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Division of International Services resources and statements regarding trainees and the coronavirus pandemic




Division of International Services Statement on New Trainees in the Visiting Program

Recently, the Department of State issued a Global Level 3 Travel Advisory recommending a suspension of travel that applies to all countries.  In light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, the Division of International Services will be moving towards implementing the following:

  • For new trainees (non-FTEs) in the Visiting Program that are currently overseas and will not be able to onboard (EOD) before March 16, 2020, the DIS will review their program and automatically push back their start dates to May 11, 2020.
  • For requests received after March 16, 2020 for new trainees (non-FTE), ICs should select a start date after May 11, 2020 when completing request packages. Although, we are not issuing or shipping any documents to new trainees who are overseas, we will process cases up to the document issuance point.
  • For requests received after March 16, 2020 for employees (FTE), these cases will be handled case-by-case and ICs will be contacted directly by our office.
  • For current trainees or employees in the Visiting Program that are overseas in an area that is under travel restrictions and are unable to return to the U.S., please encourage them to notify the DIS with the most updated information regarding their travel plans. DIS will work to assist them in returning to the U.S. once the travel restrictions are lifted.
  • For current trainees or employees in the Visiting Program that have plans to travel overseas in the next 60 days, please encourage them to review CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel and consult with our office.

Finally, the United States Government announced several new travel restrictions for travelers coming to the U.S. from the Schengen Area, China, and Iran. The proclamations temporarily suspended and limited the entry into the United States of all immigrants or nonimmigrants who were physically present within the Schengen Area, China, and/or Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.  For purposes of this proclamation, the Schengen Area comprises 26 European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. NIH trainees and employees (and their dependents) who are currently in the Schengen Area, China, and Iran will likely experience delayed arrival to the U.S. due to these restrictions. Our office will continue to monitor the situation and update the Visiting Program community of any changes in the travel restrictions.

Thank you for your assistance.

The DIS Team

NOTE: DIS has advised that all inquiries be sent to them via their general inbox or by phone at 301-496-6166. From there they will assess which immigration specialist is most appropriate to respond. With the changing immigration procedures they have communicated this is the best way to manage requests while on telework.