Award Opportunity: 2016-2017 General ISSS Financial Aid Now Available!

The 2016-2017 General ISSS Financial Aid Application is now available! This financial need-based award applies up to $2,500 per semester for the fall and spring semesters and $1,500 in the summer semester towards tuition bills. Please note that the award amount cannot exceed the tuition bill balance.

Students who have experienced a recent change in their financial status or who are not receiving a waiver for the nonresident portion of their tuition are especially encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be on a non-immigrant visa.
  • You must not be eligible for in-state tuition based on your immigration status.
  • You must have completed a full course of study for two academic semesters at UT Austin.
    Note: Concurrent enrollment at another school does not count toward full-time hours.
  • Your GPA must be at least 2.0 (undergraduate student) or 3.0 (graduate student).
  • You must demonstrate financial need by completing the application.
  • You must be attending classes at UT Austin during the summer semester.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, May 13 at 5 pm.

Good luck!

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Ethnic Restaurants & Markets


This spring & summer you’ll need to fulfill your appetite for delicious international food! Here is a list of ethnic restaurants & markets to visit:

Jamaican – Craving a Caribbean meal? Tony’s Jamaican Food is well known for their large portions and jerk chicken.

French – Look no further than Chez Nous, a quaint little French bistro known for its authenticity and romantic atmosphere.

Ethiopian – Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant is a family owned business which offers tasty meat & vegetable platters. Make sure to stop by for their lunch buffet!

Moroccan – The Flying Carpet offers organic & fresh ingredients along with a variety of vegetarian dishes. BYOB (bring your own beer) on the weekend!

Asian – Head to Chinatown to visit MT Supermarket, one of the largest international supermarkets in Austin! You’ll find a variety of products from Asia which range from: China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, the Philippines & Korea.

Let us know of your favorite restaurants around Austin in the comments.

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KGSP Summer Research Program

Staff members in ISSS are excited to welcome 15 undergraduate students sponsored by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Gifted Student Program (KGSP). The students will participate in a Summer Research Program lasting five weeks, July 10-August 14. The goal of KGSP Summer Research Program at the University of Texas at Austin is to provide enriching research opportunities that include lab experience, academic research workshops, a faculty and graduate student panel presentation with Q&A, industry visits, and a poster session workshop.

When not inside the lab, students will have the opportunity to experience and engage with the local culture through a number of planned activities such as museum visits, a ranch visit, and a boat cruise.

The students can also be sure they won’t leave Texas without tasting some good TexMex food!

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STEM OPT Extension Info Session

STEM OPT Seminar Email Graphic
In March 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published amended F-1 rules for certain STEM majors. These changes provide for an extension of the OPT period by 24 months (a STEM OPT extension). The amended rules will go into effect on May 10, 2016. As such, the International Office is offering the opportunity for you to get more information on the impact of these changes.

STEM OPT Extension Info Session
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
5–6 p.m.
Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302)

If you are unable to attend this event in person, you can view it via livestream. For more information about the STEM OPT Extension, please visit our webpage on the topic.

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Thrive at UT

Introducing: Thrive at UT Mobile App

As the semester comes to an end and you begin studying for finals, take a break to check out the new Thrive at UT mobile app.  Thrive is a free iPhone app geared toward enhancing the well-being of busy UT students on the go.

Thrive at UT offers:Iphone thrive

  • Interactive activities
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Customizable notifications that can have a powerful impact on daily life.
  • Short videos of actual UT Austin students sharing their own stories

Thrive at UT consists of seven topic areas to explore:

  • Community
  • Gratitude
  • Self-compassion
  • Mindfulness
  • Mindset
  • Thoughts
  • Moods

This app can help you make small but impactful changes in your routine. You will be able to practice and incorporate behaviors into your daily life including bouncing back from failure, maintaining social connections, and having a positive self-image. Available on the Apple AppStore.


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Traveling abroad during the summer? Don’t forget your travel signature!

