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The information in this section is for Harvard international students, scholars and their family members who plan to travel inside and outside the United States during their time at Harvard. Traveling outside the United States generally requires planning in advance. It is important that you know what documents you are required to have for reentry to the United States.

Incoming students and scholars making plans to come to the United States must review the New Student Information or the New Scholar Information.


The following topics are addressed in this section
Applying for a Visa Student Visa Process Scholar Visa Process Travel Video: What You Need To Travel
At the U.S. Embassy
or Consulate
Preparing to enter
the U.S.
Visa Delays and Denials  
International Travel Travel on OPT or AT    


The following topics are addressed on this page
Travel in the U.S. Passport Validity Family Members Traveling Separately
Export Control Helpful Resources for Visa Application  


Travel information for Specific Visa Types
F Visa J Student J Scholar H-1B TN O-1 E-3


Travel in the U.S.

When traveling in the United States and outside the metropolitan area of Boston, it is advisable to carry original immigration documents, including a valid passport, visa documents (Form I-20 or DS-2019) and an I-94 print out for identification purpose. You can print out the I-94 form via www.cbp.gov/i94. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers may stop individuals and ask for identification at their discretion. When traveling inside the United States by air, please always carry the same immigration documents and follow the guidelines set by the TSA: Transportation Security Administration. It is important to check the TSA's web site before traveling each time since guidelines and regulations tend to change frequently.

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Passport Validity

All international students, scholars and their family members are required to have valid passports. The passports must also be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of the expiration of the initial period of the alien's admission into the United States or contemplated initial period of stay. Passports of some countries will be recognized as valid for the return of the bearer for a period of six months beyond the expiration date specified in the passport, thereby effectively extending the validity period of the foreign passport an additional six months beyond its expiration date. Click here to find if your country is among them.

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Family Members Traveling Separately

Family members in dependent visa status such as F-2, J-2, H-4, or O-3 will need their own dependent visa documents (Forms I-20, DS-2019, I-797) when traveling without their principal visa holders.

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Export Control

The U.S. Government has strict export control laws. If you are traveling abroad, you should check with the head of your department or laboratory before sending or taking with you materials related to your work. The U.S. Government may require a license to export such items. For more information, please see the University's policy statement.

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Helpful Resources for Visa Application

Estimated Wait Times from US embassies

U.S. Embassy or Consulate

U.S. Visa Application Forms

Temporary visas to the United States

Questions about Visas

Visa Policy Memos

Visa Denials

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