• General
    • QuestionWhy does the NIH have enhanced security including a perimeter fence?
      • In response to the federal mandates and regulations in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing and the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the NIH was required by the HHS Office of the Inspector General to enhance physical security protection for the Bethesda campus.
        In response, the perimeter security at the NIH, to include the fence, gates, central commercial vehicle inspection facility, and Gateway Visitor center were approved as part of the NIH Security Program by the NIH Director in early 2003.

        One of the challenges was to provide a secure environment within the campus while maintaining the ability of staff to move freely across the campus and between buildings. A perimeter fence with multiple access points for employees, a restricted access point for visitors and patients, and a second restricted access point for construction and delivery vehicles was the most feasible and effective approach to manage campus access.
    • QuestionIs the fence electrified?
      • No. The fence is a reinforced, metal picket fence that incorporates electronic security​ systems including, but not limited to, surveillance and alarm systems.

    • QuestionWhat do I do if my ID badge does not work at an entrance?
      • At vehicle entrances and pedestrian turnstiles, guards and/or NIH Police personnel are present to assist anyone who has an issue with their NIH ID badge. If it is determined that your badge is malfunctioning or expired, you will be asked to enter campus via a visitor's entrance.

        At stand-alone pedestrian portals, call boxes are available providing direct communication to the NIH Emergency Communications Center (ECC). Personnel actively monitor the pedestrian entrances 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. ECC personnel communicate with the employee and when necessary, a police officer is dispatched to assist anyone experiencing a problem.​

         

    • QuestionWhat do I do if my ID badge does not work at any card reader?
      • If your card is not working properly at a card reader, either at a campus or building entrance, or for logical access (i.e., accessing the NIH computer network), first confirm that another ID is not interfering with the signal. If you carry more than one badge, you must separate your NIH ID badge from other badges to prevent signal interference and a possible 'false' red light. Also, make sure to remove your badge from the badge holder before placing it on the reader. If your ID still is not functioning properly, please use the following troubleshooting guide to determine the source of your problem and to find a solution:
         
        Troubleshooting Guide to Diagnose Problems with Your PIV Card/HHS ID Badge:
         
        1. Were you able to get onto campus and/or any buildings/rooms with your badge today?
        • If YES, proceed to question 2.

        2. Are you able to log into your computer and/or any IT systems (e.g., NED) with your HHS ID Badge and PIN?

        • If NO, please proceed to question 3.
        3. Did you try logging in with your HHS ID Badge on someone else’s computer?
        • If YES, please proceed to question 4.
        • If NO, please try logging in with your HHS ID Badge on another computer. Then proceed to question 4.
        4. Were you able to successfully log in using someone else’s computer?
    • QuestionAm I required to use my badge when I exit campus?
      • No. You are not required to use your badge to exit in your vehicle.

        Pedestrians are only required to badge out of the campus at stand-alone pedestrian portals. Pedestrian turnstiles do not require a badge to exit.
    • QuestionDoes the NIH conduct vehicle inspections at the perimeter of campus? In underground parking garages?
      • Yes. Vehicle inspections are conducted at the perimeter of campus. Commercial vehicles and non-commercial (private) vehicles operated by individuals without a valid NIH ID Badge are required to go through security screening. Commercial deliveries to the campus undergo security screening at the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) on Rockville Pike. Employee vehicles will not be inspected under most threat levels as long as the employee presents a valid NIH ID Badge.

        The greatest potential for damage and loss of life is from a vehicle bomb in close proximity to a building, particularly in underground or adjacent garages. Vehicles screened at the perimeter are given a time-stamped inspection pass. This pass allows vehicles to avoid additional security screening at any underground parking garage if they arrive within a 5-minute ‘grace period.' Employee vehicles not inspected at the perimeter, however, are required to undergo security inspections prior to entering underground parking garages.

    • QuestionWhat is the process for facilitating large groups of people entering campus for conferences or special events?
      • For visitors attending large events on campus, the location of security screening and badging is conducted at the perimeter of campus versus at the buildings.

         
        For visitors entering in a vehicle, they will be screened and badged at the perimeter while their vehicle is being inspected.  If a visitor arrives in a commercial vehicle, the visitors and their vehicle must be screened at the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF). Taxis are allowed to enter via the NIH Gateway Drive entrance.
         
        For pedestrians coming from the Metro, they will be screened and badged at the Gateway Visitor Center instead of the building entrance.
         
        At the Gateway Visitor Center, the NIH has the ability and capacity to process and screen a large number of individuals for large events in a short period of time.
         
        The NIH Police continue to offer customized screening for large events by going offsite to hotels and pre-screening the shuttle bus and the passengers to expedite the process.
         
        Conferences, large groups of visitors, and special events are being coordinated through the NIH Division of Police Special Events Coordinator and NIH Events Management. For more information, contact the NIH Division of Police Special Events Unit at 301-496-3021.
    • QuestionHow is traffic control managed on and off the campus, particularly during peak hours?
      • Pedestrian and vehicle traffic safety issues are a top priority for the NIH. The NIH Police provide traffic control if the need presents itself. The NIH has worked to identify key issues related to traffic on the campus and continue to develop strategies to best manage situations that may arise.

        All pedestrians are reminded to use sidewalks and designated pedestrian crosswalks when crossing roadways on the campus. Vehicle drivers are reminded to observe the posted speed limit signs and to be cautious at all times. Further, drivers are reminded to stay in their respective lane of traffic, especially at the vehicle entrance and exits to the campus and to obey posted signage.

        The NIH maintains an ongoing collaboration with Montgomery County Police and Maryland State Highway transportation authorities to address traffic flow issues surrounding the NIH campus.
    • QuestionWill other U.S. Federal agency IDs work at the card readers?
      • No. The Perimeter Security System card readers do not electronically recognize other U.S. Federal Department or Agency ID badges at this time. Only NIH-issued ID badges have the capability to be electronically verified.

         
        However, all valid HHS agency (i.e. CDC, FDA, IHS, CMS, etc.) badges are recognized as an acceptable form of employee identification at visitor centers and vehicle entrances. The guard at the turnstile or vehicle entrance will visually inspect the badge and grant access by swiping his/her own badge to grant the HHS employee access. However, HHS employees from an operating division other than NIH will not be able to enter campus through a pedestrian portal as the card reader will not recognize the ID.
    • QuestionAre HHS agency (i.e. CDC, FDA, IHS, CMS, etc.) badges an acceptable form of identification for admittance to the NIH?
      • Yes. HHS employees will not have to go through the screening process in a vehicle or as a pedestrian. An HHS employee does not need to be escorted by an NIH employee. They can enter campus through vehicle entrances, visitor centers or pedestrian turnstiles at vehicle entrances where a guard is present.

        HHS employees with a valid ID will not be screened and will not be required to obtain a visitor pass. The guard at the turnstile or vehicle entrance will visually inspect the badge and grant access by swiping his/her own badge to grant the HHS employee access. However, HHS employees will not be able to enter campus through a pedestrian portal as the card reader will not recognize the ID.
    • QuestionAre neighbors in the community surrounding the NIH able to get a special ID badge to walk across the campus?
      • The NIH prides itself on creating a safe and secure environment for its employees, contractors, visitors, patients and patient visitors that fosters accessibility to promote the biomedical research mission of the NIH. Further, the NIH strives to be a “good neighbor” to the residents living around the NIH campus. Residents in the bordering communities may access the campus as a visitor through one of two visitor entrances — one on the west side of campus at South Drive and Old Georgetown Road (West Gateway Center) and the other at the Metro entrance at South Drive and Rockville Pike (Gateway Center, Building 66). The West Gateway Center is open Monday - Friday; 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and the Gateway Center is open Monday - Friday; 6:00 a.m. – 10:00pm. After 10:00pm and on weekends and holidays, all pedestrians will be directed to the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) to receive a visitor's ID badge.

        In addition, the NIH offers a shuttle bus that runs outside the campus perimeter. This “Campus Perimeter” shuttle is open to anyone, including neighbors, and runs during weekday morning and afternoon rush hours around the exterior roadways of the campus including a stop at the Medical Center Metro station. However, visitors must exit the shuttle at the Medical Center Metro and go inside the Gateway Visitor Center to obtain a visitor's ID badge if they want to enter the campus either as a pedestrian or on a shuttle bus. The Perimeter shuttle route can be found at: http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dats/transportation/NIHShuttleServices/Pages/shuttle.aspx

    • QuestionCan I bring my pet to campus?
      • No. Under Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart C, Section 3.42(b), “A person may not bring on the enclave any cat, dog, or other animal except for authorized purposes. This prohibition does not apply to domestic pets at living quarters or to the exercise of these pets under leash or other appropriate restraints. The use of a dog by a handicapped person to assist that person is authorized.”

    • QuestionDo I still need to display my ID after I enter the campus?
      • ​Yes. Upon entering and while on the grounds of the NIH campus -- employees, contractors, vendors and visitors, etc. must possess and display a valid, NIH-approved ID. An NIH police officer or security guard can ask to see your ID at any time. If an ID is not displayed while on campus, NIH security personnel have no way of knowing whether a person is an actual employee, approved visitor or has entered the campus illegally. Visually displaying an ID helps to alleviate this concern, particularly in situations where someone may be entering a sensitive building or area on campus.

