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NIH Notification of Foreign Travel (NFT)

Notification of Foreign Travel (NFT) is a mandatory step in the foreign travel approval process at NIH. An approved NFT is required for all official foreign travel regardless of the source of funding for the trip. The NFT is created automatically as part of the foreign travel authorization. Once the NFT has been pre-approved by the NIH IC (NFT Pre-Approval), it will be automatically routed to FIC for review and approval (NFT Final Approval). To meet established timeframes it's important that NFTs submitted to FIC are complete and accurate.

Upon receipt of an NFT, FIC prepares a cable requesting country clearance from the U.S. Embassy of the country to be visited. NIH travelers should not depart on an official business trip outside the U.S. without receiving country clearance from the relevant U.S. Embassy or Mission overseas. Clearance will be granted for most countries. However, U.S. Embassies may refuse clearance to travelers who fail to send clearance cables in a timely manner, or whose proposed travel includes countries where U.S. citizens may be in danger. Current travel warnings, public announcements and consular information sheets are posted on travel.state.gov, the U.S. Department of State's travel website.

NFTs must be submitted to FIC at least 35 days prior to travel to allow time for review and approval and for the cables requesting country clearance to be sent. In exceptional circumstances late notification may be accepted with proper justification. Travelers should initiate travel authorizations as soon as they begin to make travel plans to ensure the NFT is forwarded to FIC by IC officials in a timely manner.

Country-Specific Guidance

Multilateral Travel

Any NIH traveler invited to participate in an international meeting hosted by a multilateral organization (e.g., World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank), should provide their travel planner with a copy of the invitation letter as a PDF file. The invitation letter will be uploaded into the travel document by the travel planner.

Trip Reports

Within five days of returning from a trip all HHS travelers are required to prepare a brief written report of the significant aspects and results of the trip, including a summary of the extent to which the purpose(s) of the trip was achieved. Upload trip reports in the electronic travel system as part of the voucher process.


Our Office is Temporarily Moving!

Effective January 17, 2023, the Fogarty International Center (FIC) Visa Passport Office (VPO) will be temporarily relocated to Building 31, Room 3B41 due to renovations.

Time in temporary location

Currently, the renovation is scheduled for approximately six months. We will communicate as needed and when the renovation is complete as we prepare to move the Office back to its permanent location.

Important dates and information

On Friday, January 13, 2023, the VPO staff will physically relocate to the temporary location. Please recommend to your IC staff who have a visa or passport-related case that needs to be managed to submit their packages to the VPO before or after Friday, January 13, 2023. The VPO staff will not be available to receive or process cases because they will be physically relocating and their systems will be down.

Where to find the FIC VPO Staff

Starting on January 17, 2023:
FIC Visa/Passport Office
Building 31, Room 3B41
31 Center Dr. MSC 2220
Bethesda, MD 20892-2220
301-827-5555

Office hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon

We look forward to continuing our partnership with the NIH community during our temporary relocation.

Travel Specialist Contact Information

Updated October 20, 2023