Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Biometric Specifications for Personal Identity Verification



Patrick J. Grother, Wayne J. Salamon, Ramaswamy Chandramouli


Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-12, Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors [HSPD-12], called for new standards to be adopted governing interoperable use of identity credentials to allow physical and logical access to Federal government locations and systems. The Personal Identity Verification (PIV) standard for Federal Employees and Contractors, Federal Information Processing Standard Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors (FIPS 201), was developed to define procedures and specifications for issuance and use of an interoperable identity credential. This document, Special Publication 800-76 (SP 800-76), is a companion document to FIPS 201. It describes technical acquisition and formatting specifications for the PIV system, including the PIV Card itself. It also establishes minimum accuracy specifications for deployed biometric authentication processes. The approach is to enumerate procedures and formats for collection and preparation of fingerprint, iris and facial data, and to restrict values and practices included generically in published biometric standards. The primary design objective behind these particular specifications is to enable high performance and universal interoperability. The introduction of iris and face specifications into the current edition adds alternative modalities for biometric authentication and extends coverage to persons for whom fingerprinting is problematic. The addition of on-card comparison offers an alternative to PIN-mediated card activation as well as an additional authentication method. [Supersedes SP 800-76-1 (January 2007):]
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 800-76-2
Report Number


Biometrics, Identity Management, Credentials


Grother, P. , Salamon, W. and Chandramouli, R. (2013), Biometric Specifications for Personal Identity Verification, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 17, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created July 11, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018