Harvard International Office

Smith Center, Room 864
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-495-2789
Email: elizabeth_capuano@harvard.edu
Office Hours:

  • For HIO’s on-campus and document pickup hours, please refer to their website here.
  • For information about Zoom Drop-in Office hours, please refer to their website here. Scroll down to the School Specific Office Hours section and refer to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health drop-down for details including the days of the week/times; meeting link; and cancellations.

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.

The HIO virtual “Getting Started” orientation covers many settling-in topics for new international students. Please refer to the HIO website for more information and the schedule. The HIO’s Host Program for International Students offers international graduate students the opportunity to get to know a resident in the Boston area who will welcome them and ease their transition to life in the U.S. Interested students may apply via the HIO website. Students who would like more information about HIO orientations or the Host Program should contact Renne Burke via email at renee_burke@harvard.edu.

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 and Credit Card
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.