Guide for New Users

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Welcome to HarvardKey! HarvardKey is your new, secure login credential that gains you access to the University applications and services you use every day using just one login name and password. It only takes a few minutes to get your HarvardKey — and because HarvardKey is the University’s new lifetime credential for students, faculty, staff, and alumni, claim it once and you’re good for life.

1. Get Started

To claim your HarvardKey, start by visiting key.harvard.edu and click on the Claim Your HarvardKey link. On the Select Your User Type screen that follows, select the New to Harvard tab.

This screen lists the information that you will need to claim your HarvardKey:

  • Your eight-digit Harvard University ID (HUID)
  • Your last name
  • Your date of birth
  • A personal email address to use for account reminders

If you don’t know your HUID, you can find it in an official communication such as an admissions packet or HR paperwork. When you’re ready, click Continue.

2. Confirm Your Identity

On the Confirm Your Identity screen, enter your HUID, your last name, and your date of birth. Then, click Continue.

When you have been successfully identified by the system, a confirmation code will be sent to the email address Harvard has on file for you. To continue, check that email account for a message from Harvard Identity & Access Management. It will have a subject line of Time-Sensitive: Complete Your HarvardKey Account Registration.

In that email, you’ll find a link to a secure web address along with a unique confirmation code which you will need to finish claiming your HarvardKey.  Note that this code is only valid for 24 hours, after which time you will need to start the claiming process over from the beginning.

Copy the confirmation code from the email, and click on the link. This will take you to the Enter Your Confirmation Code page.  From here, paste your confirmation code into the box and click Continue.

3. Choose Your Login Name

If you already have an official Harvard email, HarvardKey will automatically assign that as your login name, and you’ll skip this step entirely. Otherwise, depending on your Harvard affiliation, you’ll then either be asked to enter the login name of your choice, or you’ll be asked to choose a login name from a list of options. Be sure to choose carefully — your HarvardKey login name is in the form of an email address, and the login name you pick will also be used as your official, permanent Harvard email address. The system will also ask you to confirm your choice just to be sure.

4. Provide a Recovery Email

Next, every HarvardKey user will be asked to provide at least one recovery email address. This address will be kept on file by HarvardKey in case you forget your password or login name, and it’s where HarvardKey will send reminders or instructions for password resets. Please note that you may not use a Harvard email address as a recovery email. Providing two recovery addresses isn’t required, but it’s a good idea in case you lose access to one of them at some point in the future. When you’re done, click Continue.

5. Choose a Strong Password

You’re nearly finished. The final step is to choose your HarvardKey password. Keeping your personal data — and protected Harvard resources — safe is one of the biggest benefits of HarvardKey, so your password must:

  • Be at least 10 characters long (and can be up to 120)
  • Contain five or more unique characters
  • Contain at least three of the following: an uppercase, lowercase, numeric, or special character

Your password must not include the following:

  • Your email, part of your name, or part of your address
  • Common words or acronyms of five or more letters, UNLESS your password is more than 20 characters long — in which case you can use words
  • Number sequences with four or more numbers

As you fill in your new password, green checkmarks will appear by the guidelines on the screen to help you. Please don’t use the same password for your HarvardKey that you use for anything else. Enter the new password again to confirm your choice. When you’re done, click Submit.

6. Success!

You’re all set! You’ll see a screen that displays your new HarvardKey details, which you can print for your records. You’ll also receive a confirmation email (at the recovery address you provided) from Harvard Identity and Access Management with your information, which you can save for future reference. 

You may now use your HarvardKey to access a world of University services, all with the confidence of knowing your data — and protected Harvard information — is safe and secure. Thank you for claiming your new HarvardKey!

Need Help?

If you have any questions about claiming or using your HarvardKey, have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions on the HarvardKey help site. If you can’t find the answers to your questions there, or if you need one-on-one help, don’t hesitate to contact the HUIT Service Desk at ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777.