Citrix Federated Authentication Service (SAML) 2203

Last Modified: Mar 28, 2022 @ 4:53 am


This article applies to Federated Authentication Service (FAS) versions 2203, 1912 LTSR CU5, 7.15.8000 (LTSR), and all other versions 7.9 and newer.

Change Log


Citrix Federated Authentication Service (FAS) enables users to log in to Citrix Gateway and Citrix StoreFront using SAML authentication.

With SAML, Citrix Gateway and StoreFront do not have access to the user’s password and thus cannot perform single sign-on to the VDA. FAS works around this limitation by using issuing certificates that can be used to logon to the VDA.

  • StoreFront asks Citrix Federated Authentication Service (FAS) to use a Microsoft Certificate Authority to issue Smart Card certificates on behalf of users.
  • The certificates are stored on the FAS server.
  • The VDA requests the user’s certificate from FAS so it can complete the VDA Windows logon process.

FAS can be used for any authentication scenario where the user’s password is not provided.


  • Microsoft Certification Authority (CA) in Enterprise mode.
    • When configuring FAS, you tell it what CA server to use.
    • You can build a new CA server just for FAS.
    • You can install CA on the FAS server.
  • Domain Controllers must have Domain Controller certificates. See CTX218941 FAS – Request not supported.
    • The certificates on the Domain Controllers must support smart card authentication. Certificates created using the Microsoft CA certificate template named Domain Controller Authentication supports smart cards. Manually created Domain Controller certificates might not work. See CTX270737 for the Domain Controller certificate requirements.

  • Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops or XenApp/XenDesktop 7.9 or newer
  • StoreFront 3.6 or newer
  • Citrix Gateway.
    • StoreFront 3.9 and newer also support SAML authentication natively without Citrix ADC.
  • SAML is web-based authentication and thus requires a browser.
    • SAML authentication might work in the newest builds of Workspace app and Citrix ADC 12.1 (and newer) if you configure nFactor. However, nFactor (Authentication Virtual Server aka AAA) requires ADC Advanced Edition or ADC Premium Edition.

Configuration overview:

  1. Build one or more FAS servers.
    • For security reasons, FAS should be its own server and not installed on a Delivery Controller.
  2. Upload Certificate Templates to Active Directory and configure a CA server to issue certificates using the new templates.
    • One of the Certificate Templates is for Smart Card logon to Citrix VDA.
    • The other two Certificate Templates are to authorize FAS as a certificate registration authority.
    • The registration authority certificate does not renew automatically so be prepared to renew it manually every two years. For details, see Renew registration authority certificates at Citrix Docs.
  3. Install the Citrix FAS group policy .admx template into PolicyDefinitions.
  4. Create a group policy object (GPO) and configure the GPO with the addresses of the FAS servers.
    • The GPO must apply to FAS servers, StoreFront servers, and every VDA. It does not need to apply to Delivery Controllers, but there’s no harm in applying it to the Delivery Controllers.
  5. Authorize FAS to request certificates from a Microsoft CA server.
  6. Configure FAS Rules to permit StoreFront servers to request FAS to generate certificates for users and permit VDA machines to retrieve the certificates from FAS.
  7. Configure StoreFront to use FAS for VDA single sign-on.


From Citrix CTX225721 Federated Authentication Service High Availability and Scalability: you can build multiple FAS servers. Enter all FAS server FQDNs in the Group Policy. StoreFront will then use a hashing algorithm on the username to select a FAS server.

  1. If you have less than 10K users, one FAS server with 4 vCPUs (2.5Ghz) should be sufficient.
  2. You will require a minimum of one FAS server (with 8 vCPUs) per 25,000 users if all users expect to be able to logon under cold start conditions (no keys or certificates cached) within 60-90 minutes.
  3. A single FAS server can handle greater than 50K users under warm start conditions (keys and certificates pre-cached)
  4. One reserve FAS server for every four FAS servers for “Day 1” cold start (Users get new keys/certificates) & disaster recovery scenarios
  5. Split the FAS Certificate Authority from Certificate Authority that performs other tasks for both security and scalability purposes.

Michael Shuster explains the Group Policy configuration for FAS in multiple datacenters at HowTo: Active-Active Multi-Datacenter Citrix FAS.

Also see the Citrix Federated Authentication Service Scalability whitepaper.

Federated Authentication Service Versions

The most recent Federated Authentication Service Current Release is version 2203.

For LTSR versions of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) and StoreFront, install the version of FAS that comes with the CVAD LTSR version.

