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Visa Information for Incoming J.D. Students

Below you will find information that is needed in order to process your student visa/immigration documentation. Please read the instructions carefully. Even if Harvard will not be sponsoring your visa or immigration status, you still need to submit the biographic data. 

Admitted students will receive a link to the Source of Support form upon confirming their enrollment.

Email 1L2B@law.harvard.edu with any questions you may have.

You should submit all necessary forms and documentation to the J.D. Admissions Office by May 31.

Please note that all entering deferral students who completed the Source of Support form in a previous year and may have received a Form I-20 from the Harvard International Office (HIO) will still be required to complete this year’s Source of Support form to receive an updated, electronic Form I-20 by email.

STEPS TO OBTAIN IMMIGRATION SPONSORSHIP

  1. Complete and submit the Source of Support form with supporting documents electronically. Please note that in order to access the form, you will need to use your status checker username and password. Students bringing family members must complete a Dependent Data Sheet and be able to demonstrate additional resources for your spouse and/or child(ren). Please keep all original documents for your visa interview and/or entry into the U.S.
  2. If you are currently in the U.S. and enrolled in another academic institution in F-1 status, or are engaged in F-1 OPT, you must also complete and submit the Transfer-In to Harvard form. Additionally, you will need to submit your SEVIS I-901 Receipt, which can be accessed here. These documents can either be submitted electronically through the Source of Support form or emailed to 1L2B@law.harvard.edu. You will not need to pay the SEVIS processing fee again.
  3. Once you have completed the Source of Support form and necessary documentation, the Harvard International Office (HIO) will email you a student visa immigration document: an original, electronic Form I-20. If you are an entering deferral who previously received a Form I-20 from Harvard, HIO will issue you an updated, original Form I-20 by email. You will need to print out the immigration form on paper for your visa interview and/or entry into the U.S. Please ensure that you retain all original documentation for your consular appointment, travel to and from the U.S., and personal records.
  4. There is a SEVIS I-901 fee you will need to pay to the U.S. Government. Print a screenshot of the receipt, which is sufficient for travel. Complete the online Form I-901. Students who are transferring a valid, existing F-1 status to Harvard will not need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee a second time.
  5. Once you have the student visa document (I-20), you can make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. (NOTE: Canadian citizens do not require a visa to enter the U.S. As such, Canadians only need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and seek entry to the U.S. with their Form I-20, SEVIS I-901 receipt of payment, and Canadian passport.)

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  1. With the student visa document, you will receive instructions on how to apply to the U.S. embassy or consulate for your student visa stamp (Canadians are exempt from having to obtain a U.S. visa stamp). Please be aware that the process for obtaining a visa stamp from a U.S. embassy or consulate may take several weeks, especially due to the visa processing delays and limitations caused by the pandemic.
  2. Once Harvard has received your complete financial information in English and converted it to U.S. dollars, it will take approximately 3 weeks before your visa document is ready to be sent to you. Please note, if your law school education will be fully funded by your Harvard Law School financial aid package, you do not need to submit any supporting financial documentation, as we have your award letter from Student Financial Services. If you opt to supplement your financial aid grant award with loans, please be prepared to provide documentation proving the amount borrowed at your visa appointment.
  3. You should not plan to enter the U.S. with any visa status or immigration status other than a student visa or status.
  4. Current U.S. visa regulations stipulate that you may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your visa document nor may you enter the U.S. after the start date listed on your Form I-20.
  5. The most frequent causes of problems and delays are incomplete information, illegible information, missing supporting documents, information not provided in English, and/or not converted to U.S. dollars.
  6. Immigration information regarding travel and employment with the student status is available on the Harvard International Office (HIO) website.
  7. Promptly after your arrival in the Boston/Cambridge area, you must register with the HIO. Due to the pandemic, HIO currently has an electronic registration process instead of the traditional in-person process. Here is the link to the HIO registration form: HIO Registration Form. Please note that it is not possible to complete this mandatory requirement until after you have entered the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status. All international students must register with HIO before they are permitted to register with HLS.

If you have any questions about your immigration documents, please call the J.D. Admissions Office at 617-496-2864 or email 1L2B@law.harvard.edu. For general information about the immigration sponsorship visa application process, please refer to the HIO’s website or email your HIO advisor, Peter O’Meara, directly at peter_omeara@harvard.edu.