Services - Know Before You Go
DPSAC Process Overview

Welcome!

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives.

For the next few days you will be working closely with the Division of Personnel Security and Access Control (DPSAC) to satisfy all of the federally mandated requirements for obtaining a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) ID badge and/or background investigation required for your position with the U.S. Government. These requirements will need to be completed before you can start your new position or be granted access to NIH facilities.

The steps are provided to help you successfully complete the Personal Identity Verification process.

Please click on each different step below for more detail.

1. Administrative Sponsorship

1. Administrative Sponsorship

Before candidates arrive at NIH, they will be assigned an Administrative Officer (AO) from their Institute or Center who will sponsor the request for their ID badge. 

The AO will register the individual into the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED), select an Enter on Duty (EOD) date and sponsor the individual for a PIV or RLA badge. Only certain badge account requests are processed by DPSAC via a web service call from the NED system.*

The following types of requests are processed by DPSAC:

  • HHS PIV Badge Requests (Long term, more than 6 months; Employees, Contractors, Fellows, Guest Researchers, etc.)
  • Restricted Local Access (RLA) Badge Requests (Foreign Nationals in the U.S. less than 3 years; Short Term less than 6 months; Summer Students)
  • Cllinical Rotators; Tenants; Volunteers
  • Position Sensitivity Level upgrades/downgrades
  • Critical Data Changes (Name change or Citizenship change)

The following requests are processed by the NIH Police:

  • Legacy badges for Special Government Employees (these individuals undergo an NCIC check) 
  • Extended Visitor Badges for patients, service providers, blood donors, etc. (these badges do not require NED entries)

* AOs can have the applicant fill out their personal information

2. Background Investigation Requirements

2. Background Investigation Requirements

Prior to DPSAC Processing, all non-U.S. citizens must first be vetted by the NIH Division of International Services (DIS) to validate employment eligibility and legal status. DIS does not process Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR). AOs should request proof of citizenship from the Foreign National (FN)/LPR to avoid errors in the Citizenship/LPR registration fields in NED. 

Once the AO sponsors the non-immigrant Foreign National for their account and RLA badge, the case is routed to DIS to validate the individual's work authorization. The individual will be required to visit DIS with their admission/visa documentation, and DIS will use this to enter the individual's "Alien Authorized to Work Until Date (AAWUD)." Once DIS completes validation favorably, the case wll be routed to DPSAC if the individual requires access to NIH facilities and/or information systems. 

DPSAC cannot prescreen candidates who do not possess a valid U.S. Social Security Number. 

Please visit the DIS website for more information at:
https://www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dis/Pages/default.aspx

3. Enrollment Services (Photo & Fingerprinting and Identify Proofing) for your badge

3. Enrollment Services (Photo & Fingerprinting and Identify Proofing) for your badge

Once the AO sponsors the candidate's PIV/RLA badge request for access to NIH facilities and information systems, the NED system sends a web service call to the Division of Personnel Security and Access Control (DPSAC) Background Investigations Tracking System (BITS) to open a case to process the candidate. At this point, DPSAC begins Prescreening. 

Prescreening includes the collection and review of the following:

  • Fingerprints
  • OF-306 Declaration for Federal Employment
  • A copy of the resume used during the application process
  • Submission of, or completed background investigation at the Tier designated by the duties/responsibilities of the incumbent's position
  • For Federal Employee candidates, DPSAC will first verify that the Office of Human Resources (OHR) package is complete by checking the following: 

    • OF-306 is complete in "Onboarding Manager"
    • Ensure the individual has disclosed Selective Service Registration (SSR) if required. If the individual has not disclosed SSR as required, the case will be rejected and sent back to HR. (Note: Individuals who did not register for Selective Service as required may be found ineligible for employment in the federal service). 
  • DPSAC is in possesion of the candidate's Resume, OF-8 (Official PositionDescription) and Position Description Document.

4. Completing Electronic Questionaires for Investigations Processinf (e-QUIP)

4. Completing Electronic Questionaires for Investigations Processinf (e-QUIP)

Once the HR 'package' is collected, DPSAC will validate the individual's need for a new background investigation. Federal investigation repositories are searched for an investigation that would meet or exceed the requirements of the current Position Designation Sensitivity and Risk Level. 

Candidates with a Favorably Adjudicated Background Investigation on
file
DPSAC will order the prior investigation, collect and review the results of prescreening to determine if the candidate's prior investigation can be reciprocally accepted for their position at NIH. Non-FTEs (i.e., Contractors, Affiliates) will be required to submit 2 years' worth of employment history to determine if a break in service exists since the investigation was completed. Federal Employees (FTEs) will submit their resume. 

If there are any issues with the Prescreening results, or if the issues in the previous investigation are incompatible with the duties of the candidate's new position, DPSAC will attempt to mitigate these issues as part of the reciprocal acceptance review. Additional investigative checks may be required if the issues cannot be mitigated, or if the investigation cannot be reciprocally accepted. 

Candidates without a Background Investigation on file
These individuals will be initiated into the electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) to complete a new background investigation at the level determined by the duties and responsibilities of their current position at NIH. DPSAC will send the candidate instructions on completing
e-QIP and other background forms.

5. Determining Your Eligiability for a badge

5. Determining Your Eligiability for a badge

Once a preliminary prescreening determination is made, DPSAC will send a notification to the candidate to complete the Enrollment Process. Enrollment is comprised of Identity Proofing, Photographing and Fingerprinting the candidate for the PIV/RLA badge.

The applicant must bring two forms of valid government identification, one of which must contain a picture. Visit the US Customs and Immigration website I-9 page to view a complete list of approved identification documents.

6. Badge Issuance

6. Badge Issuance

If a background investigation is required, the candidate will be initiated into e-QIP and DPSAC will send instructions on how to complete the questionnaire. The e-QIP must be completed in 7 days.

Once completed, the e-QIP case will be assigned to a case reviewer at DPSAC who will conduct a meticulous review to ensure the information provided is complete and meets federal standards prior to submitting the investigation request to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). Individuals working with children will have additional investigative requirements. 

7. Adjudication of your Background Investigation &Final Badge Determination

7. Adjudication of your Background Investigation &Final Badge Determination

DPSAC cannot issue prescreening clearance authorization or eligibility for a badge unless the results of prescreening are favorable and, if a new investigation is required, the investigation request passes DPSAC review and is submitted to DCSA. 

DPSAC will review prescreening documentation to ensure the candidate does not pose a risk to NIH prior to issuing a badge or granting access to NIH Facilities / Information Systems. Once approved, the individual will receive an email to schedule an appointment for badge issuance. 

8. Final Suitability and Determination (Adjudication)

7. Adjudication of your Background Investigation &Final Badge Determination

Candidates are issued PIV/RLA badges on an interim basis. The badge and employment at NIH are contingent upon the final suitability determination made by DPSAC adjudicators upon receipt of the completed investigation conducted by DCSA. NIH adjudicators apply the suitability standards outlined in Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 731, Suitability, when making suitability determinations for NIH staff.