As part of federal government security policies, eRA is moving to two-factor authentication for accessing its external modules, meaning that log-in will require something you know (password) and something you have (a phone or other device). If you see a message that states your account is required to use two-factor authentication to access NIH/eRA systems, then it is required that you transition to using login.gov or other two-factor authentication method (such as InCommon Federated). This topic outlines transitioning to using Login.gov for accessing eRA systems.
Users of eRA Commons, IAR, and ASSIST must transition to the use of Login.gov credentials, instead of their Commons username and password, to log in (unless they have access to InCommon Federated login with their organization). eRA will begin a phased approach beginning on September 15, 2021 for enforcing the two-factor authentication requirement for the NIH recipient community as described in Two-Factor Authentication: Access eRA Modules via Login.gov .
IMPORTANT: Please note that using Login.gov means you will have two separate accounts for eRA Commons.
- You will have an eRA Commons User ID and password
- You will additionally setup a Login.gov account with its own separate User ID and password
After setting up Login.gov, you will still need to know and maintain your eRA Commons account credentials (and change the password once per year), but you will use Login.gov credentials to log in.
Log In with Login.gov
This method uses Login.gov, after a one-time associating of the Login.gov account with the eRA Commons account. Groups of reviewers are being migrated during 2021; if you are a reviewer attempting to log in and you are redirected to create a Login.gov account, that means that you are among a group currently being migrated to mandatory use of Login.gov. Other Commons and ASSIST users are encouraged to start using Login.gov as soon as possible before the September 15 deadline.
If you have trouble with the Login.gov process, try these two support sources:
Login.gov help center: https://Login.gov/help/
eRA Commons Support Desk (https://www.era.nih.gov/need-help)
You will continue to retain and maintain the eRA username and password after registering with Login.gov; however you must always use Login.gov to log into eRA Commons after creating the Login.gov account creating and associating it with your eRA credentials. See https://www.era.nih.gov/faqs.htm#XXIV.
IMPORTANT: BEFORE YOU START THE PROCESS:
• Make sure your eRA Commons account is active and unlocked, and you know your account password; if you are unsure of the password, then use the Forgot Password/Unlock Account link located below the Username and Password fields on the eRA Commons home screen to change your password (see screenshot below).
• Also, ensure that you not are not using old bookmarked URLs to access eRA Commons. The URL for eRA Commons is https://public.era.nih.gov/commons/
• Ensure your eRA Commons account is active. If your eRA Commons account is inactive, you must contact the eRA signing official/administrative official (SO/AO) at your institution for assistance to activate your account.
For those who use InCommon federated credentials, NIH is working with the InCommon Federation community to determine if and when that service could implement the necessary two-factor authentication processes to allow that login method to continue in the future.
Detailed Login.gov Steps and Troubleshooting
Steps for the Initial Setup at Login.gov
TIP: If Login.gov has become mandatory for you, then upon entering normal eRA credentials, you will be redirected automatically to the Confirmation Required popup below to start the Login.gov process, and will not be able to log in until you complete it.
You will be presented with a Confirmation Required dialog. Click Continue and you will be redirected to https://secure.Login.gov.
NOTE: If you already have a Login.gov account, enter your email address and password and click Sign In. Complete the two-factor authentication method that you have already configured for your Login.gov account (text message, authentication application, etc.) and you will go directly to STEP THREE below.
- Click the Create an account button on the initial Login.gov screen. You will be presented with the Login.gov Create Your Account screen.
- Enter your email address and select the box to accept the Login.gov Rules of Use and click Submit.
NOTE: Use an email address that you will always have access to, not one that is dependent on your current institution, because you will need access if you ever reset your password. You use the same Login.gov account and eRA account regardless of your current institution.
You will receive an email from Login.gov asking you to confirm your email address.
- Complete the process to confirm your email address by selecting the “Confirm email address” link included in the Login.gov verification email.
- You will be returned to the Login.gov site where you will be presented with the Create a Strong Password screen. Following the password guidelines, enter a new password you would like to use for your Login.gov account.
- Choose an authentication method from the multiple authentication methods available to you (a security code to a phone, a list of codes, an authentication application, a security key, or a government employee ID).
If you select a phone, click the Phone radio button, and click Continue.
NOTE: If you are unsure if your phone is VOIP, then make sure to use a cell phone.
Enter your phone number and click Send Code.
Enter the security code received by text message.
- You will be presented with a confirmation screen showing that your phone was successfully added to your account. Your account creation at Login.gov is now completed. Click the Agree and Continue button and you will be redirected back to eRA Commons.
- After following the STEP TWO procedures, you will be redirected back to eRA Commons and presented with the Associate your eRA Account screen (see below). Enter your eRA credentials – username and password – to associate your Login.gov account with your eRA Commons account. You will only do this once unless you decide to use a different Login.gov account. DO NOT use the new Login.gov credentials for this step--use the eRA Commons credentials you had prior to setting up Login.gov.
- This association process will not work without the correct eRA credentials. If you are at all unsure of your password, click the Forgot Password/Unlock Account link in the blue INFORMATION box. Then follow the onscreen prompts to reset your password:
- First, submit your eRA Commons user ID and the email associated with it.
Check your email for a temporary password, then click Continue in the Reset Password screen below:
- You are presented with the Change Password screen; follow onscreen instructions to reset your password, then click the link for the Commons home page. Make sure to remember this new password.
- You are returned to the Associate your eRA Account screen, where you can now enter your correct eRA credentials.
If your eRA credentials are validated, then your Login.gov account will be successfully associated with your eRA Commons account, and you will directly access the eRA Commons.
YOU ARE DONE — You will be returned to eRA Commons. After completing the Login.gov process, you must use the Login.gov login method exclusively to log into eRA Commons from now on. The next time you log into eRA Commons using Login.gov, you will be automatically authenticated and re-directed to eRA Commons.
After you create a Login.gov account and associate your eRA Commons account with it, you must use the Login.gov option on the eRA Commons home screen.
On the eRA Commons home screen, click on the Login.gov logo in the login section.
Log in to eRA Commons with your Login.gov credentials (email and password) and the additional authentication method you set up with your Login.gov account. You will be automatically taken to the eRA Commons landing screen.
TIP: If you do not want to enter a code every time, click the box that states, ‘Remember this browser.’ If you use the same browser and computer to log into eRA Commons, Login.gov will remember these settings and not require you to complete the two-factor authentication process each time you log in, and you will directly access the eRA Commons.
IMPORTANT: Make sure your eRA Commons account is active and you know your account password before attempting to complete the Login.gov process; if you are unsure of either, then use the Forgot Password/Unlock Account link on the main Commons login screen to change your password prior to attempting to associate your Login.gov account with your eRA Commons account.
If you tried to log in using Login.gov, and it did not work, please perform the following before contacting the eRA Service Desk:
- Clear your browser cache/history and then close and restart your browser.
- Make sure you are not using a bookmark that points to an older URL address. Delete your bookmark and go to the main eRA system URL directly. For instance:
- If it still does not work, please contact the eRA Service Desk at https://www.era.nih.gov/need-help