FAQs for Visitors

  • expand-collapse question categoryGeneral
    • QuestionDoes the NIH conduct random screenings and inspections on the main campus?
      • ​1. What are random screenings?

        The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Police will perform screenings of all common areas and all unattended vehicles in parking areas on the Bethesda campus. The areas will be selected at random.

        2. Why are random screenings conducted?

        It is a federal requirement by the Director of the Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, recent active shooter incidents around the country and in the Washington DC metro area by trusted insiders necessitate further security measures on campus.

        3. What makes the random screenings, "random"?

        All common and vehicle parking areas are assigned a number. The NIH Police will use a random number generator to select numbers from this range of numbers to determine the areas to be inspected.

        4. What are the inspectors looking for?

        The inspections will be conducted to detect for prohibited items on campus. These inspections may be carried out by the NIH Police K-9 teams. For a detailed list of prohibited items, please visit: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/nppd-fps-prohibited-items-program-directive-15.9.3.1-rev-1_0.pdf

        5. Will random screenings affect my commute?

        No. Random inspections will be conducted on unattended parked vehicles and in common areas. Employees and valid access badge holders will not be stopped at employee gates for random screenings.

        6. Under what authority will random screenings be performed?

        The NIH police will perform random inspections under the authority of the Director, NIH.

        7. Will the inspectors enter my vehicle?

        Under most circumstances, no. Officers will look into the vehicle(s) to ascertain if prohibited items are in plain sight. Specially trained K-9 units will be used to determine if there are scents indicating the presence of prohibited items. Electronic devices will also be utilized to determine if those substances are present. Redundant tests will be conducted to determine the accuracy of positive indicators. The experience of the officers and their canines, weather conditions and cargo will also be taken into consideration before making a determination if a vehicle needs to be accessed.

        8. What happens if my vehicle tests positive for prohibited items?

        Under rare circumstances, "false positives" occur. For example, when yard fertilizer spills in a vehicle. If a vehicle tests positive, the NIH Police shall conduct further screening tests to determine if the initial results were valid and a vehicle needs to be accessed.

        9. Is this policy permanent?

        This policy remains in effect until rescinded by the Director, NIH.

        10. Who is the owner of this process?

        The NIH Chief of Police. 

    • QuestionAre all tobacco products prohibited on the NIH Bethesda Campus?
      • Yes. The use of all tobacco products is prohibited on the NIH Bethesda Campus. This includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco (“snuff”), and any other tobacco products. The use of these products in private vehicles located on the NIH Bethesda Campus is also prohibited. For more information, please visit tobaccofree.nih.gov.


    • QuestionWhy does the NIH have enhanced security including a perimeter fence?
      • In response to the federal mandates and regulations in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing and the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the NIH was required by the HHS Office of the Inspector General to enhance physical security protection for the Bethesda campus.
        In response, the perimeter security at the NIH, to include the fence, gates, central commercial vehicle inspection facility, and Gateway Visitor center were approved as part of the NIH Security Program by the NIH Director in early 2003.

        One of the challenges was to provide a secure environment within the campus while maintaining the ability of staff to move freely across the campus and between buildings. A perimeter fence with multiple access points for employees, a restricted access point for visitors and patients, and a second restricted access point for construction and delivery vehicles was the most feasible and effective approach to manage campus access.
    • QuestionIs medical marijuana allowed at the National Institutes of Health?
      • ​Possession of marijuana is prohibited at National Institutes of Health (NIH) campuses, in its facilities and on its grounds. Persons are not allowed to bring medical marijuana onto the NIH campuses, facilities and grounds, even if they are enrolled in a state-approved medical marijuana program or have a prescription for medical marijuana use. State laws governing the use of marijuana do not apply at the NIH. Marijuana is an illegal, Schedule I controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801(c)(c)(10).

    • QuestionIs the fence electrified?
      • No. The fence is a reinforced, metal picket fence that incorporates electronic security​ systems including, but not limited to, surveillance and alarm systems.

    • QuestionDoes the NIH conduct vehicle inspections at the perimeter of campus? In underground parking garages?
      • Yes. Vehicle inspections are conducted at the perimeter of campus. Commercial vehicles and non-commercial (private) vehicles operated by individuals without a valid NIH ID Badge are required to go through security screening. Commercial deliveries to the campus undergo security screening at the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) on Rockville Pike. Employee vehicles will not be inspected under most threat levels as long as the employee presents a valid NIH ID Badge.

