What's New

January 24, 2023

If you were present in the United States (U.S.) during any part of calendar year 2022 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. If you were not in the U.S. at all during 2022, you do not need to complete any tax forms at this year.

This season, Sprintax will be hosting a series of free open tax webinars to provide helpful information around nonresident tax filing obligations. You can find the details and registration links here.

For more information on the tax filing process, review the HIO Tax FAQ and additional tax preparation resources. 

 

January 20, 2023

February 8, 2023, 4:30pm-6pm

U.S. immigration regulations do not clearly define employment and never contemplated the new era of entrepreneurs, influencers and social media. In a time where it seems many students and scholars are interested in launching a new business endeavor, foreign nationals must beware and tread very carefully.  What should non-immigrant students and academics know about launching a business at various stages of their immigration journey?  What activities count as U.S. employment? What options exist for work authorization both in the short-term and longer-term alternatives?

Find out the answers to these questions and more during an informational session by immigration attorney Mary E. Walsh, a partner at Iandoli Desai & Cronin, P.C. which is a firm specializing in U.S. immigration law.

This session will be held over Zoom on February 8, 2023, 4:30pm-6pm. Register for the session here

January 6, 2023

Starting Tuesday, January 17, the HIO will expand its walk in travel signature and document pick up hours to 12pm – 2pm every week day. Until January 17, the HIO is open weekdays from 12pm – 1pm for walk in travel signatures. For directions, and more information on contacting the HIO, please see Contact Us.

January 3, 2023

Beginning January 5, anyone older than 2 years old arriving to the U.S. from China, Hong Kong or Macau will need to show a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within two days of their flight. The requirement applies to all passengers regardless of nationality or vaccination status, those connecting through other countries, and people transferring through U.S. airports to other destinations. More information on this requirement may be found on the CDC website. In addition to the negative COVID-19 test, students and scholars also need to ensure they have the proper immigration documents to enter the U.S.

December 6, 2022

The HIO is now on Instagram! Follow @hio.harvard for important updates and seasonal reminders regarding travel, immigration updates, upcoming events, and more. As always, make sure you check your email for important messages from the HIO's advisors and the general HIO account internationaloffice@harvard.edu.

October 28, 2022

If you are planning on traveling internationally over the upcoming school breaks, please check to ensure that you have all required immigration documents necessary to re-enter the U.S. with. 

If you need a travel signature on your Form I-20 or DS-2019, please review the applicable instructions below. Please note, the HIO will be closed for Thanksgiving break Wednesday, November 23 through Friday, November 25.

  • F-1 students may request a travel signature to be sent via email by completing the F-1 Travel Signature Request Form.
  • J-1 students, scholars, and student interns and their dependents will need to visit the HIO during our walk in travel signature and document pick up hour, which takes place Monday-Friday from 12pm - 1pm on the 8th floor of the Smith Center to obtain a travel signature.
  • Beginning November 2nd, the HIO will be hosting travel signature hours in the Longwood area for students, student interns, and scholars to obtain a travel signature or to pick up documents from the HIO. An HIO Advisor will be available every other Wednesday, beginning November 2nd, from 1:00pm - 3:00pm in Gordon 006 (at the HMS/HSDM Office for Postdoctoral Fellows - see map). The full schedule may be found here

For more information on contacting the HIO, please see Contact Us.

September 16, 2022

Many U.S. airports have discontinued stamping passports with an entry stamp when you enter the U.S. Instead, each time you enter the U.S., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) creates an online, electronic entry record to record your entry to the U.S. This is called your I-94 record. The I-94 record will be your only official record of entry to the U.S. 

You should check and save a screenshot of your I-94  record each time you enter the U.S. as the I-94 record is the only official evidence of your entry into the U.S. and you may need it for other purposes. If the I-94 record ever displays incorrect information, or cannot be found, please contact your HIO Advisor.

September 14, 2022

We hope that international students, scholars, and student interns are settling in to campus well for the start of the term. If you are in need of talking with your HIO advisor, please review the resources below to get in touch with the HIO:

August 1, 2022

If you will be working on campus at Harvard and earning U.S. income, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) for tax purposes.