Install/Upgrade Federated Authentication Service

The service should be installed on a secure, standalone server that does not have any other Citrix components installed. The FAS server stores user authentication keys, and thus security is paramount.

  1. On the Federated Authentication Service server, go to the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, or XenDesktop 7.9, or newer ISO, and run AutoSelect.exe.
  2. In Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, or XenDesktop 7.15, in the lower half of the window, click Federated Authentication Service.
  3. In the Licensing Agreement page, select I have read, understand, and accept the terms of the license agreement, and click Next.
  4. In the Core Components page, click Next.
  5. In the Firewall page, click Next.
  6. In the Summary page, click Install.
  7. The installer might require a restart.

    1. After the reboot, and after logging in again, you might see a Locate ‘Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 LTSR’ installation media window. Don’t click anything yet.
    2. Go to the Citrix_Virtual_Apps_and_Desktops_7_2203.iso file and mount it.
    3. Go back to the Locate ‘Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 LTSR’ installation media window.
    4. On the left, expand This PC, and click the DVD Drive.
    5. Click Select Folder.
    6. Installation will resume.
  8. In the Finish Installation page, click Finish.

FAS Group Policy

Configure a Group Policy that instructs StoreFront servers and VDAs on how to locate the FAS servers.

  1. On the Federated Authentication Service server, browse to C:\Program Files\Citrix\Federated Authentication Service\PolicyDefinitions. Copy the files and folder.
  2. Go to \\\SYSVOL\\Policies\PolicyDefinitions and paste the files and folder. If PolicyDefinitions doesn’t exist in SYSVOL, then copy them to C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions instead.
  3. Edit a GPO that applies to all StoreFront servers, all Federated Authentication Service servers, and all VDAs.
  4. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Citrix Components > Authentication.
  5. Edit the setting Federated Authentication Service.
  6. Enable the setting and click Show.
  7. Enter the FQDN of the Federated Authentication Service server. You can add more than one Federated Authentication Service server.
  8. Click OK twice.
  9. On the Federated Authentication Service server, and VDAs, run gpupdate.
  10. On the FAS server, and on VDAs, look in the registry at HKLM\Software\Policies\Citrix\Authentication\UserCredentialService\Addresses. Make sure this key and value exists. The number one cause why FAS doesn’t work is because this key is missing from VDAs. The FAS Address GPO must apply to VDAs too.
  11. If the VDAs and Users are in different domains, see CTX220497 Users from one AD Domain not able to get FAS user certificates from another trusted domain: add the Citrix StoreFront Servers, FAS server and VDA servers to the Windows Authorization Access Group in the users’ domain.
  12. By default, the VDAs will verify the certificates aren’t revoked by downloading the Certificate Revocation List. You can disable CRL checking by configuring HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\LSA\Kerberos\Parameters\UseCachedCRLOnlyAndIgnoreRevocationUnknownErrors (DWORD) = 1 as detailed at CTX217150 Unable to login using the FAS Authentication – Getting Stuck on Please wait for local session manager.

FAS 1909+ Configuration

If you prefer to script the FAS configuration, then see Citrix Blog Post Automating the Citrix Federated Authentication Service with PowerShell.

FAS 1909 and newer have a different configuration GUI than FAS 1906 and older.

Here are 1909 and newer GUI configuration instructions:

  1. Log into the FAS server as a Domain Administrator or Enterprise Administrator that can upload certificate templates to Active Directory.
  2. On the FAS server, from the Start Menu, run Citrix Federated Authentication Service as administrator. Make sure you run it elevated.
  3. In the tab named Initial Setup, in the row named Deploy certificate templates, click Deploy.
  4. Click OK to deploy the templates to Active Directory.
  5. In the row named Set up a certificate authority, click Publish.
  6. Select an Enterprise Certificate Authority that will be issue the FAS certificates and click OK.
  7. In the row named Authorize this service, click Authorize.
  8. Select a CA that will issue this FAS server a Registration Authority certificate. Later, you will need to open the Certificate Authority console on the chosen server. Click OK.
  9. The row named Authorize this service has a new icon indicating it is waiting on the registration authority certificate to be approved.
  10. Open the Certification Authority console and point it to the CA server. In the Pending Requests node, find the certificate request for the FAS server and Issue it.
  11. Back in the FAS Administration Console, on the top right, click Refresh.
  12. The row named Authorize this service should now have a green check mark.
  13. In the row named Create a rule, click Create.
  14. In the Rule name page, leave it set to Create the default rule and click Next.
  15. In the Template page, click Next.
  16. In the Certificate authority page, select the CA that has the issuing templates configured and click Next. You can select more than one CA server.
  17. In the In-session use page, click Next.
  18. In the Access control page, click the link to Manage StoreFront access permissions.
  19. In the Permission for StoreFront Servers page, add your StoreFront servers and give them the permission Assert Identity. Click OK.
  20. Back in the Create Rule wizard, click Next.
  21. In the Restrictions page, you can optionally reduce the VDAs that are authorized to use FAS. Click Next.
  22. In the Summary page, click Create.
  23. The FAS Registration Authority certificate expires in two years. You’ll need to manually renew the FAS Registration Authority certificate before it expires. Put a notification on your calendar. For details, see Renew registration authority certificates at Citrix Docs.
    • In the row named Authorize this service, you can click the link for authorization certificate to see when it expires. Before expiration, use the Reauthorize button on the right of the same row.
  24. Jump ahead to Certificate Templates.

