Online Submission Services Available to International Students

person typing

With spring break over and graduation quickly approaching, many international students are juggling the completion of their academic responsibilities with ensuring they wrap up important immigration matters before summer vacation. Some of you may need to apply for an extension of your immigration documents to continue your program at UT, while others are anxious to receive work authorization for your summer internship. The International Office is aware of how busy our students are during this time, and is happy to provide remote services that are flexible and convenient for your schedule.

A few services you may be interested in taking advantage of are the options to submit your Curricular Practical Training (CPT) application or your I-20/DS-2019 Extension request online. This way you will not have to take time out of your busy schedule to come to our office for these services. However, if you do want to meet with an advisor for assistance with either of these processes, we are certainly happy to assist you in person as well. Students are still able to receive these services during an advising appointment with an international student advisor. You may also come to an advising appointment to ask any questions you have in preparation for making your online submission. Please note that you can also schedule a phone appointment if that is more convenient for you–simply include your phone number and specify you would like an advisor to call you in the “Additional Notes” section while scheduling your appointment in the online system.

To complete a remote application, simply go to our website and the page for the appropriate service, review and prepare the documents needed  for each service, and make your submission(s). We will then review and process your documents within five business days of their receipt. If would like same day processing for an extension or need to begin your CPT assignment prior to the five business days after submission, we are still happy to meet with you during an advising appointment where we can assist you in person.  

We hope that you find these services useful during this busy time, and we look forward to receiving your documents. 

Posted in General, Immigration Updates Tagged with: , , , , ,

Campus Resources

Whether you are new on campus or have been at UT for a while, be sure to take advantage of the free resources here at UT. Check out our list below of some of the services available.

Metro/UT Buses

  • Explore the city for free by simply swiping your Student ID Card for free bus access
    • Includes MetroRapid and MetroRail
  • Don’t want to take that 15 minute walk to your class? Consider using UT buses like the 40 Acres (#640) or the West Campus bus (#642)!
  • Plan your trip with the CapMetro App or Google Maps


University Writing Center (UWC)

  • UWC provides many writing services to help students improve their writing skills and abilities
  • Free one-on-one professional consultations designed to help you develop anything from an article to a 15-page research paper to your dissertation
  • Offers small writing groups, writing retreats, and mini-classes on various topics
  • Available to undergraduate and graduate students in all departments
  • Must make an appointment in advance



  • Swipe student ID for free admission upon entering
  • All gyms include lockers and showers free of use
  • Currently UT Hosts 3 Gyms on Campus:
    • Gregory Gymnasium
    • Recreational Sports Center (REC)
    • Belmont Gym (Located on 3rdFloor Belmont).
  • Handball/squash/racquetball courts, saunas, indoor and outdoor lounging and lap pools, indoor running track, personal training, massages, swimming classes, varieties of exercise classes, rock climbing wall, and much more!


Computer Software

  • UT offers a few softwares for free or reduced prices
  • Free software can be accessed online here
    • Microsoft Office
    • MATLAB
  • The Campus Computer Store offers several optional pieces of software along with other computer services


UT Libraries

  • Did you know you can also rent movies, DVD’s, and CD’s for free? The library’s media catalog is routinely updated
  • UT students also has access to a streaming service to watch movies and documentaries online
    • Movies include foreign classics such as Rashomon, 8 ½, Oldboy, and several movies from the Criterion Collection


The Foundry

  • Available to all UT students and faculty members
  • Offers 3D modeling and printing resources; audio/video production and editing studio, recording studio with sound isolation; interactive game and mobile applications studio, studio for microelectronics and animatronics, high-tech music production studio, and a multifaceted studio for experimentation with technology-enhanced costumes and wearables.

This list is only a few free cool resources available at UT for students. Be sure to comment below if you know of any other free or inexpensive resources at UT for students.

Posted in Programs & Events Tagged with: , , , ,

NASA Space Center & Kemah Boardwalk

“Houston, we have a problem!” Join ISSS for a visit to the NASA Space Center in Houston, TX (hence the famous phrase). See for yourself the live control center and exhibit of all things outer space! Lunch at their cafe is included in the ticket price.

After all is seen and explored at the NASA Space Center, we will head toward the gulf coast! The Kemah Boardwalk is a great place to grab some food, do some shopping, and perhaps go on a few carnival rides!

Date: April 21,2018

Time: 7:30am – 9pm

Price: $80

image of astronaut in space

Sign Up Now

Posted in Programs & Events Tagged with:

GLACIER Tax Prep Available

Tax season is well underway and the International Student and Scholar Services is here to help! The International Office is offering tax filing assistance for students and scholars who are classified as “nonresident aliens for tax purposes” via GLACIER Tax Prep.

Filing your U.S. tax documents is now easier than ever with the GLACIER Tax Prep software for nonresident aliens, purchased for international students and scholars by the International Office. GLACIER Tax Prep guides users through a series of questions that automatically prepare a US tax return based on the answers. The GLACIER Tax Prep software requires an access code in order to activate the software, which is available online here. Please visit our tax website for more detailed information and instructions.


Who Must File?

