Step 4: Extending Visa Status & Leaving Harvard
Generally speaking, a scholar will be issued a visa document valid for the full length of their current academic appointment at Harvard. If a scholar’s academic appointment is being changed, shortened, or extended, the HIO needs documentation from the academic department to take appropriate action on a scholar’s visa status.
The department administrator noted in ISD will receive an email confirming the current end date that the HIO has on file for a given scholar, usually six months before the scholar's authorized stay in the U.S. expires. The HIO asks the department administrator to complete a Notice of Extension or Departure Form (NED) to alert the HIO of the following circumstances:
- An extension to the scholar’s appointment
- An early departure of a scholar
- Confirmation that the current end date of a scholar is correct
Please note that the NED must be completed by the department administrator, not the scholar. It must be submitted to the HIO as soon as possible. Note that completing the NED does not extend the academic appointment, which is also necessary. Extending an academic appointment is handled by sending the appropriate information to the corresponding Dean's office or Office of Faculty Affairs.
Extending Visa Status
If a scholar will continue their appointment with the faculty sponsor, the department must complete the relevant section of the NED, providing all details requested. Funding must be guaranteed for the entire duration of the requested extension period. The department should be sure to provide accurate funding information. If any of the information changes after the form is returned to the HIO, please contact your HIO advisor to discuss the changes.
J-1 visa holders can be extended up to the following periods of time:
- J-1 Research Scholars/Professors: Up to 5 years
- J-1 Short Term Scholars: Up to 6 months
- J-1 Student Interns: Up to 12 months. J-1 Student Interns cannot be extended beyond their graduation date at their current university/college abroad. Please note, a J-1 Student Intern extension requires more paperwork beyond the NED form.
Once the HIO receives the completed NED, it will process the extension and send the scholar a newly updated Form DS-2019. J-1 Extension requests must be submitted to the HIO at least 30 days before the scholar’s current DS-2019 expires. Processing time for a J-1 DS-2019 extension can take up to 30 working days. After the extension is processed, the department administrator must take the necessary steps to update the Form I-9 if the person is on payroll, as required by the payroll office.
The extension of the Form DS-2019 extends a scholar’s permission to remain in the U.S. through their new end date. It does not automatically extend the J-1 visa in the individual’s passport. If the scholar will travel internationally after the extended DS-2019 has been issued, they will need to budget time to renew the J-1 visa stamp in their passport at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country. The J-1 visa stamp cannot be renewed or extended within the U.S.
H-1B and O-1 Extensions
H-1B visa holders can be extended up to 6 years total, in 3-year increments at a time.
O-1 visa holders can be extended indefinitely in one-year increments.
H-1B or O-1 extension requests must be submitted to the HIO as early as possible, and at least 6 months prior to a scholar’s current visa end date. The processing time for an H-1B or O-1 extension can be up to 6 months. The HIO will need to file petitions with USCIS to extend the scholar’s permission to remain in the U.S. These petitions require the same forms and supporting documentation as initial filings, with only some information to reflect that Harvard is requesting an extension to the scholar’s status.
Please note, this process will not automatically extend the H-1B or O-1 visa stamp in the individual’s passport. If the scholar will travel internationally after the extension has been issued, they will need to budget time to renew the visa stamp in their passport at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country. The visa stamp cannot be renewed or extended within the U.S.
Leaving Harvard, Ending Appointments, and Changes in Visa Status
The NED must also be completed when the scholar has ended their academic appointment (both as originally planned and earlier than planned); left the university; or obtained U.S. legal permanent residence (i.e., a green card). When the HIO receives this type of NED, the scholar's record will be completed in the HIO database, as well as any corresponding government databases.