Visa information for international students

Below are the requirements to obtain a visa for studies 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 and 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 to show that they have the funds needed to cover all expenses related to their program for a specific period of time. For academic year degree students starting in the summer, your visa request documents should include both your 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:

  • Blended MPH in EPI program: June full-time status is 7.5 credits
  • All other summer 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 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, we will first need:

1. Completed FCIS form
2. Funding documents to cover all costs e-mailed to
3. Copy of your passport biographic page e-mailed to
4. $20 FedEx shipping fee (optional)

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:

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

While filling out either the online or PDF form, please view the The School’s Required Levels of Support for Visa Certification showing amounts for certification. 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.

The passport biographic page can be scanned 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 there will be no tracking number available.

Boston-area banks that will open accounts for international students prior to 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: