Getting a Restricted Local Access (RLA) Badge

The Restricted Local Access (RLA) Badge

Starting July 14, 2014, NIH began issuing a new type of identification credential, the Restricted Local Access (RLA) Badge. The RLA serves the same purpose as the PIV Card, providing both physical and logical (NIH Network and IT systems) access. Candidates for the new badge will include:
  1. Short-term staff (at NIH less than six months)
  2. Summer Students 
  3. Foreign nationals
When an Administrative Officer requests an ID badge in the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED) for anyone in these categories, a request for an RLA Badge will automatically be generated. An RLA Badge is valid for 3 years when issued to foreign nationals. RLA Badges issued to short-term staff are valid for a maximum of 6 months. RLA Badges issued to summer students will be valid through September 30 of the year issued.

Purpose of the RLA Badge
NIH worked with HHS to develop the RLA Badge in order to meet HSPD-12 security guidelines for individuals who do not qualify for an HHS ID Badge (PIV Card). The new RLA Badge is an NIH-issued smart card that can be used for physical access to NIH facilities and logical access to NIH information systems. It looks similar to the HHS ID Badge and will contain an embedded computer chip and an orange stripe.

The Process for Issuing an RLA Badge
The process for issuing an RLA Badge will be similar to the PIV process used to issue HHS ID Badges.
  1. Badge Request in NED
    When an AO requests an ID badge for anyone in the above categories, NED will automatically default the request to an RLA Badge,

  2. Enrollment Appointment with DPSAC
    All individuals receiving an RLA Badge will require an enrollment appointment with DPSAC. Enrollment appointments are 20 minutes and consist of identity proofing, fingerprint capture and a photograph. The individual must bring two forms of acceptable identification as provided on the Federal I-9 form. One must be a Federal- or State-issued ID and both must be unexpired. .

  3. Background Investigation Forms
    Everyone receiving an RLA Badge must complete the appropriate background investigation. Short-term staff will undergo a fingerprint check only. Foreign nationals will undergo the appropriate investigation based on their position at NIH and length of time in the United States. DPSAC will ensure that individuals receive the appropriate forms to complete (if required).

  4. Badge Issuance
    Once the steps are complete, individuals will be instructed to schedule an appointment to pick up their RLA Badge. Badge issuance takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and individuals must bring a photo ID to their appointment.

    Foreign nationals currently possessing an HHS ID Badge or NIH legacy badge will receive an RLA badge upon renewal; those categorized as 'short-term' staff will be issued an HHS ID Badge upon renewal since, by definition, they will no longer be short term.

Special Notes Regarding Foreign Nationals

  1. Badge Expiration Dates: NIH sees a large number of foreign nationals who join its workforce each July. If these foreign nationals had a badge requested in NED before July 14, 2014, NED defaulted to a 5 year HHS ID Badge. Any badge request for foreign nationals after July 14, 2014 is defaulted to a 3 year RLA Badge.

  2. No Social Security Number: Please be advised that DPSAC will NOT issue any type of ID badge to individuals without a Social Security Number (SSN) who plan to be working at NIH longer than six (6) months. Individuals without an SSN who fall into this category must access the NIH facilities as a daily visitor. 

  3. Alien Authorized to Work Until Date (AAWUD): The Division of International Services (DIS),ORS, must clear all foreign nationals placed at the NIH before badge issuance. This clearance ensures that foreign nationals are lawful to be in the U.S. and are authorized to work at the NIH.

  4. Please note that if the AAWUD lapses, NED will immediately initiate a revocation of the affected foreign national’s ID badge. Therefore, it is important for the NIH administrative community to coordinate with DIS to ensure DIS updates a foreign national’s AAWUD if appropriate. At the three-year mark of residence in the U.S., a background check requirement will be triggered.

  5. Foreign National PIV Card (HHS ID Badge) Renewals: Due to limitations in the HHS card management system, AOs who are in the process of renewing the PIV Card for a foreign national after July 14, 2014 will cause the individual’s current PIV card to be immediately deactivated. DPSAC is recommending that the badge appointment be made on the same day as the sponsorship action to help avoid any interruption of physical or logical access due to a deactivated badge.