Late Applications SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To define when NIH may accept a late application.


NIH expects applicants to submit applications on time. However, within a two-week window of an application due date, the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) may consider accepting a late application for any funding opportunity announcement if a principal investigator has an NIH-accepted reason for submitting late. The only time NIH will not consider accepting a late application is when a request for applications (RFA) states in the Application Due Date field "No late applications will be accepted for this funding opportunity announcement."

NIH-accepted reasons include documented federal electronic systems issues; natural disasters; personal tragedies; and full-time, temporary, or ad hoc service on an NIH advisory group in the two months before or two months after an application due date. For natural disasters, NIH issues special Guide notices with instructions for late applications.

Neither CSR nor NIAID may give permission in advance for a late submission. But if a principal investigator has an NIH-accepted reason, he or she should provide an explanation in the cover letter submitted with the late application.

Investigators eligible for continuous submission may submit investigator-initiated R01, R21, and R34 applications at any time. This privilege does not apply to applications submitted for special receipt dates, which includes RFAs and some PARs.

For guidelines about submitting additional materials after the application deadline, read Late Applications and Post-Submission Materials in Apply for a Grant.

Investigators and Applicants

Investigators Eligible for Continuous Submission

  • Confirm you are eligible for continuous submission—see the NIH Continuous Submission page for a list of who is eligible.
  • If eligible, apply for an investigator-initiated R01, R21, or R34 grant (both AIDS and non-AIDS related) at any time instead of on standard submission dates. This privilege does not apply to applications submitted for special receipt dates, which includes RFAs and some PARs.
  • When you apply, include a cover letter with the following information:
    • Statement that you're an appointed member of an NIH advisory group
    • Name of the advisory group you're serving on
    • Your period of service on that advisory group
  • Note that if you apply for continuous submission, you may not request assignment to a study section.

NIAID Extramural Staff


Applicants with questions should contact the scientific review officer listed in the funding opportunity announcement.

If you have knowledge to share or want more information on this topic, email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.


NIH Late Policy–Key Points for NIH Staff

SF 424 Application Guide 

Apply for a Grant

Serving on a Peer Review Committee

Understanding Due Dates, Preparation Time & Review Cycles

Timelines for Assignment, Review, and Funding​​

Content last reviewed on April 7, 2016