Covid-19 Updates & FAQs

Information on Spring 2021
 

FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS

I have questions about my visa or I-20. Who should I turn to?
> The Harvard International Office (HIO) manages visa and immigration-related services for the Harvard community. For questions related to your specific case, please reach out to Jessica Heffernan, Adviser to International Students and Scholars. The HIO can also provide guidance related to the July 6 ICE press release and what that means for you and your individual case, whether you are an incoming first-year or returning student.

Am I eligible to return to campus for the spring semester?
> Current government guidance does not allow international students with new, initial SEVIS records to come to the U.S in F-1 or J-1 status to begin an entirely online academic program. New international students with programs fully online, who are not transferring their SEVIS record from other academic programs in the U.S. or changing their level of education within Harvard, should not plan to come to the U.S. this spring, even if they are successful in getting a visa appointment and receive an F-1 or J-1 visa.   The HIO will coordinate with the College to update I-20 forms for these students; reflecting a start date consistent with academic plans for in-person or hybrid instruction.   

Where can I obtain more information regarding academic accommodations?
> If you require accommodations for learning, please contact the Accessible Education Office.

Where can I obtain more information regarding academic resources?
> The Academic Resource Center provides resources to support your academic success at the College. If you are a first-year student, consider attending their First-Year Friday events. Registration required.

Will Passport to Harvard be offered during the spring semester?
> Passport to Harvard (P2H) will be offered in January (exact dates TBD). Please be on the lookout for emails from the OIE regarding registering for P2H during this time.
 

RETURNING STUDENTS

I have questions about my visa or I-20. Who should I turn to?
> The Harvard International Office (HIO) manages visa and immigration-related services for the Harvard community. For questions related to your specific case, please reach out to Jessica Heffernan, Adviser to International Students and Scholars. The HIO can also provide guidance related to the July 6 ICE press release and what that means for you and your individual case, whether you are an incoming first-year or returning student.

Am I eligible to return to campus for the spring semester?
> The most recent government guidance confirmed that continuing students with a valid visa and Form I-20 or DS-2019 may re-enter the U.S. for the Spring 2021 semester.  As a continuing student with an active Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) record, you are currently permitted to return to the U.S. to resume your studies, even if your program is 100% online. If you are an international student who was enrolled at Harvard for the fall semester and live in a location 4+ hours outside of EST, then you may come to campus. 

If you were on a leave of absence for the fall 2020 semester: Current government guidance does not allow international students with new, initial SEVIS records to come to the U.S in F-1 or J-1 status to begin an entirely online academic program. New international students with programs fully online programs, who are not transferring their SEVIS record from other academic programs in the U.S. or changing their level of education within Harvard, should not plan to come to the U.S. this spring, even if they are successful in getting a visa appointment and receive an F-1 or J-1 visa.   The HIO will coordinate with the College to update I-20 forms for these students; reflecting a start date consistent with academic plans for in-person or hybrid instruction.  If updated guidance is issued, the HIO will update the community and our COVID FAQ accordingly.  If you are an international student returning from a leave of absence, please contact your HIO Advisor to review your plans.  

As a returning international student can I study at a local university in my home country?
> Ordinarily, international students are not permitted to study abroad in the home country; however, some exceptions may be possible. Please visit our Study Away page and reach out to the OIE for more information. 

What supports will be in place for international students? 
> The Harvard International Office (HIO) and the Office of International Education (OIE) are available to support international students. For questions related to immigration or visa-related matters, students should contact the HIO. For questions related to academic support and advising, summer opportunities, or technology needs, students should reach out directly to the OIE. The OIE also holds daily drop-ins to accommodate varied time zones (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 2:00-5:00 pm EST; Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00-11:00 am EST).

Where can I obtain more information regarding academic accommodations?
> If you require accommodations for learning, please contact the Accessible Education Office.

Where can I obtain more information regarding academic resources?
> The Academic Resource Center provides resources to support your academic success at the College. If you are a first-year student, consider attending their First-Year Friday events. Registration required.