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DIS Title Divider About Us Title Divider COVID-19 Information
​​​​​​About Us
DIS COVID-19 Information

Due to COVID-19, the physical DIS office remains mostly closed to unscheduled visitors. However, DIS staff continue to serve you. We are committed to providing resources and guidance to the NIH community during this challenging time.

Please refer to this webpage for important information regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the NIH Visiting Program. These resources will be updated as new developments arise.

Take care,

Candelario Zapata, Director, DIS

DIS Services


Document Pick-Up & Travel Signatures

Scientists who need to come to the DIS office to pick up updated documents or obtain a J-1 travel signature must have an approved appointment from the DIS Calendar. Same-day appointments will not be accepted. Click here for instructions to schedule your appointment.

You must have a scheduled appointment before you come to the DIS office.


Zoom “Drop-In” hours are available Monday-Thursday from 1:30 - 3:30 pm EST. In-person advising with DIS is suspended until further notice. For case-specific questions or questions that may take more than 15 minutes to address, NIH scientists and staff may email to request a phone or video advising appointment via Skype or Microsoft Teams.

Onboarding of New Trainees & Employees

DIS is still onboarding certain trainees and employees:

  • New trainee: In-person non-FTE check-in sessions are suspended until further notice. Administrators should follow the instructions outlined in our DIS newsletters (see below) and submit the Remote Check-In Form to DIS. Remote onboarding is not possible for new trainees who are currently overseas.
  • New employee/FTE: Onboarding will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the assigned Immigration Specialist in consultation with the Institute/Center.

Case Processing

DIS is still processing cases (extensions, transfers, etc.):

Badge Validation

DIS is still validating badge requests in NED. If a foreign national scientist requires DIS badge validation in NED, consult our NIH ID Badges  document requirements. Submit any required documentation via SEFT for DIS review.

DIS Newsletters


DIS sends alerts and newsletters via our NIH scientist, administrator, and sponsor listservs. Recent DIS alerts and newsletter topics related to COVID-19 are listed below.

A compilation of our alerts since mid-February can be accessed here (NIH only):

Governmental Updates


Refer to these webpages for COVID-19 updates from various U.S. federal agencies and departments impacting NIH visiting scientists:

Travel Guidance


International travel by foreign national employees and trainees should be considered carefully. U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide may still face backlogs and limited visa services. Services will vary by post. Prepare for delays in the visa appointment and issuance process. Be aware that changes to U.S. entry requirements and increases in consular processing times could be implemented with little or no warning.

Before any international travel:

  • Review DIS Travel guidance for your immigration status.
  • Review the CDC Travel Guidance.
  • If you need a new visa, contact the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to confirm its visa processes and any special requirements.
  • If you plan to conduct research abroad OR leave NIH for more than five weeks, you must submit a Request for Extended Absence to DIS before you travel.
  • Discuss the travel with your lab sponsor before departure. Establish a plan for continued work in the event of delays.
  • Review NIH Guidance, which includes information on Return to Work and vaccine requirements for NIH staff.
  • Contact DIS if you experience unplanned delays of longer than five weeks.

Email with questions or concerns.

Revised 05/2023

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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:​​​​​​​​​​