        The greatest potential for damage and loss of life is from a vehicle bomb in close proximity to a building, particularly in underground or adjacent garages. Vehicles screened at the perimeter are given a time-stamped inspection pass. This pass allows vehicles to avoid additional security screening at any underground parking garage if they arrive within a 5-minute ‘grace period.' Employee vehicles not inspected at the perimeter, however, are required to undergo security inspections prior to entering underground parking garages.

    • QuestionWhat is the process for facilitating large groups of people entering campus for conferences or special events?
      • For visitors attending large events on campus, the location of security screening and badging is conducted at the perimeter of campus versus at the buildings.

         
        For visitors entering in a vehicle, they will be screened and badged at the perimeter while their vehicle is being inspected.  If a visitor arrives in a commercial vehicle, the visitors and their vehicle must be screened at the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF). Taxis are allowed to enter via the NIH Gateway Drive entrance.
         
        For pedestrians coming from the Metro, they will be screened and badged at the Gateway Visitor Center instead of the building entrance.
         
        At the Gateway Visitor Center, the NIH has the ability and capacity to process and screen a large number of individuals for large events in a short period of time.
         
        The NIH Police continue to offer customized screening for large events by going offsite to hotels and pre-screening the shuttle bus and the passengers to expedite the process.
         
        Conferences, large groups of visitors, and special events are being coordinated through the NIH Division of Police Special Events Coordinator and NIH Events Management. For more information, contact the NIH Division of Police Special Events Unit at 301-496-3021.
    • QuestionWill other U.S. Federal agency IDs work at the card readers?
      • No. The Perimeter Security System card readers are not capable of electronically recognizing other U.S. Federal Department or Agency ID badges at this time. Only NIH-issued badges have the capability to be electronically verified and allow perimeter​ access. In select cases, personnel from other HHS agencies with an enduring requirement for NIH access verified by a sponsoring Institute/Center will be permitted perimeter access. 

         
    • QuestionAre HHS agency (i.e. CDC, FDA, IHS, CMS, etc.) badges an acceptable form of identification for admittance to the NIH?
      • Yes. However non-NIH, HHS employees are required to go through the screening process in a vehicle or as a pedestrian. Employees from HHS agencies should enter campus through the Gateway Center or the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF). An HHS employee does not need to be escorted by an NIH employee while on campus.

    • QuestionWill the NIH accept state driver's licenses that are non-compliant with the REAL ID Act? How do I find out if my driver's license is REAL ID compliant?
      • As of October 1, 2020, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will no longer accept identification credentials that fail to meet the minimum requirements and issuance standards for federal recognition per the REAL ID Act of 2005. The Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, such as NIH, from accepting for official purposes licenses and identification cards that do not meet these standards.

        Under the REAL ID ACT, NIH may only accept state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards that meet the standards required by the ACT to access our facilities.  Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDL) issued by Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington are considered acceptable alternatives to REAL ID-compliant cards and will also be accepted for official REAL ID purposes.  Most EDLs do not contain the star marking and this is acceptable. The EDLs do however state they are enhanced driver's licenses and have an American flag either overlapping the picture or at the bottom right hand corner.

        Individuals who come to the NIH's Clinical Center for inpatient or outpatient services are not subject to the REAL ID Act of 2005.

        Approved Forms of ID Required to Enter NIH Facilities as of October 1, 2020:

        • REAL ID Driver's License or State Identification Card or Enhanced Driver's License
        • Passport or Passport Card
        • HSPD-12 PIV or CAC Card
        • Permanent Resident Card
        • Federally Recognized, Tribal-Issued Photo ID
        • Canadian Provincial Driver's License or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Card
        • USCIS Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
        • Other Less Common Documents (e.g. Merchant Mariner Credential)

        For additional information about the Real ID Act, please visit: http://www.dhs.gov/secure-drivers-licenses.

        *Drivers of commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds must be in compliance with the Real ID Act now. 

        The Federal Carrier Safety Regulations have defined a commerical motor vehicle (CMV) as noted below. The State of Maryland has adopted this definition for commercial vehicles that operate only within state boundaries (intrastate).

        Commercial motor vehicle means any vehicle operated in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle --

        (1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater; or

        (2)Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

        (3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, incluing the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

        (4)Is used in transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding.

        For additional information about the Real ID Act, please visit: http://www.dhs.gov/secure-drivers-licenses

    • QuestionAre neighbors in the community surrounding the NIH able to get a special ID badge to walk across the campus?
      • The NIH prides itself on creating a safe and secure environment for its employees, contractors, visitors, patients and patient visitors that fosters accessibility to promote the biomedical research mission of the NIH. Further, the NIH strives to be a “good neighbor” to the residents living around the NIH campus. Residents in the bordering communities may access the campus as a visitor through one of two visitor entrances — one on the west side of campus at South Drive and Old Georgetown Road (West Gateway Center) and the other at the Metro entrance at South Drive and Rockville Pike (Gateway Center, Building 66). The West Gateway Center is open Monday - Friday; 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and the Gateway Center is open Monday - Friday; 6:00 a.m. – 10:00pm. After 10:00pm and on weekends and holidays, all pedestrians will be directed to the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) to receive a visitor's ID badge.

        In addition, the NIH offers a shuttle bus that runs outside the campus perimeter. This “Campus Perimeter” shuttle is open to anyone, including neighbors, and runs during weekday morning and afternoon rush hours around the exterior roadways of the campus including a stop at the Medical Center Metro station. However, visitors must exit the shuttle at the Medical Center Metro and go inside the Gateway Visitor Center to obtain a visitor's ID badge if they want to enter the campus either as a pedestrian or on a shuttle bus. The Perimeter shuttle route can be found at: http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dats/NIHShuttleServices/Pages/shuttle.aspx

    • QuestionCan I bring my pet to campus?
      • No. Under Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart C, Section 3.42(b), “A person may not bring on the enclave any cat, dog, or other animal except for authorized purposes. This prohibition does not apply to domestic pets at living quarters or to the exercise of these pets under leash or other appropriate restraints. The use of a dog by a handicapped person to assist that person is authorized.”

    • QuestionDo I still need to display my ID after I enter the campus?
      • ​Yes. Upon entering and while on the grounds of the NIH campus -- employees, contractors, vendors and visitors, etc. must possess and display a valid, NIH-approved ID. An NIH police officer or security guard can ask to see your ID at any time. If an ID is not displayed while on campus, NIH security personnel have no way of knowing whether a person is an actual employee, approved visitor or has entered the campus illegally. Visually displaying an ID helps to alleviate this concern, particularly in situations where someone may be entering a sensitive building or area on campus.

        The only exceptions to this requirement are:

        • Children who are obviously not yet walking – the parent/guardian must be able to carry them through the screening process while the child's stroller, carriage or other carrying device is inspected as appropriate.
        • Children attending a campus child care facility.
        • In-patients of the Clinical Center displaying NIH hospital ID bands within or on the grounds of the Clinical Center , Children's Inn or the Family Lodge. Out-patients will display an extended visitor's ID badge.
        • On duty, non-NIH first responders (police, fire, rescue) on official business within the campus.
        • Residents of the Quarters Housing section while in the immediate vicinity of their residence.
        • Individuals attending certain special events where access and movement is controlled by the Division of Police, Special Events Unit.
    • QuestionAre there any items that are specifically prohibited on the NIH campus?
      • Firearms, explosives, archery equipment, dangerous weapons, knives with blades over 2 1/2 inches, narcotics, controlled substances, alcoholic beverages and open containers of alcohol are examples of prohibited items on the NIH campus.

        Items may not be prohibited from being carried in the state of Maryland, such as pepper spray for personal protection, a pocket knife with a blade over two-and-a-half inches or a handgun with a current and legal concealed weapons permit; however, these same items are prohibited on Federal properties. The Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate Federal Protective Service Directive Number 15.9.3.1, Revision 1, dated 5-16-13 is used as a guideline by HHS. In this directive, a dangerous weapon is defined as: A weapon, device, instrument, material or substance (animate or inanimate), that is used for or is readily capable of causing a death or serious bodily injury, excluding a pocket knife with a blade of less than two-and-a-half inches in length.

        Drugs prohibited by law, on campus, are outlined in the Controlled Substances Act 21 or the United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 841 -- 845. For more information, please visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/.


  • expand-collapse question categoryBuilding Level Security
    • QuestionDo I need to show my ID badge when I enter a building?
      • No. Not in most buildings. However, it is still important that employees and visitors continue to wear their identification prominently at all times while on campus. Due to the checking of IDs at the perimeter, employees and visitors are not required to show their ID again to gain access to the majority of buildings on the NIH Bethesda campus during the normal business day. However, for a select number of buildings, a guard will still be present and employees and visitors will need to display their badge to gain access. After-hours building access requires the use of an ID badge at an electronic access card reader located at building entrances to gain access to buildings and certain restricted areas within some buildings. 

    • QuestionWhy do I need to show my ID at certain buildings?
      • Guards remain at certain buildings to address specific program requirements such as sensitive research and safety concerns. Additionally, there are some buildings on campus where the building tenants have decided to retain guard services in the building at their own expense.

  • expand-collapse question categoryVehicle Entrances
    • QuestionAre taxis and other vehicles providing ride share services required to undergo inspection before entering the NIH campus?
      • ​Yes, taxis and other vehicles providing rides share services are required to be inspected at either the Gateway Vehicle Inspection, the Commerical Vehicle Inspection Facility, or at the West Drive Patient Entrance, if the passenger is a patient. 

        If a driver, cyclist or pedestrian without a valid NIH ID or visitor badge enters the enclave of NIH without being properly identified and granted access, they have just committed a breach of security (45 CFR 3.41 unauthorized trespass, violation of closure and/or limits to entry). The NIH Police will immediately respond, locate, identify and issue the person or persons involved a criminal citation for unauthorized trespass with a $150 fine.

    • QuestionWhat are the hours of operation for vehicular entrances?
    • QuestionAre guards stationed at vehicle entrances?
      • Yes. Guards will staff vehicle entrances during vehicle gate hours of operation. Additionally, NIH Police officers will maintain an active presence at vehicle gate entrances to assist as necessary. ​

    • QuestionDo all the occupants of a vehicle need to have an NIH ID badge or Advanced Accompanied Visitor Pass?
      • Yes. All employees/contractors of a vehicle entering campus need to display an NIH/HHS ID badge.

        Employees with visitors in their vehicle can also apply in advance for an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor Pass' (AAVP). NIH employees are able to access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor's arrival. For more details on how to apply for an AAVP for a visitor, go to www.security.nih.gov/staff/Pages/AAVP.aspx. The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days. With a valid AAVP, visitors can accompany an employee onto campus through any vehicle entrance (employee or visitor entrances).

        NIH employees may also direct their guests to proceed through the regular screening process at one of the visitor entrances in order to obtain a one-day visitor's pass.

    • QuestionAt vehicle entrances, will the guards visually inspect my ID if I already verify my ID at the card reader? Other passengers (with or without IDs)?
      • Yes. The guard and the ID reader work together to ensure proper security measures are followed. The ID reader ensures that the ID is a valid ID that has not expired or been revoked. The guard is present to visually confirm that the picture on the ID matches the person holding the ID. The guard is also present to assist employees in the event that the ID reader does not properly validate the ID. An employee will never be required or asked to get out of a vehicle if he/she cannot reach the reader with ease. A guard is available and willing to swipe an ID for any employee needing this assistance.

        Passengers in the vehicle must also display their NIH Employee Badge to security personnel. If any passenger is not in possession of a valid NIH ID Badge, he/she must proceed to the Gateway Center or Gateway Vehicle Inspection Center and obtain a 1-Day Visitor Badge. When these facilities are closed, the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) must be utilized. 

  • expand-collapse question categoryVisitors/Children
    • QuestionWhere do visitors enter the campus?
      • Visitors may access the campus through one of three visitors centers—the NIH Gateway Visitor Center for pedestrians at the Metro entrance (Rockville Pike and South Drive), the NIH Gateway Vehicle Inspection Center or the West Gateway Center at Old Georgetown Road and South Drive. The Gateway Vehicle entrance is open from 5 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday -- Friday and the pedestrian entrance is open from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday -- Friday. The West Gateway Center is open from 6 a.m. – 12 p.m., Monday -- Friday except for federal holidays. After 12:00 p.m., all pedestrians will be directed to the NIH Gateway Visitor entrance (South Drive/Rockville Pike) to receive a visitor's badge. The Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) is open 24 hours, 7 days a week and can accommodate visitors that arrive to campus after normal hours. 

        All visitor vehicles will undergo security screening at the Gateway vehicle entrance located at Rockville Pike, south of South Drive.