You may find full details on the application process, including the required documents to apply, here. Please note, the application will require you to go in person to a Social Security office during their walk in hours. An appointment is not needed to apply for an SSN.

Your visa status determines your eligibility and required documents for the SSN application:

  • J-1, H-1B, and O-1 Research Scholars do not need a letter from the HIO to apply for an SSN.
  • J-1 Students and J-1 Student Interns need a letter from the HIO first before applying for an SSN.
  • F-1 Students must be working on campus, or have a period of approved OPT or CPT, to qualify for an SSN. If you are working on campus at Harvard as an F-1 visa holder, you must obtain a letter from your employer using this template and a letter from the HIO prior to applying for the SSN.

Students requiring a letter from the HIO must make the request through the HIO’s SSN Letter Request Form. Please review the full application instructions on the HIO’s SSN page.

Please note, newly arriving students, scholars, and student interns MUST register with the HIO first, and receive confirmation that the registration has been completed, before beginning the SSN request process. 

July 31, 2022

Welcome to Harvard to any incoming international students, scholars, student interns, and their families!

As a reminder, once you arrive in the U.S. you must register your arrival with the HIO. The HIO is processing all registrations via email. Please do not come to the HIO offices for registration at this time. You may find instructions based on your visa category below:

After registration is complete, individuals on F-1 and J-1 visas and their dependents with visas sponsored by Harvard will need to obtain a travel signature on their F-1 Form I-20 or J-1 DS-2019 Form in order to travel internationally during their program. 

  • F-1 students may request a travel signature to be sent via email by completing the F-1 Travel Signature Request Form. If you have dependents, you do not need to submit a separate request for F-2 signatures; all forms I-20 will be issued and sent to you automatically.
  • J-1 students, scholars, and student interns and their dependents will need to visit the HIO during our walk in travel signature and document pick up hour, which takes place Monday-Friday from 12pm - 1pm on the 8th floor of the Smith Center to obtain a travel signature. DS-2019s cannot be sent electronically and must contain an original signature from the HIO.
June 21, 2022

If you are an incoming student or scholar who is applying for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, please make sure to update any visa appointment booking, visa appointment cancellations, and visa approvals with the HIO using our online reporting form. You may submit this form multiple times to update previously-reported information. We will use your reporting anonymously to help your fellow students at the University as they navigate the visa application process.

As a reminder, U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide are working through backlogs from the pandemic, and may be operating at reduced capacity, making obtaining an appointment more difficult. You may view the current operating status of a given U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the U.S. State Department website.

 You may find more detailed instructions for the visa application process this year, including updates on 2022 Embassy protocols and instructions on requesting an emergency visa appointment, in the Student visa application, Scholar visa application, and Student Intern visa application pages of the HIO website.

June 13, 2022

As of 12:01AM ET on June 12, 2022, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) will no longer require air passengers traveling to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. For more information, see Rescission: Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for all Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving into the United States from Any Foreign Country. All travelers to the U.S. will still need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

Newly arriving students and scholars can find arrival information, including the documents needed to show to Customs upon first arrival to the U.S., here. 

Continuing students and scholars may find a full list of documents needed to travel to the U.S. from a trip abroad here. 

April 20, 2022

As a reminder, students graduating in May 2022 need to submit work authorization applications to remain in the U.S. and work in their field of study after graduation. Post-graduation work authorization needs to be approved before graduating students may begin any positions in the U.S., including on campus work at Harvard, after graduation.

  • F-1 students will need to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Details can be found here. A job offer is not required for OPT applications. OPT applications must be submitted before students depart the U.S. after graduation, or before the end of the 60 day grace period post-graduation. 
  • J-1 students will need to apply for Academic Training (AT). Details can be found here. A U.S. job offer is required to apply for AT. AT applications must be submitted to the HIO before the end of your 30 day grace period post-graduation. 
April 14, 2022

The Harvard International Office provides informational sessions regarding future visa options and green cards each year.  The session is hosted by a local immigration firm speaking about such topics as H-1Bs, TNs, O-1s, entrepreneurship, green cards and much more. The recording from the Spring 2022 session is now available online via this link

Please note that the university does not endorse any attorney or firm nor is this presentation intended to be legal advice. 

