The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

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 experiment 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) if you need a gate pass for site access OR make sure your APS user photo 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 photo badge OR a gate pass. If you don't yet have a photo badge for site access, request a gate pass in My APS Portal.

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

Better check to ensure that your photo badge is valid for the dates you will be on site. An expired badge will not grant you site access. You can renew your registration on line if needed.

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

Not necessarily. You need to make sure you have a current registration with the APS User Office, have up-to-date access documentation, are covered by a User Agreement, and have completed all your required training. All of this can be checked in My APS Portal. 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 possibly denied access.

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 right before my next visit.

Please renew your registration at a minimum of one week prior to your arrival. Certain circumstances may require even more time--contact the User Office if you have any concerns.

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.

Argonne National Laboratory is a controlled access facility. Access to the grounds is granted only to persons whose purpose for visiting is in line with the U.S. Department of Energy's mission. There are many nearby offsite lodging options that families can stay at.

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 must register as users, indicate their status as observers, complete safety training, and follow the rules for observers on floor (e.g., must be escorted at all times, cannot perform any hands-on work).

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.

Each type of registration is processed the same way. To come and conduct your experiment, you must be a registered user. Save everyone time and register as a user!



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