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February 17th, 2021 

Will Spring be your Final Semester?
Submit Final Semester Memo

Are you nearing graduation?  If so, please review the Final Semester Checklist page to make sure you will have a smooth transition into life after Alabama.

If you are in your final semester you may enroll in less than 12 credit hours of classes if you require less than full-time enrollment to graduate.  This exception is only for the final semester of study.  Just remember that you must submit the Final Semester Memo form found here.


F-1 & J-1 Students: Graduating in May 2021?
Apply for OPT/Academic Training NOW!!!


If you are an F-1 or J-1 students graduating in Mayr 2021, and plan to work in the U.S, you may file for Optional Practical Training ( for F-1 students) or Academic Training (for J-1 students) work authorization now. 

Processing time at USCIS for OPT ranges from 3-5 months. You can give your application a head start by putting your documents together now. 

USCIS can accept your OPT application as early as 90 days prior to your completion date and as late as 60 days after your completion date. J-1 students must apply before the program completion date.

Please note: F-1 students do not need to have a job offer in hand before applying for OPT. You may apply as long as you are eligible for OPT and INTEND to work in the U.S. J-1 students, however, need to obtain job offer prior to apply for academic training.

If you have questions while filling out forms, please contact one of our international advisers during virtual advising hours via Zoom.  
Trang Nguyen (Student Employment and Practical Training) is doing Virtual advising on Mondays (1-3pm), Tuesdays (11am-1pm), and Thursdays (11am-1pm).
Special appointments outside those hours can be made by emailing

As we follow preventive health strategies related to COVID-19, ISSS operations have now moved online. OPT and AT applications will still be processed as usual, only not in person during this time.

To apply for OPT or AT, please scan all of the documents in one (1) single PDF file to or  . Due to the limitation of our database, please limit your file size to 4MB or less if possible. To ensure quick processing, only scan an application when all forms are completed and properly signed. Electronic signatures are acceptable on certain forms. Form I-765 (for OPT applications) must contain a hand-signed, “wet” signature.

Employment in the U.S – What are the need-to-knows?
What is OPT, STEM OPT  or CPT? What are the eligibility requirements? How to apply for it? How long does it take to get approved?
If you are an international student (F1 or J1)  thinking of or having a plan to work in the U.S in the future, you may have heard of OPT or CPT. There may be many questions about what they are, what eligibility requirements, as well the processing time.
“OPT- CPT Work Authorization Q& A” seminar to address any questions you may have about the two most common types of work authorization for F-1 students as well as any general questions about employment. The event will be on Thursday, February 25, 2021 from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM via Zoom. Students are encouraged to submit questions prior to the event. Link to the Zoom event will be sent to student’s email.
You can register for the event using this link. Registration will close at the end of day on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.


CDC COVID TESTING REQUIREMENT – Effective January 26, 2021, a negative COVID-19 Test Required to enter the U.S.

International Student & Scholar Services want to urge international students who have plans to travel internationally to carefully consider their travel.
As you consider your travel plans, please use our Coronavirus Information Page for the latest information on the Spring Semester Plans, Return Travel, Visa and Entry Bans, and CDC Guidance & Campus Testing.
We ask that you take into account the possibility of travel delay and restrictions, quarantines or prolonged self-isolation requirements when entering or transiting through other cities/countries based on their local guidances for COVID-19.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a Travel Information website related to COVID-19, and specifically recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to countries at Warning Level 3. Please note that these ratings can change rapidly and without warning.
Airlines have been offering to waive their change or cancellation fees in an effort to curb non-essential travel to places which may be deemed high risk. Please contact your travel agent or respective airlines for your options. If you have travel insurance, you should closely review your plan to assure it does not exclude pandemics in the case of need for medical evacuation.
Should you choose to travel outside the U.S., please make sure you have the following before leaving Tuscaloosa:

  1. a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019,
  2. a valid passport,
  3. a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp.
  4. a printout of the UA ISSS confirmation letter regarding UA Spring 2021 Plans,
  5. a copy of your Spring 2021 schedule (from MyBama) or Enrollment Verification.

If you need a travel signature or your travel signature will be more than 1 year old at the time you plan to return, please submit a Travel Signature Request with the subject line “TRAVEL SIGNATURE REQUEST” via email to

COVID-19 Information 
To stay up to date on all COVID-19 updates, be sure to regularly check out

For information on medical care, visit

ISSS needs your help! 


 We are in the process of determining how we can better serve and support you while you are pursuing your studies here. We need your help to do this. This is what you can do: 

  1. Remember to complete the short survey that was emailed to you. This takes five minutes, and it will really help us plan how best to help you in the coming year.
  2. We would also like to conduct interviews with 100 international students to ask some more in-depth questions about your experience here. If you are willing to do this, please email and let us know. We are scheduling these interviews over the next few weeks.

Dr. Fran Oneal, teaching the Intro to Global Studies course, is seeking a few more international students at UA to partner with her current students as a conversation partner. 

As a partner, you'll meet for one-on-one for conversations about your worldview, interests, and opinions.  You'll video chat 8 times with the same partner--and that's it!  No assignments or tasks for you other than to tell someone else about yourself.  It's guaranteed to be very eye-opening for the Global Studies student and for you as well.  
This semester there are partners from Chile, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Poland, Germany, Nigeria, Mexico, Bangladesh, India, and more.  You can be next!

International Students partners!!!

Please email Dr. Oneal at if you are interested.  This opportunity is open to any UA international student or spouse, ELI students, and even to persons currently living overseas.

Are you a graduate student
doing research?

