Visa information for international students
In order to be eligible for the I-20 and receive an F-1 visa, you must be a full-time student, degree or non-degree. For visa purposes, full time status at the Harvard School of Public Health summer programs is 5 or more credits in one session -either June, July, or August or 7.5 or more credits in two consecutive sessions. Hence, in order to retain your visa status, you may not register for June and August, without registering for July as well. In order to meet the minimum credits requirement for full-time status and be eligible for an I-20 document, you may register as follow:
|For two consecutive sessions||For three consecutive sessions|
|7.5 credits in June and 2.5 credits in July||7.5 credits in June, 2.5 credits in July and 5 credits in August|
|2.5 credits in July and 5 credits in August||7.5 credits in June, 5 credits in July and 2.5 credits in August|
|5 credits in July and 2.5 credits in August|
Students participating in the June Course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics are required to take 7.5 credits and therefore meet the full-time standard. Summer only degree students will need to contact HSPH and request a new visa document for each summer of full-time study. The same is true for 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 to show that they have the funds needed to cover all expenses related to their program for a specific period of time. For degree students starting in the summer and continuing into the academic year, your visa request documents should include both your summer and academic year attendance dates and financial support.
Important visa information to consider
- Arriving in the U.S. as a visitor will prohibit you from studying full-time. This immigration status expressly does not allow for individuals to participate in full-time programs of study. You would be violating that B1/B2 immigration status by registering for 5 credits.
- 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, there are two options for you to 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 regarding your funding sources.
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 to our office regarding your funding sources. 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 the PDF form to be printed. We cannot accept documentation that is emailed or faxed.
Determining what you will need to certify:
While filling out either the online or PDF form, please view the HSPH Required Levels of Support for Visa Certification showing amounts for certification and the background information on the Estimated Student Budget. We recommend that you submit your documents by April 1 for June start and May 1 for July start. It will take at least 3 weeks from the time we receive completed documentation until your visa document is mailed to you.
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 there will be no tracking number available.
Boston-area banks that will open accounts for international students prior to arrival in Boston:
Citizens Bank: c/o John Paul Gomes, Assistant Manager, Brigham Circle Branch, 1628 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120. To open an account, please call Mr. Gomes at 617-566-8076 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional resources and materials:
- Transfer In to Harvard Form
- Harvard International Office
- Harvard International Office Settling In at Harvard
- HIO Guide for New Students
- Visa Types
- Health Care and Insurance
- Hosting Program for International Students and invitation
- Recording of the Admitted Student Open House Information Session for International Students
You may contact Elizabeth Capuano our liaison to this office with your questions at: Elizabeth_capuano@harvard.edu