The goal of the Division of International Services (DIS) is to work with the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Institutes/Centers (ICs) to provide immigration related-services for visiting foreign national scientists invited to conduct biomedical research at the NIH. Because there are many immigration rules and regulations, adequate time is needed to process immigration-related documents and applications necessary to bring the foreign scientist to the NIH. The time it takes to process requests depends on the type of visa used for the foreign national scientist.
The very first step to host or employ a foreign national scientist is for the IC to submit a request or case to the DIS. Any foreign scientist that is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident must be cleared by the DIS (exception: those brought on as NIH contractors). Cases are processed by the DIS in the order received. The DIS has prepared a
Processing Time Chart to assist the ICs in determining the average DIS processing times. DIS processing times begin
complete request is received in our office.
Please note that the DIS processing times chart does
not provide an overall lead-time. The times focus solely on the DIS's processing in our office. It does not take into account, for example, IC processing times; other NIH offices; other federal agencies; nor the time necessary for a foreign scientist to obtain a passport, a visa from a U.S. embassy/consulate, or make travel arrangements to the NIH. For further guidance on case submission, please review our
DIS processing times generally include entering the request in our database, reviewing the case documents, reviewing the scientist's U.S. immigration history, preparing the applicable immigration document(s), official invitation letter, and pre-arrival information, and shipping the applicable documents. To avoid delays in DIS processing, please allow the printed processing times to elapse before making a status inquiry.
To assist the ICs in submitting cases to the DIS, each IC has designated an individual to be the main liaison with our office for a particular IC lab/branch. This liaison is known as the
IC Key Contact (KC) . The KC is knowledgeable about the IC’s requests and internal approval process, and has access to the DIS online
case status and reports system . Inquiries should be routed through the KC for your lab/branch.