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Passports and Visas for NIH Employees Only

Please note: Fogarty International Center (FIC) processes applications only for official and diplomatic passports and visas for NIH employees. FIC neither processes applications for personal or tourist passports, nor obtains passports or visas for travelers from other government agencies. If you are with another agency, please check with your travel department.

Foreign Scientists coming to NIH should contact Division of International Services/Office of Research Services for U.S. visa information.


HHS policy on the use of official passports:

HHS employees on official international travel are required to use their official (or diplomatic) U.S. Government passports unless the Department of State advises otherwise. Individuals who are not eligible for official passports (Fellows, such as IRTAs or CRTAs, and employees who are not U.S. citizens) are permitted to travel with their personal passport on official business.

A memo from HHS on March 19, 2003, requires all government travelers to have an official passport. For further information, please review the memo from August 21, 2003 on "Clarified Guidance on Use of Official Passports" [PDF 66K]. Official passports are for official use only and may not be used for personal travel.

How to apply for an official passport

To apply for an official passport, a traveler must meet these two requirements:

  1. U.S. Citizen
  2. Federal Government Employee
    Important: You must submit an Information Sheet along with any form you provide FIC.

Requests for official passports should be submitted four weeks before your departure date. If your request is not received in time to obtain the passport, you will need to obtain the official passport directly from the Special Issuance Agency of the Department of State. You will still need to obtain an authorization letter from the FIC passport agent. To obtain the authorization letter, please complete the Information Sheet and bring it to Building 31, Room B2C08.

Please note on the Information Sheet the tentative or definite destination. To apply for an official passport, there must be a trip planned. All completed documents must be forwarded to FIC. Processing takes from 2 to 4 weeks.

Application DS 82 for Official Passport when submitting a Personal Passport

You can use the DS 82 form to apply by submitting your personal passport; it will be returned to FIC with the new official passport. NOTE:  Please use the Instruction Sheet given here, NOT the instructions on the State Department website! Only print pages 5 and 6 of the actual application:

Application DS 11 for Official Passport when failing to submit Personal Passport

If you do not hold a U.S. personal passport or do not wish to submit it for processing, the DS11 form must be completed. The form should not be signed until you meet with a passport agent at FIC. Along with the DS11 form, you must submit your birth certificate or naturalization certificate; it will be returned to FIC with the new official passport. NOTE:  Please use the Instruction Sheet given here, NOT the instructions on the State Department website! Only print page 5 and 6 of the actual application:

Application DS 4085 to add visa pages to an official passport

This form should be used to add visa pages. Submit application DS 4085 with the information sheet. NOTE:  Please use the instructions given on this site, NOT the instructions on the State Department website! Only print page 4 of the actual application:

Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passport: DS-64

This form should be submitted with the DS-11 application and its requirements if the official passport is lost or stolen. NOTE:  Please use the instructions given on this site, NOT the instructions on the State Department website! Only print page 1 of the actual application:

Additional Information

For assistance in obtaining a certified copy of a birth certificate, use the VitalChek Network, Inc. website.

You can get passport photos in Building 10, Room B2L323. The telephone number is 301-496-3221. The schedule is Tuesday from 9 am - 11 am and Thursday from 3 pm - 4 pm. No appointment is necessary. IC CAN numbers should be taken with you; see your Administrative Officer.

Please contact the Occupational Medical Service (OMS) 30 days in advance about Yellow Fever Cards or shots at 301-496-4411. They are located in Building 10, 6th Floor. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 7:30 pm.

To pick up a passport, you must present an approved travel order.


The requirements for obtaining visas are specific for each country and subject to frequent changes. Therefore, it is recommended that travelers contact the Visa/Passport Office four weeks in advance of each trip to request application forms and other instructions.

A visa is an endorsement or stamp placed by an official of a foreign country into the official U.S. passport that allows the bearer to enter that foreign country. Application for a visa should be submitted at least 3 weeks before departure date, especially around the holiday season. Please remember that Foreign Embassies tend to close for U.S. Holidays, and their own National Holidays. Foreign Embassies tend to close for up to 2 weeks.

You are responsible for applying for the visa of the country in which you are planning to conduct NIH business.

Currently, visa fees are required to be paid for Russia, China, and Belarus on the official passport. Other countries could be added to this list when notified by the Embassy. There will always be visa fees that must be paid by those who are not eligible for an official passport and must use their own personal passport (that is, contractors, IRTAS, CERTAS, and Visiting Fellows). Please view the second page of the information sheet for payment options (IC CAN numbers are not acceptable). A receipt will be provided in order to be reimbursed on your travel voucher. As soon as you receive your visa, check to ensure no mistakes were made.

For questions about passports and visas, contact Sandra Fuentes in the FIC Visa/Passport Office:

Visa/Passport Office

Fogarty International Center
Building 31, Room B2C05, MSC 2220
Tel: 301 496-3441
Fax: 301 402-1135

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Fogarty International Center
National Institutes of Health
31 Center Drive - MSC 2220
Bethesda, MD 20892-2220 USA
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