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NIH Counter Threat Trainings for Foreign Travel

Page updated: February 5, 2021

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 Counter Threat Awareness Training (CTAT), formerly known as 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 90 Cumulative Days in a 12-Month Period.

Less than 90 days:
Counter Threat Awareness Training (CTAT), formerly known as High Threat Security Overseas Seminar (HTSOS)

For travel of less than 90 cumulative days within a 12-month period to any one or combination of foreign countries, NIH travelers must complete the Counter Threat Awareness Training (CTAT) or have a valid High Threat Security Overseas Seminar (HTSOS) certificate.

  • HHS Learning Portal:
    Counter Threat Awareness Training (HT401) (00209673)
    HHS staff only, no cost
  • 9-module online course (estimated 5-hour duration)
  • Training completion certificate is valid for 6 years
  • CTAT is the replacement for HTSOS. Individuals who have completed HTSOS and have a valid certificate (6 years from date of completion) do not need to complete CTAT until their HTSOS certification expires.
  • Valid FACT certificate will satisfy CTAT requirement

More than 90 days:
Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) Course

For travel of more than 90 cumulative days within a 12-month period to any one or combination of specified foreign countries, NIH travelers must complete

  • Foreign Serice Institute (FSI) Training:
    Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) course (CT650)
  • 5-day practical, hands-on training
  • Training is currently located in Blackstone, Virginia
  • 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 $2,110 for FY 2021 (travel and lodging additional)
  • Training completion certificate is valid for 6 years
  • To register: Work with your Administrative Office to submit OPM Standard Form SF-182 and vendor payment information to the Foreign Service Institute Registrar:
    Email: FSIregistrarFACT@state.gov
    Fax: 703-746-2562
    Phone: 703-302-7137 or 703-302-7144

Waivers

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/CTAT/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 CTAT training is required, add the following statement: "Traveler has not and will not have spent more than 90 days in designated NTSOS/FACT-mandatory countries within a 12-month period."
  • Upload a copy of HTSOS/CTAT/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.

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.

Contact

Questions or concerns on NIH foreign travel? Please contact:

Passport/Visa Office at Fogarty International Center
Phone: (301) 827-5555
Email: FICVPO@mail.nih.gov

Page updated: February 5, 2021