United States Department of Veterans Affairs

HSPD-12 PIV-I Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is HSPD-12?

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD 12), dated August 27, 2004, entitled “Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors,” directed the promulgation of a Federal standard for secure and reliable forms of identification for Federal employees and contractors. It further specified secure and reliable identification that—

  • Is issued based on sound criteria for verifying an individual employee’s identity
  • Is strongly resistant to identity fraud, tampering, counterfeiting, and terrorist exploitation
  • Can be rapidly authenticated electronically
  • Is issued only by providers whose reliability has been established by an official accreditation process.


2. What is the difference between the existing VA ID badge process and new HSPD-12 PIV badge process?

  • Standardized identity proofing and registration procedures will be required throughout the VA, and across the Federal government. An individual is issued a credential only after presenting two identity source documents, at least one of which is a valid Federal or State government issued picture ID.
  • In order to receive a PIV card, individuals must have a successfully completed Special Agency Check (SAC) on file and a National Agency Check with Written Inquiries (NACI) or higher level investigation as required by the job description, initiated at a minimum.
  • Three separate individuals serving in PIV Administrative Roles (Sponsor, Registrar, and Issuer) are required in order to create a PIV card, therefore eliminating the possibility of a single corrupt official in the process from issuing a credential with a fraudulent identity or to a person not entitled to the credential.
  • Only appointed, trained, and certified personnel may issue a credential.


3. What will be the difference between the current VA badge and
new PIV card?

  • The PIV card topology will be compliant with FIPS 201 standards and recognizable across all Federal agencies. Certain required elements will appear on the front and back of all PIV cards, regardless of the Federal agency that issues the PIV cards. 
  • The card stock used to produce PIV cards must be listed on the FIPS 201 Approved Products List (APL).
  • The card will have “smart” features that include Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) digital certificates and biometrics.
  • The card has the capability to enable access to computers via SmartCard logon.


4. What if an employee is located at a facility without the capability to issue ID cards?

  • Employees will be issued their ID cards at the same location where they get their ID cards today.


5. Who is responsible for implementation of HSPD-12 at the Department of Veterans Affairs?

  • The PIV Program Office which falls under The Office of Information and Technology, in conjunction with the Office of Human Resources and Administration has the responsibility for implementing HSPD-12 in the Department.

6. How will PIV officials be trained?

  • Online and paper-based training will be utilized to appoint, train, and certify PIV Administrative Roles. 
  • Self-help guides and Service Desk support will be provided as needed