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DIS Title Divider Visiting Scientists Title Divider Initial Check-in with DIS
Visiting Scientists
Check-In with DIS

All non-FTE Visiting Program participants must check in with the Division of International Services (DIS) before starting their NIH award or assignment. During the check-in, DIS verifies that scientists have the appropriate immigration documentation to conduct research at NIH.

Effective March 2020, the DIS check-in process is completely remote. However, scientists must still be present in the United States to check in with DIS.

Scientists who recently arrived in the U.S. should contact their NIH Institute/Center (IC) administrators report their arrival. The IC administrators will send DIS the remote check-in documentation and provide further guidance, including when it is permissible to report to NIH campus.

Remote Check-In Timelines

The scientist’s official NIH start date is listed on the invitation letter issued by DIS. On or before the start date, their administrator must submit the Remote Check-In & Contact Information forms to DIS, along with copies of the scientist’s immigration documents. Refer to “Required Documents” below.

DIS will only accept remote check-in submissions sent by NIH administrators via SharePoint or SEFT to DIS@mail.nih.gov

DIS accepts remote check-in submissions from Monday – Thursday. DIS will process submissions received by 11:30 a.m. on the start date by the end of that day. Submissions received after 11:30 a.m. will be processed the following day. Submissions received after 11:30 a.m. on Thursday will be processed the following Monday.

DIS accepts remote check-in submissions up to 30 days in advance of the start date. Scientists cannot start their awards/assignments before the date of check-in submission. For example, for a Visiting Fellow to start on 10/01/2020, DIS must receive the check-in submission sometime between 09/01/2020-10/01/2020, but no later than 11:30 a.m. on 10/01/2020.

Required Documents

See our sample check-in submission here.

The NIH administrator must combine the following documents into one PDF and send via SharePoint or SEFT to DIS@mail.nih.gov:


Check-in Processing

After check-in submission by the NIH administrator, DIS reviews the documentation, processes any necessary forms, and schedules the scientist to attend any applicable orientations or seminars. For J-1 Exchange Visitors, DIS validates their arrival with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.

DIS also validates the scientist’s work authorization in NED and, if applicable, approves their fellowship payment system (FPS) award.

Once the check-in processing is complete, DIS notifies the IC via email with an electronic Notice of Action (eNOA). If applicable, the eNOA will contain instructions for the scientist to obtain any updated documents (e.g., Form DS-2019).

The Division of Personnel Security and Access Control (DPSAC) office is ultimately responsible for issuing the NIH badge. After DIS validates the scientist’s work status in NED, scientists should contact DPSAC to complete the badge process. Many scientists must obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) before NIH badge issuance; refer to our SSN guidance as needed.

Changing a Check-In Date

If a scientist cannot enter the U.S. or start at NIH by the anticipated check-in date, email DIS@mail.nih.gov and provide a new anticipated start date. Notify DIS if the delayed arrival is due to visa administrative processing or travel restrictions.

Additional Resources


Rev. 10/2020

DIS Info 
Service Hours:
8:30am - 4:30pm
Check-In/EOD:
Monday – Thursday
By 11:30am EST
Zoom Advising:
Monday – Thursday
1:30pm – 3:30pm EST
Badge Validation:
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