Family members excited and taking photos of graduates during GW Commencement

Plan Your Visit


Families and guests of our graduates are invited to all of our Commencement events including University Commencement on the National Mall, school celebration ceremonies, receptions and award ceremonies, Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony and interfaith baccalaureate. We welcome visitors to our campus and want to make your visit as smooth as possible.



Visas and International Guests

Some families need visas to attend Commencement. If you are an international guest and do need it, your graduate must complete the Office of the Registrar’s Request for Certification Services form and indicate an “invitation letter” as the certification type. Take into account the processing time when planning for Commencement. Please complete this form by Friday, May 1, 2020.

IMPORTANT: President Trump's executive order "Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States" includes a ban on entry in to the U.S. of nationals from six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for 90 days subject to certain exceptions and case-by-case waivers where visas may be granted. The new executive order does not apply to individuals from the six countries who hold a valid visa to depart and re-enter the U.S. However, travel for current valid visa holders is still risky until it becomes clear how the order will be implemented. Dual nationals who present a passport of a non-designated country and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are excluded from the order. GW's International Services Office will update the university community periodically on the implementation of the order.


Getting to Foggy Bottom Campus

Foggy Bottom is conveniently located in the heart of Washington, D.C., close to three major airports, including Ronald Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles International and Baltimore Washington International, as well as to Union Station where you can take the bus or train. The Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop is located right on campus, with service to the the Orange, Blue and Silver Metro lines.


Hotels and Lodging in Washington, D.C.

There are two official GW hotels: Arc the Hotel, Washington, DC (formerly the George Washington University Inn) and One Washington Circle. They are located close to our Foggy Bottom campus.

There are many alternative options to stay in across the city and larger area, including some lodging options that are closer to campus. Be sure to ask any hotel if they offer a discount for GW’s Commencement.


Transportation to the National Mall

The day of the University Commencement ceremony, guests can arrive as early as 7:00 a.m. and must be seated before 9:30 a.m., when the academic processions begin. Figure out how long your trip to the National Mall will take ahead of time and be prepared for crowds and traffic that day.


graphical presentation of Metro car


We encourage you to take the Metro to University Commencement on the National Mall. You can use the yellow, green, orange, blue and silver lines. The most convenient exit stations are the Smithsonian Metro Station and Federal Triangle Metro Station. Use Metro’s trip planner and take travel time into consideration.

Metro service begins at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.

graphical presentation of bicycle

Alternative Transportation

You can walk to the National Mall and should plan accordingly for the time it takes to get there. There are also various Capital Bikeshare stations around the city, including near our campus and the mall.

graphical presentation of taxi

Driving & Taxis

Parking is extremely limited around the mall and we encourage you to use the Metro. Taxis are available throughout the city and should be able to get you to the National Mall. Pricing depends on distance and the number of people. They are usually available after the ceremony concludes.

graphical presentation of cars


We urge guests to take the Metro, walk or take taxis to get to University Commencement. If you do drive, parking is not guaranteed. For school celebration or other ceremonies on campus, GW parking garages are available.  All GW parking garages are wheelchair accessible. While you may be redirected to seek parking in public locations off campus, GW Transportation & Parking Services has more information. If your car is towed from campus, contact the GW Police Department.


Watch: Highlights from the 2019 Commencement Ceremony