What's New

March 31, 2020

All local Social Security offices are closed to the public for in-person service. You may refer to their COVID-19 web page to learn more, including how to get help from the Social Security Administration (SSA) by phone and online.  If you need to apply for an SSN you must wait until they resume in-person services.

Please note, the deadline to file federal taxes for 2019 has been extended to July 15, 2020. Please review the Internal Revenue Service announcement for details. The deadline for filing Massachusetts state taxes has also been extended to July 15, 2020.

March 12, 2020

The HIO has compiled a comprehensive FAQ to answer any visa-related issues connected to Coronavirus (COVID-19), including general travel and visa concerns, student issues, work authorization applications, and international scholar issues. Please note that any future travel to the U.S. may be impacted by the U.S. government's travel suspension.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your HIO Advisor.

March 10, 2020

Harvard President Larry Bacow issued a statement this morning announcing the transition of all courses to virtual instruction in light of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The U.S. government recognizes there are extenuating circumstances because these classes were not intended to be online. The Harvard International Office (HIO) received guidance from the government that they intend to be flexible with temporary adaptations to classes. Provided international students can continue to make normal progress in a full course of study as required by federal regulations, students’ legal immigration status is not in jeopardy. International students and scholars should contact their HIO advisor with any questions or concerns.

For continued Coronavirus updates, please monitor Harvard University’s Coronavirus webpage.

March 4, 2020

Before making any spring break travel plans, please review Harvard University's Guidance for Spring Break and Other Travel with respect to coronavirus (COVID-19). The University is discouraging all non-essential international travel for now. If you have concerns over the coronavirus, please visit Harvard’s new coronavirus website which is frequently updated with the latest guidance and resources.

Please note: domestic travel guidance, or international travel guidance under normal circumstances, can be found on our Travel page.

February 1, 2020

If you were present in the United States (U.S.) during any part of calendar year 2019 in any immigration status other than B or WT/WB (ESTA), there is at least one tax form (IRS Form 8843) you must file with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this spring. Below is what you should consider in preparation for the coming tax filing season. If you were not in the U.S. at all during 2019, you do not need to complete any tax forms this year.

  • Review the HIO Tax FAQ and additional tax preparation resources, including tax filing deadlines for 2019.
  • All current students, scholars, and student interns at Harvard will receive an email from the HIO in mid-late February providing additional information, instructions, and discounted access to use the Sprintax tax preparation software.
  • If you are no longer an active student or scholar at Harvard and need to file taxes for 2019, please contact your HIO Advisor in late February to request a unique discount code to use Sprintax.
January 31, 2020

On January 31, 2020 a new Presidential Proclamation expanded the travel ban to six additional countries.  Only immigrant visas are impacted by this new order – non-immigrant visa (including F, J, H-1B, etc.) issuance and/or travel is not affected.  Starting February 21, 2020 foreign nationals from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (Burma), and Nigeria will not be issued most types of immigrant visas.  Under the same order, foreign nationals from Sudan and Tanzania will not be issued Diversity Lottery immigrant visas. Current lawful permanent residents and those holding immigrant visas who have not yet entered the United States are exempt from the proclamation.  Please reach out to your HIO advisor with any questions.

September 19, 2019

Welcome back to campus! We want to remind new and returning international students and scholars that they should always contact the HIO directly for any immigration-related questions or concerns during your time at Harvard.

For travel signatures or quick immigration questions, you can stop by the HIO during our regular office hours, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Tuesday, to speak with an Advisor On Call (AOC).

You can also contact your HIO Advisor directly for information, or to book an appointment to meet.

Several advisors also hold office hours in various locations around the University, including the Longwood Medical area, HBS, and HLS. For a schedule of on-site office hours, please click here.

September 4, 2019

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow issued a welcome letter to incoming and returning students, particularly addressing the obstacles and sacrifices many international students and scholars face in obtaining visas and entering the United States.  You may read his entire message to the Harvard community here.

August 27, 2019

With the beginning of the new school year upon us, Mayor of Boston Martin Walsh has issued a letter welcoming international students who have chosen Boston to be their new home in the United States. You may read his welcome letter here.

July 17, 2019

President Larry Bacow traveled to Washington, DC this week to meet with members of Congress to discuss a range of University priorities and concerns, including the uncertainties federal immigration policy has created for faculty and students at Harvard and at universities across the nation. Read more

In a related move, Bacow also sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan last week calling on them to expedite the visa and immigration process for foreign students and researchers.

June 24, 2019

F-1 students who applied for OPT are facing unprecedented delays in receiving their EADs (employment authorization documents). These delays not only affect our recent graduates and HU hiring departments, but those across the U.S. Without EADs, students have no income and are not permitted to begin working until they get their EADs. They cannot travel outside the U.S. and reenter the U.S. without the EAD. In previous years, OPT applications have taken 60-100 days to be processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but the processing time this year is much longer than previous years.  Recent estimates are that OPT processing could take as long as 5.5 months. These delays are part of a bigger problem within USCIS. The General Accountability Office (GAO) will undertake a study in the fall at the urging of Congress to investigate USCIS processing times which have increased by up to 46 percent since Fiscal Year 2016.  We are working with various offices across the University and professional organizations to advocate for our students.  Please feel free to contact your HIO advisor if you have any questions.

March 6, 2019