BK virus (BKV) is a common human polyomavirus infecting >80% of the population worldwide. Infection with BKV is asymptomatic, but reactivation in renal transplant recipients can lead to polyomavirus-associated nephropathy. In this report, we show that enzymatic removal of alpha(2,3)-linked sialic acid from cells inhibited BKV infection. Reconstitution of asialo cells with alpha(2,3)-specific sialyltransferase restored susceptibility to infection. Inhibition of N-linked glycosylation with tunicamycin reduced infection, but inhibition of O-linked glycosylation did not. An O-linked-specific alpha(2,3)-sialyltransferase was unable to restore infection in asialo cells. Taken together, these data indicate that an N-linked glycoprotein containing alpha(2,3)-linked sialic acid is a critical component of the cellular receptor for BKV.