University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Acquiring and Use of the U Card

Policy Statement

The U Card is the official University photo identity authentication card used on all University campuses and facilities for eligible members of the University community. The U Card is required for personal identification and may be required as certification of eligibility for University-related services and secured physical access to designated University buildings.  Students, faculty, and staff are required to carry their University issued U Card when in University buildings outside of public hours. Building hours are available on the U Card website.

All individuals who have received a U Card must comply with the conditions set forth in this policy and Administrative Procedure: Obtaining and Maintaining the U Card.

Individuals who are required to wear the U Card as a condition of employment must wear the card face up at all times when in non-public spaces, high-security areas, or mandatory use situations. Departments are responsible for monitoring and addressing non-compliance of individuals to whom this requirement applies. Employees in non-public or high-security areas are encouraged to approach any individual seen accessing a restricted work space without wearing a U Card and offer to provide assistance. For additional information regarding U Card requirements within University facilities see Administrative Policy: Getting Access to University Buildings.

University campuses, colleges, departments or units who do or will require the establishment of an identity authentication method to verify service eligibility or for secured facility access must use the U Card.

Units may not retain U Cards as collateral for departmental services.

Departing the University

The individual cardholder is responsible for maintaining their U Card. Departments cannot retain U Cards at graduation or upon termination or separation of employment. Cardholders should not give their U Cards to their former departments as collateral, nor should they return their U Card to the U Card Office. Some value accounts on the U Card may remain active even after a person has left the University.


Eligibility for the U Card is determined by an individual's relationship to the University at the time of printing, both role and status.

Students: Undergraduate, graduate and professional students must be currently admitted and/or registered for classes at the University of Minnesota to be eligible for the U Card.

Faculty/Staff/Regents: Faculty, staff, and University Regents must be entered into the Human Resource Management System (HRMS) to be eligible for the U Card. An indication that you have been entered into HRMS is when you have received an official University e-mail address and/or are listed in the online directory. Individuals may not obtain a U Card until the first day of their appointment.

Visitors: Affiliated academics, staff, students and all other visitors must be sponsored by a University department to be eligible for the U Card. See Administrative Procedure: Obtaining and Maintaining the U Card.


Physical access to designated buildings and eligibility for some campus services will be electronically authenticated via the U Card. Access and eligibility may change based on a change in an individual's role or status. The U Card Office does not assign or manage access to secured doors. Departments may request that secured door access be added to a U Card. See Administrative Policy: Getting Access to University Buildings.

Requirements and Restrictions

Stolen or fraudulent use of a U Card should be reported to the University of Minnesota Police or local law enforcement.

Found U Cards should be immediately returned to the U Card Office and not held by departments. The U Card Office will not give out contact information or facilitate meetings to return found U Cards. When the U Card Office receives a found U Card, the office will contact the cardholder via University email.

Lost or stolen U Cards should be deactivated on the U Card website. If a replacement U Card is issued, the previous U Card will be deactivated. Deactivation is permanent and cannot be reversed.

A new photo is required when an individual replaces their U Card 2 years or more after original issuance. The U Card holder is responsible for any applicable replacement fees.

Unauthorized and/or fraudulent use of a U Card may result in confiscation, deactivation, disciplinary action and/or prosecution.

An individual may not possess more than one U Card at any given time. When a replacement is issued, the U Card Office will reclaim the old U Card.

While some services are deactivated when a user no longer has an eligible status, many of the services associated with the U Card never expire. Therefore, U Cards may be retained by cardholders indefinitely. U Card holders must comply with all terms and conditions for the services used.

Reason for Policy

The U Card provides and promotes a user friendly, one-card identity authentication access system to campus goods and services by using state-of-the art card technologies and integrated software solutions to provide authentication of identity, thereby eliminating the need for multiple forms of identification.




Frequently Asked Questions


See the website associated with your respective campus (see table below) for specific instructions regarding how to obtain the U Card and for details associated with your U Card.

Primary Contact(s)Stephen Courchane612-626-9909[email protected]
General U Card InquiriesU Card Office, Twin Cities612-626-9900[email protected]
System U Card Website
U Card Crookston9 Hill Hall218-281-8548Crookston Campus U Card Website
U Card Duluth202A Kirby Plaza
1208 Kirby Drive
218-726-8814Duluth Campus U Card Website
U Card Morris205 Behmler Hall320-589-6156[email protected]
Morris Campus U Card Website
U Card RochesterStudent Success Suite 383, 111 S Broadway507-258-8069Rochester Campus U Card Website
U Card Twin CitiesCoffman Memorial Union, Room G22

St. Paul Student Center, Room 32
612-626-9900[email protected]
Twin Cities Campus U Card Website
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Vice President for University Services
  • Interim Associate Vice President Auxiliary Services
  • Stephen Courchane
    Director, U Card Office


Affiliated or Sponsored

Individuals who provide a service for the University but are not paid by the University. Also called "without salary" appointments.

