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News and Events

Office Closures Reminders

Monday mornings, 9-10am (The ISSS is closed for staff meeting each week.)
Friday mornings, 11am-Noon (The ISSS is closed for staff training each week.)

USCIS Policy Memorandum Update

Updated May 16, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a policy memorandum changing how the agency will calculate unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain their status in the United States.  

This policy aligns with President Trump’s Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States to enforce the immigration laws of the country and will go into effect on Aug. 9, 2018.

Individuals in F, J, and M status who failed to maintain their status before Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on that date based on that failure, unless they had already started accruing unlawful presence, on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after DHS denied the request for an immigration benefit, if DHS made a formal finding that the individual violated his or her nonimmigrant status while adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit;
  • The day after their I-94 expired; or
  • The day after an immigration judge or in certain cases, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), ordered them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

Individuals in F, J, or M status who fail to maintain their status on or after Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:      

  • The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after completing the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period;
  • The day after the I-94 expires; or
  • The day after an immigration judge, or in certain cases, the BIA, orders them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

Individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence during a single stay, and then depart, may be subject to three-year or 10-year bars to admission, depending on how much unlawful presence they accrued before they departed the United States. Individuals who have accrued a total period of more than one year of unlawful presence, whether in a single stay or during multiple stays in the United States, and who then reenter or attempt to reenter the United States without being admitted or paroled are permanently inadmissible.

Those subject to the three-year, 10-year, or permanent unlawful presence bars to admission are generally not eligible to apply for a visa, admission, or adjustment of status to permanent residence unless they are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or another form of relief.

For questions, please contact ISSS at or call 801-581-8876 to schedule an appointment. 

New SEVP OPT Student Portal

For general information regarding the new SEVP PORTAL HELP HUB, please visit:


The SEVP Portal is for F-1 students participating in post-completion OPT (including those on a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) extension) participating in practical training.

Students on OPT or OPT STEM will automatically receive an e-mail from SEVP ( with instructions to set up their portal account. The portal allows students to report address, telephone and employer information directly to SEVIS. Students accountable for meeting the reporting requirements that regulations require of them through the SEVP portal.

Read more

New Departmental Login Feature

PLEASE NOTE: Currently, this login feature is only available to advisors who are advising F-1 or J-1 students, and does NOT include J-1 Exchange Visitor research scholar forms or applications at the present.

ISSS is excited to announce the new Departmental login feature! This new login is accessible on our main website ( see red Departmental Login button) for all departments on campus.


Academic Advisors now have the ability to log into the istart system through their own departmental portal where they can view any and all pending requests they have received from any international student who has submitted an e-form request. Please remember that the request must first be initiated by the student. As many immigration processes are time sensitive, we ask that advisors please respond to these requests as soon as possible.

Departments will still receive a personal email for each request, however, the login link to review the form will simply direct departments to the general departmental login portal which may be accessed through the email, or through our main webpage.

Advisors must login using their university credentials (u0XXXXXX) and CIS password. Once logged in, they will have access to complete all pending requests that multiple international students may be requesting of them.

The following are examples of the type of student requests Academic Advisors may need to verify and submit:

  1. Academic Reduced Course Load- Students submit when asking for permission to drop below full-time credits for academic reasons. Advisors must verify academic situation. 
  2. Curricular Practical Training- Students submit when requesting permission to engage in off campus employment related to their academic program. Advisors are asked to verify the curricular tie between the employment and CPT credit.
  3. I-20 Extension Request- Students submit to extend the length of their academic program. Advisors must verify the length of the program and projected graduation.
  4. Last Semester- Students submit to notify ISSS of their final semester. Advisors must verify projected graduation.
  5. Optional Practical Training: Post or Pre Completion Request- Students apply for employment work authorization after graduating. Advisors must verify projected graduation.
  6. Reinstatement Request (if reinstating for extension purposes)- Students who are applying to reinstate their visa may also need an extension at this time. Advisors must verify projected graduation. 

****Please note that the content of these e-forms has not changed, simply the method of accessing and reviewing the forms. ****

The following is an example of what advisors will be able to view once logged into the Departmental Login portal:


For further questions regarding the new login portal for departments, please contact us at or call 801-581-8876 and request to speak with the phone duty Advisor. 

CPT and OPT workshops

New CPT Policy

Beginning this Fall 2017, new changes will be instituted for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). You can find the full updated CPT policy on our website here:

The following are highlights of the main recent CPT changes: 

  • Full-Time CPT

    Students may be eligible to apply for full-time CPT in any semester (Fall, Spring, or Summer). Should a student wish to participate in full-time CPT in the Fall or Spring semester, they must meet a GPA requirement: 3.0 GPA for undergraduates, 3.5 GPA for graduates in the most recently reported semester prior to applying for full-time CPT. Exceptions may be made for student whose program requires a full-time internship participation for completion of the program. Please note, accumulating 12 months or more of full-time CPT will disqualify a student from obtaining OPT upon graduation. Students are responsible for tracking their own full-time CPT participation.
  • CPT in the last semester

    Students in their last semester may also be eligible for full-time CPT. Students must meet required GPA requirements (3.0 GPA for undergraduates, 3.5 GPA for graduates). CPT may not be the only course taken in the final semester unless that specific CPT course is the only remaining requirement for program graduation.
  • CPT Course

    Students who participate in part-time or full-time CPT must maintain a C grade or higher in their CPT course. Students who elect to take a CPT course for Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) must achieve a CR grade.  Failure to earn a C or higher, or earning a NC grade will disqualify the student from applying for CPT the following semester. Students who officially withdraw or earn an unofficial withdrawal (EU) without the consent of ISSS may have their CPT rescinded and become ineligible for CPT the following semester as well.


