Harvard University, USA
If you are staying for up to 90 days: You may enter through the “Visa Waiver” Program. To do so, you must obtain an entry permit via ESTA:
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
- Since 12th January 2009, all travellers entering the USA via the “Visa Waiver” Programme (VWP) must obtain an electronic entry permit before they travel (“Electronic System for Travel Authorization” – ESTA).
It is possible to apply for one via a third party (e.g. a travel agency). Once you receive your entry permit, it is valid for any number of trips within a period of two years. The US authorities recommend that, if possible, you make your ESTA application at least 72 hours before you travel.
- Since 8th September 2010, there is a fee of $ 14 for the ESTA application. It can be paid online by debit/credit card (MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover). Alternatively, the payment can be made by a third party (e.g. a travel agency).
- The website with the electronic application form is available in German and 20 other languages. Usually the applicant receives a response quickly. You are advised to print out your entry permit and take it with you as you travel. If you are refused by ESTA you cannot undertake your journey immediately. In this case, you must apply to the US authorities for a visa.
- You can find information in German about ESTA on the website of the US embassy in Germany.
If you are staying for longer than 90 days:
As a participant in a DAAD exchange programme you will need a J1 visa. This can be obtained from the US embassy.
Prerequisites for a J1 visa
- A permanent address outside the USA, as well as commitments that will oblige you to return after your visit.
- Proof from a specific, reliable source of sufficient financial means to cover your expenses during the entirety of your visit to the USA. This proof could also be in the form of a guarantee, or an overdraft facility available for the period in question. For Harvard, you must show that you have $ 2500 per month available.
- Proof of knowledge of English (TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate).
- Form DS-2019 (Harvard University will supply you with this).
Documents necessary for the visa application
- Valid passport
- Application form DS-160 – Confirmation page
- Passport photo
- Confirmation of your appointment at the embassy
- SEVIS I-901 payment receipt
(Please confirm in consultation with Harvard University that your details have been entered into the SEVIS system correctly. In addition to the visa application fee you must pay a separate SEVIS fee. For non-immigrant students with form DS-2019 the SEVIS fee is $ 180.)
- Cambridge has very good public transportation, with service by both the "T" subway system as well as a number of bus lines. The Red Line of the T connects Cambridge to Boston and a range of other communities in the area. There are also a number of bus lines that run through Cambridge and connect it to other cities and towns.
- The rechargeable “CharlieCard” allows you to save money on tickets.
- The homepage for public transport in the Greater Boston Area is here.
You should first of all find out if your own health insurance can offer you a package covering your stay in the USA. You must remain insured in Germany so that you are covered whenever you return home.
Nearly all insurance companies offer foreign health insurance, rates for which you can find on their websites.
Since the USA belongs to the NAFTA bloc, premiums are somewhat higher than in other countries.
Here are some examples of insurance companies offering long-term health insurance (longer than 56 days) for the USA:
The company Mawista specialises in foreign health insurance for those studying abroad.
During your stay at Harvard University within the context of the PCD network's Mobility Programme you will receive support in the form of lump sum grants:
- A subsidy of your accommodation costs
- A subsidy of your travel costs
- Exemption from student fees at Harvard University
- Free access to all the university’s libraries
Simultaneous receipt of a scholarship
- Other DAAD scholarships (e.g. PROMOS, individual DAAD scholarships, etc.) must be suspended during your stay. Likewise, a PCD fellowship cannot be combined with an ERASMUS scholarship, a Deutschlandstipendium, a Fulbright scholarship, or a scholarship from the Deutsch-Französische Hochschule.
- Other public or private scholarships may be accepted in full, in addition to that from the PCD network.
To take part in the PCD network's Mobility Programme, M.A. and PhD students require an informal letter from a mentor offering to supervise their research during their stay at Harvard University. A mentor should be a humanities professor at the host university whom you choose and contact on your own before your stay. An overview of the departments and institutes in the humanities at Harvard can be found here.
A mentor must not necessarily be a professor working in your own field. Nonetheless, you will be affiliated with the institute of your mentor during your stay.
PostDocs are asked to show that they have already established contact with researchers at Harvard University (e.g., with an extract from an email).
Employees of Freie Universitaet Berlin taking part in the PCD network’s Mobility Program should, for legal and actuarial reasons, apply to have their exchange recognized as an official business trip (“Dienstreise”). Under specific conditions, you might continue to receive your salary whilst undertaking your trip.