Visa Information for International Students

All international students who plan to study in-person at the Harvard Chan School will be required to have a visa for any portion of the program that is held on-campus. Harvard sponsored student visa options include a F-1 student visa and J-1 student visa  (Canadian citizens require an F-1-20 document or J-1 DS-2019 document). All students who are requesting a Harvard sponsored visa document must complete the financial certification process with the Admissions Office. Financial certification instructions are provided below and an overview of the process for obtaining a visa may be found on the Harvard International Office website. Any questions about visa types, immigration, or embassies can be directed to the Harvard International Office (HIO).


The VWP and the B-1/B-2 visa do not permit full-time or part-time study. To enter the U.S. using either the VWP or the B-1/B-2 visa, the purpose of your trip must be tourism.  If you intend to pursue full-time or part-time study at the Harvard Chan School, entering the U.S. using the VWP or the B-1/B-2 visa is not appropriate.  Attempting to enter the U.S. using the VWP or a B-1/B-2 visa for the purpose of studying is a violation of U.S. visa regulations and you may be denied entry to the U.S.  This is true for both non-degree and degree students.

Please also note that there is no visa status expressly dedicated to part-time study in the U.S.  The HIO recommends the following enrollment and visa options:

  • Enrolling full-time to qualify for an I-20 and F-1 status; or
  • Enrolling part-time because you are in the U.S. and are maintaining an immigration status for part-time study incident to that status (such as H-1B, TN, J-1, etc.)

Financial Certification Process to Request an I-20 or DS-2019

All students requesting a visa document (I-20 or DS-2019) from Harvard University are required to submit the following items. Please review the detailed requirements in the section below and wait to submit your FCIS form until all of your documents are complete. 

1. Financial Certification for International Students (FCIS) form.
2. Funding documents to cover all costs. Please use the Financial Certification Tool to determine your certification amount.
3. Copy of your passport biographic page, as well as any dependents

Student requesting a J-1 visa must also submit an eShip Global FedEx label.

If you need to submit a Transfer In form, please click here to access the form. Please scan and email the form along with a copy of your current visa to the Admissions Office at and complete the steps below.

The deadlines to submit all completed documents:

June start: April 1
July start: May 1
Fall start: June 1
January start: October 1

We require a minimum of 3-4 weeks from the time we receive complete documentation until the time the I-20/DS-2019 is issued.

Full details of the steps can be found below. Our Financial Certification process is stringent. Documents that do not meet our requirements will be rejected and result in delays. For this reason, please ensure that all personal funds are held in a bank account:
-in the student’s name
-in U.S. Dollars
-in a U.S. bank or a bank with a branch in the U.S.

Financial Certification Requirements:

J-1 students only: