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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 is closed to visitors. However, DIS staff are working remotely 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 “Walk-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


DIS discourages international travel for all foreign national trainees and employees at this time.

If you depart the U.S., you may have difficulty returning as planned due to U.S. travel restrictions. New travel restrictions could also be implemented with little or no warning. If you need to obtain a new visa while abroad, you may experience delays in scheduling a visa appointment or visa processing.

The CDC-issued COVID testing requirement applies to all international travelers coming to the U.S. Air passengers departing from any foreign country to the U.S. must provide a negative COVID test from within three calendar days of departure or documentation of COVID recovery. This applies to passengers two years and older, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

If you must travel internationally:

    • NIH scientists subject to geographic U.S. travel restrictions may be eligible for an exception particularly if your research is related to the containment or mitigation of COVID-19.
    • If your embassy requires additional documentation for the exception request, email

  • If you are an NIH-sponsored J-1 or J-2 Exchange Visitor and need a travel signature on your Form DS-2019, you must make an appointment with DIS.

  • 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.

Consult our COVID FAQs for additional information and email with questions or concerns.

Revised 06​/2021

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