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  1. Field Management Directives

ORA Procedures for Arranging Foreign Visitor Program Activities

ORA Procedures for Responding to Foreign Visitor or Information Requests
Operations Management
Date Revised:March, 25 2010


To provide ORA headquarters and field offices with procedures for assisting the International Staff in arranging visits of government and industry representatives from foreign countries.


Headquarters Responsibility

The Agency receives numerous requests each year to accommodate visiting international governmental counterparts as well as international industry. The international governmental inquiries include both requests for domestic activities or for activities outside the U.S. Typical governmental requests are site visits to a HQs office, Regional/District Office or laboratory.

The Agency policy prefers that most International visits take place at HQs. This is to save field resources for only the most critical requests. We also want to make certain that we convey the most current Agency position and coordinate with each other Agency components. There are exceptions to this process depending on the nature of the request as well as the current Agency position at the time of the request.

Any international governmental request relating to FDA activities should officially be submitted to Office of International Programs (OIP) via the country's respective embassy/consulate to ensure equitable and consistent treatment of international visitors.

Security and policy concerns are important factors that need to be taken into consideration prior to a final Agency decision being made on a specific request. OIP is FDA's link to the US State Department and other national governments where this security and policy information is made available to them on a daily basis. OIP will work with ORA and the various Centers to develop appropriate responses for the Agency. At no time should a headquarters' or field employee agree to an international request without consultation with ORA headquarters (specifically the ORO International Program Manager) and OIP.

We would prefer to send an official response within 7-10 business days from the first contact with FDA. The more information we have from the requestor the more efficient we can be in providing a timely response.

Region/District Responsibility

Requests received to the field for visits from foreign industry or visiting scientists need to be submitted to the ORA/ORO International Program Manager. Please submit as much of the following information via email holly.hall@fda.hhs.gov with a justification as to why the request should be accommodated:

  • Requestor name(s) — everyone that plans to visit
  • The country each visitor represents
  • Reason for the visit
  • Proposed itinerary
  • Each visitors title, the organization they work for
  • Each visitors business address (street, city, country, zip, etc)
  • Phone and fax numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Time period (specific dates) the visit will take place. Determine if there is any flexibility in dates or schedule
  • Detailed list of questions/issues that our counterparts are in search of or inquiring about
  • If you can gain a CV for all the visitors that would be helpful
  • If the request is to attend a training course, please have the requestor specify which course and basis for the request.

All official international responses to requests will be provided by OIP via email to the requestor with a cc to all Agency parties involved.


Headquarters Responsibility

The agency receives requests for information almost on a daily basis. We want to be sure we are delivering the most current information on Agency thinking and policy. Requests received from international contacts for information have to be reviewed by the Freedom of Information Act staff to be sure non-public information is not released.

Examples of information requests can be for inspectional information, an EIR, or import information from a foreign country. It is headquarters responsibility to be sure the information correct.

District Responsibility

If a district is contacted directly by a foreign country for information related to FDA activities, the district office should contact the ORA/ORO International Program Manager for help in processing the request. Headquarters will engage with OIP to facilitate and process the request.

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