritage. The first weekend of Jazz Fest 2016 begins on Friday, April 22 and goes through Sunday, May 1. Check the music lineup and information on tickets for the 2016 festival at: .


•  French Quarter Fest – The French Quarter Festival is the largest free music festival in the U.S. that brings music and food fans to New Orleans's oldest neighborhood every April. In 2016, the free, four-day music and culture festival will be held April 7 to 10. It features traditional, South Louisiana food from a host of vendors, free dance lessons, children's activities, panel discussions, and all in the pedestrian-friendly historic district full of urban amenities. For more information visit: .

•  New Orleans Fairs and Festivals — Festival season in New Orleans has begun! Check out a list of fairs and festivals throughout the New Orleans area for April and May at Gambit's 2016 New Orleans Fairs & Festivals:


•  Spring Semester Campus Events— For a calendar of events taking place on campus this month, check out UNO's Event Calendar at:

And Student Involvement and Leadership's Calendar at:


•  Spring Semester 2016 University Calendar— To view the official university calendar for Spring 2016, please go to the following link:


Important April/May Dates

April 6: Last date for thesis & dissertation defense to be held for Spring 2016 degree candidates

April 23: Last day of Saturday classes

April 29: Final day of classes

May 2-6: Final exams

May 10: Final grades available on Web-STAR

May 13: COMMENCEMENT at 3:00 p.m. at Lakefront Arena

OISS Spring Walk-In Hours Reminder

Monday & Thursday       8:00 am -12:00 pm
                                           2:00 pm-4:00 pm
Tuesday & Friday            9:00 am-12:30 pm
                                            1:30 pm-4:00 pm

Wednesday                     1:30 pm-4:00 pm

Walk-in consultations are for quick 10-15 minute discussions. You will receive assistance on a first-come, first-served basis.

Appointments are at specific times and with specific advisors. If your discussion involves changing status, an OPT or CPT application, or any other complex situation, please make an appointment. Please call 504-280-6021 to schedule an appointment or send an email to .


Please note: For past issues of OISS News please check our website under the heading “OISS News”




The University of New Orleans • 2000 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans, LA 70148
(504) 280-6000 • Toll-Free at (888) 514-4275