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 - 335 KB] or SF85P [PDF - 335 KB] 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 - 375 KB]. 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.

Returning Your Card

All GSA contractors must return GSA Access Cards to their GSA Requesting Official or Vendor POC on or before their last day of work for any of the following conditions:

  1. When the contract is completed or terminated,
  2. When the individual GSA Access Card holder is no longer required by the contract vendor for contract performance,
  3. If the individual GSA Access Card holder’s employment is completed or terminated by the contract vendor, or
  4. If an unfavorable suitability determination has been made for any contractor

Whenever a contractor separates before the completion of a contract, the Vendor Point of Contact should collect the departing contractor’s GSA Access Card and all other Government Furnished Equipment on or before the departing contractor’s last day of work on the GSA contract. These items should be returned to the GSA Requesting Official.

At the completion of a contract, GSA Access Cards should be returned to the GSA Requesting Official along with a copy of the contractor-maintained GSA Access Card records. The GSA Requesting Official will verify that all cards are accounted for and returned.

Failure to promptly return GSA Access Cards may result in the delay of final payment to the vendor.

Last Reviewed 2016-09-20