​​For Applicants & Employees

DPSAC Process Overview


The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s premier biomedical 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, so you can:

  • ​obtain access to NIH facilities or NIH network, such as email or government information systems, 
  • obtain a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) or other NIH ID badge, and 
  • complete the background investigation required for your position with the U.S. Government. 

There are requirements that must be completed before you can start your new position or be granted access to NIH resources. In addition to the requirements that you will see listed throughout the DPSAC process, you are also required to bring two forms of valid government identification to all of your appointments, one of which must contain a picture. Visit the FIPS 201-3 PDF to view a complete list of approved identification documents.    

The following steps are shared to help you successfully complete the DPSAC process. For more information on each step, please click on the corresponding page listed in this section on the left.

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Please note, to complete the DPSAC process, it takes on average 30 business days from administrative sponsorship in NED to badge issuance/authorization.​ However, this is subject to your timely response to DPSAC requests sent via email.

Quick Checklist for Navigating the Beginning of the DPSAC Process:

​1. Administrative Sponsorship & DIS Verification

  • Your assigned Administrative Officer (AO) must register and sponsor you (the applicant) in the NIH Enterprise Directory (NED) no later than 6 to 8 weeks prior to Entry on Duty (EOD). NED sponsorship kicks off DPSAC prescreening! 
  • Actively check for emails from DPSAC after you are sponsored in NED and, if applicable, validated by the Division of International Services (DIS). DIS does not process Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR). ​
  • Non-LPR Foreign Nationals should consider additional processing time. DIS validation & receipt of SSN are required for DPSAC Processing. Please provide proof of citizenship to your AO to avoid any errors that can cause significant delays. 

2. Prescreening: The process of collecting preliminary information so DPSAC can properly determine if you satisfy all federally mandated requirements

  • Complete all DPSAC prescreening requirements within 7 days of notice to avoid delays. This should be done no later than 4 weeks prior to EOD. The DPSAC Prescreening process includes the collection of the following:
    • OF-306 Declaration for Federal Employment (Federal applicants will complete this through the USA Staffing Onboarding system)
    • Fingerprint Submission for criminal history checks
    • Resume that you submitted for your NIH position 
    • e-QIP Electronic Questionnaire, if a new background investigation is required
    • Other sources of suitability information, such as court disposition documentation, may be requested if required
  • ​Additional Notes: 
    • For applicants who have a prior investigation on file that DPSAC is trying to use, DPSAC will send initial prescreening instructions to applicant via ORSPrescreening@mail.nih.gov
    • For applicants who need a new background investigation for their position at NIH, DPSAC will send e-QIP instructions via ORSeQIP@mail.nih.gov.
    • All answers on these forms must be truthful and complete. Any false statement on these background investigation or prescreening forms may be grounds for not hiring you. Your application will not be processed if you do not complete your background investigation and associated forms. 

3. Enrollment: The process in tying the your biometrics, fingerprints and photo to your NIH badge.

  • You will automatically receive an email from DPSAC when it's time to come in for Enroll​ment. You must schedule an Enrollment appointment and travel in-person to an NIH Enrollment Facility (locations are listed under the Contact​ page). Please note that this Enrollment appointment is different than your Prescreening appointment.