Category Archives: International Student Programs

CPT Workshop 03/12/2015

CPT Workshop

Are you interested in doing a paid internship/co-op during the school year or over the summer?

This workshop is perfect for YOU!

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of application. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program.

Come and find out what you need to do to fulfill your career opportunities yes!

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Traveling Information 2015

This is a reminder for you as an F-1 student. If you are traveling outside of the United States for Thanksgiving, Christmas, J-term or Spring 2016, you must see me to have me sign your I-20 to validate it for travel. Additionally, when you bring your I-20 to be signed, please bring your passport and your F-1 visa so that we can ensure that we have up to date copies in our office.

 

Remember, it’s your responsibility to have your I-20 endorsed when you travel and to make sure that your F-1 visa and passport are valid for the duration of your travel.

 

You MUST always travel with:

I-20, recently signed by a Messiah College DSO (Hope Newcomer)

A passport valid for at least 6 months from the date you plan to return to the USA

A valid US F-1 Student visa. Make sure it will not expire before your anticipated return to the USA, or else you will need to apply for a new one before your return to the USA.

 

Additionally, it is advisable to carry the following with you:

Verification of Enrollment Letter from your DSO (Hope Newcomer) stating that you are in legal status in SEVIS and registered for classes for the following semester.

Financial proof: a copy of your paid bill from Messiah College, bank statements and/or sponsor letters

All previous I-20s

Emergency contact numbers of Messiah College personnel in case you have difficulties at immigration (mine is at the bottom of this email)

 

Please remember to let me know if you change your major, add/drop a minor, or if your family moves! All of these things need to be updated in the SEVIS system. If you look at your most recent I-20, it lists the major that is on record with SEVIS for you. If this is no longer accurate due to a change, please email me so that I can update SEVIS and print a new I-20 for you.

Some of you have heard that there is a new Form 1-20 format. You do not need to have a new I-20 immediately, but I will print a new form if you are traveling.

Spring break travel reminders for international students

If you are leaving the United States for break, please remember to be prepared for your return inspection through U.S. Customs and Border Protection at your U.S. port of entry when you come back. It is important that you hand-carry (instead of packing in checked luggage) the following documents:

  1. Valid passport with valid F visa (be sure to enter on your F if you have more than one kind of visa); your passport should be good at least six months into the future from re-entry date
  2. Original, signed Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status); pay particular attention to the DSO signature on page three (each signature is only good for one year)
  3. Proof of financial support

Failure to have all of the necessary documents above can result in you being directed to a secondary inspection station and either having your entry denied or receiving a Form I-514A for further completion.

You should also remember:

  • That if you travel outside the U.S. to a place that is NOT your home country, you should know that country’s visa requirements and plan accordingly. Contact that country’s embassy or consulate for necessary information.
  • To have the contact information for your DSO (Kevin Villegas, kvillegas@messiah.edu, 717-691-6005)
  • If you are traveling within the United States by bus, train or airline you should carry with you your valid passport or state issued driver’s license or ID. Failure to have valid photo identification can result in you not being permitted to board your bus, train or plane.
  • To have fun and stay safe!
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Writing Center now open for spring semester

The Writing Center of Messiah College is now open for the spring semester! The hours are as follows:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays: 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 2:00-9:00 p.m.
    Tuesdays and Thursdays: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and 2:00-9:00 p.m.
    (The Writing Center is closed each Monday from 5:00-6:00 for staff meeting.)

Stop by to use this free campus resource to improve your academic writing assignments. You can bring a paper at any stage in the writing process—even when it’s just an idea! Make an appointment on MCSquare as far in advance as possible, as slots are expected to book up very quickly this semester. Be sure to print off your paper before coming as it makes it easier for everybody! Visit The Writing Center online here.

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Learning Center announces spring hours

Don’t forget about a wonderful (and free!) resource on campus: The Learning Center.

This spring 2015 semester, qualified tutors are available Monday through Thursday, 3:00-10:00 p.m., to provide assistance in a wide variety of subject areas. Please, make sure to take advantage of this valuable resource. Click here for a detail listing of subjects and tutors for this semester.

For more information or to schedule a session, visit The Learning Center’s webpage here.

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OPT Info Session to be Held

International Student Programs will hold an information session on Optional Practical Training (OPT) for current F-1 visa students on Tuesday, Feb. 17, from 5 to 6 p.m. in Larsen 237. The purpose of OPT is to allow international students the opportunity to obtain part- or full-time work authorization for 12 months in a position directly related to a student’s major area of study. If you are considering OPT and are interested in learning more about how to apply, you should attend this session.

