Required Documents

In order to travel abroad, students must be sure to complete the appropriate paperwork and obtain any necessary documents.

Harvard Travel Registry

All Harvard students who are traveling abroad under University auspices (that is, receiving Harvard credit or funding) must register with the Harvard Travel Registry.  This enables the University to locate people quickly and provide assistance in the event of an emergency (i.e., natural disaster, civil unrest, etc). Registering is required for all students traveling under Harvard auspices and strongly recommended for everyone.  Students should record their information as soon as their trip is booked and then make sure the information stays up-to-date.

Assumption of Risk Form

Harvard University requires students traveling abroad to review, sign, and submit an Assumption of Risk form, which also includes emergency contact information. There are three different forms, each designed for a certain type of international travel. Students should carefully review the form descriptions to select the appropriate form for their travel.

Prior to departure, HLS students must:

  1. Select the appropriate form below
  2. Complete the online form
  3. Print and sign the form
  4. Submit the form to their sponsoring program, or to International Legal Studies by one of the following methods:

⇒ Scan and email to ils@law.harvard.edu
⇒ Fax to 617-496-9179 (attention International Legal Studies)
⇒ Deliver to Suite 5005 of Wasserstein Hall

Students with questions about the forms should contact International Legal Studies for assistance.

  • Independent International Travel with Harvard Sponsorship or Credit. This form should be used by graduate or professional school students participating in study abroad, thesis or dissertation research, or an international internship arranged by the student. Students traveling abroad with winter term international travel grants, Winter Writing Program research, clinical projects and programs, summer internships (Summer Public Interest Funding projects, Chayes International Public Service Fellowship, Human Rights Program Summer Internship, etc.) or other pro bono work should use this form.
  • International Travel Course. This form should be used by students participating in classes for which travel is required, although the course itself is not a condition of receiving a degree.
  • International Field Trips Led or Organized by Harvard. This form should be used by students participating in certain international field trips for a Harvard course or program and certain Harvard research expeditions abroad, regardless of whether a student is receiving Harvard funding or academic credit. (Students participating in trips that fall into this category will be notified by the sponsoring program.)

Passports and Visas

Passports. Students traveling outside the United States need a passport both to leave and to reenter the U.S. Students who are U.S. citizens who do not have a passport must obtain one through an application process. The U.S. Department of State provides detailed information about how to apply for or renew a passport. Processing passport applications takes about three weeks, so students applying for a passport should make preparations well in advance of their planned departure dates. Students should also keep in mind that obtaining a visa (see below) requires a passport, and should allow ample time to obtain all necessary documents and authorizations.

Visas. Most foreign countries require a visa to enter. Visa application requirements vary by country as well as the purpose of the visit, so students should look carefully at the requirements for their planned destination. The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of countries with country-specific information, including entry/exit requirements.  Obtaining a visa often takes several weeks or longer, so students should plan to begin the visa application process well in advance of their anticipated departure date. Harvard University has identified two vendors that can assist with visa and passport issues for international travel.  These firms can answer questions about visa requirements free of charge either via their websites or by phone. For a fee they will assist travelers with the application process (especially beneficial for rush orders) by reviewing and submitting the traveler’s application, passport, and any other required information or documents. Visa processing firms are often able to obtain visas more quickly than individual travelers.  If you place an order for services with either vendor, please do so via the Harvard portals so that you will receive the negotiated Harvard rates.   For more information, see Visa and Passport Services (Harvard ID required).

Harvard Travel Assist Membership Card

Harvard Travel Assist is a program that provides 24-hour worldwide emergency medical and evacuation assistance for Harvard’s employees and students traveling on University-related activities. While a Harvard student you are automatically enrolled in this program but you must register with the Harvard Travel Registry.  Please see the Harvard Travel Assist information on the Health and Safety page for more details.

Last modified: December 08, 2014

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