        Employees with visitors in their vehicle can also apply in advance for an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor Pass' (AAVP). NIH employees are able to access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor arrival. For more details on how to apply for an AAVP for a visitor, go to www.security.nih.gov or visit the website to request an AAVP.  The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days. With a valid AAVP, visitors can accompany an employee on to campus through any vehicle entrance.
    • QuestionWhere do patients/patient visitors enter the campus?
      • Patients and patient visitors are welcome to enter campus at the NIH Patient Entrance located at West Drive and Cedar Lane during its hours of operation, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., 7 days a week. Clinical Center hospitality staff are present to assist patients and their visitors.  Additionally, patients and patient visitors can access the NIH campus at the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. ​

    • QuestionWhat are acceptable forms of identification for visitors?
      • Valid government-issued photo identification is accepted in order to receive a visitor pass. Examples of acceptable identification include: driver's license, passport, military ID, other government agency IDs, green cards, school IDs. Any visitor 16 years of age and older is required to provide identification in order to receive a visitor ID. Children 15 years of age and younger are not required to provide photo identification in order to obtain a visitor ID.

         

    • QuestionWhat are the hours of operation for the visitor centers?
      • The West Gateway Center is open to pedestrians Monday -- Friday; 6 a.m. – 12 p.m. and the Gateway Visitor Center at Metro is open to pedestrians from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday -- Friday excluding federal holidays. The NIH Gateway Vehicle Inspection Center is open from 5 a.m. -- 10 p.m., Monday -- Friday. The Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

    • QuestionI have a visitor in my vehicle—where do I take him/her?
      • Any visitor without a valid NIH/HHS issued ID needs to obtain a visitor pass prior to entering campus. Visitors accompanying an NIH employee in a vehicle can obtain their visitor pass by having the employee drive through the visitor vehicle inspection lanes at the NIH Gateway Center at Metro, or leave the vehicle and visit one of the visitor centers to get a visitor pass, or applying in advance for an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor's Pass' (AAVP).

        To obtain an AAVP, NIH employees can access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor arrival. For more details on how to apply for an AAVP for a visitor, go to www.security.nih.gov or visit the website to request an AAVP. The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days. With a valid AAVP, visitors can accompany an employee on to campus through any vehicle entrance.

    • QuestionDo children need an ID to enter campus unescorted? Is there an age restriction for children not accompanied by an adult?
      • To gain unescorted access to the NIH campus, visitors must be 16 years of age or older. All visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older upon entry. Adults should ensure children remain with them at all times while on the campus.

        Any visitor 16 years of age and older is required to provide identification in order to receive a visitor ID. Children 15 years of age and younger are not required to provide photo identification in order to obtain a visitor ID.

        Parents/Guardians should provide the security guard with the child's name and the child will be issued a visitor's ID. When badges are issued to children under the age of 16, the accompanying adult must be entered into the ID system as a ‘sponsor.' Children who are obviously not yet walking such as infants and young children in strollers, carriages or other carrying devices will not be required to obtain a visitor ID. This policy applies to children of visitors entering campus as pedestrians or in vehicles.

        Recognizing the sensitive nature of screening children, the NIH strives to administer a minimum amount of unintrusive screening on a child. The screening of children is not a security matter, but rather a public safety issue. A visitor's badge provides the NIH with a form of identification and a degree of protection for the child in the event a child becomes lost or separated from the parent/guardian while on campus.​

    • QuestionIs there a process to obtain a visitor’s pass for a child of an employee or contractor in advance of visiting the campus with an employee/contractor?
      • Yes. Employees/Contractors holding a valid NIH ID badge should download and fill out an Accompanied Child Visitor Pass (ACVP) PDF Document form in advance of their visit to expedite entry. 

        If a child is 16 years of age or older, he/she is still required to enter campus via a visitor entrance and obtain a visitor's ID card or obtain, in advance of his/her visit, an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor Pass' (AAVP). NIH employees are able to access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor arrival. Visit the website to request an AAVP.  The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days.​

    • QuestionAre any provisions available for parents that are not NIH employees dropping off or picking up children at the child care centers?
      • Yes. For those individuals who are not NIH employees but need access to campus in order to drop-off and pick-up a child at the child care centers, the NIH is offering a special type of badge and vehicle permit. The designation for those individuals, whether they are parents, partners, caretakers, carpoolers, etc., will be ‘Transportation Visitor.’ This designation will allow access to pedestrian and vehicle gates at most times. In the case of heightened security levels, all employees and visitors may be required to meet additional conditions.

