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September 25, 2020

As many of you may have heard, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule today to eliminate duration of status (D/S) for F-1 students and their F-2 dependents, and J-1 exchange visitors (including students, researchers/professors, and short-term scholars) and their J-2 dependents.  The proposed rule would eliminate D/S, and individuals entering the U.S. in F or J status would be admitted for a specified length of time with options and procedures for extensions.

Please note that NOTHING has changed yet.  This is a proposed rule.  The public has 30 days to comment on this proposal.  DHS will then consider the comments and publish a final rule with an effective date.  A number of offices around the University are working on analyzing this proposal and will work with colleagues at our peer institutions and professional associations to advocate on behalf of all our international students and scholars.  We will share updated information as soon as possible.

September 11, 2020

If you are finishing your coursework this fall, and have an I-20 or DS-2019 with an end date in December 2020, it is time to start thinking about U.S. work permission. After your I-20 or DS-2019 completion date, you will need Optional Practical Training/OPT (for F-1 students) or Academic Training/AT (for J-1 students) to remain in the U.S. to work.

If you are an F-1 student, please review our instructions to apply for OPT (under How to Apply). Students should take note that the USCIS OPT fee will increase from $410 to $550 for applications received on or after October 2, 2020. If you will be applying for OPT this fall, please submit your application to the HIO as soon as possible. An HIO Advisor-on-Call will be available via Zoom on Thursdays from 12:00pm -1:00pm Eastern Standard Time for students with Fall OPT application questions. You may find details on this service here

If you are a J-1 student, please review our instructions to apply for Academic Training (AT).

September 8, 2020

The HIO has received multiple reports of international students and scholars receiving scam phone calls from individuals representing themselves as employees with “U.S. Immigration” or other government entities. They alter caller ID systems to make it appear that the call is coming from a governmental number. The scammers obtain or verify personally identifiable information from their victims through various tactics, including by telling individuals that they are the victims of identity theft. The scammers also pose as law enforcement or immigration officials and threaten victims with arrest unless they make payments to the scammers using a variety of methods.

If you receive a call from anyone claiming to be a governmental entity, please ask for their contact information and callback number and contact your HIO Advisor immediately. Individuals receiving phone calls from these numbers must not provide any personal information. Do not provide your Social Security Number (SSN) or your bank information and do not agree to meet them somewhere.  Hang up immediately and call your HIO advisor. Governmental officials and/or the police would never request payments over the phone. Be aware that the scammers may call multiple times with multiple requests for payment and/or personal information.

You can find more information on the HUPD website.

Personal Stories

I feel like there is a lot to learn and imbibe from people due to the vast diversity in the background, culture and personalities and also because the international folklore is quite large.  Hence, every other person I meet on campus has an amazing story to tell and an interesting background to share.

Sukanya Punthambaker - India - Harvard Medical School

The best experience was being surrounded by like-minded people who want to strive to make a difference, whether small or big. Having the space to be able to listen to other people’s aspirations and future plans was very inspiring.

Meera Almesmari - United Arab Emirates - Harvard Graduate School of Education

Represented at Harvard this year

International population over time

International population this year