Arrival Checklist

Important steps prior to your arrival on campus

This checklist serves as a general guide to help you complete the tasks needed to make sure that you get off to a successful start. Please note that your appointment by your department or school administrator may have more specific instructions that you should follow. Some items on this list will not apply to everyone.


Email your faculty mentor and your department/lab administrator of your arrival date, and setup an appointment to meet them upon arrival. Contact your department administrator to find out whether your appointment has been fully processed. Please note that this process may take between 5-10 business days.

For Non-U.S. Citizens:

  • Visa. Please register at the Harvard International Office in the Smith Center 864, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue.
  • Social Security Card. If you do not already have a social security card, you must apply for one once you have been in the U.S. for 10 days. Click here for more information on the process.
  • Other useful documents: A Massachusetts id card, or a driving license


Please consult the Housing section on this site. 

Harvard University ID

Once your appointment is fully processed, you may pick up your Harvard ID card at the Harvard ID Office (Smith Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, 8th Floor, Room 807). Bring a photo ID with you when you go.


To access many Harvard systems, you will need a HarvardKey login, which replaces the former Harvard PIN. Please consult the HarvardKey website for information about how to secure your login.

Email account

Once you have your HUID and HarvardKey login, you can set up your email account.

Harvard Directory

If you would like to be listed on Harvard’s on-line directory, you can submit this yourself by going to and clicking on the upper right-hand red tab “Update my official information,” scroll down to Directory Privacy Options and for Item 2, choose Option 5.  Be sure to hit the “Submit” button.  This screen is also where you can review your information to ensure it is correct.


If you are eligible for benefits, you MUST sign up for benefits within 30 days of your start date. The University’s Benefits Office will send a benefits package explaining all of the options available to benefits-eligible postdocs through the US Postal Service within 4 days of the postdoc being entered into the PeopleSoft system.
----> In the meantime, you can review all your options, by watching the benefits office videos.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Benefits Office does not issue the benefits packages in person. If you have not received the benefits information in the mail after a couple of weeks from arrival, call the Benefits Office at (617) 496-4001. For more information on benefits, please see the Benefits section of this website.

For Parents or Prospective Parents

See a list of resources here.

Additional Resources