        We encourage application for the Transportation Visitor badge and permit for persons who regularly pick up or drop off a child or walk to and from METRO via the campus.

        For other family members or friends who only occasionally access the campus, screening at the NIH Visitors entrance at South Drive will be required, just as it is now.

        In order to receive the new Transportation Visitor badge, you will be required to complete a form which provides authorization to the NIH to conduct a background check strictly for the purpose of the issuance of an NIH access badge. The form is available at the day care centers.

        If you have children in both child care programs only one badge and vehicle hanger is required. When your child is no longer enrolled in the NIH Child Care Programs, your Transportation Visitor identification badge will be automatically de-activated.

        All vehicles will still be required to display the “Special Child Care Drop-Off and Pick-Up Permit” when parked in front of the center. These permits will continue to be issued annually at the child care centers by the Division of Employee Services.

        If you have any questions about this service please contact Joy Postell or Mary Ellen Savarese at 301-402-8180. ​

    • QuestionAre any provisions available for spouse and partners who drop off and pick up employees?
      • ​A Spouse or partner who routinely drops off or collects an NIH employee from campus may submit an application for an Extended Visitor's ID Badge if the need directly and critically impacts the mission of the NIH and/or the affected employee has a disability that impairs his/her mobility to or from campus by him or herself. This badge will allow access to the NIH campus for a period of time up to a year from any open vehicle or pedestrian entrance. The badge is eligible for renewal but the approval of such badge is determined on a case by case basis. 

        To request an Extended Visitor ID Badge, the NIH employee sponsoring the applicant will need to download and complete the Extended Visitor ID Badge Application​ PDF Document . Once completed, submitted, reviewed and approved, a background check by way of submission of fingerprinting must be conducted.

        The applicant will need to complete the application by providing his or her full name, social security number, date of birth, address, etc. Once completed the document can be hand delivered to Building 31/B4BE09. Please do not send applications via inter-office mail and/or unencrypted e-mail. The application process typically takes 7-10 business days to process. Those spouses/partners who only visit campus on an occasional basis are asked to go through the normal visitor inspection process to enter campus. 

    • QuestionIs visitor vehicle parking available inside the campus?
      • Yes. Limited visitor vehicle parking is available inside the NIH campus. However, visitors will be encouraged to utilize the visitor parking garage structure at the NIH Gateway Visitor Center at Metro after its completion in 2007. 

        For patients and patient visitors:

        • You may park inside the parking garage of the Clinical Center on the P-1 level and have your parking permit validated at the admissions desk inside the Clinical Center .
        • Patients may also utilize the valet parking service at the North entrance of the Clinical Center .
        • A map showing the Clinical Center parking is available at: https://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/about/visitor/_pdf/patient_access_map.pdf External website PDF Document

        For general visitor parking:

        • The following visitor map details where available visitor parking is available on campus, including limited metered parking. Access the visitor map at: http://parking.nih.gov/visitor_access_map.htm External website
        • Visitor parking is available in the green-shaded areas on this map.
        • Map includes pricing information.

        There are a number of general visitor parking spaces located inside the campus. These lots are located in MLP-8 (Top Level), Lot 4A and adjacent to the Natcher Building . Additionally, there are parking meters throughout the campus. Each of these areas is fee-for-parking with a maximum of $12.00 per day.

        Patient and Patient Visitor parking is also available in the P-1 Level of the Building 10 parking garage. There is no charge for this area for patients and patient visitors. However, patients and patient visitors must obtain validation stamps from the Patient Admission area on the P-1 Level in Building 10.

  • expand-collapse question categoryForeign National Visitors
    • QuestionI remember when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Campus was an open facility, much like a university. What prompted the need for a perimeter fence and other security measures?
      • ​After the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, Executive Order 12977 was issued to address government-wide security at federal facilities and created the Interagency Security Committee (ISC), which develops security standards and best practices to enhance the quality and effectiveness of security and protection of nonmilitary federal facilities. These guidelines, in conjunction with the events of September 11, 2001, led to the current NIH security program, which includes the perimeter fence and visitor screening procedures. 