FAS 1906 and older Configuration

If you prefer to script the FAS configuration, then see Citrix Blog Post Automating the Citrix Federated Authentication Service with PowerShell.

Here are GUI configuration instructions for FAS 1906 and older:

  1. Log into the FAS server as a Domain Administrator or Enterprise Administrator that can upload certificate templates to Active Directory.
  2. On the FAS server, from the Start Menu, run Citrix Federated Authentication Service as administrator. Make sure you run it elevated.
  3. The Federated Authentication Service FQDN should already be in the list (from group policy). Click OK.
  4. In Step 1: Deploy certificate templates, click Start.
  5. Click OK to add certificate templates to Active Directory. Sufficient permission is required.
  6. In Step 2: Setup Certificate Authority, click Start.
  7. Select a Certificate Authority to issue the certificates, and click Ok.
  8. In Step 3: Authorize this Service, click Start.

    • Step 3 automatically submits an online request for the Registration Authority certificate to the CA and stores the non-exportable private key in the standard Microsoft Enhanced RSA and AES Cryptographic Provider.
    • Alternatively, you can submit the certificate request manually, and store the private key in TPM or HSM as detailed at Federated Authentication Service private key protection at Citrix Docs. When running New-FasAuthorizationCertificateRequest, the -UseTPM switch is optional.
  9. Select the issuing Certificate Authority, and click OK.

    • Authorize this Service only lets you select one Certificate Authority. If you want to load balance certificate requests against multiple Certificate Authorities, then see Set up multiple CA servers for use in FAS at Citrix Docs.
      Set-FasCertificateDefinition -Name default_Definition -CertificateAuthorities @("ca1.corp.local\CA1.corp.local", "ca2.corp.local\ca2.corp.local")
  10. Step 3 is now yellow.
  11. On the Microsoft CA server, go to the Certification Authority Console > Pending Requests. Find the pending request, and Issue it.
  12. In a minute or two, Federated Authentication Service will recognize the issued certificate and Step 3 will turn green.
  13. After FAS authorization with the CA, in the FAS Configuration tool, switch to the User Rules tab.
  14. Use the Certificate Authority drop-down to select the issuing Certificate Authority.
  15. Use the Certificate Template drop-down to select the Citrix_SmartcardLogon template.
  16. Click Edit next to List of StoreFront servers that can use this rule.
  17. Remove Domain Computers from the top half, and instead add your StoreFront servers. You could add an Active Directory security group instead of individual StoreFront servers.
  18. On the bottom half, make sure Assert Identity is Allowed. Click OK.
  19. By default, all users and all VDAs are allowed. You can click the other two Edit boxes to change this.
  20. When done, click Apply.
  21. Click OK when you see Rule updated successfully.
  22. The FAS Registration Authority certificate expires in two years. You’ll need to manually renew the FAS Registration Authority certificate before it expires. Put a notification on your calendar. For details, see Renew registration authority certificates at Citrix Docs.
    • To see the expiration date of the authorization certificate, run the following PowerShell command after running add-pssnapin Citrix.Authentication.FederatedAuthenticationService.V1:
      Get-FasAuthorizationCertificate -FullCertInfo -address myFASServer

Certificate Templates

The deployed FAS Certificate Templates have Autoenroll enabled. You might want to disable that.

  1. Open the Certificate Templates console. One option is to open the Certification Authority console, right-click Certificate Templates, and then click Manage.
  2. There should be three templates with names starting with Citrix_. Open the properties on each one.
  3. On the Security tab, highlight each group assigned to the template.
  4. On the bottom half, uncheck the box in the Autoenroll row but leave Enroll checked. Perform this step for every group assigned to this template. Then click OK.
  5. Repeat disabling autoenroll for the other two templates.

