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Visa & Immigration Requirements

Visa and immigration requirements are often the cause of lengthy project delays, but you can easily avoid such disruptions by understanding your project’s requirements and planning ahead.

You can start by:

  1. Reviewing the criteria that determines visa requirements and the common types of visas.
  2. Talking with us to think through the options and requirements.

4 Key Visa Considerations

We’ve learned that it’s best to take the long view and plan for contingencies when managing an international project. Each of the criteria listed below will determine the type of visa(s) and other travel documents required for your project.

Length of project: A visa may be required regardless of the length of time spent overseas. Even if you initially plan for a short-term project, you’ll want to factor in the possibility of an extension.

Purpose of project and activities to be done: They type of visa you and/or your project partners require depends on the type of work you’ll be doing, i.e. tourism, business, study, research, etc.

Immigration status of those involved: Each individual’s own citizenship factors into the host country’s visa requirements.

Whether multiple entries will be needed: If you or your project partners anticipate traveling into and out of the host country more than once, then a multi-entry visa may offer greater flexibility, without the need to reapply for a visa each time you travel.

Types of Visas

Most countries offer some version of the following visas:

  • Tourist: for travel that doesn’t require another kind of visa.
  • Business: typically for business meetings; sometimes for short-term research or study.
  • Student: for enrollment in an educational institution.
  • Resident or Employment: for long-term stays or work; a separate work permit may also be required.

Some countries require other types of visas for certain work — including specific types for researchers, journalists, and missionaries — and for particular family or immigration situations.

The host country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S. provides basic information on visa requirements and is a good place to start your research.

Advice & Application Assistance

Visa requirements change from time to time, so it’s important to consult with us early in your project planning. We can advise you on outbound visa requirements and keep you informed of any changes.

We can also connect you with visa and passport processing firms who can help you obtain the required travel documents. Access our visa vendor portal with your Harvard ID and PIN to learn more.

International students and scholars should consult advisors at the Harvard International Office for inbound visa requirements before leaving the U.S.