Step 3: Informing the HIO

The HIO relies on the hosting department to provide important information regarding a scholar’s arrival to the U.S. and time at Harvard. A department administrator must be in contact with the HIO on the following:

Prior to a Scholar’s Arrival:

Inform the HIO if delays or travel changes occur

The visa documents that the HIO issues to incoming J-1 scholars (Form DS-2019) contain a specific start date, to match their appointment start date in the U.S. Scholars may arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before their intended start date. If a scholar will be delayed more than 2 weeks after their intended start date, department administrators must notify the HIO. In many cases of a delayed arrival, the HIO may also require a new FedEx label from the department to ship an updated DS-2019 to the scholar.

Inform the HIO of cancellations

If a scholar decides not to come to the University, the department must notify the HIO to cancel the individual’s visa documents. 

When the Scholar Arrives in the U.S.: 

Remind scholars to complete HIO Registration 

Once a scholar has entered the U.S., the scholar must register with the HIO by completing the HIO’s online Registration Form and emailing it to J-1 Student Interns must also send a fully signed copy of their DS-7002 Internship and Training Plan along with the HIO Registration Form. In-person registration is no longer possible at the HIO.

The HIO registration is a J-1 regulatory requirement, which states that the HIO must register an incoming scholar in the governmental system SEVIS within 30 days of the start date of the Form DS-2019. Failure to complete registration within that 30-day period results in the scholar’s J-1 record being completed in SEVIS with "no show" status. This will have negative consequences for the scholar’s visa status and the HIO’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. The HIO asks for departments’ assistance in communicating registration requirements with incoming scholars. The HIO will email departments prior to a scholar’s start date to confirm that the scholar is still planning on arriving on time and reminding them that they need to register with the HIO upon arrival. 

Encourage scholars to attend an HIO Orientation

Department administrators may encourage incoming scholars and their J-2 dependent family members to attend one of the HIO’s Orientation Sessions, offered regularly via Zoom. 

During a scholar’s stay at Harvard: 

Direct all immigration-related questions to the HIO

The HIO is the only University office authorized to provide advice on immigration matters. Departments must direct all questions to the HIO regarding appropriate visa classification, a scholar’s employment eligibility, transfer of visa sponsorship, and eligibility for remuneration for future incidental activities. Departments must not follow the guidance of the scholar or external counsel without consulting with the HIO.

Funding updates

Changes to a scholar’s funding amount and/or source must be reported to the HIO so that these updates can be made on the scholar’s visa documents. Funding updates should be reported using the NED form.

Scholar pursuing work or research outside the Harvard sponsoring department

HIO visa sponsorship typically qualifies an international scholar to work or receive payment only from the sponsoring department listed on the visa documents. If a scholar is interested in pursuing work or research outside the sponsoring department, the scholar or department must be in touch with the HIO before the scholar begins any work outside of Harvard. It may not always be possible to authorize outside employment, depending on the scholar’s visa status and the nature of the work. 


If a scholar’s appointment is extended with the department, the department must notify the HIO before the scholar’s current visa document expires. For more information on the protocol and required lead time for extension requests, see Extending Visa Status and Leaving Harvard.

Scholars leaving Harvard

If a scholar is leaving their department, leaving Harvard, and/or leaving the U.S., the department must notify the HIO in a timely manner. For more information, see the following information on Extending Visa Status and Leaving Harvard.


Proceed to Step 4: Extending Visa Status and Leaving Harvard to learn more about requesting an extension to a scholar’s visa status, reporting a scholar departure from the U.S., or reporting a scholar’s move to another department/university.