Visa information for international students

Below are the requirements to obtain a visa for study at the School. Please contact the HIO – Harvard International Office at any point if you need information on visa rules and regulations. (Please see below for links).

Summer-only degree students will need to contact the School to request a new visa document for each summer of full-time study. The same is true for summer-only degree students returning for the winter session and taking 5 credits.

In order to apply for a student visa, incoming students will need to submit financial documentation showing that they have the funds needed to cover all expenses related to their program for a specific period of time. The visa-request documents for academic year degree students starting in the summer must include both summer and academic year attendance dates and financial support.

In order to be eligible for the I-20 and receive an F-1 visa, you must be a full-time student:

  • For the blended MPH in EPI program in June, full-time status is 7.5 credits
  • All other summer starting degree and non-degree participants, full-time status is 5 or more credits in one session (either July or August) or 7.5 or more credits for both July and August.

Important Visa Information to Consider

  • Arriving in the U.S. as a visitor will prohibit you from studying full-time. This immigration status expressly disallows participation in full-time programs of study. You would be violating your B1/B2 immigration status by registering for 5 credits in one summer term or 7.5 in both summer terms.
  • The guidance from the U.S. government is as follows: B-2 visas are for people whose main reason for visiting the United States is tourism. However, the US government has advised that a casual, short-term class that is not the primary purpose of the visitor’s presence in the United States may be appropriate for the B-2 visa category. The B-2 tourist and B-1 business visas are not appropriate for students who will enroll in full-time study. 

If you are requesting a visa through Harvard University, we will first need

1. A completed Financial Certification (FCIS) form
2. Funding documents covering all costs e-mailed to
3. A copy of your passport biographic page emailed to
4. The $20 FedEx shipping fee (optional)

There are two way you can submit your materials

1. Complete this online Financial Certification Form. Instructions are included on the form. In addition to completing and submitting this form, you will need to submit official documentation as described in the instructions to our office.

2. If you are unable to complete the online form, please email admissions for a writable PDF version with accompanying instructions. Again, you will need to submit official documentation of your funding sources to our office regarding. Please complete, print, and sign the PDF form before sending.

We require that all students mail the FCIS form and official supporting financial documentation to the Admissions Office. If you fill in your signature electronically, we still require that the PDF form be printed. We cannot accept documentation that is emailed or faxed.

How to determine what you will need to certify

All personal funds must be held in the student’s name, in U.S. dollars (no conversions), and in a U.S. bank or a bank with U.S. branches. More information regarding opening a U.S. bank account can be found below.

When filling out either the online or PDF form, please view the the School’s Required Levels of Support for Visa Certification. We recommend that you submit your documents by April 1 for a June start and May 1 for a July start. It will take at least 3 weeks from the time we receive you complete documentation until your visa document is mailed to you.

The passport’s biographic page can be scanned and emailed to the Admissions Office along with your financial documents.

If you would like to have your I-20/DS-2019 shipped by express mail (FedEx), please pay a $20 visa handling fee. This will allow a tracking number to be assigned to your documents. Without this payment, documents will be sent via regular mail and no tracking number will be available.

The following Boston-area banks will open accounts for international students prior to their arrival in Boston

Cambridge Trust in Harvard Square, Cambridge 

Harvard University Employees Credit Union: email:

 Additional resources and materials:

You may contact Elizabeth Capuano our liaison to this office with your questions at: