Credential Features

About The PIV Credential

The USAccess credential meets the card topology (or credential visual appearance) requirements of Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201: Personal Identity Verification (PIV) located at and National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-104 located at

Card topology requirements met include:

  • Multiple credential security features, such as microprinting, laser engraving, and optical variable ink to help reduce counterfeiting
  • Long life, multi-layer PET/PVC credential body construction
  • Clear, laminate overlay to help protect the credentials from normal wear and tear

PIV Credential Appearance

In order to provide a standard, easily recognized government-wide credential, all USAccess generated credentials feature common visual elements that are printed in the same location on each credential.

Common visual elements on USAccess credentials include mandatory information such as:

  • Issuing agency’s seal
  • Agency’s return address
  • A picture of the credential holder
  • Credential holder’s physical characteristics (height, eye color, hair color, etc.)

These common elements are placed according to NIST guidelines, and are printed in the same location on the credential, regardless of the issuing agency.


Front of PIV Credential Back of PIV Credential

Front View
USAccess Issued PIV Credential
(Click image to enlarge)

Back View
USAccess Issued PIV Credential
(Click image to enlarge)

 Once enrolled in the USAccess Program, the participating agency will need to provide the following elements in order to prepare for credential production:

  1. An agency seal - It should be in color and of high quality (.JPG image, 20x20 mm, minimum 300 dpi recommended.) The seal will be placed on the front of the credential (see Zone 11 on sample credential image.) For more information, review the FIPS PUB 201-2 for more details at
  2. Agency return address - A return address is necessary to put on the back of the credential so that it may be dropped into a mail box and returned to the issuing agency should the credential be lost. 

What’s Contained on the PIV Credential 

Each PIV credential contains an integrated circuit chip (ICC) that stores 64KB of data including:

  • Four PKI digital certificates: PIV authentication, card authentication, digital signature and encryption (2 certificate options available for credentials)
  • Two interoperable fingerprint templates
  • Digital photo
  • Cardholder Unique Identifier (CHUID) including organization affiliation, agency affiliation, department affiliation, and expiration date.
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