We often receive questions from students and campus partners asking us, “what is the best way to contact ISS?” We’re writing this post to help you understand a bit more about how ISS works and how we can help you.
I have a question about CPT, OPT, or a Leave of Absence. What should I do?
The best thing to do is to check our website for answers. Our advising team made some great video learning tools about CPT, OPT, and STEM OPT this year. We will be creating a video about taking a break from school soon. It’s helpful for our team when you do your research about the immigration situations in front of you. Our website is the only ISS advising resource you have available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also learn about immigration-related requests by logging into MyISSS and open up the request to review the learning content.
I watched the videos and read the website, but I still have questions. How can you help?
If you still have questions after doing your research, please visit us during drop-in advising. Our advisors are available most days for in-person and virtual drop-in advising.
I already know what I need, but my academic advisor referred me to drop-in advising. What should I do?
If you know what support you need from ISS, we recommend you submit the request directly in MyISSS. Our requests have information in the forms to help you learn more about your immigration-related responsibilities while you go through the process. You do not need to meet with an advisor before submitting a request. The only requests that do require a consultation with an advisor are regaining status requests and change of status requests.
When should I email ISS?
We recommend that you email ISS if you haven’t been able to find the answer to your questions on our website. We often receive incomplete emails from students that provide very little information. Students who need to extend their I-20s, for example, should not email ISS, but instead, complete a program extension form in MyISSS. We recommend that students or advisors email us when they have time to wait for a response.
How do I contact an advisor during an emergency?
ISS encourages students to visit our office during our open hours (between 1 to 4 PM). You can also call our office and leave a message about your situation so that we can follow up with the appropriate resources.
We also want to clarify between an emergency versus an urgency. An emergency involves the UW Police Department, mental health professionals, or medical professionals. Urgent situations at the U.S. Border can be resolved with the support of the ISS staff who communicates with Customs & Border Protection.
Other situations and concerns regarding work authorization or enrollment issues can be resolved proactively with good planning.
How can I build a good relationship with ISS?
We encourage all students and staff members at UW to be informed. Students on F-1 and J-1 visas are responsible for understanding the rules of their visa type. Students agree to follow international student visa requirements when they sign their I-20 or DS-2019, and should always be encouraged to stay informed on the rules of their visa. We encourage students to review their F-1 and J-1 visa rules at least once a year.
Campus partners are encouraged to learn about ISS processes by attending ISS Information Sessions when offered.