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Visa Types

Using any non-immigrant visa category will enable you to enter and stay in the United States for a specified amount of time. The dates on the visa in your passport do not always indicate how long you may remain in the United States. Your length of stay is determined either by an immigration officer on the Form I-94 when you enter the United States or the dates indicated on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. While you are in the United States, it will be your responsibility to know when your visa documents (Form I-20 or DS-2019) will expire and to work with the HIO to apply for any extensions in a timely manner. Regulations regarding employment, permitted length of stay, and spouse's eligibility to work vary according to the visa category. It is therefore important to understand the regulations pertaining to each visa type.

Harvard has a large population of international students, scholars and family members living in the community. There are many different visa classifications used at the University to accommodate our international population. Below you will find detailed information about the visas commonly used at Harvard. U.S. immigration regulations vary depending on specific types of visas. Please click on one of the visa types below for details about your visa status.

F VisaF Visa

The student visa, for non-immigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs for a period of time in the United States.

J Student VisaJ Student Visa

For students in an educational exchange program seeking opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the US.

J Scholar VisaJ Scholar Visa

Allows academic institutions and other educational exchange programs to sponsor foreign nationals to participate in educational and cultural programs in the US.

H1B VisaH-1B

The temporary worker visa, designated for individuals coming temporarily to the United States to work in a specialty occupation.

O1 VisaO-1

Temporary worker visa for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, arts or athletics.


For Canadian and Mexican citizens to be admitted to the US to engage in "business activities at a professional level."

E3 VisaE-3

This temporary worker visa is designated for Australian citizens coming temporarily to the US to work in a specialty occupation. 

B VisaB Visa

The B-1 visa is for a visitor coming to the US for a short-term visit for business purposes and the B-2 is for short-term visits for pleasure or tourism.

Permanent Residence VisaPermanent Residence

Permanent Residence is the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely. Also referred to as the "Green Card."



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