Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Division of International Services
pattern bar above navigation
pattern bar above navigation
DIS Title Divider Administrative Staff Title Divider NIH ID Badges
Administrative Staff
Badge Clearance for Foreign Nationals

Badges at the NIH

All federal employees, contractors, and organization affiliates must complete the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) process and be issued a HHS ID Badge or Restricted Local Area (RLA) badge. The Division of Personnel Security and Access Control (DPSAC) handles all badges for the NIH and is the best resource for obtaining more information on the badging process.

RLA Badge vs HHS ID Badge (PIV Card)

As per DPSAC, short-term staff, summer students, and foreign nationals who have been in the United States for fewer than three years can only be sponsored for the RLA badge. The HHS ID Badge can be issued to all other individuals at the NIH, including foreign nationals who have been in the U.S. for three or more years. More information can be found on the DPSAC website.


DIS Badge Process:

DIS is responsible for verifying that all foreign nationals (not including U.S. Citizens or U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents) placed at NIH have been lawfully admitted to the United States and are undertaking activities at NIH that are appropriate for their immigration status. After the Administrative Officer (AO) sponsors a foreign national for a badge in the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED), DIS must validate the foreign national’s work status before the badge process can continue. DIS validates work status by entering the Alien Authorized Work Until Date (AAWUD) which is determined based on the foreign national’s immigration status, work authorization, and NIH requested NTE date.

An overview of the process can be found in our poster gallery.

Obtaining a Badge for the First Time

Foreign Nationals Newly Sponsored by NIH (Visiting Program)


Non-Employee (Non-FTE) Designations:

Including Visiting Fellows (Pre and Post-Doctoral), Rotators, Collaborators, Special Volunteers, & Guest Researchers

NED validation occurs as a part of the foreign national’s DIS check-in process. Non-FTE Check-in Sessions are held every Monday morning (except in cases of U.S. Government closure) and NED validation is completed by the end of the day of check-in with DIS.

Employee (FTE) Designations:

Including Research Fellows, Clinical Fellows, Staff Scientists, Staff Clinicians, & Investigators

NED validation occurs as a part of the foreign national’s Enter-on-Duty (EOD) appointment with the DIS Immigration Specialist who processed their case.

Other Foreign Nationals at NIH Requiring a Badge


B-1/WB Visitors:

Invited by an NIH Institute/Center (IC) B-1 Delegate for visits of 90 days or less
If the IC has a B-1 Delegate issuing invitation letters for B-1/WB Visitors, that Delegate is responsible for sending DIS a “Notification of Arrival” package when a Visitor arrives at NIH. The Delegate must notify DIS of a HHS PIV/RLA badge request via the “Notification of Arrival” form. The B-1/WB Visitor does not need to attend DIS EOD/Check-in, and they do not need to visit DIS for badge clearance.

DIS requires a case from the IC if a foreign national is coming for more than 90 days or if the IC does not have a B-1 Delegate. The non-FTE badge procedures above would apply.

Contract Workers:

Sponsored by Another Employer and Placed at NIH
DIS is a part of the badging process for all foreign national contractor workers (CW) placed at NIH. A foreign national CW’s immigration status is sponsored by another employer and/or they are paid by that employer. Common examples of contract employers include Kelly Scientific Services, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Global Solutions Network, etc.

CWs must provide the required immigration and work authorization documents to DIS for review so that DIS can validate their work status in NED. Contractor Badge Clearance hours are held at the DIS office from 1:30pm to 3:30pm, Monday-Thursday (except in cases of U.S. Government closure). If the CW is not placed at the main NIH campus in Bethesda, the AO can fax the required documents to DIS at 301-496-0847, ATTN: BADGE CLEARANCE. See our Contractor Badge Clearance page for more information.

Tenants, Volunteers, and Others:

DIS assists in the badge clearance process for non-Visiting Program Foreign Nationals, such as those in Tenant and Volunteer designations. Please present the documents required for clearance to DIS.

U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents:

Also known as “Green Card” holders
DIS does not need to validate the work status of U.S. lawful permanent residents in NED. The AO is responsible for making sure that the individual’s NED record correctly reflects U.S. lawful permanent resident status.

Badge Re-Sponsorship & Renewal

There are many reasons why a foreign national’s badge can become disabled. Some of the more common examples include:


1. The individual has an expired Alien Authorized Work Until
Date (AAWUD)


To resolve:
As a reminder, DIS enters the AAWUD into NED for Foreign Nationals who require a badge to physically access NIH facilities. DIS determines the AAWUD based on a review of immigration documentation and work authorization (in addition to considering the requested end date from the I/C for those in the Visiting Program). In order to renew/extend the AAWUD date, the IC will send DIS a renewal or continuation case request. For Foreign Nationals in the Visiting Program, the status of a case can be checked in the DIS Case Status System.

Those Foreign Nationals outside of the Visiting Program (ex: Contractors) must present DIS with updated evidence of immigration status and work authorization based on the required documents list.

2. The individual was initially granted an RLA badge, but has now lived in the US for three or more years and requires a HHS ID Badge (PIV Card) (Please see DPSAC’s most current policy update for more information on NIH Badge Policy and a link to the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED) Customer Guide).


To resolve:
According to DPSAC, once the RLA to PIV badge process is initiated, the Foreign National will receive an automated email from DPSAC which outlines the steps required to obtain the new PIV badge. Follow the instructions in the email.

3. The badge itself has expired (RLA badges expire after three years, PIV
badges expire after five)


To resolve:
If the badge itself has expired, please contact DPSAC for more information on the badge renewal process.

If the badge has deactivated, but is not expired, it is likely that the AAWUD was reached in NED which triggered the badge to deactivate (per issue number 1 above). If you are sponsored by the NIH, please work with your Administrative Officer to determine next steps. If you are a Contractor you will need to send DIS your relevant updated immigration documentation.

DIS Info 
Service Hours:
8:30am - 4:30pm
Check-In Hours:
Walk-in Hours:
Available via Zoom
Monday – Thursday
1:30pm – 3:30pm
Badge Validation:
Submit via SEFT