Who Can Give Permission For a Late Application?


The truth is—no one. Not the staff at any of our help desks, not the Center for Scientific Review, not the NIH institute or center staff.  The policy states, “permission for a late submission is not granted in advance.”

So what can you do?

  • Avoid being late by submitting well before the deadline (as in days, not hours or minutes) to allow time to correct errors and/or address warnings identified in the submission process.
  • Carefully read the NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications which provides guidance on how NIH handles late submissions and the timeframes in which late applications will be considered.
  • If you feel your reason for submitting late falls within the acceptable guidelines for late submission, then document your case in the cover letter and submit. The timing and reason for your late submission will be evaluated and a decision made.
  • If your explanation is listed in the examples of unacceptable reasons or falls into a similar category, then you will need to rework your application and submit for a different deadline or opportunity.


  • Automated email notifications are often victims of spam-filtering, but the application guide clearly states (Part I, Section 2.11) that you are strongly encouraged to periodically check on your application status in the eRA Commons. 
  • The late policy cannot be used as a way to get around the “error correction window” being eliminated (NOT-OD-10-123). “For electronic submissions, correction of errors or addressing warnings after the due date is not considered a valid reason for a late submission.”
  • If the information you needed is available to you in the application guide or announcement, even if you tried to call for help and didn’t get a call back in time, then you really don’t have a legitimate reason for being late. So use available resources.
  • If you have a Grants.gov or eRA Commons system issue(s) threatening the timely submission of your application, then closely follow the directions provided in the “Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues.” If the eRA Commons help desk verifies a system “bug” or service interruption has occurred, then they will provide you instructions to complete the submission. You are expected to immediately (in most cases within the same business day) make the correction and complete the submission process. Failure to quickly follow through after guidance is given may result in your application being denied further consideration.

Again, the best practice is to submit early.