DM masthead with USDA logo
Home Contact Us My Agency Miscellaneous Resources Training Pay and Benefits Forms Orientation Week

Before You Report

Welcome to the “People’s Department.” We are pleased to have you join us in our proud tradition of public service to our fellow Americans.

During your first week at USDA, you will be busy learning about the organization, getting your pay and benefits arranged and finding out about your workplace. We want to help you hit the ground running and start your employment as smoothly as possible, so we have organized this page to help answer questions and get you started before your first day. Please follow this page from beginning to end, and be sure to note the items that must be done before you start working.

Your Supervisor

Your new supervisor will contact you by phone or e-mail at least one week before your start date. He or she will welcome you and answer any questions you may have. If you do not know who your supervisor is or have not heard from one, simply contact your Human Resource Specialist.

Your Sponsor

To help you with your transition, we have assigned you a sponsor. Your sponsor is a coworker who is not in your chain of command, assigned to you to help you learn the ropes. Once you start, your sponsor will give you a tour, help you become acclimated to USDA culture and answer your questions. We encourage you to reach out to your sponsor any time you have any concerns or questions. Your sponsor is there to help you.

New Supervisors

If you are a new supervisor, welcome! Follow the rest of this page for the regular onboarding procedures.

Before You Report To USDA

Before your first day, you will need to fill out several forms and complete some training. To help you complete these important tasks, we’ve set up a web page for Forms and a web page for Training. Start with Forms. Completing these forms can take one to two hours, so please be sure to set aside enough time for this task. You’ll find instructions for each form, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your HR Specialist.

After you have completed the forms, go to Training. There are three training courses to take, and it takes about two hours to complete them. Each can be completed separately, so you don’t have to do it all at once. Just be sure to complete them all before your start date.

To start completing your forms, go to the Forms tab at the top of the page.

To start your training, go to the Training tab at the top of the page.

Day 1 – Your Reporting Day

Your first day is exciting! Remember to give yourself plenty of time to find the room where you were directed to report. And please bring with you the following items:

  • All of the forms you completed.
  • A copy of the training certificat/e for each course you finished.
  • Appropriate identification documents – see table below. Bring one item from Column A or one item from BOTH Column B and C.


All documents must be unexpired
Documents that Establish Both Identity and Employment Authorization Documents that Establish Identity Documents that Establish
Employment Authorization
OR                                               AND
1. US. Passport or U.S. Passport Card

2. Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form 1-551)

3. Foreign passport that contains a temporary 1-551 stamp or temporary 1-551 printed notation on a machine- readable immigrant visa

4. Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph (Form 1-766)

5. In the case of a nonimmigrant alien authorized to work for a specific employer incident to status, a foreign passport with Form 1-94 or Form I-94A bearing the same name as the passport and containing an endorsement ofthe alien's nonimmigrant status, as long as the period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment is not in conflict with any restrictions or limitations identified on the form

6. Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form 1-94 or Form I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the FSMorRMI

1. Driver's license or ID card issued by a State or outlying possession of the United States provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
2. ID card issued by federal, state or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address

3. School ID card with a photograph

4. Voter's registration card

5. U.S. Military card or draft record

6. Military dependent's ID card
7. U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card

8. Native American tribal document

9. Driver's license issued by a Canadian government authority
For persons under age 18 who are unable to present a document listed above:
10. School record or report card
11. Clinic, doctor, or hospital record
12. Day-care or nursery school record
1. Social Security Account Number card other than one that specifies on the face that the issuance of the card does not authorize employment in the United States

2. Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545)

3. Certification of Report of Birth issued by the Department of State (Form DS-1350)

4. Original or certified copy of birth certificate issued by a State, county, municipal authority, or territory of the United States bearing an official seal

5. Native American tribal document

6. US. Citizen ID Card (Form 1-197)

7. Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States (Form 1-179)

8. Employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security

You will spend most of your first morning at USDA in a classroom setting. During this time, you will be sworn in, learn more about your benefits and have an opportunity to finish completing all necessary forms. In addition, we will begin the identification badge process.

USDA Identification Badge

Getting a USDA identification badge takes several steps. You may be issued a temporary badge when you arrive. If you work in a GSA building, you will also likely be required to obtain a GSA badge. During your first day, the Human Resources staff will guide you through this process.

Your permanent badge is a standard US Government badge. This badge contains your photo and a computer chip. You will need this badge to enter any USDA space and this badge can also serve as a second form of a Government issued identification. As USDA moves forward, you will eventually need this badge to access your computer.

Your permanent badge is often called by two different names – LincPass (after President Lincoln, the founding President of USDA) or HSPD-12 Card. HSPD -12 is the Government directive that requires the standardize card.

To help you understand how you get your permanent card, you can view a flow chart of the process.

For the weeks following your orientation, you will focus on learning your job and experiencing USDA. At the end of your first month, your supervisor will meet with you and give you your performance plan for the remainder of the fiscal year (Oct 1 - Sep 30). This plan will help you focus on your efforts and will be used to evaluate your performance at the end of the performance period (Sep 30th). Your supervisor will also work with you to finalize your Individual Development Plan (IDP). You are not evaluated on your IDP; your IDP simply documents the kind of training and developmental activities that you agree to do in the coming year.


 USDA.GOV | Accessibility Statement | Privacy Policy | Non-Discrimination Statement | FirstGov | White House
Direct questions or concerns regarding this web site to