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International Awards Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

Where can I find information for international grantees and applicants?

Check the International Awards section of the NIAID Research Funding site for resources, funding, and contact information. Also see the following:

Where can I learn about working on a grant as a non-U.S. citizen?

The Foreign Workers on NIH Awards SOP has information for non-U.S. citizens.

Do I need U.S. affiliation or citizenship to be a grantee or PI?

No. You don't need U.S. affiliation or citizenship to become a grantee or principal investigator (PI) for most award types. Find out more at Requirements for Foreign Investigators, Projects, and Institutions in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Do I need U.S. affiliation or citizenship to be a trainee on a training grant or receive a career award or fellowship?

Yes, with one exception: the K99/R00. For all other career development awards and training grants, you must be a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national, or a permanent resident with a valid Alien Registration Receipt Card (a "green card") at the time of award.

For more information, check our Advice on Research Training and Career Awards.

Does visa status affect my ability to work on an NIH grant?

Read the Foreign Workers on NIH Awards SOP for more information.

Are H-1B visa holders eligible to apply for R01s and R03s, or is it necessary to have a residency card?

Investigators who have an H-1B visa are eligible, but it must allow them to stay in the U.S. long enough to complete their projects. The sponsoring applicant institution is responsible for ensuring that the PI has an appropriate visa.

For more information, see the Foreign Workers on NIH Awards SOP as well as Part 1. Qualify for NIH Funding in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Can foreign applicants succeed in obtaining an NIH grant?

Yes. Foreign applicants can and do succeed in obtaining an NIH grant. They should offer expertise or resources not available here. For more information, see Foreign Applications Have an Extra Review Step in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Do foreign organizations have additional registration steps for electronic applications?

Yes. Foreign organizations must obtain a NATO Commercial and Government Entity code in addition to an Employer ID Number (EIN) and a DUNS number.

The organization's business office registers for these numbers, not the principal investigator.

For more information on registering, see the following:

As a principal investigator, may I register my organization for an Employer ID Number, DUNS number, or other accounts?

No, not as a principal investigator. Your institutional business official should register for an Employer ID Number (EIN), DUNS number, or other accounts such as the eRA Commons.

If your organization makes you the institutional business official, you may register your organization.

Learn more about registration above at Do foreign organizations have additional registration steps for electronic applications?

Are international organizations required to hold a DUNS and register in


Can I register my organization in the eRA Commons in my native language?

Unfortunately, no; our policies require applicant organizations to:

  • Register in English.
  • Use an English translation of their organization's name for the registration.

If I'm applying from a foreign institution, do I need to indicate this on the application?

Yes. All applications have a checkbox for foreign institutions and domestic institutions with a foreign component. For more information, see the Applicants section of the Foreign and International Grants and Components SOP.

Are foreign companies eligible for small business awards?

No. To be eligible for a small business award, a company must be majority owned by U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and conduct all the research funded by the grant in the U.S. This condition makes subsidiaries of foreign companies ineligible unless they are majority owned by U.S. citizens.

For more information on small business awards, see How to Apply and Small Business Awards questions and answers.

What is different about the review of foreign applications?

In addition to standard review criteria, peer reviewers look for additional information in foreign applications, such as whether they can provide expertise or resources that can't be found in the U.S. For further details, read Foreign Applications Have an Extra Review Step in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

For second-level review, NIAID must present foreign applications as special issues to our advisory Council. See the Special Issues Requiring Council Review SOP for more information.

Who can and cannot work with sensitive materials?

For a list of restricted persons, see the Foreign Workers on NIH Awards SOP.

Do foreign applications involving select agents have a special review and approval process?

Yes. Read the Select Agent Awards SOP for an overview. For a more detailed look, go to the NIAID Select Agent Research Review and Approval Procedure for New and Continuing Grants That Include Foreign Institutions and NIAID Select Agent Policy for Foreign Institutions questions and answers.

