Managing Your Badge, PIN and Certificates

Badge icon

What Badge-Related Activity Do You Want to Complete?

All new hires as well as current holders of the Smart Card (aka, HHS ID Badge/PIV Card) need to be familiar with certain basic information in order to get, manage and maintain their smart card.


Getting an HHS ID Badge/PIV Card

Every person entering NIH facilities is required to have an identification badge. All Federal employees, contractors and organizational affiliates who require access to Federal facilities and/or information systems must go through the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) process and be issued a new HHS ID Badge/PIV Card.  Please see the following instructions on:

After you get your badge, be sure to configure your applications to use your digital certificates, as described below.

Secondary account holders will also be given an Alternate Logon Token (ALT), which is a smart card that system administrators use for privileged access to NIH computers and information systems.


Replace Your HHS ID Badge/PIV Card

The HHS ID Badge/PIV Card requires periodic maintenance. Also, from time to time, individuals may need to replace their badge due to breakage or loss or the badge becomes inoperable. Please see the following instructions on how to:

After you replace your badge, be sure to re-configure your applications to use your digital certificates, as described below.

Note:  When you replace your badge, you will be issued the new 128k PIV card. This card has copies of your prior email encryption certificates that allows you to easily read old encrypted emails. However, you may also see warnings that these old certificates have or will soon expire. Please refer to the NIH Knowledge Base HHS ID Badge (PIV/Smart Card) FAQs for more information about these warnings and how to disable them.


Reset Your PIN

To use your certificates, you will need to know the Personal Identification Number (PIN) you selected when you were issued your badge. If you have forgotten your PIN, a Lifecycle Work Station (LWS) operator or a specialist at a badge issuance office can help you reset your PIN. Please see the following instructions on how to: 


Renew Your Digital Certificates

The digital certificates on your HHS ID Badge/PIV Card may expire before your badge. You will need to renew these certificates before they expire. Please see:

After you renew your certificates, be sure to re-configure your applications to use your digital certificates, as described below.


Configure Applications to Use Certificates

When you first get a badge

The first time you get a badge, you must configure your applications to use the digital certificates located on your HHS ID Badge/PIV card.  You will also need to have a smart card reader and smart card software installed on your computer. Please refer to the following links for:

When you replace your badge and/or certificates

Whenever you renew your certificate, or replace your badge, you need to re-configure your computer to use the new certificates. Please see how to


Recover Email Encryption Certificates

You can obtain software copies of your current and past email encryption certificates and associated private keys from the HHSIdentity PIV Portal.  Please see the instructions for recovering and installing encryption certificates for more information.


Information and Assistance

For additional information, search the NIH IT Knowledge Base for tutorials, instruction sheets and user guides or refer to the appropriate How-To Guide.

For questions or user support, please contact the NIH IT Service Desk.