    • QuestionWhy does the National Institutes of Health (NIH) screen visitors?
      • Executive Order 12977 states that each executive agency and department shall cooperate and comply with the policies and recommendations of the Interagency Security Committee(ISC). The ISC develops security standards and best practices. Consistent with these standards and practices, NIH’s security program includes screening visitors who do not have a valid NIH-issued HHS Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card. These procedures were put in place after the events of September 11, 2001. Every visitor goes through a mandatory physical screening process similar to airport security when visiting the NIH. These same, and in some cases more stringent, security practices are employed at other HHS agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    • QuestionWhat are acceptable forms of identification a visitor can present to gain access to National Institutes of Health (NIH) facilities?
      • ​If you are planning a visit to NIH and do not have a Health and Human Services Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card, the following is a list of suitable documents visitors can present to gain access to the NIH. All documents must be valid (i.e., an original document that has not expired).

        U.S. Citizens and Permanent ResidentsForeign Nationals
        • U.S. Passport
        • U.S. Passport Card
        • U.S. State Driver's License*
        • PIV/CAC/Military ID Card
        • U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Card/U.S.-issued Green Card
        • Foreign Passport
        • Visa

         

        *State licenses that indicate "Not suitable for federal purposes" are not acceptable. 

    • QuestionWhy does the National Institutes of Health ask visitors questions related to citizenship?
      • In the absence of suitable documents including acceptable forms of identification, the NIH may ask visitors questions related to citizenship, to help confirm identification. 

    • QuestionWhat happens when a foreign national arrives at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a visitor?
      • All visitors to the NIH will be treated with courtesy and respect by the security officers at the NIH Gateway Center or other entrances. If a visitor does not have one of the acceptable forms of identification, the NIH may ask questions related to citizenship for the purpose of compliance with HHS policy. 

    • QuestionAre there additional screening measures for some foreign nationals?
      • Visits by citizens of countries currently included on the U.S. Department of State’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (currently designated countries listed on https://www.state.gov/state-sponsors-of-terrorism/) will involve additional coordination with HHS. HHS may add other countries beyond the State Department’s list, and so it is always best to check with your NIH host well in advance of your visit. For visitors from these designated countries, a 10-business day notice prior to the visit is specified by HHS policy. Your host will need to submit a request for your visit at least 10 business days in advance. 

    • QuestionI am a citizen of one of these designated countries and wish to visit NIH. What do I need to do to request access?
      • ​If you have a U.S.-issued green card, then no special preparations will be needed – simply present your green card at the NIH Gateway Center.

        If you do not possess a U.S.-issued green card, then please communicate your intentions to your host at NIH well in advance. You should receive a Foreign Visitor Data Request Form from your host. Fill out the form with your information and send it back to your hosting official for processing. Your host will submit a Foreign Visitor Data Request Form on your behalf. All visitors from designated countries should confirm with their NIH host, prior to arrival, that their request has been submitted for approval by the host at least 10 business days in advance of their visit.

        After HHS review, and assuming that no significant issues have been identified, your host will receive email notification from the NIH Police that your request to visit has been approved. Your name will be placed on an approved visitor list accessible by security guards at the NIH Gateway Center, Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility, West Drive Patient Entrance, and at off-campus NIH and GSA-leased facilities.  

        All visitors should check with their host prior to their planned visit to verify that approval has been obtained. If advanced approval to visit has not been secured prior to the visitor arriving at the NIH, the visitor will not be permitted to enter the NIH facilities. If, at any time upon arrival, a visitor has questions or concerns about the process, the visitor is encouraged to request a security staff supervisor who can address questions or concerns.  

    • QuestionWhat should a visiting foreign national from a designated country expect when they arrive at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)?
      • ​All visitors will be treated with courtesy and respect by the security officers at the NIH Gateway Center, other NIH campuses and relevant facilities. If the visitor is a foreign national from a designated country, he/she should be prepared to present either a passport, visa, or U.S.-issued green card, in order to gain access to the NIH campus.  All documents must be valid (i.e., an original document that has not expired).

        If the visitor holds a U.S.-issued green card, then advance notice is not necessary and admission to the NIH campus will be permitted after signing in and screening at the visitor entrance.  Consistent with HHS policy, if a visitor is a citizen of a designated country and does not hold a US-issued green card, the security guard will determine if the visitor's name is located on the approved visitor list. To be on the list, a visitor from a designated country must contact an NIH host who will request approval using the Foreign Visitor Data Request Form, at least 10 business days in advance of the date of the scheduled visit. If the visitor is not yet approved, the visitor will not be permitted access to NIH facilities. At any time upon arrival, a visitor may request a security staff supervisor who can address questions or concerns. For special circumstances or situations that require immediate attention, the visitor or host can contact the NIH police front desk during normal business hours at 301-496-2387.

