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Extension Exceptions for Non-FTE Trainees for COVID-19

We appreciate that the current pandemic and the potential for a prolonged slow-down of research activities may affect the NIH training experience and educational/career transition of intramural trainees. Therefore, we are providing guidance regarding potential extensions of the training period due to the SARS-Cov-2/COVID-19 pandemic. In general, pre-existing mechanisms will be used for requesting extensions with the understanding that these requests will require rapid turnaround given these unique circumstances.

General Procedural Notes

  • Renewals that were previously scheduled should be processed remotely during this telework period; trainees can also complete their health insurance re-enrollment process remotely.
  • Trainees expected to terminate between now and September 30, who now need an extension should talk with their PI and then follow trainee-specific procedures for requesting an extension. In general, extension requests not involving entering into the exceptional 6th year for IRTA/CRTA, or not involving a visa process, should be processed within five business days, although more complicated cases may require additional time.

Extensions for Postbac IRTA/CRTAs

  • No approval is needed to extend a second-year postbac for an additional three months beyond their termination date.
  • Postbacs seeking a third year exceptional extension should follow guidance at the OIR Sourcebook Renewals section. For more details on this process, please reference this document on the OIR Sourcebook. Questions about this process should be directed to Dr. Yewon Cheon.
  • Postbacs in their third-year who require a short extension given these unique circumstances should email Dr. Sharon Milgram directly.

For Predoc IRTA/CRTAs and Visiting Fellows

  • Guidance is provided at the OIR Sourcebook in the Renewals sections for Predoc-IRTA/CRTAs and Predoc Visiting Fellows, with the following change -- interviews will not be required for extensions of 6-months or less. Questions about this process should be directed to Dr. Philip Wang.

For Postdoc IRTA/CRTAs and Visiting Fellows

  • IRTA/CRTAs currently in their 4th to 5th year at NIH may request a 6-month extension past the 5th year without incurring the “no remain or return to NIH for 2 years” condition for entering an exceptional 6th year at NIH. Those requests must be in a memo from the responsible IRP PI, approved by the SD, and sent to Dr. Sharon Milgram who will review, decide and document the decision.
  • IRTAs/CRTAs who wish to have a full 6th year must follow existing rules requiring “no remain or return to NIH for 2 years” and these will be processed as they are now. 
  • Because of individual immigration histories, Visiting Fellows currently in their 4th to 5th year may request a 6-month extension past the 5th year, provided they are eligible for a G7 J1 visa, without incurring the “no remain or return to NIH for 2 years” condition for entering an exceptional 6th year at NIH. Those requests must be filed with Division of International Services (DIS) directly and include all the documents necessary as outlined on the DIS website.
  • IRTA/CRTAs who are already on an exceptional terminal 6th year at NIH may not readily receive a further extension. Requests for truly exceptional situations (such as for a K99 recipient or change in employment start date as a result of the current situation) may be sent in a memo from the IRP-responsible PI and approved by the SD. The memo should be sent to Dr. Sharon Milgram who will consult OIR for a final decision.
  • Visiting Fellows who are already on an exceptional terminal 6th year at NIH may not readily receive a further extension. Requests for truly exceptional situations (such as for a K99 recipient) may be sent in a memo from the IRP-responsible PI, approved by the SD, to DIS with other required documents as outlined on the DIS website.
  • For postdoctoral fellows now on their 3rd year or less at NIH, the pandemic impact on their research timeline will be taken into consideration when the time comes (at the end of their 4th year or in their 5th year), for a terminal up to 6-month extension without incurring the 2-year no remain/no return condition. This exception will be on a case-by-case basis and will need to be endorsed by the Scientific Director and evaluated for approval by OIR for IRTA/CRTA and by DIS and OIR for VFs. For VFs that require the terminal up to 6-month extension in the G-7 program, the request must be submitted 6-months in advance to DIS.

First Established:
Friday, March 27, 2020 - 12:30pm

The page was last updated on Monday, July 13, 2020 - 2:51pm