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Tax Obligations (and Assistance) for F-1 Visa Students

The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that you submit tax returns by April 15 each year (city and state tax offices generally use this same deadline).

To assist international students in filing their returns, accounting students from the Department of Management and Business at Messiah College offer free tax preparation services as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Services are provided every Tuesday evening from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in Frey 156 beginning February 3 and ending on April 15. It will be closed on March 17 for spring break. Click here for more details.

All international students, regardless of whether or not income was earned, are required to file IRS Form 8843 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf).

All international students with an F-1 visa who receive any sort of income, including tuition reduction, scholarships, fellowships, grants, salaries, wages, stipends, interest, dividends, etc., from U.S. sources are also required to file income tax returns with federal, state, and city governments.

When filing tax returns, ensure that you …

  • Report all U.S. source income for the entire previous year (January 1 to December 31)
  • Calculate how much tax is owed on that income
  • At each of the three levels of government (local, state, federal), if you are owed money, request it. If you owe money, pay it. (Most internationals will either owe nothing or are owed money).

Please note that neither International Student Programs nor any other office at Messiah College can offer specific tax advice. It is your own responsibility to understand your tax obligations. Tax regulations can be very confusing, particularly for international students. Therefore, you should only rely on someone with proper training to assist you in filing.

For more information on federal taxes, visit www.irs.gov.

For more information on state taxes, visit www.revenue.state.pa.us.

For more information on local taxes, visit www.cumberlandtax.org.

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OPT info session to be held

International Student Programs will hold an information session on Optional Practical Training (OPT) for current F1 visa students on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in Larsen 237. The purpose of OPT is to allow international students the opportunity to obtain part- or full-time work authorization for 12 months in a position directly related to a student’s major area of study. If you are considering OPT and are interested in learning more about how to apply, you should attend this session.

 

 

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TAX OBLIGATIONS (AND ASSISTANCE) FOR F-1 VISA STUDENTS

The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that you submit tax returns by April 15 each year (city and state tax offices generally use this same deadline).

To assist international students in filing their returns, accounting students from the Department of Management and Business at Messiah College offer free tax preparation services as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Services are provided every Tuesday evening from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in Frey 156 beginning February 4th and ending on April 15th. It will be closed on March 18th for spring break.

All international students, regardless of whether or not income was earned, are required to file IRS Form 8843 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf).

All internationals students with an F-1 visa who receive any sort of income, including tuition reduction, scholarships, fellowships, grants, salaries, wages, stipends, interest, dividends, etc., from U.S. sources are also required to file income tax returns with federal, state, and city governments.

When filing tax returns, ensure that you …

  • Report all U.S. source income for the entire previous year (January 1 to December 31)
  • Calculate how much tax is owed on that income
  • At each of the three levels of government (local, state, federal), if you are owed money, request it. If you owe money, pay it. (Most internationals will either owe nothing or are owed money).

Please note that neither International Student Programs nor any other office at Messiah College can offer specific tax advice. It is your own responsibility to understand your tax obligations. Tax regulations can be very confusing, particularly for international students. Therefore, you should only rely on someone with proper training to assist you in filing.

For more information on federal taxes, visit www.irs.gov.

For more information on state taxes, visit www.revenue.state.pa.us.

For more information on local taxes, visit www.cumberlandtax.org.

IMPORTANT TRAVEL REMINDERS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

If you are leaving the United States for break, please remember to be prepared for your return inspection through U.S. Customs and Border Protection at your U.S. port of entry when you come back. It is important that you hand-carry (instead of packing in checked luggage) the following documents:

  1. Valid passport with valid F visa (be sure to enter on your F if you have more than one kind of visa); your passport should be good at least six months into the future
  2. Original, signed Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status); pay particular attention to the DSO signature on page three (each signature is only good for one year)

Failure to have all of the necessary documents above can result in you being directed to a secondary inspection station and either having your entry denied or receiving a Form I-514A for further completion.

You should also consider having:

  • A recent travel letter (or letter of enrollment) from your DSO indicating that you are in good status (e-mail Kevin with your travel destination and your departure and return dates)
  • Contact information for your DSO (Kevin Villegas, kvillegas@messiah.edu, 717-691-6005)

If you are traveling within the United States by bus, train or airline you should carry with you your valid passport or state issued driver’s license or ID. Failure to have valid photo identification can result in you not being permitted to board your bus, train or plane.

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