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NIH Employee Passports

The Fogarty International Center (FIC) at NIH processes applications only for official and diplomatic passports and visas for NIH employees. Fogarty does not process applications for personal or tourist passports, or obtain passports or visas for travelers from other U.S. government agencies. If you are with another agency, please check with your travel department. 

Need a visa? See our visa information page.

Our Office is Moving!

Effective April 30, 2024, the Fogarty International Center (FIC) Visa Passport Office (VPO) will be permanently relocated back to Building 31, Room B2C05

Important dates and information

On Friday, April 26, 2024, the VPO staff will physically relocate back to the permanent location. On Friday, April 26, 2024 – Monday, April 29, 2024, the VPO staff will not have access to the VPO systems to receive or process cases due to the physical office relocation. Please notify your IC staff who have visa or passport-related cases to submit their packages to the VPO before Friday, April 26, or after Monday, April 29, 2024.

Where to find the FIC VPO Staff

Starting on April 30, 2024:
FIC Visa/Passport Office
Building 31, Room B2C05
31 Center Dr. MSC 2220
Bethesda, MD 20892-2220

Hours of Operation

  • Business hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Office hours for in person walk-in visa or passport service and other appointments: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Drop Box is available every day 24/7

Need to pick up a passport?

  • Passports may be picked up during walk-in office hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. No appointment is required.
  • If you are applying for an official passport and/or visa, you will be notified by your FIC specialist when it’s complete.
  • Official passports can be picked up as early as three weeks prior to the scheduled travel dates.
  • Remote workers and other staff unable to come to office may include a return FedEx airbill with their passport/visa application or may email a PDF copy of the return airbill to their FIC specialist. Consult with your travel planner or administrative officer for assistance with obtaining an airbill.
  • Several ICs with off-campus sites have courier services. Check with your travel planner or administrative officer for assistance.

Need to submit an application or return a passport?

  • Applications may be submitted, and official passports may be returned, to an FIC specialist during walk-in hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 12pm. No appointment is required.
  • An in-door drop slot is available 24/7 for application submissions and passport returns.
  • The address for express mail or postal mail delivery is:

    FIC Visa/Passport Office
    Building 31, Room B2C05
    31 Center Dr. MSC 2220
    Bethesda, MD 20892-2220
  • Official passports should be returned to the FIC Visa/Passport Office within 2 weeks of completion of travel.

Planning to travel? Apply early!

Timelines for obtaining official passports and visas vary.  They depend on the action being requested, processing times at the Department of State (DOS) and/or the foreign embassy, as well as country-specific visa requirements and back-to-back travel.  Travelers should start the relevant request process as soon as possible, i.e., as soon as travel plans are being initiated or discussed.

Refer to the following submission timeframes when needing to obtain an official passport and/or a visa for foreign travel.  Late passport/visa requests may result in trip delays or cancellations or the traveler having to submit their request in person to DOS/foreign embassy. 

To ensure timely processing, submit request(s) to FIC as outlined in the following table:

Applying for...Submit request to FIC by...
Official passport or visa60 days prior to departure
Official passport and visa90 days prior to departure
Multiple visas90 days prior to departure

All Notifications of Foreign Travel (NFTs) should be submitted to FIC 30 days prior to departure.

Requirements for 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.

Exception: Travelers to Taiwan on official business must use their personal passport. No official or diplomatic passports are permitted.

Official passports are for official use only and may not be used for personal travel.

Individuals who are not eligible for official passports (e.g., fellows, such as IRTAs or CRTAs, and employees who are not U.S. citizens) are permitted to travel on official business with personal passports.

Passport validity

Although requirements vary by country, passports generally must be valid at least three to six months beyond the intended stay. Passports with less than 6 months validity remaining should be renewed prior to travel.

Apply for an official passport

To apply for an official passport, the traveler must be a:

  1. U.S. citizen, and a
  2. U.S. federal government employee.

Important: You must submit an Information Sheet (see detailed instructions below) along with any form you provide FIC.

Requests for official passports should be submitted eight weeks before your departure date. DOS processes official passport applications on a first-in, first-out basis.  Processing times can vary with increased demand and may lead to unexpected delays.  Limited staff availability and the need for agencies to make appointments to submit applications also may add additional processing time. Late passport requests may result in trip delays or cancellations or the traveler having to submit their request in person to DOS. 

To apply for an official passport, there must be a trip planned. Please note the tentative or definite destination on the Information Sheet.

All completed documents must be forwarded to FIC. Processing takes six to eight weeks.

Application DS-82 for official passport or renewing official passport

Use the DS-82 form to apply by submitting your personal passport; it will be returned to FIC with the new official passport.

NOTE: Use the instruction sheet given on this site, NOT the instructions on the State Department website! Only print pages 5 and 6 of the application:

Application DS-11 for official passport when failing to submit personal passport

If you do not hold a U.S. personal passport book/card or do not wish to submit it for processing, the DS-11 form must be completed. The form should not be signed until you meet with a passport agent at FIC. Along with the DS-11 form, you must submit your birth certificate or naturalization certificate; it will be returned to FIC with the new official passport.

NOTE: Use the instruction sheet given on this site, NOT the instructions on the State Department website! Only print page 5 and 6 of the application:

Additional visa pages

The State Department no longer adds extra visa pages to U.S. passports. NIH travelers who have run out of visa pages in their official passport will need to apply for a new passport using the DS-82 form.

DS-64: Statement regarding lost or stolen passport

This form should be submitted with the DS-11 application and its requirements if the official passport is lost or stolen.

NOTE: Use the instructions given on this site, NOT the instructions on the State Department website! Only print page 2of the application:

Passport photos

Photos submitted with passport applications must be taken within the last six months. You can get passport photos from:

  • NIH photography team, Events Management Branch, Multimedia Section
  • Building 10, Room B2L328
  • Telephone: 301-496-9993
  • Hours: Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m
  • No appointment is necessary
  • Bring a completed photography request form

Eye glasses may not be worn in passport photos. If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, you’ll need to obtain and submit a signed statement from a medical professional or practitioner with your passport application.

Immunizations, medications, and preventative measures

Please contact the NIH Occupational Medical Service (OMS) four to six weeks prior to travel about Yellow Fever Cards or immunizations:

Who to contact

Contact your Fogarty Specialist for assistance. 


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Passport/Visa application tips:

  • Remember to submit the actual DOS passport and/or foreign embassy visa form. The FIC Information Sheet is not a passport or visa application.
  • Sign your application with an original, wet signature. Digital or e-signatures are not accepted on passport or visa applications.
  • Fully complete your application. Don’t leave fields blank. Answer N/A if not applicable.
  • If you have your official passport, remember to submit it for visa processing.
  • Ensure you have enough blank visa pages remaining in your passport.
  • Remember to sign your passport and make sure the name and signature on your visa application matches your passport.
  • Don’t forget to include any required supporting documents with your application.
  • Submit a separate photo, if photos are required. The photo scanned on the passport face page cannot be used for a visa or passport application.
  • Obtain new photos. Out of date photos are the most common reason for an application to be rejected. Photos must be less than 6 months old.
  • Make sure photos are 2” x 2” on a plain white background with a full face view. Selfies aren’t accepted.

Updated April 30, 2024