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Pre-Arrival Information

Arrival emergency

In case of an emergency related to your arrival, call the LCI at 540-231-9814 (from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday) or call the emergency number after hours (for true emergencies only) at 540-557-7821.

Location and operating hours

The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute (LCI) is at 220 Gilbert St., Suite 5300 in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on university holidays.

The LCI offices are closed the last week of the year and are open limited hours the first week of the year.


Most students will attend programs at the institute on a student visa, also called an F-1 Visa. A Form I-20, issued by the school, is required for this visa.  When you apply for a program on our website, you will be asked if you require a Form I-20.  You will reply “Yes” to this question.  When you apply, you will need to submit all of the documents requested, including proof of financial support for your stay. 

When you receive your I-20, you will immediately apply for a student visa at your nearest U.S. Consulate. The steps for applying for the visa are as follows:

  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Make sure to keep your I-901 receipt with your documents.
  • Make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • Make sure to bring all required and request documents to the appointment.

Participants in some special programs at the LCI will be issued DS-2019s, which are used to obtain an Exchange Visitor Visa. The steps to apply for this visa are the same as those for the F-1 Visa. 

More information on student visas is available on the website.

The decision on whether or not to grant a student or exchange visitor visa is entirely up to U.S. Consular Officers. Virginia Tech is not responsible for any delays in processing visas or decisions on the part of the U.S. government to refuse visa applications. 

Arrival date

Plan to arrive in Blacksburg the week before classes begin — but no more than 30 days before the beginning of your program. You can use this time to become familiar with campus, open a bank account, find housing, and recover from traveling before classes begin.

Mandatory check-in

Students are expected to arrive at the LCI the week before classes begin for check-in, registration, and orientation.

When you come to the LCI for the first time, bring the following:

  • Passport
  • Printout of I-94 record
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Student Health Form
  • Any insurance information that you have from your home country.

Transfer students

F-1 students transferring from other U.S. institutions must bring their old I-20 to the LCI office. A new I-20 cannot be issued without recent financial documentation and a transfer form showing maintained status at your original school.

Entering the U.S.

When you enter the U.S., you will present your passport, containing a valid F-1 visa and Form I-20 or valid J-1 visa and DS-2019 to an immigration officer. It is also advised to keep your I-901 receipt with your documents. 

U.S. Customs

Everyone who enters the United States must go through U.S. Customs. The U.S. Customs Service regulates certain items from being brought into the U.S. Please check U.S. Customs and Border Protection for prohibited items before you travel. 

Airport arrival

Blacksburg is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Roanoke, Virginia. There are several daily flights into the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) from international airports in New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, and Chicago. Domestic flights from other major U.S. cities are also available.

Ground transportation from the airport to Blacksburg can be arranged as follows:

  • By Taxi: Reserve a taxi for your arrival by emailing, calling 1-800-288-1958, or faxing 1-540-362-8006 by 7 p.m. the day before arrival. Upon arrival, go to the Roanoke Airport Transportation Desk to locate your driver. The cost is about $66.
  • By Bus: The Roanoke Airport is also served by the Smart Way Bus. This bus leaves the airport every hour and a half from 6:35 a.m. to 7:05 p.m. daily and to 8:35 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The ride costs $4, exact cash only.

Arrival housing

All students should make arrangements for their housing before they arrive in Blacksburg.

Hotels are available near Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and Christiansburg. Advance reservations are required.

Hotels within walking distance of the LCI include:

Financial matters

Arrive in Blacksburg with sufficient funds for the semester, or four to five months. You will pay your tuition and housing separately. Acceptable forms of payment are cash, checks drawn on a U.S. bank account, and credit or debit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express). Students using credit or debit cards should inform their bank of their trip and new location before traveling to the United States.

A housing payment is generally due immediately upon occupancy and paid monthly thereafter. Plan for initial housing expenses such as the first month’s rent, utility deposits (water, internet, electricity, gas) and household items such as furniture, kitchen and bathroom items, etc.

Tuition and fees

Students are required to pay their tuition and fees prior to the beginning of classes each semester. Fees provide access to Virginia Tech technology systems, Virginia Tech libraries, Blacksburg Transit, student recreation, and use of the student health centers to include Schiffert Health Center and Cook Counseling Center.

Course books are purchased separately.

Details on paying for tuition and fees can be found in the Fees and Billing section of the Student Handbook.

Health matters

Students are required to have a health and accident policy providing protection for themselves and their dependents in the event of major illness or injury. Details on this requirement may be found in the Health Care and Medical Insurance section of the Student Handbook.

All new students entering Virginia Tech are required to provide a Virginia Tech Student Health History Form (translated into English) that is completed by a licensed health professional. The form includes your vaccination records. Required vaccinations include immunizations against measles, mumps, rubella, poliomyelitis, tetanus, diphtheria, and Hepatitis B. 

All new students are required to have a Tuberculosis (TB) screening, the result of which is also reported on the Student Health History Form. If the results of the TB screening deem it required, students must complete a Tuberculin skin test (TST) or have one Interferon Gamma Release Assay Test (IGRA). Note: Prior BCG vaccination is not a reason to be automatically exempted from the tuberculin-testing requirement. Students unsure of their status should consult with a member of the Schiffert Health Center staff for further information.

Students who do not return the Virginia Tech Student Health History Form to the LCI will be denied enrollment until the completed form is returned.

Weather and clothing

The Blacksburg climate is quite pleasant and permits outdoor activities throughout most of the year. Summers are warm with temperatures averaging 80º F (21º C) and sometimes exceeding 90º F (32º C). Winters average 34º F (1º C) in the daytime, with the temperature going as low as -10º F (-23º C) at night.

Rainfall is moderate throughout the year. Snowfall occurs occasionally during the winter months.

A heavy winter coat or waterproof parka, an umbrella or raincoat, and a pair of comfortable waterproof walking shoes are necessities for the winter months. We also recommend students bring a warm scarf, hat, sweater or sweatshirt, and gloves. Such items may also be purchased in local stores.


In the Blacksburg area, students can easily move around town by bus with Blacksburg Transit, by bike or by foot. For convenience and out-of-town travel, many students also choose to buy or rent a car. A valid driver’s license is needed to drive a car. It is your responsibility to know the rules for operating a motor vehicle in the U.S. 

Details on Blacksburg-area transportation and driving in Virginia may be found in the Transportation section of the Student Handbook.

Special needs

If you are a person with a disability who may need accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the student services office at Some accommodations may take time to arrange.