        The only exceptions to this requirement are:

        • Children who are obviously not yet walking – the parent/guardian must be able to carry them through the screening process while the child's stroller, carriage or other carrying device is inspected as appropriate.
        • Children attending a campus child care facility.
        • In-patients of the Clinical Center displaying NIH hospital ID bands within or on the grounds of the Clinical Center , Children's Inn or the Family Lodge. Out-patients will display an extended visitor's ID badge.
        • On duty, non-NIH first responders (police, fire, rescue) on official business within the campus.
        • Residents of the Quarters Housing section while in the immediate vicinity of their residence.
        • Individuals attending certain special events where access and movement is controlled by the Division of Police, Special Events Unit.
    • QuestionAre there any items that are specifically prohibited on the NIH campus?
      • Firearms, explosives, archery equipment, dangerous weapons, knives with blades over 2 1/2 inches, narcotics, controlled substances, alcoholic beverages and open containers of alcohol are examples of prohibited items on the NIH campus.

        Items may not be prohibited from being carried in the state of Maryland, such as pepper spray for personal protection, a pocket knife with a blade over two-and-a-half inches or a handgun with a current and legal concealed weapons permit; however, these same items are prohibited on Federal properties. The Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate Federal Protective Service Directive Number 15.9.3.1, dated 12-10-12 is used as a guideline by HHS. In this directive, a dangerous weapon is defined as: A weapon, device, instrument, material or substance (animate or inanimate), that is used for or is readily capable of causing a death or serious bodily injury, excluding a pocket knife with a blade of less than two-and-a-half inches in length.

        Drugs prohibited by law, on campus, are outlined in the Controlled Substances Act 21 or the United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 841 -- 845. For more information, please visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/.

        Are all tobacco products prohibited on the NIH Bethesda Campus?

        Yes. The use of all tobacco products is prohibited on the NIH Bethesda Campus. This includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco (“snuff”), and any other tobacco products. The use of these products in private vehicles located on the NIH Bethesda Campus is also prohibited. For more information, please visit tobaccofree.nih.gov​ 
  • Building Level Security
    • QuestionDo I need to show my ID badge when I enter a building?
      • No. Not in most buildings. However, it is still important that employees and visitors continue to wear their identification prominently at all times while on campus. Due to the checking of IDs at the perimeter, employees and visitors are not required to show their ID again to gain access to the majority of buildings on the NIH Bethesda campus during the normal business day. However, for a select number of buildings, a guard will still be present and employees and visitors will need to display their badge to gain access. After-hours building access requires the use of an ID badge at an electronic access card reader located at building entrances to gain access to buildings and certain restricted areas within some buildings. 

    • QuestionWhy do I need to show my ID at certain buildings?
      • Guards remain at certain buildings to address specific program requirements such as sensitive research and safety concerns. Additionally, there are some buildings on campus where the building tenants have decided to retain guard services in the building at their own expense.

    • QuestionDo I have access to all entrances at my building or other buildings on campus?
      • Access to building entrances is determined by your Institute/Center. Any requested changes to building access should be discussed with your Administrative Officer.

  • Pedestrian Entrances
    • QuestionAre guards stationed at the pedestrian entrances?
      • Guards and/or police officers are stationed at all pedestrian turnstiles associated with a vehicle entrance. In addition, guards are present at the Gateway Center (Metro) entrance and the West Gateway Center. Guards are not present at the stand-alone pedestrian portals; however each portal is equipped with a call box that employees can use to call the NIH Emergency Communications Center (ECC) in case of need. These entrances are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by ECC personnel. ECC personnel communicate with the employee and when necessary, a police officer is dispatched to assist anyone experiencing a problem. 

    • QuestionHow can I get help if I have a problem using a pedestrian portal or entrance/exit?
      • At pedestrian portals around the campus, call boxes provide direct communication to the NIH Emergency Communications Center (ECC). Personnel actively monitor the pedestrian entrances 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. ECC personnel communicate with the employee and when necessary a police officer is dispatched to assist anyone experiencing a problem. ​

    • QuestionWill my bicycle fit through a pedestrian entrance? Wheelchairs? Umbrellas?
      • Yes. The pedestrian entrances are all designed to be accessible for employees with bicycles, wheelchairs and typical umbrellas (not oversized). ​

    • QuestionWhat are the hours of operation for pedestrian entrances?
      • Pedestrian portals – those stand-alone pedestrian entrances not associated with a vehicular entrance -- are accessible to holders of valid NIH ID badges 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The pedestrian turnstiles associated with vehicle entrances are open during vehicle entrance hours of operation. For a map of campus including the hours of operation for all employee entrances; please visit the NIH Employee Access map at : http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/maps/Pages/Employee-Access-Map.aspx 

    • QuestionCan pedestrians enter at vehicular entrances?
      • Yes. Each vehicle entrance has a pedestrian turnstile or pedestrian portal associated with it. Employees can utilize the pedestrian entrances at vehicle entrances during vehicle gate hours of operation. For a map of campus including the hours of operation for all employee entrances, please visit the NIH Employee Access map at: http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/maps/Pages/Employee-Access-Map.aspx

    • QuestionI ride a moped/scooter to work; can I use a pedestrian entrance?
      • No. Mopeds, scooters and any other motorized vehicle except those used by persons with disabilities are not permitted through pedestrian entrances. Please enter campus via a vehicular entrance when operating any motorized vehicle.

