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International Visitors

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.

  1. The Virginia Tech hosting faculty and/or departments (NOT the international visitor) should visit OESRC's website to access the required questionnaire:  Complete the Non-Immigrant Export Compliance Questionnaire and submit, along with the visitor's CV to the Office of Export and Secure Research Compliance (OESRC).  The email address for OESRC is
  2. OESRC will conduct an export review and issue an export review summary document to the host faculty/department in relation to the visit. 
  3. Upon this approval from OESRC, the host faculty/department will be authorized to complete the invitaton letter.  A template invitation letter can be found here:  Invitation Letter Template.
  4. The host faculty/department should notify OESRC if any changes to the visit or proposed activities occur.  If host departments have any questions related to the invitation letter or whether the B-1 or J-1 is more appropriate, departments should contact Belinda Pauley,; 231-6459.  Colleges may require the request for letters of invitation to also be reveiwed and approved through the appropriate contact in the Dean's office.


Invitation Letters (optional). Invitation letters are now the responsibility of the Virginia Tech host department.  However, invitation letters should follow the wording on the invitaton letter template provided by ISS.  Not all individuals will need or request a letter.  However, if a letter is to be issued to the international visitor, it will be issued by the hosting department.

Invitation letters are not required, rather they are issued 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 issue the letter following the OESRC review.

Payment to International Visitors (optional)   

Processing payment of honorarium and/or reimbursement of expenses to international visitors is between the host department and the payroll department. If the host department wants to process any type of payment for an international visitor, please contact Kimberly Myers ( BEFORE the international visitor's arrival to obtain information about the procedures, forms, and documentation required to process such payments.