NIH High Threat Security and Foreign Affairs Counter Threat Trainings

Training Requirements

Related Information

Page last updated: February 25, 2019

In 2015, the U.S. Department of State increased required security training to better educate and prepare U.S. government personnel who are on foreign travel.

Who must take the trainings?

All NIH personnel (FTEs and non-FTEs; U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens) traveling on U.S. government travel orders to any foreign country.

What training courses are required?

Required training courses includes either the High Threat Security Overseas Seminar (HTSOS) or the Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) course.

These trainings are in addition to Personal Mandatory Security Training for Temporary Duty Travel for 30 Days or More or Personal Security Briefing for Temporary Duty Travel for Less Than 30 Days and Less than 45 Cumulative Days in a Calendar Year.

Less than 45 days:
High Threat Security Overseas Seminar (HTSOS)

For travel of less than 45 cumulative days within a calendar year to any one or combination of foreign countries, NIH travelers must complete the High Threat Security Overseas Seminar (HTSOS).

More than 45 days:
Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) course

For travel of more than 45 cumulative days within a calendar year to any one or combination of specified foreign countries, NIH travelers must complete Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) course (CT650).

  • 5-day practical, hands-on training
  • Training is currently located in Summit Point, WV, but will eventually be moved to a new facility near Richmond, VA
  • Attendees must have a driver's license, or will sit as a passenger during the driving portions of the course
  • 100 percent attendance required
  • Offered weekly, except in weeks with a federal holiday
  • Tuition is $2,036 for FY 2019 (travel and lodging additional)
  • Training completion certificate is valid for 5 years



These additional trainings are mandatory, and agency requests for waivers are strongly discouraged. Individual waiver requests must be submitted by letter by the agency Chief Human Capital Officer to the Under Secretary of State for Management. Waivers are issued only during exceptional operational exigencies and are valid for a limited period. Requests must include a proposed timeline for completion of the training.

Notification of Foreign Travel (NFT) Requirements

Under the State Department's revised requirements, each agency must ensure its employees comply. Agencies must provide FACT/HTSOS/SAFE completion dates on eCountry Clearance (eCC) requests prior to travel. Some posts may require additional proof of completion. Employees should carry a copy of their completion certificates with them and must provide a copy to posts upon request.

For NIH to comply with these increased security training requirements, the FIC Visa/Passport Office needs additional documentation to process foreign travel requests to countries and regions requiring the additional training.

Before stamping the foreign travel authorization NFT Pre-Approved and forwarding to FIC, ICs must:

  • Add security training course name(s) and completion date(s) in the NFT Purpose of Travel field.
  • If HTSOS training is required, add the following statement: "Traveler has not and will not have spent more than 45 days in designated HTSOS/FACT-mandatory countries within the calendar year."
  • Upload a copy of HTSOS/FACT/SAFE course completion certificate(s) into the authorization.

FIC will confirm security requirements have been satisfied as part of the NFT Final Approval process. Country clearance requests submitted by FIC will include the training validity date and certification by the IC regarding the individual's time spent, within the calendar year, in designated HTSOS/FACT-mandatory countries.

ICs can track training completion in the HHS Learning Portal. A transcript item can be added and the LMS allows for submission of completion certificates.


Questions or concerns on NIH foreign travel? Please contact:

Passport/Visa Office at Fogarty International Center
Phone: (301) 827-5555

Page last updated: February 25, 2019