  • Bicycles
    • QuestionI ride my bicycle to work. Where do I enter the campus?
      • To ensure the safety of bicyclists entering campus, bicyclists are strongly encouraged to enter campus through a pedestrian portal or pedestrian turnstile adjacent to a vehicle entrance.

        However, bicyclists may enter campus via any employee vehicle entrance as long as the employee has a valid NIH ID badge. All bicyclists must queue in line along with the motorized vehicles and cannot bypass any line of motorized vehicles. Employees should have their ID badge ready and must stop for badge verification before proceeding on to campus.

        A cyclist should attempt to approach the gate nearest to where the guard/officer is stationed. A security guard or police officer will physically check the ID of the cyclist and swipe it across the reader to record the person’s entry on to campus (the light will not register ‘green’ but your card will still be registered). Once confirmed, the guard/officer will advise the cyclist to ride around the gate arm to gain entry to the campus. At most entrances, the left gate arm has been shortened to allow a biker to safely proceed past the entry point.

        As with motorized vehicles, there may be some situations where traffic patterns need to be adjusted and bicyclists may be asked to enter at a different location.

    • QuestionI ride my bicycle to work. Where do I exit the campus?
      • To ensure the safety of bicyclists entering campus, bicyclists are strongly encouraged to exit campus through a pedestrian portal or pedestrian turnstile adjacent to a vehicle entrance.

        However, bicyclists may exit campus through any employee vehicle entrance. When leaving campus through a vehicle exit, bicyclists must stay within the traffic flow and not bypass motorized vehicles.

        As with motorized vehicles, there may be some situations where traffic patterns may need to be adjusted and bicyclists may be asked to exit at a different location.

  • Vehicle Entrances
    • QuestionWhat are the hours of operation for vehicular entrances?
    • QuestionAre guards stationed at vehicle entrances?
      • Yes. Guards will staff vehicle entrances during vehicle gate hours of operation. Additionally, NIH Police officers will maintain an active presence at vehicle gate entrances to assist as necessary. ​

    • QuestionI am an employee/contractor working on the main Bethesda campus. Will my vehicle be inspected when I enter campus?
      • Yes. The guards will conduct a visual inspection and confirm that all occupants of the vehicle have a valid NIH ID when you enter campus. At elevated alert levels, employee and contractor vehicles may be subject to increased levels of inspection. 

    • QuestionI am an employee/contractor working at an off-campus NIH facility. Will my vehicle be inspected upon entering that campus?
      • If you work at other NIH campus locations (i.e. Poolesville, Bayview, NCI-Ft. Detrick, Rocky Mountain laboratories, Research Triangle Park, etc. ), the guards will conduct a visual inspection and confirm that all occupants of the vehicle have a valid NIH ID when you enter campus. At elevated alert levels, employee and contractor vehicles may be subject to increased levels of inspection. 

        If you work at NIH leased facilities, inspection requirements vary from site to site. You should contact the assigned facility manager of your place of work for further details on security requirements (see ORF Facility Managers​).

    • QuestionDo all the occupants of a vehicle need to have an NIH ID badge or Advanced Accompanied Visitor Pass?
      • Yes. All employees/contractors of a vehicle entering campus need to display an NIH/HHS ID badge.

        Employees with visitors in their vehicle can also apply in advance for an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor Pass' (AAVP). NIH employees are able to access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor's arrival. For more details on how to apply for an AAVP for a visitor, go to www.security.nih.gov/staff/Pages/AAVP.aspx. The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days. With a valid AAVP, visitors can accompany an employee onto campus through any vehicle entrance (employee or visitor entrances).

        NIH employees may also direct their guests to proceed through the regular screening process at one of the visitor entrances in order to obtain a one-day visitor's pass.

    • QuestionAt vehicle entrances, will the guards visually inspect my ID if I already verify my ID at the card reader? Other passengers (with or without IDs)?
      • Yes. The guard and the ID reader work together to ensure proper security measures are followed. The ID reader ensures that the ID is a valid ID that has not expired or been revoked. The guard is present to visually confirm that the picture on the ID matches the person holding the ID. The guard is also present to assist employees in the event that the ID reader does not properly validate the ID. An employee will never be required or asked to get out of a vehicle if he/she cannot reach the reader with ease. A guard is available and willing to swipe an ID for any employee needing this assistance.