The Registration Authority certificate templates are permitted to all Domain Computers. You might want to change that.

  1. Open the Properties of one of the Citrix_RegistrationAuthority certificate templates.
  2. On the Security tab, remove Domain Computers.
  3. Add your FAS servers and enable the Enroll permission.
  4. Repeat for the other Registration Authority certificate.

To further restrict who can be issued certificates, go to your Certificate Authority’s Properties and use the Enrollment Agents tab to restrict enrollment agents.

StoreFront Configuration

Once FAS is enabled on a StoreFront store, it applies to all connections through that store, including password-based authentications. One option is to create a new store just for FAS users.

  1. Check the registry at at HKLM\Software\Policies\Citrix\Authentication\UserCredentialService\Addresses to confirm that the group policy with FAS addresses has been applied to the StoreFront servers.
  2. On the StoreFront 3.6 or newer server, run the following elevated PowerShell command:
    & "$Env:PROGRAMFILES\Citrix\Receiver StoreFront\Scripts\ImportModules.ps1"
  3. Run the following commands. Adjust the store name as required.
    $StoreVirtualPath = "/Citrix/Store"
    $store = Get-STFStoreService -VirtualPath $StoreVirtualPath
    $auth = Get-STFAuthenticationService -StoreService $store
    Set-STFClaimsFactoryNames -AuthenticationService $auth -ClaimsFactoryName "FASClaimsFactory"
    Set-STFStoreLaunchOptions -StoreService $store -VdaLogonDataProvider "FASLogonDataProvider"
  4. If you have multiple StoreFront servers, Propagate Changes.
  5. On a Citrix Delivery Controller, run the following commands:
    asnp citrix.*
    Set-BrokerSite -TrustRequestsSentToTheXmlServicePort $true

If you ever need to disable FAS on StoreFront, run the following commands. Adjust the store name as required.

$StoreVirtualPath = "/Citrix/Store"
$store = Get-STFStoreService -VirtualPath $StoreVirtualPath
$auth = Get-STFAuthenticationService -StoreService $store
Set-STFClaimsFactoryNames -AuthenticationService $auth -ClaimsFactoryName "standardClaimsFactory"
Set-STFStoreLaunchOptions -StoreService $store -VdaLogonDataProvider ""

SAML Configuration


SAML flows like this:

  1. (Optional) User goes to the web application aka Service Provider (e.g. Citrix Gateway).
    • The Service Provider (SP) redirects the user’s browser to the Identity Provider’s (IdP) SAML Single Sign-on (SSO) URL and includes an authentication request in the Redirect. The IdP SSO URL might be different for each Service Provider.
    • The Authentication Request from the Service Provider includes a Service Provider Entity ID. The IdP matches the SP Entity ID with an entry in its database so it knows which SP is making the authentication request. The Entity ID must match on both the SP and the IdP.
    • If the Authentication Request is signed by the Service Provider’s certificate private key, then the IdP will verify the signature using the Service Provider’s certificate public key. In this scenario, the Service Provider’s certificate (without private key) must be loaded into the IdP.
  2. The user authenticates to the IdP, typically using Multi-factor Authentication.
    • If the user was redirected from the SP, then the IdP already knows which SP to authenticate with.
    • If the user went directly to the IdP, then the user typically needs to click an icon representing the web application (Service Provider).
  3. IdP generates a SAML Assertion containing the user’s userPrincipalName or email address.
    • Configure the IdP to include the user’s UPN or email address in the NameID field of the assertion. SAMAccountName won’t work with Citrix FAS.
    • The SAML Assertion also includes the Service Provider’s Entity ID. The ID in the Assertion must match the ID configured on the SP.
    • IdP signs the SAML Assertion using an IdP certificate private key.
    • IdP has a configuration for the SP that includes a SAML Assertion Consumer Service (ACS) URL. IdP redirects the user’s browser to the SP’s ACS URL and POST’s the SAML Assertion.
      • The ACS URL on Citrix Gateway ends in /cgi/samlauth
  4. SP uses the IdP certificate’s public key to verify the signature on the SAML Assertion.
    • The IdP’s certificate (without private key) is installed on the Citrix ADC so it can verify the Assertion’s signature.
  5. SP extracts the user’s userPrincipalName from the Assertion and uses the UPN for Single Sign-on to StoreFront and the rest of the Citrix components.
    • Note that the SP does not have access to the user’s password and thus that’s why we need Citrix FAS to generate certificates for each user.

