Visa Information for International Students

An outline of the documentation required is listed below.

Please see below for an important policy (content added June 16, 2022): UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU PLAN TO ARRIVE IN THE U.S. USING A B-1/B-2 VISITOR VISA OR ESTA IN LIEU OF AN F-1 VISA.

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.)



Please note that Canadian citizens will need an I-20 to study at the School, and must complete this process.

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.

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.

All students requesting a visa from Harvard University are required to submit the following items:

1. Financial Certification for International Students (FCIS) form.
2. Funding documents to cover all costs
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.

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.

1. FCIS form

Complete the Financial Certification form online. Instructions are also included on the form. The form requests biographic and citizenship information, the type of visa for which you are applying, dependent information (if applicable), and sources of funding.

2. Funding Documents

Students must certify that they have adequate funds to cover the expenses to study in the U.S. Please use the Visa Financial Certification Tool to determine the amount you will need to certify.

How Much You Need to Show
One-year master’s degree candidates (42.5-credit Master of Science and 45-credit Master of Public Health) must certify the full amount of money for nine month’s residence.

Multi-year master’s (60-credit and 80-credit Master of Science, 65-credit Master of Public Health) and DrPH degree candidates should certify the full amount of money for one full year of residence.

Acceptable sources of funding and required supporting documentation are included below:

Personal Funds: Please submit a recent monthly bank statement (within the past three months) that meets the following criteria:

  • The student’s name must be listed as the account holder or joint account holder.  We will not accept funds submitted in support of a student.
  • The funds must be held in cash accounts. We cannot accept funds held in retirement investment accounts, as stock, CDs, or as mutual funds. Any funding presented for financial certification must be immediately available to the student without restrictions, penalties or requirements for withdrawal.
  • The account(s) must be in U.S. dollar currency. U.S. dollar equivalent is not acceptable.
  • The account(s) must be held in a bank that has a branch in the United States. Non-U.S. banks with a branch in the U.S. or overseas branches of U.S. banks will satisfy this requirement. We have two Boston-area banks listed at the bottom of this page that we know will allow students to open accounts from abroad. Please note that this may not be an exhaustive list.

Please note all funds submitted must remain available towards cost of attendance expenses.

Fellowship, grant or scholarship:  Please provide a copy of the official award letter to the Office of Financial Aid ( if the award is from a non-Harvard source.

Employer or agency sponsorship: Please provide a letter from your employer or agency on letterhead to the Office of Financial Aid ( It should also include the following:

  • Name and full address of the sponsoring agency
  • Your full name as the person designated to receive the funds
  • Exact amount that has been awarded to you
  • The period of time for which it is valid
  • Any restrictions on the use of money
  • If the funds will be sent directly to you or to the University

Please note: DS-2019 (for J-1 visa) documents can only be issued for the duration of time for which a student certifies funding. If a student is in a multi-year program and certifies funding for only one year, the HIO issued DS-2019 document will be for only one year and the student will have to certify funding in order to extend their document for the remainder of their program.

3. Passport biographic page

Your passport biographic page, along with your financial documents for personal funds, should be submitted through the FCIS form. Please wait to submit the FCIS form until your documents are complete. Please also include the passport biographic pages of all dependents.

J-1 students only:

  1. eShip Global shipping label

DS-2019 (for J-1 visa) documents can only be issued by mail. Please visit UEMS eShip Global to create your FedEx label.

Information about eShip Global: UEMS eShipGlobal is an online service that allows you to create prepaid certified shipping labels to ship documents to and from Admissions.  eShipGlobal provides shipping services at a rate that is deeply discounted from the rate you would pay as a non-account holder with most couriers, including FedEx.  This service is the least expensive shipping method that the Admissions can offer you and also keeps your personal information, such as a credit card number, confidential.

When you log in under the “Students/Scholars” tab, please select “Receive documents from University” and search for Harvard University.  Then select the department “Harvard Chan – Admissions Office”. You will then also see “***Admissions Office” below. Please choose FedEx as the carrier since they have the best service to and from our building. Please note: Selecting DHL or UPS will delay us in sending you your DS2019 document.  DO NOT select UPS or DHL as your carrier.