        Passengers in the vehicle must also display their NIH Employee Badge to security personnel. If any passenger is not in possession of a valid NIH ID Badge, he/she must proceed to the Gateway Center or Gateway Vehicle Inspection Center and obtain a 1-Day Visitor Badge. When these facilities are closed, the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) must be utilized. 

  • Visitors/Children
    • QuestionWhere do visitors enter the campus?
      • Visitors may access the campus through one of three visitors centers—the NIH Gateway Visitor Center for pedestrians at the Metro entrance (Rockville Pike and South Drive), the NIH Gateway Vehicle Inspection Center or the West Gateway Center at Old Georgetown Road and South Drive. The Gateway Vehicle entrance is open from 5 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday -- Friday and the pedestrian entrance is open from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday -- Friday. The West Gateway Center is open from 6 a.m. – 12 p.m., Monday -- Friday except for federal holidays. After 12:00 p.m., all pedestrians will be directed to the NIH Gateway Visitor entrance (South Drive/Rockville Pike) to receive a visitor's badge. The Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) is open 24 hours, 7 days a week and can accommodate visitors that arrive to campus after normal hours. 

        All visitor vehicles will undergo security screening at the Gateway vehicle entrance located at Rockville Pike, south of South Drive.

        Employees with visitors in their vehicle can also apply in advance for an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor Pass' (AAVP). NIH employees are able to access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor arrival. For more details on how to apply for an AAVP for a visitor, go to www.security.nih.gov or visit the website to request an AAVP.  The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days. With a valid AAVP, visitors can accompany an employee on to campus through any vehicle entrance.
    • QuestionWhere do patients/patient visitors enter the campus?
      • Patients and patient visitors are welcome to enter campus at the NIH Patient Entrance located at West Drive and Cedar Lane during its hours of operation, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., 7 days a week. Clinical Center hospitality staff are present to assist patients and their visitors.  Additionally, patients and patient visitors can access the NIH campus at the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. ​

    • QuestionWhat are acceptable forms of identification for visitors?
      • Valid government-issued photo identification is accepted in order to receive a visitor pass. Examples of acceptable identification include: driver's license, passport, military ID, other government agency IDs, green cards, school IDs. Any visitor 16 years of age and older is required to provide identification in order to receive a visitor ID. Children 15 years of age and younger are not required to provide photo identification in order to obtain a visitor ID.

         

    • QuestionWhat are the hours of operation for the visitor centers?
      • The West Gateway Center is open to pedestrians Monday -- Friday; 6 a.m. – 12 p.m. and the Gateway Visitor Center at Metro is open to pedestrians from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday -- Friday excluding federal holidays. The NIH Gateway Vehicle Inspection Center is open from 5 a.m. -- 10 p.m., Monday -- Friday. The Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

    • QuestionI have a visitor in my vehicle—where do I take him/her?
      • Any visitor without a valid NIH/HHS issued ID needs to obtain a visitor pass prior to entering campus. Visitors accompanying an NIH employee in a vehicle can obtain their visitor pass by having the employee drive through the visitor vehicle inspection lanes at the NIH Gateway Center at Metro, or leave the vehicle and visit one of the visitor centers to get a visitor pass, or applying in advance for an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor's Pass' (AAVP).

        To obtain an AAVP, NIH employees can access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor arrival. For more details on how to apply for an AAVP for a visitor, go to www.security.nih.gov or visit the website to request an AAVP. The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days. With a valid AAVP, visitors can accompany an employee on to campus through any vehicle entrance.

    • QuestionIs there a process to obtain a visitor's pass in advance of visiting the campus?
      • Yes. But, only if the visitor is accompanied by the NIH employee sponsoring the visitor. Employees with visitors in their vehicle can apply in advance for an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor Pass' (AAVP). NIH employees are able to access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor arrival. For more details on how to apply for an AAVP for a visitor, go to www.security.nih.gov or visit the website to request an AAVP. The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days. With a valid AAVP, visitors can accompany an employee on to campus through any vehicle entrance.

    • QuestionDo children need an ID to enter campus unescorted? Is there an age restriction for children not accompanied by an adult?
      • To gain unescorted access to the NIH campus, visitors must be 16 years of age or older. All visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older upon entry. Adults should ensure children remain with them at all times while on the campus.

        Any visitor 16 years of age and older is required to provide identification in order to receive a visitor ID. Children 15 years of age and younger are not required to provide photo identification in order to obtain a visitor ID.

        Parents/Guardians should provide the security guard with the child's name and the child will be issued a visitor's ID. When badges are issued to children under the age of 16, the accompanying adult must be entered into the ID system as a ‘sponsor.' Children who are obviously not yet walking such as infants and young children in strollers, carriages or other carrying devices will not be required to obtain a visitor ID. This policy applies to children of visitors entering campus as pedestrians or in vehicles.