Summer Travel iModule
Summer break is coming soon, so it’s time to start preparing for your international travel plans. If you are traveling internationally, don’t forget that you need a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 in order to reenter the United States. If your travel signature will be expired upon your return to the U.S., take advantage of our Travel Signature Drive before you go!

Travel Signature Drive
Monday, May 9
1:30–4:30 p.m.
FAC 330

The travel validation signature can be found on page 2 of the I-20 and on page 1 (bottom, right corner) of the DS-2019. The most recent signature must have been within the last 12 months (6 months if you are on OPT or STEM OPT) from the date you reenter the country. If you do not have any travel signature space left on your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to obtain a reprinted I-20 or DS-2019 from the International Office (not at the Travel Signature Drive).

If you cannot come during the above time window, then you may visit ISSS during advising hours. No appointment is needed; however, we do require that you come during advising hours only. Additionally, if you have any questions about traveling, please see our travel advisory. Should you plan to apply for a new visa over the break, see our visa handout for further information.

Good luck with the rest of your semester and Hook ‘em Horns!

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Three Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

April is Stress Awareness Month! While a certain degree of stress is actually normal, too much stress can leave you more vulnerable to illness and less open to the pleasure of life.  Here are a few simple things you can do right now to keep stress in check:

Enjoy Music & Nature- Brief breaks make a big difference!

  • Listen to the International Office’s Stressbuster Playlist of motivating and relaxing music.
  • Add some plants to your work and living spaces.
  • Take a quick walk or eat your lunch outside. Even looking at nature pictures can have a positive effect!


Take Control of Your Time

Pay Attention to Your Diet- The foods we consume can actually play a role in our stress levels.


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Cap-Gap Extension

A Cap-Gap extension is an extension of F-1 visa status and/or Post-Completion OPT work authorization.  This occurs when someone with an F-1 visa has an employment start date of October 1st and is a beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B petition requesting a change of status.

In order for ISSS to provide you with a Cap-Gap I-20, you will need to provide our office with a copy of your I-797 receipt notice from USCIS.  This is the document your company receives after they file the H-1B petition.

Please scan a copy of your receipt notice and send it to  We will process your Cap-Gap I-20 and then mail it to you.

Your Cap-Gap Extension will terminate if your H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or revoked.



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Campus Carry Info Session

On June 1, 2015, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed S.B. 11, also known as the “campus carry” law. S.B. 11 provides that license holders may carry a concealed handgun throughout university campuses, starting Aug. 1, 2016. The law gives public universities some discretion to regulate campus carry. The University of Texas at Austin and President Gregory L. Fenves take issues surrounding guns on campus very seriously, and as a result, the International Office would like to provide the following opportunity for you to learn more about this policy and have your questions answered.

Campus Carry Info Session
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
5:00 – 6:00pm
Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302)
Guest Speakers:

  • Bob Harkins, Ed.D. Associate Vice President for Safety & Security
  • Chief David Carter, University Police Department

If you are unable to attend this event in person, you can view it via livestream.

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Planning to Graduate in Absentia?

Graduating “In Absentia”  means that you will complete your degree requirements as a non-registered student. Not sure what this means? For example, say you complete your thesis after the summer semester submission deadline but before fall classes begin. You then apply for in absentia graduation: you will not be a student at UT Austin for the fall semester, but your degree will be conferred at the end of the fall semester. For some students this is a viable option. However, international students need to know how this may affect their immigration status.

In order to be eligible to apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) you must enroll in a class at UT Austin in your final semester. If you apply to graduate in absentia you are, therefore, not registered at UT Austin in the semester in which you graduate. As a result, you would need to apply for OPT based on the previous semester’s graduation date. This also means that your grace period begins from the previous semester’s graduation date, not the date you actually earn your degree.

As you can see, this can be a tricky situation. If you are considering graduation in-absentia, we encourage you to make an appointment with an International Student Advisor. It’s good to review all the facts before you make your decision.

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