We would love to feature you on our social media accounts!!!

Fill out this form, and tell us more about your research, and you might see yourself featured on our Facebook and Instagram accounts:

(Please note this picture was taken pre-pandemic)

International Peer Advisory Council 

Have you ever wanted to help new international students at The University of Alabama? Do you enjoy international student events and want to give back? Then joining IPAC may be the right fit for you. Our International Peer Advisory Council (IPAC) is made up of international and American students who want to serve our international student population here at UA, and applications are now open for the 2021-2022 academic year. Learn more about IPAC and find the application at: Applications are due via email to by Feb. 19th.

(Please note this picture was taken pre-pandemic)

Virtual Game Nights

UA International Students Association is hosting Virtual Game Nights.
Virtual game nights will take place on Wednesdays (Feb. 17th, Feb. 24th and March 3rd). 
Here is the Zoom link:

Virtual Movie Night Feb. 25th at 6pm

International Student & Scholar Services is hosting a Virtual Movie Night on Feb. 25th. We will be watching the movie together at 6pm, and follow the movie with a short discussion. Want to attend this virtual event? Register for the event:

International Coffee Hour

Join us for virtual International Coffee Hour on March 5th as we discover India! We will be making Indian chai, learning about India, and making new friends from 11:30am-12pm on Zoom. Pre-register for this event:


What you need to know about Landlords,
Apartment Leases, and the Law

Learn from expert on campus who can offer free help

Tuesday, February 23, 4:00-5:00 pm


Local Professionals and International Scholars will address Landlords and Apartment Leases.  You can learn from them and avoid costly mistakes. We invite everyone with questions about US law, Landlords, and Apartment Leases to join us for this discussion. Meet the people who will help you and support you.  Free and open to the public.

Virtual conversations at Global Café are opportunities to relax, visit, and meet leaders from campus and community organizations.   Global Café provides a local welcome for world visitors, an international connection for American travelers, and a resource for conversation partners practicing language. 

All events are free. Pre-registration is required. Register early.

Global Café, an initiative of The University of Alabama Center for Community-Based Partnerships, is created by campus and community partners working together: Capstone International Center, Tuscaloosa’s One Place, the CCBP Student Leadership Team, Shelton State Community College, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa City Schools, the Tuscaloosa County School System, and Tuscaloosa Public Library.  For more information see or email

Did you know that current UA students can apply to the Honors College? All you need to apply is 12 hours of UA credit and a 3.5 GPA!
What do you get by being in the Honors College? Some benefits include: priority registration, access to smaller sections of many classes, Honors seminar courses on unique topics, and additional involvement opportunities on campus.
To apply, visit and apply to the University Honors Program.
If you have any questions, please contact Haleigh Sandlin at

Online English Classes
Online 3-week non-credit certificate course provide an opportunity for you to improve your English and learn about southern US culture. The course length and schedule is ideal for busy professionals and their families. The course are offered by the University of Alabama (UA) English Language Institute (ELI).
For more information:


If you are enrolled in The University of Alabama's healthcare plan, you are also able to use the 24/7 tele-doc (a doctor through the phone) for doctor access and counseling support, which is fully covered. If you are not on the UA Plan, you can use these services for a fee. To find out more information, please visit:


STARTING JANUARY 19, PUBLIC HOURS: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4:45 pm.

VIRTUAL ADVISING AVAILABLE (see instructions below)

APPOINTMENTS REQUIRED FOR IN-PERSON MEETINGS - To make an appointment, please email or call 205-348-5402.
Whether contacting us by phone or email, please be sure to include your name and CWID (if known) with your inquiry.

UA International Student & Scholar Services encourages everyone to help us stay safe, and submit documents and requests via email to

Specific Inquiries and Requests
For students and scholars who have specific requests for information, advisement, or virtual appointments, please direct your inquiries to UA ISSS Staff as follows:


If you have immigration questions, our staff is holding virtual advising Monday - Friday from 11am-3pm.
When seeking advising via Zoom, students and scholars will be connected with one of the UA ISSS Staff.  If there are multiple students and scholars in the queue, you will be placed directly into a waiting room.
Please note, virtual advising is meant for shorter inquiries, and in order to serve all students and scholars, we ask that advising be limited to 5 minutes. 


January 13th, 2021

January 18th, 2021

January 21st, 2021 

January 29th, 2021

February 15th, 2021

February 18th, 2021

March 15th, 2021

March 20th, 2021

March 31st, 2021

April 5th - April 9th, 2021 

April 9th,2021

April 23rd, 2021

April 23rd, 2021

April 26th - April 30th, 2021

April 30 - May 01

May 04
 Academic Calendar

Classes Begin for Full Term

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (UA closed)

Registration for Spring 2 Begins

Last Day to Add a Course or Drop a Course Without a Grade of "W" for Spring Full Term

Classes Begin for Spring 2

Last Day to Add a Course or Drop a Course Without a Grade of "W" for Spring 2

Classes Dismissed - Mid-Semester Study Break (UA offices open)

Last Day to Drop a Course with a Grade of "W" for Spring Full Term

Last Day to Drop a Course with a Grade of "W" for Spring 2

Honors Week

Honors Day - Classes Dismissed (UA offices open)

Classes End for Full Term and Spring 2

Last Day to Withdraw from the Spring Full/Spring 2 Terms

Final Exams

Spring Commencement

Final Grade Entry Deadline (11:59 p.m.)
These dates are valid as of 02/12/2021 but could be modified as needed.
Please double check for any changes/updates.
Copyright © 2021 International Student & Scholar Services, All rights reserved.

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