        Recognizing the sensitive nature of screening children, the NIH strives to administer a minimum amount of unintrusive screening on a child. The screening of children is not a security matter, but rather a public safety issue. A visitor's badge provides the NIH with a form of identification and a degree of protection for the child in the event a child becomes lost or separated from the parent/guardian while on campus.​

    • QuestionAre children accompanied by an NIH employee or contractor required to enter via a visitor entrance?
      • No. All NIH employees and contractors with a valid NIH ID badge are allowed to enter campus with a child or children under the age of 16 at any employee or visitor entrance where a guard is present. This policy applies to employees arriving with children in vehicles and as pedestrians at the turnstiles. However, children would not be able to enter via the stand-alone pedestrian portals as there is no guard present at those locations.

        The employee/contractor is required to provide their child/children's first and last name(s) to the security guard or police officer at the entrance.

        An employee/contractor should try to download and fill out an Accompanied Child Visitor Pass (ACVP) PDF Document form in advance of his/her visit to expedite their entry.

        If a child is 16 years of age or older, he/she is still required to enter campus via a visitor entrance and obtain a visitor's ID card or obtain, in advance of his/her visit, an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor Pass' (AAVP). NIH employees are able to access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor arrival. Visit the website to request an AAVP. The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days.

        The registration of children is not a security matter, but rather a public safety issue. Registration provides the NIH with a degree of protection for the child in the event a child becomes lost or separated from the parent/guardian while on campus.

    • QuestionIs there a process to obtain a visitor’s pass for a child of an employee or contractor in advance of visiting the campus with an employee/contractor?
      • Yes. Employees/Contractors holding a valid NIH ID badge should download and fill out an Accompanied Child Visitor Pass (ACVP) PDF Document form in advance of their visit to expedite entry. 

        If a child is 16 years of age or older, he/she is still required to enter campus via a visitor entrance and obtain a visitor's ID card or obtain, in advance of his/her visit, an ‘Advance Accompanied Visitor Pass' (AAVP). NIH employees are able to access a web-based tool from a NIH computer or VPN account in order to request a visitor's pass to the NIH campus in advance. The application for the AAVP must be entered a minimum of 24 hours prior to the visitor arrival. Visit the website to request an AAVP.  The AAVP application allows an employee to request a visitor's pass for up to seven consecutive days.​

    • QuestionAre any provisions available for parents that are not NIH employees dropping off or picking up children at the child care centers?
      • Yes. For those individuals who are not NIH employees but need access to campus in order to drop-off and pick-up a child at the child care centers, the NIH is offering a special type of badge and vehicle permit. The designation for those individuals, whether they are parents, partners, caretakers, carpoolers, etc., will be ‘Transportation Visitor.’ This designation will allow access to pedestrian and vehicle gates at most times. In the case of heightened security levels, all employees and visitors may be required to meet additional conditions.

        We encourage application for the Transportation Visitor badge and permit for persons who regularly pick up or drop off a child or walk to and from METRO via the campus.

        For other family members or friends who only occasionally access the campus, screening at the NIH Visitors entrance at South Drive will be required, just as it is now.

        In order to receive the new Transportation Visitor badge, you will be required to complete a form which provides authorization to the NIH to conduct a background check strictly for the purpose of the issuance of an NIH access badge. The form is available at the day care centers.

        If you have children in both child care programs only one badge and vehicle hanger is required. When your child is no longer enrolled in the NIH Child Care Programs, your Transportation Visitor identification badge will be automatically de-activated.

        All vehicles will still be required to display the “Special Child Care Drop-Off and Pick-Up Permit” when parked in front of the center. These permits will continue to be issued annually at the child care centers by the Division of Employee Services.

        If you have any questions about this service please contact Joy Postell or Mary Ellen Savarese at 301-402-8180. ​

    • QuestionAre any provisions available for spouse and partners who drop off and pick up employees?
      • ​A Spouse or partner who routinely drops off or collects an NIH employee from campus may submit an application for an Extended Visitor's ID Badge if the need directly and critically impacts the mission of the NIH and/or the affected employee has a disability that impairs his/her mobility to or from campus by him or herself. This badge will allow access to the NIH campus for a period of time up to a year from any open vehicle or pedestrian entrance. The badge is eligible for renewal but the approval of such badge is determined on a case by case basis. 

        To request an Extended Visitor ID Badge, the NIH employee sponsoring the applicant will need to download and complete the Extended Visitor ID Badge Application​ PDF Document . Once completed, submitted, reviewed and approved, a background check by way of submission of fingerprinting must be conducted.

        The applicant will need to complete the application by providing his or her full name, social security number, date of birth, address, etc. Once completed the document can be hand delivered to Building 31/B4BE09. Please do not send applications via inter-office mail and/or unencrypted e-mail. The application process typically takes 7-10 business days to process. Those spouses/partners who only visit campus on an occasional basis are asked to go through the normal visitor inspection process to enter campus. 

