Plan Your Visit Checklist

This checklist includes general requirements that apply to all users and is intended to help you prepare to visit Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). A PDF version is available here. Users must be fully vaccinated (2 weeks past final shot before coming on-site) or receive a negative COVID-19 test at ORNL’s medical facility upon arrival and at least every 7 days while working on-site. Users will be asked about their vaccination status. If users choose to not respond, they will be considered unvaccinated. Site access will be granted to unvaccinated users upon receipt of a negative test from ORNL’s medical department upon arrival.

COVID-19 testing at ORNL’s medical facility MUST be scheduled in advance and results may take 1-2 days after the test is administered. You will need to communicate with the User Office to set up a day and time to be tested.

During times of peak transmission, ORNL may restrict the number of users allowed on-site per experiment as the Laboratory continues to manage on-site density to protect staff and visitors. Current restrictions allow only two experiment team members to be on ORNL campus at any given time. Contact the User Office with any questions on the current guidelines.

Since the current COVID-19 Community Level is LOW, wearing a face covering is optional (regardless of vaccination status). Individuals may choose to wear a mask and are welcome to do so.

Consult the Neutron Sciences User Playbook for more COVID-19 guidance and as a refresher on how we do things around ORNL to ensure safe and productive operations.

Some users may have unique requirements that are not listed. Contact the User Office for any questions. 

Experiment Preparation 

First-time users at HFIR and SNS:

1. Obtain ORNL Site Access Approval

  • The User Office will initiate your invitation after your proposal is approved. Respond promptly to avoid experiment delays.

2. Accept the User Agreement

  • If there is a User Agreement in your account through the ORNL Guest Portal, read and accept it.
  • If there is not a User Agreement in your account, contact the User Office.

3. Read and understand the Neutron Sciences User Charter.


1. Complete prearrival, web-based training

  • ORNL Site Access Training
  • HFIR General User Access Training (GUAT for Neutron Scattering Users) for all HFIR experiments
  • SNS Experiment Hall Access Training for SNS experiments
  • Radiological Worker Training for HFIR and SNS Users
  • Scientific Laboratory Access Training for Neutron Science Users

2. Schedule on-site training (You will be contacted by the User Office and instrument staff to schedule on-site trainings)

  • Practical Factors Evaluation (PFE) and HFIR Supplement (for HFIR users)
  • Instrument specific training 
  • User laboratory specific training 

Traveling to ORNL

Before Arriving 

1. Notify the User Office of your arrival date to ensure site access will be available. 

2. Arrange for accommodations at the ORNL Guest House or an offsite hotel.

Required Identification

1. Bring an ID that is compliant with the REAL ID Act for access to ORNL and the user facilities. 

Additional Identification for Foreign Nationals

1. Bring your current passport.

2. Bring visa documents or LPR “green” card (ex. I-797, DS-2019, I-20 forms or EAD cards).

3. Visitors entering from outside the United States must arrange to enter the United States with a Business-Type Visa, either a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - Business or Visitor Visa - Business (B-1) status.

4. Receive a Visa Waiver-Business (VW-B) or B-1 status stamp at your port of entry.

Transportation to ORNL

1. If traveling by plane, arrange for transportation to ORNL from the airport. If you plan to use a ride sharing service such as Uber or Lyft, we recommend that you call the Visitor Center at (865) 574-7199 to provide your name and the name of the driver. This will expedite your entry at the ORNL portal.

2. If traveling by car, know the driving directions to ORNL.

Getting Around ORNL

1. If you plan not to have a vehicle while at ORNL, understand the extra planning required for getting around the ORNL campus and monitoring your experiment.