Arriving in the U.S., HIO Registration, & Orientations

Welcome to Harvard!  This section details important information you need to know to enter the U.S. to start your internship. After your arrival, you will need to bring your travel documents to register your immigration record with the HIO

When to Arrive

The U.S. immigration regulations allow J-1 Student Interns to enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on Item 3 of your Form DS-2019. If you will arrive after the start date on your Form DS-2019, please alert your HIO Advisor immediately. 

U.S. Immigration Inspection

Upon entering the U.S., all J-1 Student Interns must present the following documents to the Customs and Border Protection official at the airport or U.S. Port of Entry:

  • Valid passport
  • Visa Form DS-2019
  • Valid and signed Form DS-7002 Training Plan
  • Valid J-1 visa in passport (not applicable to Canadian citizens)
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt

You may not enter the U.S. in tourist visa status or using ESTA unless you are coming to the U.S. for tourism only. Do not use NEXUS or Global Entry, or an automated passport kiosk, to enter the U.S. You must always speak with a Customs and Border Protection Officer and present the above documents in order to be admitted to the U.S. in the proper J-1 Student Intern status.

Arriving in the U.S.

Once you enter the U.S., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) creates an on-line, electronic I-94 record that details your entry into the U.S. The traditional paper form I-94 may only be issued at Canadian land ports-of-entry.  You need to do two things when you enter the U.S.:

  1.  Check your passport to make sure that the CBP officer has put an entry stamp indicating that you entered on a certain date, in a certain visa status, e.g. J-1, and can stay until a certain date or D/S (duration of status) in the case of J visa holders.
  2.  Print your I-94  or keep an electronic copy of the I-94 on your phone as you will need it for other purposes.

HIO Registration

The HIO must register your arrival within 30 days of the start date on your visa document (Form DS-2019), otherwise your SEVIS record will become invalid. It is important that you register at the HIO soon after your arrival at Harvard. No appointment is needed. The HIO registration takes place on a walk-in basis. Please take your passport, Form DS-2019, and fully signed DS-7002 Training Plan for registration at the HIO. If you have dependents who have accompanied you to the United States in a dependent visa status such as J-2 please take their visa documents and passports to the HIO as well. Please also take to the HIO any documents issued by an immigration official upon your entry to the United States. The staff at the HIO will provide important immigration-related information, and will answer any questions you may have. Students will not be permitted to register for classes at their schools without first registering at the HIO.

You may complete and print the HIO Registration Form to take with you to the HIO, or complete the form when you are at the HIO.

HIO Orientations and Walking Tours

The HIO offers optional orientation sessions and walking tours of Cambridge and Harvard Square for all incoming student interns and their family members. Please see HIO Orientations for more information.