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Do You Have Questions?

Below you'll find answers to the most common questions you may have related to the Emergency Services Office (ESO). If you still can't find the answer you're looking for, just contact us!

ESO FAQs Image




The Visitor Center's hours of operation are Monday through Friday (excluding weekends & federal holidays*).

  • Gaithersburg Campus: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm (ET)  
  • Boulder Campus: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm (MT)

*Hours may change due to special circumstances including federal holidays, weather, or emergencies.

Business hours are 6:00 am to 7:00 pm (ET/MT) Monday through Friday (excluding weekends and federal holidays). Registered visitors may visit campus during regular business hours.

Yes, Visitors can enter campus outside of normal business hours. A NIST employee is required to submit an “After-Hours Request Form” to the Emergency Services Office.

Yes, all visitors must abide by the same policy. Visitors are allowed 10 visits per year using a paper badge. If you plan to exceed 10 visits a year, you must have an employee sponsor you to receive a Site Badge.

The driver of the vehicle must be able to provide a valid original copy of the Vehicle Registration and a state Real ID Driver’s License.  Expired documents will not be accepted.

No, unauthorized vehicles parked behind the Visitor Center are subject to ticketing and removal. Visitors must complete a vehicle inspection to be authorized for campus access and then drive their vehicle to their designated location.

Yes, please have your sponsor schedule an appointment at the Badge Office and register you as a visitor. Please stop at the Visitor Center when you arrive on campus and pick up your visitor’s pass.

All visitors/guests requesting access to a NIST campus require a federal employee to sponsor them. Once approved, NIST visitors/guests can access NIST campuses during Business Hours (6:00 am – 7:00 pm (ET/MT), M-F). All visitors 16 years of age and older must be preregistered by their sponsor. Citizenship and Permanent Residency must be verified by your sponsor before they can register you for a visit. If the visitor is a non-U.S. Citizen, a NIST-1260 form must be completed by your sponsor.

For the most current information about NIST tours, please visit the NIST Public and Business Affairs webpage for tour details.

Yes. There are designated smoking areas in outdoor locations, away from air intake ducts, building entrances, walkways, parking lots, and other areas where non-smoking employees, associates, and visitors could be exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Please look for designated areas. It is NIST's Smoking Policy to protect non-smoking employees, associates, and visitors on sites owned and operated by NIST from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.).

Yes. Please see below for prohibited items*:

  • Firearms of any kind including toy guns or toy weapons.
  • Ammunition of any kind.
  • Flammable or explosive materials, including gunpowder or fireworks.
  • Archery arrows and slingshots.
  • Dangerous weapons.
  • Knives with blades over 2.5 inches.
  • Narcotics/controlled substances.
  • Alcoholic beverages.

*Some items might be legal in your State; however, these same items are prohibited on Federal properties.

Federal law prohibits the possession of firearms or other dangerous weapons in all Federal facilities by all persons not specifically authorized by 18 USC 930. Violators will be subject to fines and/or imprisonment for periods up to five (5) years.

No, the card readers at NIST are configured to recognize NIST and other approved Department of Commerce PIV cards. If you have not visited the NIST Badge Office and have been notified your badge can be used, then it will not work on campus.

No. Code of Federal Regulations Under Title 41 § 102-74.425 Dogs and Other Animals No person may bring dogs or other domestic animals on federal property, other than for official purposes. However, service dogs are allowed.

Individuals under the age of 16 do not need to be registered prior to arrival, however, they must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Children younger than 16 years old do not need to be registered, however, they must be accompanied by an adult at all times. All children 16 years of age and older must obtain a visitor pass and follow the standard NIST visitor policy.

Non-NIST employee parents/guardians authorized to pick up children will be issued a “Limited Access Pass” for Childcare. Guidelines below:

  • Issued for a one-year duration or until the child is no longer attending the facility.
  • Allow access to public areas only.
  • Permits to access the site Monday - Friday, 6:00 a.m. - 7: 00 p.m. (ET/MT).
  • Passes must be returned to the Issuing Office upon the expiration of the pass or upon the termination of site access privileges.