Configure the SAML IdP

You typically start the configuration on the Identity Provider (IdP). Every IdP has unique instructions. Search Google for your IdP and Citrix ADC and you might find a IdP-specific guide. After IdP configuration, you download the IdP’s certificate and copy the IdP’s SSO URL so you can configure them on Citrix ADC.

Azure AD as SAML IdP

  1. In Azure Portal, go to Azure Active Directory.
  2. On the left, click Enterprise applications.
  3. In the new blade that appears, on the All applications page, on the right, click New application.
  4. In the All Categories view of the gallery, on the top right, click Non-gallery application.
  5. Give the application a descriptive name. Azure AD shows this name in the myapps portal. Click Add.
  6. After the application is created, on the left, in the Manage section, click Single sign-on.
  7. On the right, click the big button for SAML.
  8. In section 1 labelled Basic SAML Configuration, click the pencil icon.
  9. In the Identifier (Entity ID) field, enter an identifier in URI format. Usually it matches the FQDN of the Citrix Gateway and can be entered in format. You’ll later need to specify the exact same Identifier on the Citrix ADC.
  10. In the Reply URL (Assertion Consumer Service URL) field, enter a URL similar to The path must be /cgi/samlauth. The scheme should be https. And the FQDN is your Citrix Gateway’s FQDN.
  11. Click Save. Then you might have to click the x on the top right to make it go away.
  12. In section 2 labelled User Attributes & Claims, notice that it defaults to sending the userprincipalname. You can click the pencil to change the attribute used for the Name identifier value. Whatever value you send will need to match the userPrincipalNames of local Active Directory accounts (aka shadow accounts).

  13. In section 3 labelled SAML Signing Certificate, click the Download link in the Certificate (Base64) line.
  14. Citrix ADC 12.1 and newer support SAML metadata so feel free to copy the App Federation Metadata Url field.
  15. If you are running NetScaler 12.0 or older, then you will need to copy the Login URL field from section 4 labelled Set up
  16. On the left, under Manage, click Users and groups.
  17. Use the normal process to assign Azure AD users and groups to this application. Click Assign.
  18. Jump to the section named Citrix ADC SAML Configuration.


The screenshots in this section use ADFS as an example IdP. Your IdP will be different.

  1. In your SAML IdP, create a Relying Party Trust (aka service provider trust) or new Application.
  2. Since we’re configuring the IdP before we configure Citrix ADC and thus don’t have access to the SP metadata, select the option to Enter data about the relying party manually.
  3. For the Assertion Consumer Service URL (aka relying party service URL), enter the URL to your Citrix Gateway with /cgi/samlauth appended to the end (e.g.
  4. Enter a Relying party trust identifier in URI format. You must specify the same identifier (Issuer Name) on the Citrix ADC as detailed in the next section.
  5. Configure the SAML IdP to send email address or User-Principal-name as Name ID. Citrix ADC receives the Name ID and sends it to StoreFront. StoreFront will look in Active Directory for an account with userPrincipalName that matches the Name ID.
  6. Citrix ADC will sign the authentication requests it sends to the IdP. On the Citrix ADC, you will soon configure the Citrix ADC SAML SP signing certificate with private key that signs the authentication requests that are sent to the IdP. In your SAML IdP, import the same Citrix ADC SAML SP signing certificate but without the private key.
  7. Copy the SAML authentication URL (aka Token Issuance URL) from your SAML IdP. You’ll need to enter this same URL on your Citrix ADC later.
  8. Export the IdP Token-signing certificate from your SAML IdP. The IdP could be ADFS, Okta, Ping, etc.

