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How Contractors Obtain a GSA Access Card

The GSA Access Card serves as the identity badge for GSA employees and contractors. It uses smart card technology to provide reliable and secure identity verification.

GSA employees and contractors are required to use their GSA Access Card, along with a Personal Identification Number (PIN), to log into their computer and GSA networks, providing more secure and user-friendly access to information.

These are the steps for contractors applying for, using, and returning a GSA Access Card. 

Step 1.  Complete the Contractor Information Worksheet (CIW)  and Submit it to the Requesting Official.

Contractor: Fill out the Contractor Information Worksheet (CIW) and submit it to the Requesting Official. 

If you had a previous investigation, indicate that on the form. Provide the investigation date and the investigation Point of Contact (POC) in Section 1 of the CIW. The Requesting Official will facilitate the process and determine eligibility to skip any steps in the contractor credentialing process.  

The Requesting Official sets up an investigation request in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system.

Examples of Requesting Officials include Contracting Officer’s Representatives (CORs), Contracting Officer’s Technical Representatives (COTRs), Project Managers, PBS Building Managers, and local Access Card Points of Contact (POCs). This person will vary, depending on the contract. The Requesting Official also provides the applicant with any additional forms that may be required.

Step 2.  Get Fingerprinted

After the Requesting Official receives the completed CIW, they direct the contractor to the appropriate fingerprint service provider. These providers typically include police departments or sheriff's offices.  

Bring one valid photo identification to the fingerprint service provider. See the list of acceptable identification (ID).

Submit those fingerprints to your Requesting Official, either separately or with a completed e-QIP application (see Steps 3-4).

Step 3.  Complete the e-QIP Online Application

GSA or Federal Protective Service (FPS) emails you detailed instructions on how to log into the secure Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system and complete the SF85 - (PDF - 335KB) or SF85P - (PDF - 335KB) application.  

Once you complete the application in the system, you will be prompted to print the Signature Forms to release the e-QIP application, certifying that everything on your application is correct to the best of your knowledge.

Step 4.  Sign the e-QIP Signature Forms and Submit to the Requesting Official

After completing the e-QIP online application, sign the printed-out e-QIP Signature Forms and, if applicable, Optional Form (OF) 306 - (PDF - 375KB).. Give the signed forms to the Requesting Official. Remember that the Requesting Official also needs your fingerprints to complete the submission.  Make sure to make copies of everything for yourself.

Step 5.  Schedule an Enrollment Appointment

Following your submission of your completed forms to the Requesting Official: 

You will receive an email from asking you to schedule an enrollment appointment, or 

You will be informed that enrollment is not required because you had previously enrolled with another agency. 

If you are instructed to schedule an appointment:

Follow the email instructions to create a user account on the HSPD-12 Managed Services Office (MSO) scheduling website and schedule an appointment at an enrollment center. 

Important:  Save the user account information you create. You will use this to make a card pickup appointment and activate your card. 

Contact your Access Card POC or Regional Credentialing Officer (RCO)if you have any problem scheduling an enrollment appointment.

Step 6. Pick Up and Activate Your GSA Access Card at the Activation Center.

Follow the instructions in the email from your Regional Credentialing Officer (RCO) or MSO to pick up and activate your GSA Access Card. 

Bring an acceptable ID (and - if applicable -- the temporary badge provided you) to pick up your GSA Access Card. 

Make sure to use the same username and password that you used to schedule the enrollment appointment on the MSO scheduling website to schedule the activation appointment.

After activating your Access Card, you must connect your computer directly to the GSA network and perform a system reboot before using Virtual Private Network (VPN) remote access.

Step 7.  Maintain Your Card

Keep your GSA Access Card in the original issued badge holder. Do not mark on, punch holes in or bend your card. Avoid storing your Card in areas subject to excessive heat (e.g. clothes dryer) or in direct sunlight (e.g. car dashboard).

How to Safeguard Your Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Never write down your PIN or share it with anyone.

You do not need to change your PIN, unless you want to change it. If you forget your PIN or would like to change it, schedule an activation appointment at the Managed Service Office (MSO) activation station. If you forget your user name and password for the MSO scheduling site, you must create a new account with a new user name and password.

Step 7a.  After you have your GSA Access Card (Contractors)

Once you have picked up and activated your GSA Access Card, you should immediately report your card to your Vendor POC, so that your card can be added to your contract’s GSA Access Card tracking records. You may only retain your GSA Access Card if you have a legitimate need for routine access to GSA facilities and IT resources. You should promptly return your GSA Access Card to your GSA Requesting Official or Vendor POC whenever:

  • You are no longer needed for contract performance;
  • You separate from the contract vendor for any reason; or
  • The contract is completed.

Guidance for contractors on how to properly return GSA Access Cards can be found here.

Report a lost or stolen GSA Access Card

Step 7b.  After you have your GSA Access Card (Federal Employees)

Federal Employee GSA Access Card holders can find guidance on how to return cards here.




Questions about Access Cards for GSA staff or contract employees? Please contact:

personal credentials, ID, IDs, GSA Access cards, identity