    • QuestionIs visitor vehicle parking available inside the campus?
      • Yes. Limited visitor vehicle parking is available inside the NIH campus. However, visitors will be encouraged to utilize the visitor parking garage structure at the NIH Gateway Visitor Center at Metro after its completion in 2007. 

        For patients and patient visitors:

        • You may park inside the parking garage of the Clinical Center on the P-1 level and have your parking permit validated at the admissions desk inside the Clinical Center .
        • Patients may also utilize the valet parking service at the North entrance of the Clinical Center .
        • A map showing the Clinical Center parking is available at: http://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/about/visitor/_pdf/campusmap_color.pdf External website PDF Document

        For general visitor parking:

        • The following visitor map details where available visitor parking is available on campus, including limited metered parking. Access the visitor map at: http://parking.nih.gov/visitor_access_map.htm External website
        • Visitor parking is available in the green-shaded areas on this map.
        • Map includes pricing information.

        There are a number of general visitor parking spaces located inside the campus. These lots are located in MLP-8 (Top Level), Lot 4A and adjacent to the Natcher Building . Additionally, there are parking meters throughout the campus. Each of these areas is fee-for-parking with a maximum of $12.00 per day.

        Patient and Patient Visitor parking is also available in the P-1 Level of the Building 10 parking garage. There is no charge for this area for patients and patient visitors. However, patients and patient visitors must obtain validation stamps from the Patient Admission area on the P-1 Level in Building 10.

  • Carpool/Vanpools
  • Shuttles
    • QuestionWhere do I pick up the Campus Shuttle or Campus Limited shuttle buses?
      • The Campus Shuttle and the Campus Limited Shuttle Metro stop are located on the inside of the perimeter fence at the shuttle loop next to the temporary Gateway Visitor Center off of South Drive and Rockville Pike. For a schedule of the Campus Shuttle or Campus Limited Shuttle routes, please visit the NIH Shuttle Maps and Schedules at: http://shuttle.nih.gov External website

    • QuestionAm I required to have an NIH/HHS ID badge or visitor’s pass to enter the campus in an off-campus shuttle?
      • Yes. You need either a valid NIH/HHS Identification Card or a Visitor's Pass to enter the campus.

        If you ride an off-campus shuttle to the campus, the shuttle will enter the campus and stop near the Medical Center Metro stop. All non-NIH/HHS ID holders are required to exit the shuttle and enter the Gateway Visitor Center to obtain a visitor's badge.

        Once you have received your visitor's badge you can board the Campus or Campus Limited Shuttles at the shuttle loop immediately adjacent to the Gateway Visitor Center inside the perimeter fence.

        Once the off-campus shuttle drops off all visitors outside the perimeter fence, the shuttle will stop a second time before entering the campus so a security guard can check all passenger's IDs. Those passengers without an NIH/HHS ID or valid visitor's badge will need to disembark and proceed to the NIH Gateway Visitor Center at Metro to obtain a visitor's pass. Once inside the fence, the Campus or Campus Limited Shuttles will make pickups at the shuttle loop adjacent to the NIH Gateway Visitor Center at Metro. ​

  • Deliveries
    • QuestionI am expecting a delivery. Where should I direct them to enter/exit campus?
      • Commercial vehicle deliveries must undergo security screening at the perimeter of the campus. Currently, these vehicles enter through the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) on Rockville Pike, located between North and Wilson Drives. 

        For vehicles making lunch time food deliveries such as pizza, Take Out Taxi, etc., it is acceptable for the delivery person to enter and exit campus via any visitor vehicle entrance in addition to the Commercial Vehicle Inspection entrance. ​

    • QuestionWhat is the NIH doing to monitor mail and packages to minimize the threat of biohazardous or explosive material causing harm?
      • The NIH has inspected and x-rayed packages and suspicious mail at the North Stonestreet main mail facility even prior to September 11, 2001. The scrutiny was increased after additional anthrax incidents. Staff from the Division of Occupational Health and Safety, the NIH Police, the Division of Emergency Preparedness and Coordination, the Division of Mail and Courier Services and the Division of Fire and Rescue Services collaborated and developed response plans.

        Mail Services staff are given specific training on how to identify suspicious mail, what steps to take with mail, as well as health and safety training on how to deal with potential exposures to hazardous agents. All ICs are instructed to use the NIH main zip code which funnels all mail and packages to the main facility. IC Mail Clearinghouses are provided with some general guidelines and health and safety contact information.

        In addition, all commercial vehicles delivering packages and visitor vehicles are inspected prior to entering campus.

