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Federal background check

All research training offers are contingent on your ability to successfully pass a federal background check. You must pass to be granted access to NIH facilities and systems.

The process for IRTAs and CRTAs is different than the process for Visiting Fellows who do not yet have a U.S. social security number.

Once IRTAs and CRTAs are sponsored by their IC Administrative Officer to receive a badge, NIH Division of Personnel Security and Access Control (DPSAC) sends the trainee an email to begin the screening process. Respond promptly to all emails from DPSAC; the process takes ~30 days even without issues during prescreening.

Any trainee expected to be at NIH for greater than 60 days completes an in-depth background check involving detailed questions about their history and prior use of illegal drugs. It is critical to understand the difference between state and Federal laws as you complete your background check. While marijuana is legal or decriminalized in many state and local jurisdictions, it is illegal at the Federal level even when used in a state where it is legal. This may prevent you from obtaining the necessary clearances to participate in NIH research training programs, even if you were initially offered a position. We strongly advise you to NOT relocate if you have used, possessed, supplied, or manufactured marijuana (for recreational or medical purposes) within one year of your background check.

Reach out to us with questions about the Federal background check or if you receive a request for additional information after the prescreening process.