For human subjects, are there special requirements for foreign grantees, foreign subawardees, or domestic grantees with foreign research sites?

Yes. You must take special steps to get a Federalwide Assurance (FWA) and approval from the institutional review board (IRB) or institutional biosafety committee (IBC). Learn more in the IRB, IEC, and FWA Requirements for International Research section of the NIAID Human Subjects Application and Grant Handbook.

You may also have regulatory requirements from the country where you conduct your research, as explained in Investigating Foreign Populations of the NIAID Human Subjects Application and Grant Handbook.

For research animals, are there special requirements for foreign grantees and subawardees?

Yes. You must take special steps to get an Animal Welfare Assurance from the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. Read more in the following sections of How to Write an Application Involving Research Animals:

Does an American citizen living in a foreign country have a better chance of being funded than a foreigner?

No. Being an American citizen does not give you an advantage since funding decisions are based on the quality of your application.

Are foreign institutions eligible to receive money for alterations and renovations?

Yes and no. It depends whether the A&R costs are more or less than $500,000. See Allowable and Unallowable Costs in the Grants Policy Statement for more information.

Learn about grants management in the Grants Policy and Management Training for Foreign Investigators.

May a foreign subaward institution use facilities and administrative (F&A) costs to pay for alterations and renovations?

No. We pay for alterations and renovations as direct costs, not F&A costs—regardless of whether an institution is foreign or domestic. For questions about spending on your grant, please contact your grants management specialist.

Learn about grants management in the Grants Policy and Management Training for Foreign Investigators.

Are there special budget requirements for applications from foreign institutions?

Yes. Foreign applicants must submit a detailed budget and may use a facilities and administrative costs (F&A) rate of up to 8 percent. Read more in Part 6. Receiving and Spending Money of the Grants Policy and Management Training for Foreign Investigators.

Is the salary scale for foreign applicants different from that of U.S. applicants, and if so, how is it determined?

NIH doesn't have a salary scale for foreign applicants. However, see our advice under Direct Costs, Personnel of our Grants Policy and Management Training for Foreign Investigators. Also see the next question.

Should foreign PIs use salary caps?

Yes. NIH has salary limits, called a salary cap. Check PI Salary Cap and Stipends or your business office for the latest figure for the current year.

For further details on caps, go to our Salaries and Stipends questions and answers.

Can NIH funding support a foreign postdoctoral fellow?

Foreign postdoctoral fellows may work on NIH-funded research grants except fellowships or training grants.

If I relocate to another country, can I take my NIH funding with me?

Possibly, though the approval process is complex. First, contact your institution. It must be willing to transfer your grant to a new institution. This move can be complicated, and NIAID is not involved with that decision or any negotiations related to it.

If your institution approves the move, submit a prior approval request to your grants management specialist. Your program officer will review your request, which NIAID's advisory Council must also approve. Follow the instructions in our Prior Approvals for Post-Grant Award Actions SOP.

If I relocate to a new country, can I take NIH-funded equipment with me?

Yes. If your grantee organization agrees, you may take the equipment to a new site. Your organization needs to submit an Official Statement Relinquishing Interests and Rights in a Public Health Service Grant form (PHS 3734). Grants management and program staff will review the form, then send it to the NIAID Advisory Council for approval.

Can I include my foreign collaborator as a co-PI on an NIH application?

NIH allows awards to foreign investigators, so that part is not an issue. Most applications have one PI and lots of key personnel.

A small number are multiple-PI applications, but we strongly suggest you get advice from an NIH program officer before planning a multiple-PI application. This approach is quite complex and has many requirements and caveats. Use NIAID's When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer in your science area.

You can read more at Design a Project in the Strategy for NIH Funding

How does an international grantee receive funds?

See How Does NIH Issue Funds? in the Grants Policy and Management Training for Foreign Investigators.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.

Last Updated June 04, 2013

Last Reviewed June 04, 2013