Hosting Visitors

When preparing for an international guest to come to campus, you’ll need to plan ahead for the logistics.


The Elston Inn is a wonderful option for guests to stay during their time in the USA. Rooms are spacious and clean, breakfast is provided daily free of charge and front desk staff are available 24/7 for any questions or concerns your guest may have.

Several bed and breakfasts in Amherst are committed to providing a welcoming stay to international guests such as Point Lookout on the James and this Country Home with Mountain Views.

Family members and friends may stay in your residence hall room, only if your roommate is comfortable with this arrangement. Remember, even if your roommate is comfortable with your guest staying in your room, you must still abide by the guest policy, so family may not stay more than two consecutive nights in your room. Children are not permitted to stay within the residence halls.

Transportation from the Airport to Campus

There are several ways to get from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to campus. The most direct option is to take the Virginia Breeze which picks up at IAD and drops off in Amherst.

Alternatively, IAD is now connected via Metro to Union Station where guests can take Amtrak from Washington DC to Lynchburg.

Local transportation is available through Tabb’s Cab.


For visits less than three months, your guest may not need to apply for a B visa. Citizens of certain countries are eligible to enter the USA as tourists. The eligibility criteria to enter the USA as a tourist is the same as a B visitor. To apply, your guest should complete an ESTA application at least 72 hours in advance of travel.

In order for your guest to visit the USA for a longer period of time, they may need to apply for a B1/B2 visa.

To apply for a ESTA or B visa, you will need to gather and share the following documents with your guest:

Invitation Letter

Write a letter in English explaining the purpose of the visit by including:

  • What your visitors will do while visiting (i.e. attend graduation, sight see in your area, etc)
  • Who will provide financial support for your visitor (B visitors may not work while in the USA)
Evidence of Your Visa Status

This can be a photocopy or scan of your I-20 and your F-1 visa stamp.

Evidence of Financial Support
If you will be financially supporting your visitor, provide proof of funds you hold in a bank account and/or your paystubs.

To apply for a B visa, your guest should take the following steps:

  1. Complete the DS-160 Form and pay the application fee. Applying early is important!
  2. Schedule a visa interview appointment at a local U.S. embassy or consulate.
  3. Read more on the embassy or consulate’s website about required documentation for the interview.
  4. Gather the following documents for the interview:
    1. Valid Passport (with at least six months validity from the intended date of return to their home country).
    2. Documents from you - invitation letter, evidence of visa status and evidence of financial means.
    3. “Proof of Ties” to their home country such as bank statements or a letter from their employer stating they will return to their job after visiting.
  5. Attend the visa interview.