  • Off Campus
  • Emergency Preparedness
    • QuestionHow will the NIH communicate with staff in the event of an emergency?
      • The NIH recognizes the need to have a coordinated communications strategy to ensure unified communication efforts with NIH employees and staff in the event of an emergency. Ensuring timely and consistent information for an organization as large as the NIH is no small task. The NIH is currently utilizing telephone systems, e-mail, websites, emergency radio systems, the AlertNIH service, the building mass notification system and mobile devices to relay emergency information. The AlertNIH​​ service uses a web-based system that can send voice and data to staff during times of emergency. Government owned devices, such as telephone lines or cell phones, will automatically receive alerts that warrant mass distribution. Employees can also choose to receive these alerts on their personal devices (e.g. home and personal cell phones) by updating their information in the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED). In addition to mass notification for the entire NIH population, the NIH has Crisis Response Teams (CRTs) within each Institute and Center. These teams have implemented crisis communication structures that allow for rapid communication within the ICs. 

    • QuestionDuring an emergency, what can we do to expedite building evacuations?
      • At the NIH, every building and floor has designated officials responsible for overseeing emergency evacuations. They are trained to coordinate safe evacuation of a building in the event of a fire or any other emergency that necessitates an evacuation. Evacuation drills for each building are conducted twice a year, in the fall and spring. For more information on the Occupant Evacuation Program, please refer to NIH Manual, Chapter 1430. External website

    • QuestionWhat kinds of coordination does the NIH have in place in the event of an emergency?
      • According to Department of Homeland Security policy, the NIH utilizes the National Incident Management System (NIMS) when responding to emergencies. NIMS ensures that emergency response is coordinated by a Command Officer located on the campus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Command Officer is responsible for directing emergency operations, evaluating the situation, and taking immediate action in an effort to protect lives and property. For larger incidents, the NIH Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan is utilized​ by the Division of Emergency Management to integrate and prioritize resources in support of the NIH mission. Each IC has a Crisis Response Team (CRT) that serves as a critical element in managing emergencies at NIH. When an incident occurs, the NIH COOP coordinates recovery operations with the CRTs, emergency responders, Emergency Support Teams, and NIH Senior Leadership. The NIH COOP also collaborates with the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in support of national needs.

    • QuestionWhat is the NIH's emergency response capability for potential acts of chemical, biological, or radiological terrorism, such as explosions, fires, airborne releases, biohazardous exposures, etc.?
      • The NIH has one of the most highly trained hazardous materials and emergency response teams at any government facility. The NIH has emergency response plans in place for each situation and coordinates response efforts with the various groups responsible for public and employee safety. The NIH also has police officers and other security-related staffing and is strengthening its emergency response plans, including the Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan. The Division of Fire and Rescue Services (DFRS) operates a fully equipped hazardous materials response vehicle and a decontamination trailer designed for large-scale events. The DFRS has the equipment and training to mitigate chemical, biological and radiological emergencies at the NIH and in the surrounding community. The Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) and the Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) have the equipment and expertise to sample and identify agents that pose a biological threat. DOHS and DEP also provide advice and guidance to first responders in the event of potential biological or chemical incidents. The Occupational Medical Service (OMS) has triage capacity to stabilize, treat and refer casualties within the Clinical Center or to community hospitals. The Division of Radiation Safety (DRS) provides radiation safety training and has developed a program for responding to radiological incidents at the NIH and within the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area. In all cases, the DFRS provides first response for detection, triage, decontamination and evacuation in the event of a chemical, biological, or radiological incident. ​

    • QuestionWhat procedures should an employee follow in the event they are asked to evacuate campus?
      • The NIH has continued to refine the existing evacuation and dismissal program for various emergency situations.  In the event of an emergency that requires a dismissal from the NIH Bethesda campus, the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) in cloase collaboration with the Office of Human Resources, will provide dismissal information to the NIH community through a variety of communication methods including telepones, e-mail, websites, emergency radio systems, the AlertNIH​ service, the building mass notification system and mobile devices. NIH personnel located at other off-campus leased facilities should follow the guidance provided by their local emergency management officials.

        In the event that the main campus needs to be evacuated, employees will be directed to the nearest gate based on their parking location. Employees who use mass transit will be directed to the nearest safe mass transit location. Staff may not be able to exit the campus as they normally do -- be sure to familiarize yourself with the NIH evacuation map. External website

    • QuestionWhat resources are available to help me prepare for an emergency at work and at home?
      • If an emergency were to occur, the most important thing you can do to keep yourself and fellow employees safe is to stay calm and follow the instructions provided by emergecny personnel. The NIH has emergency plans in place to provide for the safety and protection of NIH personnel, patients, contractors and visitors. Although we cannot prevent all emergencies, there are many things we can do to be better prepared as individuals, organizations and families. 

        The NIH Employee Emergency Preparedness Handbook External websitePDF Document provides information that will help increase your awareness and improve your preparedness both at work and at home, including ways to coordinate with children and other family members during an emergency. The Division of Emergency Management (DEM) External website website offers many other useful resources to help employees prepare for an emergency at home or work.​