Government Issued Photo Identification

Existing document that must be presented to verify identity when an individual obtains the U Card. A full list of accepted forms of identification can be found under Administrative Procedure: Obtaining and Maintaining the U Card.

Sponsoring Department

University department sponsoring U Card eligibility for individuals in the following categories: Affiliated academics, staff, students, visiting students, short-term employees and others. Use of the term "sponsor" for the U Card indicates the relationship between the department and the individual, and has no relationship to "sponsored projects."

Eligible Individuals for Sponsored U Cards

  • Students admitted to the University and all other students registered for day and/or extension credits.
  • Regents, faculty, academic staff, staff and retirees.
  • Visiting students, affiliated faculty, affiliated academic staff and affiliated staff, if sponsored by a University department.

U Card

The U Card is the official identity authentication card for the University. The U Card is comprised of the physical card, the data and the photograph printed on and/or encoded in the card. The U Card serves as a multi-authentication of identity, and verifies eligibility for discretionary campus services and building access, as may be required by a University department.


Card Holder

Provide government issued photo identification and follow the process for acquiring a U Card (see also Administrative Procedure: Obtaining and Maintaining the U Card). Read and adhere to the requirements for maintaining a U Card. Keep the U Card secure and report any lost, stolen or fraudulent uses. Protect the U Card from damage that will impact functionality and access to services.

Sponsoring Department

Complete and submit the online sponsored account application form in order for affiliated members of the University community to obtain a U Card. The applicant's legal name is required. A current and eligible EFS number is required for payment. Review, and as appropriate, renew the U Card for affiliated University community members associated with their department.

U Card Office

Determine eligibility requirements for providing U Cards (not services or access). Issue the physical U Cards. Set standards and determine picture quality for all photos (in-person or submitted) to be printed on U Cards. Educate users about U Card policies, procedures, and connected services. Providing a functional and professional card. Collect and distribute lost cards. Reclaim deactivated U Cards.


Set local policy and monitor compliance regarding the use of the U Card for identification in secure areas. Identify departmental liaison for obtaining and mailing U Cards to remote employees (Twin Cities campus only).

Related Information



April 2023 - Comprehensive review. Minor revisions for clarity.


February 2022 – Updated FAQ and Contact section to reflect the new U Card website system structure where each campus has a separate domain.


July 2019 - Comprehensive Review: Updated content to match current practices. This included clarifying eligibility, access and requirements. Additional information was added to clarify building access policies and procedures.


September 2014 - The policy now includes language originally included in the Security ID Badge around the use of required identification badges, and specifies that departments are responsible for the monitoring and addressing of non-compliance with the requirement.


April 2013 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision: Title change and re-written to: specify required use and conditions for expanded use of the U Card; assign responsibilities of the user, sponsoring department, and U Card office; enumerate and define categories of eligibility; and revise the procedure for obtaining and maintaining the U Card.


December 2008 - Comprehensive review: Clarified policy statement; updated definitions; updated roles and responsibilities. Title changed in both policy and procedure.


March 2007 - Clarified U Card eligibility in Policy Statement; Updated Definitions and Responsibilities section.


January 2004 - Updated U Card Photo Specifications under Cardholder in Responsibilities section.


September 2000 - Policy completely written to reflect the business process change associated with Peoplesoft Implementation. Responsible University Officer has changed to Assoc. VP of Aux. Serv. Policy Statement has been changed to reflect the increased number of services associated with the U Card. Contacts have been reduced to only the U Card Office to correct out of date U Card contact info and eliminate HR contacts due to the PeopleSoft implementation. Special Situations has changed to reflect the number of services associated with the card, not just the financial component. Rates have changed for replacements and affiliate cards. Eligible Individuals have been updated to reflect the changes due to the PeopleSoft conversion. Responsibilities have been changed to delete Human Resources due to PeopleSoft. The Administrative Procedure: Applying for a UCard was changed as follows: Students were changed to delete Visiting Students section. All Other Eligible Individuals was changed to reflect the changes due to the PeopleSoft conversion. University Designated Locations were updated to reflect Morris and Crookston's new addresses.


February 1998 - Definitions section, hospital staff removed from definition of Eligible Individuals and Visiting Students definition removed, since visiting students do not need to be registered to qualify for a U Card, they only need to be departmentally sponsored.


December 1997