All nonresident aliens for tax purposes who were present in the U.S. in 2017 (including spouses and dependents) must file Form 8843, even if they did not earn any income from the U.S. in 2017.  GLACIER Tax Prep will automatically complete Form 8843 and other applicable forms for all nonresident aliens.

Students, scholars, and dependents who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes and earned income from the U.S. in 2017, which includes wages, scholarships, etc., MUST file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ in addition to Form 8843.


What is Needed to File?

You will need your income documents for 2017, which may include Form W-2, Form 1042-S, and any other income documents you may have received.

The Form W-2 will be distributed to those who were paid wages as a part of their employment. If you had multiple employers in 2017, then you will receive a separate Form W-2 from each employer. Those who worked for UT in 2017 can receive their Form W-2 online.

The Form 1042-S will be distributed to those who have claimed tax treaty benefits or had a scholarship/fellowship payments in 2016. UT’s Payroll Services has mailed the Forms 1042-S as of 2/21/18. Email or to obtain another copy of your Form 1042-S if you were due a Form 1042-S and have yet to receive it.

You will receive income forms only for the income types you received in 2017. For example, if you did not receive a scholarship in 2017, then you will not receive Form 1042-S. If you did not have a job with wages in 2017, then you will not receive Form W-2, etc. Please make sure you have all your 2017 income documents before starting GTP to avoid filing your taxes incorrectly.


Nonresident and Resident Alien for Tax Purposes
GLACIER Tax Prep can only assist those who are considered a “nonresident alien for tax purposes.” GLACIER Tax Prep can assist in determining whether you are a nonresident alien for tax purposes or a resident alien for tax purposes. Please note that the tax designation “nonresident alien for tax purposes” is separate from your immigration status.

The International Office cannot assist students or scholars who are classified as resident aliens for tax purposes. If you are a resident alien for tax purposes, please consult the International Office tax website for information on outside resources for assistance with filing your taxes.


Tax Appointments

If you have already completed your tax return through Glacier Tax Prep and would like to have it reviewed, or if you have a question that is preventing you from completing your return, you can make a tax appointment online. Be sure to note which documents to bring so that your return can be properly reviewed.

Tax Lab

The International Office will also be hosting Tax Lab on Wednesday afternoons from 10 AM to 12 PM beginning February 22nd in FAC 327 through April 11th.

Tax Lab will be an opportunity for international students and scholars to complete their tax returns using GLACIER Tax Prep with a volunteer available for any questions that may arise during the tax filing process. No appointment is necessary to attend Tax Lab!


All tax returns must be postmarked by April 17, 2018.


Posted in Taxes

Tax Season Scams!

Don’t be a victim of tax scams! Tax scams are ramping up yet again as the tax season gets underway. This post will help identify the scams, and inform you how to avoid the scammers and what to do if you are contacted by a scammer.

International students at UT and other universities across the U.S. have frequently been targets of a variety of scams due to their lack of knowledge about the U.S. tax system. The scammers are working diligently to defraud you of your hard-earned money, and they are beginning their scams earlier and earlier each year.

The scammer will identify themselves as a police officer, government official, IRS, or UT official and threaten dismissal from the university, deportation from the U.S., dropped classes, lawsuits, or other severe consequences unless the student immediately pays for a delinquent tax debt. Repayment demanded from the official is usually made via money order, wire transfer, iTunes gift cards, or other difficult to track payment methods. Oftentimes, they will mention the fake “Federal Student Tax” as reason for payment.

The scammers will also oftentimes have personal information (commonly found in the UT Directory such as name, address, etc.) to establish legitimacy and deceive the student. Please note that UT Austin, police departments, or the U.S. government will never call directly and demand immediate payment over the phone.

A number of reports have been made that UT students are also being called from a phone number that belongs to the Office of Financial Aid. The Office of Financial Aid has also posted an alert on their website.

What should you do if you receive such a call?

  • Hang up immediately! The scammers are extremely aggressive and will try to keep the student on the phone, but do not listen to their threats.
    • Scammers will state that you are not allowed to share this private information with others, but this is false as you are able to share your tax information with other people freely.
    • If you do hang up on the scammers, they will oftentimes call back and behave more aggressively. It is ok to block their number from contacting you further.
  • If you are unsure about whether or not the call was a scam, please contact the International Office via phone at (512) 471-2477, visit us in person during business hours, or email

What not to do:

  • Do not stay on the phone with the scammer.
  • Do not provide any additional personal, bank, or financial information to the scammer.
  • Do not wire transfer or purchase moneygrams, green dot cards, or any other payments to the scammer.

Additional recommendations:

  • Spread the word to your friends! The more that people are aware of this scam, the less effective it will become.
  • Login to your UT Direct account to make sure that your home address and contact information are set to private so that they will not be displayed publicly on the UT website.
  • Restrict your information online through UT Direct or by going in-person to the Office of the Registrar in the Main Building.
  • Remember, if what the caller is telling you sounds strange, inaccurate, or makes you feel uncomfortable, then something is not right and you should hang up.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

Additional Resources:

IRS Tax Scam website:

USCIS Article with Common Scams:

Treasury Department Page on Reporting IRS Scams:

Federal Trade Commission Scam Reporting Website:

Posted in General Tagged with: , , ,

Volunteering at The Project 2018

group of volunteers

How much good could you do in one afternoon? Last Saturday, thirteen Foundation Year students tried to answer this question by volunteering with The Project—UT’s Largest Day of Service. Sponsored by the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Saudi Arabia, the Foundation Year program helps prepare Saudi students for success at top U.S. universities through intercultural exchange, customized courses, and leadership development.