          Gaithersburg: Submit to Badging Office, Administration Building 101/Room B08, or fax to 301-975-3303.

          Boulder: Submit to the Visitor Center or fax to 303-497-7402 or 303-497-6370.

  • Visitors must be sponsored by a NIST employee.

No, there is no designated visitor parking on the NIST campuses. However, on the NIST Boulder campus, all personnel entering the site must display a valid parking permit obtained in the Visitor Center:

  • BLUE parking permit denotes those personnel who have been issued a Boulder Site Access badge. 
  • RED parking permit is used for all visitors. 
  • Non-Boulder Labs Federal employees will be issued a RED parking permit for the length of their stay by the guard at the Vehicle Check Point. 
  • Motorcycles do not require a parking permit. 


Building Level Security

While on campus, all persons, including visitors must display their NIST-issued credentials above their waist at all times.

While on campus, all persons, including visitors must display their NIST-issued credentials above their waist at all times.

Foreign National Visitors

Executive Order 12977 states that each executive agency and department shall cooperate and comply with the policies and recommendations of the Interagency Security Committee (ISC). The ISC develops security standards and best practices. Consistent with these standards and practices, NIST’s security program includes screening visitors who do not have a valid NIST-issued Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card. These procedures were put in place after the events of September 11, 2001. Every visitor goes through a mandatory physical screening process when visiting the NIST similar to airport security.

​If you are planning a visit to NIST campuses and do not have a NIST-issued badge, the following is a list of suitable documents visitors can present to gain access to the campus. All documents must be valid (i.e., an original document that has not expired)

U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents

Foreign Nationals

  • REAL ID Driver’s License or State Identification Card*
  • An original Passport or Passport Card
  • DOD Common Access Card (CAC)
  • Veteran ID, Federal Agency HSPD-12 IDs
  • Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC)
  • TSA Trusted Traveler ID
  • Foreign Passport
  • Visa



Extremely time-sensitive deliveries must be coordinated with the ESO Director or designee 48 hours prior to emailing eso [at] (eso[at]nist[dot]gov)). Deliveries must have the appropriate documentation (i.e., shipping label, Manifest, or Bill of Landing).  No generic addresses (i.e., “NIST 100 Bureau Dr. Gaithersburg, MD 20899,” or “325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305”) are permitted.

Yes. Ensure that you always have your Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) identification in your possession.

Fire Department (Gaithersburg Only)

Yes, scheduled classes are offered to NIST employees only.

Yes. We respond off campus to support them, and they respond to our campus to support us.

Call your local Montgomery County Fire & Rescue station or 240-777-0311 or visit

Emergency Procedures

You can call the NIST Status Line for a recorded message containing the campus operational status or go to the Campus Status website:

  • Gaithersburg Status Line: Call (301) 975-8000 or (800) 437-4385, extension 8000​

Campus Status website:

  • Boulder Status Line: Call (303) 497-4000 or (303) 497-3000, Option 2 

Campus Status website:

Familiarize yourself with your location when you arrive on campus. In the event of an emergency alarm, remain with your NIST sponsor or designated NIST escort to be instructed on the appropriate response procedures.


Specific to Boulder Campus

The trailhead is located at the base of the NIST access Road, accessible via public sidewalk off King Avenue or off Broadway/US 93. 

Vehicle access to the Mesa is restricted. You can take the sidewalk that starts on Broadway or off King Avenue and follow it up the edge of campus until you reach the NIST access dirt road.

Lost & Found

: Employees and visitors can report your lost or found item by contacting Campus Police:

                        Gaithersburg Campus: 301-975-2805 (non-emergency)

                        Boulder Campus: 303-497-3530 (non-emergency)


To learn more about what the National Institute of Standards and Technology does and provides, please visit the NIST Homepage.

Created August 16, 2023, Updated September 26, 2023