The Harvard Language Center is excited to announce that they have launched The Language Exchange Program, an informal language practicing program for Harvard affiliates. This program provides members of the Harvard community the possibility of practicing informal conversation with a partner who speaks their target language. The purpose of the language exchange, or "tandem," is to allow partners equal time to practice their desired languages. All Harvard community members, including spouses and partners of faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars, as well as alumni and retired faculty and staff, are eligible to participate in the exchange.
F-1 students graduating in May 2021 can start applying for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) up to 90 days before their program completion date (Form I-20 end date) in order to be eligible to work in the U.S. following graduation.
To help accommodate the large number of OPT requests, the HIO will begin accepting OPT requests via a new web form starting Monday, February 8, 2021 for students graduating this May. The HIO will start releasing new OPT I-20s via email on Friday, February 26, 2021.
To receive your OPT I-20 on the earliest release date, you must submit your OPT request to the HIO no later than Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Any OPT requests submitted after February 17, 2021, will be processed by the HIO in 5-7 business days.
Please visit the OPT section of our website for a detailed overview of the OPT process. If you have any questions on the process, the HIO will begin virtual drop-in OPT advising hours starting Friday, February 5, 2021.
COVID-19 Travel Bans Still in Effect
President Biden has issued a Presidential Proclamation to extend the travel bans from the EU Schengen area, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil, and added a travel ban from South Africa, effective as of January 30, 2021. The travel bans from China and Iran also remain in effect. These proclamations prohibit entry to the U.S. for certain individuals who were present in a travel ban country in the 14 days preceding their travel to the U.S., unless they have been granted an exception. You may read more about the impact of the travel bans on the HIO's COVID FAQ.
Ending a Discriminatory Entry Ban
The HIO is pleased to share that President Biden has issued a proclamation ending discriminatory bans put in place by the Trump administration that prevented certain individuals from entering the U.S., such as those from primarily Muslim countries and from largely African countries. While this travel ban has been overturned, there is likely going to continue to be administrative processing for visa applicants and a backlog for visa appointments in these regions.
Each school in Harvard has a diverse student body from international countries across the world and this enriches one’s experience and learning as a student. The message of “One Harvard” is strongly felt when you sit for conversations with students and Alum from Harvard back in India, Boston or internationally.