        If advanced approval has been granted, the NIH host must meet the foreign visitor at the Gateway Center or appropriate entrance and the foreign visitor may need an escort while at the NIH facility. The visitor should have the host's contact information with them as they arrive at the NIH. 

        Once all necessary information is collected, a physical security screening is conducted, and the NIH host has arrived, the visitor will be issued a pass to enter NIH facilities. If, at any time upon arrival, a visitor has questions or concerns about the process, the foreign visitor is encouraged to request a security staff supervisor who can answer any questions or address any concerns.

    • QuestionWhy is there a 10-business day waiting period for people from designated countries?
      • ​The 10-day notice prior to the visit is specified by HHS policy to ensure adequate time to complete background screening prior to the visitor's arrival. 

    • QuestionIf I am a U.S. citizen but have dual citizenship with a designated country, must I wait the 10-day period before visiting the National Institutes of Health (NIH)?
      • No. The 10-business day notice prior to the visit would not apply.  

    • QuestionI am a U.S. green card holder. Are there any special considerations I must be aware of to visit the NIH campus?
      • ​No. A U.S.-issued green card is an acceptable form of identification to visit NIH facilities. The same applies to persons with a U.S.-issued green card from designated countries.

  • expand-collapse question categoryShuttles
    • QuestionWhere do I pick up the Campus Shuttle or Campus Limited shuttle buses?
      • The Campus Shuttle and the Campus Limited Shuttle Metro stop are located on the inside of the perimeter fence at the shuttle loop next to the temporary Gateway Visitor Center off of South Drive and Rockville Pike. For a schedule of the Campus Shuttle or Campus Limited Shuttle routes, please visit the NIH Shuttle Maps and Schedules at: http://shuttle.nih.gov External website

    • QuestionAm I required to have an NIH/HHS ID badge or visitor’s pass to enter the campus in an off-campus shuttle?
      • Yes. You need either a valid NIH/HHS Identification Card or a Visitor's Pass to enter the campus.

        If you ride an off-campus shuttle to the campus, the shuttle will enter the campus and stop near the Medical Center Metro stop. All non-NIH/HHS ID holders are required to exit the shuttle and enter the Gateway Visitor Center to obtain a visitor's badge.

        Once you have received your visitor's badge you can board the Campus or Campus Limited Shuttles at the shuttle loop immediately adjacent to the Gateway Visitor Center inside the perimeter fence.

        Once the off-campus shuttle drops off all visitors outside the perimeter fence, the shuttle will stop a second time before entering the campus so a security guard can check all passenger's IDs. Those passengers without an NIH/HHS ID or valid visitor's badge will need to disembark and proceed to the NIH Gateway Visitor Center at Metro to obtain a visitor's pass. Once inside the fence, the Campus or Campus Limited Shuttles will make pickups at the shuttle loop adjacent to the NIH Gateway Visitor Center at Metro. ​

  • expand-collapse question categoryDeliveries
    • QuestionI am expecting a delivery. Where should I direct them to enter/exit campus?
      • Commercial vehicle deliveries must undergo security screening at the perimeter of the campus. Currently, these vehicles enter through the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) on Rockville Pike, located between North and Wilson Drives. 

        For vehicles making lunch time food deliveries such as pizza, Take Out Taxi, etc., it is acceptable for the delivery person to enter and exit campus via any visitor vehicle entrance in addition to the Commercial Vehicle Inspection entrance. ​

  • expand-collapse question categoryLost and Found
    • QuestionWho do I contact if I lost an item on campus?
      • ​What to do for same day and after 24 hours. 

        LOST AND FOUND – SAME DAY 
        Parking Lots (Employees and Visitors): 301-656-9008 
        Employee Shuttles: 301-435-4010 
        Patient Shuttles: 301-496-1161 
        Gateway Center: 301-435-7554 
        Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF): 301-443-6843 

        LOST AND FOUND – AFTER 24 HOURS (AND FOR LOCATIONS NOT LISTED ABOVE)
        NIH Police: 301-496-2387 
        Weekends: 301-496-5685 

        Ultimately, all lost and found items end up with the NIH Police, usually within 24 hours. To read more about the NIH policy on Lost and Found, view the NIH Manual Chapter 1420 at: policymanual.nih.gov