Every year, The Project brings together hundreds of volunteers at sites across Austin to see how much positive impact UT students can make in the community on a single day. After an inspiring kick-off event with speeches from the Austin Police Department, AISD superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz, and Texas House Representative Gina Hinojosa, the Foundation Year students got to work. One team helped beautify Dobie Middle School by painting and mulching, while another group canvassed the surrounding neighborhood to promote an upcoming community park day.

Overall, The Project gave Foundation Year students the opportunity to learn about servant leadership, and gave UT students the chance to work side-by-side with students from across the globe—all while doing a lot of good in one afternoon!

Posted in General, Programs & Events Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Travel Reminders

Spring break is right around the corner. If you are traveling internationally, you will need a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 in order to re-enter the United States.

The travel 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 need a new signature on your I-20 or DS-2019, now is the time to get it done.

No appointment is needed for a signature, however, you must visit ISSS during International Student Advising hours. 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.

If you have any questions about traveling or if you plan to apply for a new visa over the break, please see the Know Before You Travel section on our website for details. ACLU also has a helpful Questions and Answers page regarding what to expect when traveling through Ports of Entry in the US. Remember, traveling is always at your own risk.

Happy travels and have a great Spring Break!

Posted in General Tagged with: , , ,

SXSW 2018 in Austin, March 9-18!

image of crowd at south by southwest

Like so many things in Austin, the iconic two-weekend event, South by Southwest, goes by many names. It is usually written as SXSW and is often shortened to South by in conversation. Since the first SXSW event in March of 1987, SXSW has grown into the SXSW Conference & Festivals that takes place over 10 days in Austin, Texas.

The SXSW Festival portion of the event is actually comprised of four festivals: SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film, SXSW Music, and SXSW Comedy, and each area is explored with parties, awards, screenings, and showcases.

Interactive Festival
Kicking off with the SXSW Interactive Festival Opening Party on March 9 and running through March 13, the SXSW Interactive Festival will provide evening networking experiences ranging from parties to award presentations.

Film Festival
From March 9 through March 17, the SXSW Film Festival will feature a diverse selection of films in a variety of genres including documentaries, dramas, and comedies.

Music Festival
The SXSW Music Festival will host a mix of new, up-and-coming, international, and legendary artists from many different genres performing in a wide variety of venues around central Austin from March 12 through March 18.

Comedy Festival
From March 9 through March 17, the SXSW Comedy Festival will feature a daily and nightly schedule of a diverse line-up of comedy including standup, improv, sketch, podcasts, panels, and parties.

SXSW’s website has a lot of information to help you make the most of your time at SWSW. Check out online schedules for SXSW 2018.
SXSW offers student deals! Take advantage of the Buy One, Get One Free Student Registration Offer.
And to save even more cash, you can subscribe to SXSW 2018 Free Events updates.

Finally, whether or not you plan to attend any of the SXSW events, remember that with more people in Austin, there will be longer travel times, so make sure to plan some extra time into your commute if you plan to travel across town!

Posted in General Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Spring Break Travel Signature Drive

Spring break is coming up soon, so it’s time to start preparing for any international travel plans that you have.  If you are an international student who is traveling outside the U.S. during spring break, make sure to have a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 from the last 12 months in order to return to the U.S.  If you need a new signature on your immigration document, take advantage of our TRAVEL SIGNATURE DRIVE.

travel signature drive flyer

If you cannot come to FAC 330 on March 5, 2018 between 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm or if you do not have space left on your current I-20 or DS-2019 for another travel signature, then you may visit ISSS during our times for International Student Walk-in Services. No appointment is needed if you come to the International Office for a travel signature during our Walk-in Service hours, however, we do require that you come only during the listed times. Note: If you are a sponsored student, then you would need to schedule an appointment to meet with your sponsored student advisor.

Travel Signature Information

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 Post Completion OPT or STEM OPT) from the date you reenter the U.S.

 General Travel and Visa Information

Additionally, if you have any questions about traveling, please see our travel advisory. If you plan to apply for a new visa over the break, see our visa handout for further information.

Posted in Programs & Events Tagged with: , , , , , ,

2018 ABC Zilker Kite Festival

image of people flying kites at Zilker Park

The Zilker Kite Festival is a yearly event held at Zilker park where anyone is welcome to bring their own kite to fly in the sky. Join hundreds of Austin residents as they participate and/or watch  this fun, Spring-time event! There are will be vendors offering food for sale and other items. This year’s festival is on Sunday, March 4. Visit the 2018 ABC Zilker Kite Festival Facebook Event page for more information.


Posted in General, Programs & Events Tagged with: , , , ,

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