Your browser does not support JavaScript

Alert COVID-19 Update

Harvard University and Harvard Law School will shift to remote teaching and learning beginning Monday, March 23. For more information and the latest updates, please visit the HLS coronavirus information page.


Invitation Letters for Funding Applications

The Graduate Program is unable to provide invitation letters to prospective visitors who have not yet been admitted to the VS/VR program.

If you need an invitation or admission letter to support an application for funding for a possible research stay, you must first apply and be admitted to the VS/VR program during a regular application cycle. The Graduate Program will then provide an admission letter that you can use for your funding application. Invitation letters from HLS faculty members alone are not sufficient.

The regular application cycles for the VS/VR program are:

Fall Cycle

The application for this cycle typically opens in mid-January, and the deadline is April 15. Admissions decisions are typically released in June, and the program starts in September.

Spring Cycle

The application for this cycle typically opens in mid-July, and the deadline is September 15. Admissions decisions are typically released in November, and the program starts in February of the following year.

Early Admissions Decisions

If you need an early admissions decision in order to meet an application deadline for research funding, you may request permission to apply early. While we are unable to issue early decisions within an admissions cycle, we may be able to consider your application in an application cycle for a term that is one or two terms before you actually plan to attend.

As an example, if you have a December 1, 2020, funding application deadline for which you need an invitation letter, you would need to have applied to the VS/VR program in the 2021 Spring Cycle (i.e., by the September 15, 2020, application deadline) in order to receive an admissions decision before December 1. In that scenario, if you were seeking funding for the 2021 Spring term, you would not need permission to submit an early VS/VR application. But if you were seeking funding for the 2021 Fall or 2022 Spring term, you would need to request permission in advance to submit an early VS/VR application.

To request permission to apply early, contact us at We will not consider early applications submitted without advance permission.

Special Information for Fulbright Applicants

VS/VR applicants who have received (or plan to apply for) Fulbright funding are subject to all of the Graduate Program’s VS/VR application requirements, regardless of any information you receive to the contrary from Fulbright or any other organization.  If you have any questions about whether a specific application requirement applies to you, please contact us at