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Division of International Services


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DIS Title Divider About Us Title Divider DIS Services
​​​​​​​​​​​​About Us
DIS Services

In support of the DIS mission, our staff provides U.S. immigration-related services to the NIH community. DIS provides guidance regarding foreign national scientists’ initial entry into the United States, international travel and re-entry into the country, transfers and extensions of stay, changes of immigration status, and more. Some of our most common services are below.

Case Processing


DIS processes requests from Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) to initiate or extend a scientist’s time in the NIH Visiting Program. These requests are known as cases or packages. Administrators should refer to our Case Preparation guidance before submitting cases to DIS.

Refer to our How to Submit Cases and Documents page. You will receive an email confirmation of receipt from DIS after your submission.

To check the status of your case, visit DIS Customer Portal​.



All new NIH Visiting Program participants must check in with DIS (“Enter-on-Duty” or “EOD”) no later than their first day of work at NIH to activate their award, appointment, or assignment. The DIS check-in process is fully remote at this time:

  • Employees [Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) positions e.g., Research Fellow] Onboarding is processed on a case-by-case basis by the assigned DIS Immigration Specialist in consultation with the Institute/Center.

  • Trainees/Assignees [Non-FTE e.g., Visiting Fellow, Special Volunteer) Refer to our Check-In with DIS page.



DIS provides guidance regarding immigration-related issues to NIH Visiting Program participants, administrators, and laboratory sponsors. Contractors at NIH must contact their contracting company for immigration-related guidance.

DIS advising is remote until further notice. We offer two advising options:

  • “Drop-In” Hours

    A DIS Immigration Specialist is available during our Zoom “Drop-In” advising hours on Monday-Thursday, 1:30 - 3:30 pm EST.

    This service is first-come, first-served. When you join, you will enter the Zoom waiting room. The Immigration Specialist will meet with you once s/he finishes advising other scientists.

  • Appointments

    For case-specific questions or questions that may take more than 15 minutes to address, NIH scientists and staff should schedule a Microsoft Teams or phone appointment with a DIS Immigration Specialist.

NIH Badge Validation


DIS must verify that all foreign nationals are conducting activities at NIH that are appropriate for their immigration status. Accordingly, DIS validation is often required in the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED) before an individual’s NIH identification badge can be issued. DIS does not validate badges for U.S. citizens or U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders).

DIS validation processes are different for Visiting Program participants and NIH Contractors. Consult our NIH Badges page for additional information. Contractors should consult our Contractor Badges guidance.

Travel Signatures


Scientists sponsored by NIH in J-1 or J-2 status who plan to travel internationally must have a valid travel signature from DIS on their Form DS-2019 to re-enter the United States. Scientists should review our Travel Guidance. If you need a travel signature from DIS on your Form DS-2019, refer to the Document Pickup & Travel Signatures page of our website.



DIS shares important immigration updates, procedural changes, and event invitations via our listservs for NIH administrative staff, laboratory sponsors, and foreign national scientists. If you are a member of one of these communities, contact us to subscribe to the relevant listserv.

Trainings and Events


DIS offers a variety of trainings for administrative staff. We also host orientations and training sessions for scientists on immigration-related topics. Refer to the DIS Calendar for upcoming events.


Revised 06/2023​


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​DIS Info 
Service Hours:
9:00am - 4:00pm ET
Non-FTE Check-In/EOD:
Monday By 11:30am
(in local time zone of lab)
Advising Services:
Document Pickup:​​​​​​​​​​
J-1/J-2 Travel Signature Requests:​​​​​​​​​​​
Badge Validation:​​​​​​​​​​
​​​ Toolbox