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Division of International Services
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Administrative Staff
Funding

​​​​​​​All foreign nationals are required to show sufficient financial support to cover their expenses while in the United States. All foreign nationals who participate in the NIH Visiting Program must demonstrate proof of funding for the entire duration of their stay at NIH, whether the funding is through NIH or another source. There are many different ways scientists at NIH can be funded; for foreign national scientists, appropriate funding levels and source of funds vary by immigration status and designation.

Verify and Include Evidence of all Funding

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DIS verifies funding amounts and sources to ensure that Visiting Program participants meet NIH policy and immigration requirements. To avoid case processing delays, Institute/Center (IC) administrative staff should review all funding sources for accuracy and ensure minimum funding levels are met for the entire duration of the scientist's anticipated stay at NIH before submitting a case to DIS. Requirements differ based on the whether the funding is provided by the NIH or another entity:

NIH Funding

Fellows must meet stipend pay band requirements and most employees must meet Title 42 pay band requirements. For certain NIH designations, cases submitted to DIS require the funding to be noted on multiple documents. Verify that the funding amount is consistent on all documents. When hiring or extending a Clinical Fellow, make sure to include on-call pay, if applicable. 

Immediately notify DIS of any changes in the amount or source of a scientist's financial support.  If the change occurs after his or her arrival to NIH and is significant in terms of amount or source of funding, DIS may request the IC to submit a case.

Non-NIH Funding

If the foreign national receives non-NIH funding, include evidence of funding from the outside source. Examples of evidence of non-NIH funding are: personal bank statement, financial letter of support on letterhead from an outside organization, and scholarship or grant award documentation. If there are multiple sources of non-NIH funding, list each source on the appropriate form (Form 829-1 or 590) and provide evidence of funding for each source.

Special note on funding ranges: if an individual presents a funding letter that indicates a range of funding (e.g. $1300-$1700), the lower amount is used to determine whether the scientist meets any applicable funding requirement.

If the foreign national receives a grant or other type of outside funding after they arrive at NIH, notify DIS.

NIH J-1 Sponsorship Funding Requirement

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Funding for J-1 Exchange Visitors sponsored by NIH must always meet minimum pre-doctoral stipend levels as indicated in Appendix 2 of the IRTA Program Automated Fellowship Payment System Manual Chapter, regardless of NIH designation or degree level. Minimum stipend levels are adjusted annually.

Restriction on Personal Funds and Pre-Doctoral Students

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Scientists in unpaid designations may sometimes use personal funds to meet the required funding minimums. However, if a pre-doctoral scientist's program at the NIH is equal to six months or more, personal funds cannot be used as evidence of financial support. Stipend parity dictated by Appendix 2 of the IRTA Program Automated Fellowship Payment System Manual Chapter must be met, regardless of immigration status or designation. For example, a pre-doctoral Special Volunteer initially approved for a five month stay at NIH who plans to extend his or her current visit beyond six months must provide evidence of funding that meets stipend parity. For more information, refer to DIS guidance on Pre-Doctoral Students.

Paid Scientists Cannot Transfer to Self-Funded Unpaid
Positions

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In general, scientists who are fully funded by NIH are not eligible to transfer to an unpaid NIH designation using personal funds. For example, it would be inappropriate for a Post-Doctoral Visiting Fellow to convert to a Special Volunteer using personal funds. Any changes in NIH designation for a foreign national scientist must be approved by DIS in advance.

Fellowship Payment System (FPS) Awards

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FPS awards for Visiting Fellows are approved by DIS once scientists attend the DIS check-in session. Before the scientist arrives at NIH, IC administrative staff can create an award in FPS and leave in "submitted" status until they are more confident of the foreign national's start date and/or funding amount. Once the start date and funding are confirmed, change the status from "submitted" to "approved" in NBS/FPS. Waiting to approve the award until the start date is finalized eliminates the need for DIS to reject multiple FPS awards for the same individual.

For more information on scientists' delayed arrivals, refer to DIS guidance on
Selecting the NIH Start Date
.



DIS Info 
Office Hours:
8:30am - 5:00pm
Check-In Hours:
9:00am Mondays
Walk-in Hours:
1:30pm - 3:30pm Mon-Thurs
Badge Clearance:
1:00pm - 3:00pm Mon-Fri
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