FAQ for Administrators

Q: To whom does the University provide visa sponsorship?

A: Generally speaking, the University provides visa sponsorship for those individuals with temporary academic appointments at University departments, such as postdoctoral researchers and faculty members.

Q: What do I do to start the visa sponsorship process once the PI decides to hire a postdoctoral fellow?

A: You need to use ISD to start the process of the visa paperwork. Please refer to the HIO’s ISD Manual for a guide to completing the record, and the required documents the HIO will need. If the scholar was at Harvard previously and already has a record in ISD, you will need to complete an eForm instead of using ISD. If you have never sponsored an international scholar you should contact your HIO Advisor

Q: How do I know what visa to use for a new scholar?

A: There are many non-immigrant visa classifications. The categories used most at Harvard is the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. The HIO advisor assigned to you will work with you to determine the appropriate visa classification.

Q: How much funding is required to bring in a scholar?

A: The required amount of funding may vary from school to school within the University. Please contact your HIO Advisor for guidance.

Q: Is it necessary to list the source(s) of funding in addition to the amount of funding?

A: Yes, since the source(s) of funding is used to determine whether a scholar is subject to the two year home residence requirement (212e).

Q: Who is responsible to vet the funding?

A: As a department administrator, it is your responsibility to verify the validity of funding for incoming scholars. If it is personal funding, you may want to require evidence such as a bank statement to verify that the amount of funding exists and is available for the scholar to use at Harvard.

Q. Are there any educational requirements for scholars?

A: In general, scholars must have at minimum a bachelor’s degree to qualify for visa sponsorship. If you are interested in bringing on an enrolled student in a bachelor’s degree program overseas, they may qualify for the J-1 Student Intern visa sponsorship.

Q: When do we need to notify the HIO about an incoming scholar?

A: For a J-1 visa, we require 60 days notice before a scholar's start date. For an H-1B visa it takes up to 6 months due to the government agency’s processing time.

Q: Who monitors the arrival dates of scholars?

A: It is your responsibility to communicate with incoming scholars to notify you if they will arrive later than the start date listed on the DS-2019. J-1 scholar must enter the U.S. within 30 days of the start date listed on the Form DS-2019. It is also your responsibility to notify your HIO advisor as soon as you know because the HIO may need to amend the DS-2019 and/or reissue the DS-2019.

Q: What do I do if the scholar decides not to come to the University at all?

A: You must notify the HIO immediately so we can notify the government.

Q: Once scholars arrive in my department, when should I send them to the HIO to register?

A: They should come to the HIO to register as soon as they arrive because the HIO must validate a J-1 scholar’s arrival with the U.S. government visa SEVIS within 30 days from the start date listed on the DS-2019 or their immigration status could be jeopardized.

Q: Is it important to return or send the eNED to the HIO in a timely fashion?

A: Yes because the HIO needs to take action based on the information you provide on the eNED.

Q: What type of things about a scholar do I need to notify the HIO?

A: You must notify the HIO advisor assigned to your department when:

  • A scholar leaves the University earlier than the date on their DS-2019 or I-797.
  • The PI wants to extend the appointment beyond the date on theDS-2019 or I-797.
  • A scholar’s funding amount and/or source(s) change with the exception of annual cost of living increases.
  • A scholar’s title or job description changes while on the H-1B visa.
  • A scholar works in more than one location in or out of the University.
  • A scholar’s job changes from full time to part time.

Q: Can I or a scholar use immigration attorneys to submit employment-based immigration petitions (e.g. H-1B, O-1 or green card)?

A: No. The HIO advising staff has the authority and responsibility to submit all employment-based petitions sponsored by Harvard University and is the only entity authorized to sign immigration petitions on behalf of the University. However, scholars may use immigration attorneys to file for green cards based on their own credentials and not based on their employment at Harvard. Department administrators and/or PIs should not sign any green card related forms presented by immigration attorneys.