User Access Myths Debunked!

I just heard that my general user proposal has been awarded time in the upcoming cycle. That’s all I need—I can show up at the APS at my appointed time, right?

Nope! Before you actually begin your beam time here, you need to confirm the schedule with your beamline host, complete (or have the on-site spokesperson for your experiment complete) an Experiment Safety Assessment Form (ESAF), check in through My APS Portal ("check in" tab), and make sure your APS user badge is current (if you have one).

I have reservations at the Argonne Guest House. That’s all I need to get on site.

Actually not. You still need a valid APS user badge or a gate pass. Check with the User Office if you’re not sure your badge is valid or you don’t have one.

I have a photo APS User badge now. That’s all I need to get on site.

Better check. If you are a U.S. citizen and you have a photo badge without an expiration date, you need a new badge. If you are not a U.S. citizen, check the expiration date on your badge to make sure it is AFTER you plan to be here. Otherwise, contact the User Office.

My experiment spokesperson tells me I’m listed on an ESAF. I’m covered, right?

Not necessarily. You need to make sure you have registered with the APS User Office, have up-to-date access documentation, are covered by a User Agreement, and have completed all your required training. Otherwise, the experiment may have to go on without you.

I have an expired badge. I can just show up; Argonne has everything they need.

Unless you’ve provided up-to-date access documentation to the User Office and have been notified that your continued access has been approved, you’ll be stopped at the gate and perhaps sent away.

The Argonne Information Center will update my documentation as long as I provide a copy of my new passport/visa. Then I can get on site.

The Argonne Information Center does not update your documentation. Submit your registration to the APS User Office along with updated passport/visa information before you travel to Argonne. Any time you have an information change, submit an updated registration. We notify you by email when access documentation is approved.

I’ve been approved for access at Brookhaven and Lawrence Berkeley Lab. That means I’m okay for Argonne, right?

Not at all! Each national laboratory has to arrange for its own access. Sometimes having approval from another national laboratory will speed up the process for Argonne, but that’s not a given.

If my home institution has changed, I can just change it on the GUP or ESAF to update my user information.

The GUP and ESAF databases do not automatically update your user information. Register as a “returning user” to view and update your most recent registration information.

As a non-U.S. citizen, I only need site access approval if I am physically coming to the APS.

Non-U.S. citizens must have site access approval for remote work, too. All remote users must complete the on-line cyber training.

I only need a User Agreement if I am an on-site user.

User Agreements are required for remote and mail-in work, too. See the User Agreements list for a current list of institutions with active User Agreements. If you have any questions about User Agreements, please contact the User Agreements Specialist (

My clearance as a non-U.S. user has expired—but I can wait to register until before my next visit.

Keeping your clearance status current would streamline your visit process in the event you get last-minute beam time. Better to stay up-to-date with your user registration information.

I am bringing my spouse (and/or children) with me on my visit to the APS. Because they are not doing any work, I don't need to do anything additional to have them come.

Any person coming onto Argonne National Laboratory grounds must complete a visitor registration form.

I am bringing a visitor(s) to the floor during my experiment, but they are only going to observe. I don't need to do anything additional to have them come because they are not doing any work.

Observers/visitors must register as visitors and follow the rules for visitors on floor (e.g., must be escorted at all times, cannot perform any hands-on work). Any person coming on to Argonne National Laboratory grounds must complete a visitor registration form.

I registered a week ago and haven't received anything yet, but “no news is good news” and I may assume my paperwork is in progress.

Check with the User Office—it may simply be that your registration confirmation e-mail has been misrouted or that a computer problem has resulted in your registration not being received at all. Check before you travel!

I'll register as a visitor rather than a user. I'll get processed faster that way.

This was true at one time, but no longer! Each type of registration is processed the same way. To come and conduct your experiment, you must be a registered user. A visitor must be under strict supervision while on the experiment hall floor, and visitors cannot do hands-on work. Save everyone time and register as a user!


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