April 12, 2022

As of Thursday, April 7, Social Security Administration offices nationwide will reopen for walk in services. International students, scholars, and student interns in need of applying for a Social Security Number (SSN) no longer need to schedule an appointment in advance to visit a Social Security office. Once you have all of the SSN application documents printed, you may visit a Social Security office without an appointment during their walk in hours. Please note, there may be long wait times for walk ins when the offices first open.

For a list of documents needed for the SSN application, please review the HIO’s Social Security Numbers page.

For Social Security hours and locations, please use the Social Security Administration website.

March 31, 2022

If you were present in the United States (U.S.) during any part of calendar year 2021 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 2021, you do not need to complete any tax forms at this year.

  • Review the HIO Tax FAQ and Tax Filing Overview for background on the U.S. tax system and tax filing deadline dates for 2021. 
  • The HIO licenses a software called Sprintax, which will assist all tax nonresidents with their federal and state tax filing. Current students, scholars, and student interns may log in to use Sprintax using their Harvard key. The cost for federal U.S. filings are covered by the Harvard license. State filings for all 50 U.S. states can be done using Sprintax for an additional fee, listed here.
  • All current students, scholars, and student interns at Harvard will receive an email from the HIO in mid-late February providing additional information and instructions to access the Sprintax tax preparation software.
  • If you are no longer an active student or scholar at Harvard and need to file taxes for 2021, please contact the HIO via email (internationaloffice@harvard.edu) in late February to request a unique access code to use Sprintax.

This season, Sprintax will be hosting a series of free open tax webinars to provide helpful information around nonresident tax filing obligations. You can find the details and registration links on the HIO's Tax Filing Overview page.

March 17, 2022

Join us for Harvard's first Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Forum which will bring the Harvard community together from April 12th through April 14th in an online virtual platform to learn and engage with critical EDIB topics. This year's theme, Reimagine Our Community, is driven by the need to collaboratively explore how we might work together to build a campus environment where everyone can thrive. All Harvard affiliates are invited to attend and participate.

For more information visit the EDIB Forum website.

February 3, 2022

If you are an F-1 student completing your degree in May 2022, now is the time for you to start the F-1 Post-Completion OPT application process.

Applying for OPT is a two step process. First, you must submit an OPT request to the HIO in order to obtain an OPT recommendation I-20. The HIO will start accepting OPT applications as of Monday, February 7, 2022. The HIO will begin emailing OPT I-20s to students as of Monday, February 28, 2022, along with instructions for the second step of the process: filing your OPT application with USCIS.

You are not required to have a job offer to apply for OPT and you are encouraged to apply for OPT as early as possible.  OPT applications may take 3-5 months to process by USCIS. Please note that you are still permitted to travel in and out of the U.S. while your OPT application is pending with USCIS until the completion date listed on your I-20. 

To apply for OPT, please review this information and take the following steps:    

January 31, 2022

How does culture influence the ways you communicate and interact with others? Learn more about your own style of communication and about different communication styles around the globe. Practice intercultural communication strategies to build connections with others. Join us for a “Navigating Intercultural Communication” Workshop!

On Wednesday, March 16 from 12 – 1:30 p.m. the HIO will host a workshop on intercultural communication for international postdocs led by Sarah Emory, Assistant Director for International Teachers and Scholars at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University. You will have the opportunity to engage and connect with other international postdocs across the university around the important topic of intercultural communication.

The workshop will take place via Zoom; please register here. Upon registering you will receive an email with the Zoom meeting link and password.

Please contact Renee Burke with any questions.

December 31, 2021

Effective January 1, 2022, President Biden rescinded the presidential proclamation restricting entry to the U.S. for non-U.S. citizens who were physically present in the following countries in the 14 days prior to their entry to the U.S.: the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Students and scholars located in the above mentioned countries will be allowed to travel directly to the U.S. as of January 1, 2022. Please ensure that you have the required documents for travel.

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