Harvard International Office

Smith Center Room 864, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-495-2789
Email: elizabeth_capuano@harvard.edu
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Eastern time

The Harvard International Office (HIO) staff advises foreign nationals on immigration matters, social and cultural differences, and financial and personal concerns. The office provides orientations throughout the year to help new students and their spouses adjust to life in the U.S. and to minimize the difficulties they may experience throughout their stay. Students may find that the HIO New Student Welcome Guide will help them get settled quickly once they arrive on campus.

During the month of August, the office offers walking tours to shopping areas are provided. The Host Program for International Students provides full-time enrolled students from abroad with the opportunity to get to know a resident in the Boston area who will welcome them and ease their transition to the American way of life. The HIO Orientations website has more information. Students interested in information about how such tours and programing will be administered for the fall 2022 semester should contact Renee H. Burke by phone at 617-494-2816 or by email at renee_burke@harvard.edu.

Note: The HIO’s main office at the Smith Campus Center in Cambridge is closed due to COVID-19.
For questions regarding immigration and visa matters, please email Elizabeth Capuano. Students are encouraged to provide their availability for a scheduled Zoom meeting with Elizabeth; group meetings are also available if all attendees are included in the email.

Social Security Number
To work in the United States students must have a Social Security Number. They may start working without a Social Security Number as long as they provide evidence to their employer that they have applied for one. If the student has a Social Security Number, they should use it when completing their tax forms. Visit the HIO website for additional information on Social Security numbers.

Opening a Bank Account
The HIO website offers some information about opening a bank account.  Students are usually not able to obtain a credit card without a Social Security number. However, if students open an account at the Harvard University Employee’s Credit Union (HUECU), they should be eligible for a credit card with limited credit, even if they do not have a Social Security Number. Visit the HUECU website for more information.