​For Applicants & Employees - Know Before You Go​

Information for Fellows and Summer Interns

If you are a fellow, intern or student coming to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), welcome! The NIH is the Federal focal point for biomedical research in the United States. The main campus in Bethesda, Maryland is surrounded by a perimeter fence designed to keep the campus safe and secure. 

Individuals wishing to enter must either present an NIH ID badge or be checked in each day as Visitors. Therefore, you must go through the DPSAC Process in order to receive a badge in a timely manner before you can begin your fellowship or internship at the NIH. 

Any fellowship or internship offer is contingent on your ability to successfully pass a federal background check, which is required for logical and physical access to NIH facilities and systems. ​​To find specific information for your type of fellowship or internship, please look to the left. ​There are mainly two types of fellowships/internships:

1. Clinical or Graduate Medical Education (GME) Fellowships: If you are a clinical fellow looking to train at the NIH Clinical Center or at Walter Reed, please be sure to understand how you can receive your badge and access in a timely manner. For further information on your type of fellowship, please visit the NIH Clinical Center website.

2. Intramural Research Training (IRTAs) Fellowships: IRTAs are held under the Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE), allowing summer interns, postbacs, graduate students, and postdocs to apply to the NIH. Please visit the tabs on the left to better understand how you can receive a badge appropriate to your situation. 

Factors to Consider into the Badging Timeline:

1. Consider any additional processing time for Foreign Nationals.

  • Institutes, Centers and Offices (ICOs) should submit a New FTE Case Request to DIS as early as possible. Administrative Officers (AOs) will receive communication on when the deadline is.
  • Division of International Services (DIS) validation and receipt of a social security number (SSN) are required for DSPAC processing. The person must be in the country for a minimum of 10 days before visiting the Social Security Administration (SSA) to request a SSN. Once the person has the SSN, they must immediately provide it to their AO for entry into NED, so DPSAC can initiate eApp. (Please note: The SSA has been experiencing delays due to COVID-19.)
  • Please note: Foreign Nationals who have been in the US for less than three years undergo a limited investigation called a National Agency Check (NAC). Once the person has resided in the US for three years, they are eligible for a full-scope background investigation, which is required to maintain their NIH badge. This second investigation will be initiated by the NED System which will prompt the AO to generate this transaction.

2. Consider any additional processing time that is required for coordination of rotational duties. 

  • ​This includes Walter Reed Rotations, which require a Tier 3 investigation before obtaining access to their facility. For more information, please look here.

Please note: DPSAC Prescreening process will not start until the AO completes registration and badge sponsorship in NED. Prescreening must be completed in order for the fellow to be authorized for EOD. Please look at the DPSAC Process Overview on our website for more information.

DPSAC will be reaching out to the fellow or intern when it is time for them to come in to complete their Badge Enrollment, so they can get their ID badge.​