The Department of Homeland Security now requires all tourists from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries to complete a pre-arrival online registration form at its Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Although new countries have been added to the VWP, allowing citizens of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, South Korea, Slovakia, and Malta to enter the United States as tourists without a visa, applicants must still complete the online registration form. More information on the VWP, including a full list of countries, can be found online here. While these changes will not affect those on student and scholar visas, visiting family and friends may need to take this into account.
All international students and scholars in the United States any time during the 2008 calendar year must file an annual income tax return with the federal government. In addition, some students and scholars will also be required to file an income tax return with the State of Connecticut. Information for international students and scholars on preparing to file a tax return is here. The Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) will make available a tax preparation software, CINTAX, that will assist all “non-resident” tax filers. CINTAX passwords were sent out in early February. Those eligible for Social Security numbers and have not yet applied are encouraged to do so before filing taxes. Students should make sure that their number has been entered into Banner by their registrar and working students should contact Student Employment to ensure that their number has been entered into Oracle. Failure to report your Social Security number can result in complications at the time of tax filing.
Special interest groups organized by International Spouses and Partners at Yale (ISPY) have resumed their meeting schedules for the spring semester. ISPY is a networking group for spouses and partners of graduate and professional students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars. ISPY special interest groups include the Knitting Group, Craft Circle, Babies@Yale, Mommies 'n' Me English Conversation Group, and "Exploring New Haven Restaurants" luncheons. Find out more by going to http://www.yale.edu/icenter/ispy.