The information below applies to international visitors at Virginia Tech. An international visitor is any foreign national coming to Virginia Tech whose visa is not directly sponsored by Virginia Tech. This does not apply to permanent residents (green card holders) or U.S. citizens. The International Visitor Flow Chart provides an overview of the process for reviewing international visitors and obtaining an invitation letter. Detailed information on appropriate activities for visitors, allowable length of engagement at Virginia Tech and what visa should be used for certain activities can be found in the International Visitor Guidelines.
Export Review (required). ALL international visitors whose visa is not directly sponsored by Virginia Tech MUST be reviewed by the Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance (OESRC) before their arrival and regardless of whether a proposed visitor already has a visa, will be paid, or needs an invitation letter. Furthermore, the visitor’s proposed activities must meet the criteria outlined in the International Visitor Guidelines. The Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs has the final authority in determining whether a visitor’s proposed activities are appropriate.
Review Process (required)
To begin the review process, first determine whether the proposed activities and visa for your visitor are appropriate based on the criteria outlined in the International Visitor Guidelines.
- OESRC will conduct an export review and issue an export certification to the host faculty/department in relation to the visit.
- The host faculty/department should notify OESRC if any changes to the visit or proposed activities occur.
Invitation Letters (optional). Providing an international visitor with an invitation letter is optional as not all individuals may need or request a letter. However, if a letter is to be issued to the international visitor whose visa is not directly sponsored by Virginia Tech, it must be issued by the Office of the Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs. The OVPOIA has tasked International Support Services with managing the invitation letter process and issuing invitation letters. Invitation letters are not to be issued by any other office or individual at Virginia Tech.
Invitation Letter Process (optional)
After OESRC has reviewed and issued their export review and guidance, the host faculty/department may request an invitation letter be processed by ISS. Invitation letters are not required, rather they are optional based on the needs of the host department and/or international visitor. An international visitor may request an invitation letter for a variety of reasons such as to assist in applying for a visa or to request a leave of absence from the home institution. Generally an invitation letter is not needed if the individual already has a visa or will use the visa waiver program. It is the responsibility of the host department to communicate with the international visitor regarding invitation letter needs and then request the letter from ISS in a timely fashion. Please request invitation letters at least two weeks before international visitor’s expected arrival. To request an invitation letter:
- Create a draft letter based on the invitation letter template and send to Belinda Pauley along with the export certification from OESRC.
- Upon receiving the export certification and draft invitation letter, ISS will process the invitation letter and have it signed by the Director of International Support Services.
- After the letter has been processed, ISS will email an electronic copy to the host faculty/department and if requested send the original in campus mail or make available for pick up at ISS. The host faculty/department is responsible for forwarding the invitation letter onto the visitor.
Payment to International Visitors (optional)
For more information regarding international visitors at Virginia Tech, please contact:
International Support Services
Phone: (540) 231-6459