Please submit a new CPT application as soon as possible. Your new application must include a new job offer letter which indicates your new hours per week. Please indicate in the "Additional Comments" box at the bottom of the eform that you are wishing to switch to full-time CPT. Keep in mind that you will need to let your academic advisor know so that they can fill out their portion of the form as quickly as possible. ISSS will do its best to expedite these requests as soon as possible.

***Please note, in order to apply for full-time CPT in Fall 2017, applicants must meet the required GPA requirement in order to qualify. Those who do not qualify may only apply for part-time CPT.

On Campus work is limited to part time (1-20 hours per week) during non-vacation semesters (Fall and Spring). The limit for full-time CPT is 40 hours per week. If you choose to participate in on-campus and/or CPT work, here are your options:

  • Work full-time on CPTallowed during any semester, maximum 40 hours per week
  • Work full-time on campusallowed only during the summer vacation semester, maximum 40 hours per week
  • Work part-time on CPT and part-time on campus: hours worked per week must not exceed 40 hours total between the two employment opportunities 

New Vacation Policy

In response to guidance from U.S. immigration authorities, the University is required to make a change to the vacation semester policy for F-1 visa holders.  Beginning Fall 2017, vacation semesters will automatically be granted to all students during the SUMMER semesters. Students will no longer be eligible for a vacation semester during the Fall or Spring semesters.

Continuing students who have planned to take a vacation semester in the Spring 2017 or Summer 2017 semester may still submit a vacation request for those semesters if they meet the qualifications.  Beginning Fall 2017 all students must enroll full time, unless they have an approved exception from ISSS.  Vacation semesters will automatically be applied for all qualifying students in Summer 2018.

Please NOTE the following important changes to the Vacation Semester Policy:

  • Students will no longer need to submit vacation requests to ISSS, but will instead be automatically granted vacation in the summer
  • Students may still choose to take full time courses in the summer if they wish
  • Students may no longer request to be below full time for the purpose of a vacation in the Spring or Fall semester
  • Students may still choose to take courses at another university during their summer semester as long as they request a letter to attend another school from ISSS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

No, beginning Fall 2017, the Vacation Request e-form will no longer be available. Students will no longer need to request a vacation, but instead will be automatically granted a vacation in the Summer semesters.

You may still apply to work full- time on CPT during Fall 2017, however, you must be enrolled in full-time credits. Full time is a maximum of 40 hours per week. You may only work part-time on campus during Fall and Spring semesters.

Yes, you can choose to take full time credits during your summer semester and also are eligible to work full-time during that Summer semester. Please make sure you request permission for employment (On-Campus Work Authorization or CPT) and receive approval prior to working.

All students are eligible to apply for CPT work-full time during any semester. Students who have received part-time work authorization during the Spring and Fall semester may work full-time only during official university breaks (such as Spring break or Fall break). On campus work is limited to full-time in only the summer semesters. For more information on CPT and on campus work, please see our CPT policy guide:

No, although all students are granted a Summer vacation, there must be an intent to be enrolled the next semester. If the next semester is the student’s last semester, they can apply to receive permission to be below full-time in their last semester by submitting the Last Semester e-form.

Yes, you may choose to take courses at another university while on your vacation semester, provided that you are eligible to take those courses and that you intend to register for the next semester at the University of Utah. You must submit a Letter to Attend Another School E-form prior to attending courses at another school.
Yes, you may choose to stay in the U.S. or leave the country during your vacation semester. If you are traveling, please make sure you receive a travel signature prior to traveling and travel with the necessary valid documents (I-20, passport, visa.)

As a new student in Spring, you must be full time in Spring, the next semester (Summer) will be your vacation semester, then you must be full-time in the Fall semester. You will not be eligible for another vacation semester until the next Summer.

As a new student in the Summer, your first semester, even though it is Summer, must be full time. You must then be full-time in the Fall and Spring before being eligible for a vacation semester the next Summer.

Your last semester cannot be a summer vacation semester. All students are required to fill out a Last Semester Notification e-form and submit it to ISSS prior to, or at the beginning (first 15 days) of your last semester.  You are, however, allowed to be below full time credits (minimum 1 credit) in your last semester and will receive approval for this once you have submitted your Last semester form. You may only receive authorization to work part-time in your last semester.

For more detailed information on the new vacation policy, please see our policy form at:

New USCIS Application Fee Changes

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is adjusting the fee schedule for immigration and naturalization benefit requests processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Under this final rule, DHS will increase fees by a weighted average of 21 percent.

This rule is effective December 23, 2016. Applications or petitions mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include this new fee.

Please NOTE the following important changes for students applying for the following through USCIS.

Application New Cost
F-1 OPT $410
F-1 STEM OPT $410
Change of Status $37
F-1 Reinstatement $370

For more detailed information and breakdown of these new fees, plus other fees regarding immigration and naturalization benefits, please visit:

Will you TRAVEL outside the US over Winter Break?

You may need a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019! If our last signature on your document was more than 6 months ago, you must get your documents signed again for travel.

Please check to make sure your other immigration documents are in order (valid passport and visa).

Signatures take 24 hours to process, so please plan ahead!

Anonymous Support Survey

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The ISSS has two wonderful opportunities for students to get involved with new/incoming international students.

  • International Ambassador Program
Last Updated: 5/21/18