Citrix ADC SAML Configuration

SAML Server/Action

  1. Instructions for Citrix ADC 13.0, Citrix ADC 12.1, NetScaler 12.0, and NetScaler 11.1 are essentially the same.
    • Citrix ADC 12.1 and newer support SAML Metadata while older versions of NetScaler do not support SAML Metadata.
    • NetScaler 11 is very similar, except Certificates are in a different place in the NetScaler menu tree.
  2. Workspace app support – If you bind a SAML Authentication Policy directly to the Gateway Virtual Server (no nFactor/AAA), then Workspace app and Gateway VPN plug-in won’t work. To support SAML with Workspace app and Gateway VPN plug-in, configure nFactor (Authentication Virtual Server with Authentication Profile) instead of directly on the Gateway Virtual Server. Note: nFactor authentication is only available with ADC Advanced Edition and ADC Premium Edition.
  3. IdP Signing Certificate – On Citrix ADC, if you are not importing IdP metadata, then manually import the IdP SAML token-signing certificate (without private key) under Traffic Management > SSL > Certificates > CA Certificates. Citrix ADC uses this certificate to verify the signature of the SAML assertion from the IdP.
    Note: when you later create the SAML Action on Citrix ADC, there’s a place to add a SAML certificate. Unfortunately, the SAML Action is trying to import the wrong type of certificate since it wants the private key, which you don’t have access to. If you import the certificate here under CA Certificates, then there’s no prompt for private key.

    • SAML IdP certificates are shown in the Unknown Certificates node.
  4. If you want ADC to sign the authentication requests it sends to the IdP, then do the following:
    1. Move up two nodes to Server Certificates and Import or create a SP SAML signing certificate with private key. This can be the same certificate used on Citrix Gateway. Or a more common practice is to create a self-signed certificate.

    2. You’ll also need to import this SAML SP signing certificate (without private key) to your SAML IdP so it can verify the SAML authentication request signature from the Citrix ADC.
  5. Go to Citrix Gateway > Policies > Authentication > SAML. The quickest way to get here is to enter SAML in the search box on top of the menu.
  6. On the right, switch to the tab labelled Servers, and click Add.
  7. In the Name field, give the SAML Action a name that indicates the IdP’s name.
  8. If your Citrix ADC is 12.1 or newer, then get the SAML Metadata URL (or file) from the IdP.

    1. In the SAML Server on Citrix ADC, in the SAML IDP Metadata URL field, paste in the URL. ADC should be able to extract the IdP’s certificate from the Metadata URL.
    2. In the Issuer Name field, enter the ID that the SAML IdP is expecting for the Relying Party.  This Issuer Name must match the name you configured on the IdP’s Relying Party (Service Provider) Trust. Azure AD calls this the Identifier or Entity ID.
    3. Near the bottom, configure a Relay State Rule to prevent session hijack. It should check the Relay State field to make sure it matches the URL that users using to reach the Gateway Virtual Server. Make sure you include the forward slash at the end of the URL. Sample expression below. Pattern set is also possible. See CTX316577 for details. To avoid relay state “does not match” error, make sure users enter the Gateway URL instead of using a bookmark. 💡

    4. Scroll down and click Create.
    5. Edit the SAML Server again.
    6. If you uncheck the box next to Import Metadata, you can see the fields that it filled in for you. Unfortunately, other fields must be configured manually as detailed soon.
  9. Configure the SAML Server based on the data provided by your IdP. If you imported Metadata, then some of the fields might already be populated.
    1. For IDP Certificate Name, select the SAML IdP’s certificate that was exported from the SAML IdP and imported to Citrix ADC. Citrix ADC will use this IdP certificate to verify SAML assertions from the IdP.
      Note: the Add button here does not work correctly. Instead, if you need to import the SAML IDP certificate, then do it at the CA Certificates node as detailed earlier in this section.
    2. For Redirect URL, enter the URL to the SAML IdP’s authentication page. Citrix Gateway will redirect users to this URL. For ADFS, enter your ADFS URL appended with /adfs/ls (e.g. For other IdP’s, get the URL from your IdP.
    3. For User Field, enter the name of the SAML Claim from the IdP that contains the value that matches the userPrincipalName of your local Active Directory users (aka shadow accounts). This defaults to the NameID field, but you might have to use a different claim, like emailaddress.
    4. In the Issuer Name field, enter the ID that the SAML IdP is expecting for the Relying Party.  This Issuer Name must match the name you configured on the IdP’s Relying Party (Service Provider) Trust. Azure AD calls this the Identifier or Entity ID.
    5. Near the bottom, configure a Relay State Rule to prevent session hijack. It should check the Relay State field to make sure it matches the URL that users using to reach the Gateway Virtual Server. Make sure you include the forward slash at the end of the URL. Sample expression below. Pattern set is also possible. See CTX316577 for details. 💡
    6. Optionally, for Signing Certificate Name, select the SAML SP certificate (with private key) that Citrix ADC will use to sign authentication requests to the IdP. This same certificate (without private key) must be imported to the IdP, so the IdP can verify the authentication request signature. This field usually isn’t needed by most IdPs.
    7. Scroll down and click More.
    8. Citrix ADC defaults to SHA1. You might have to change the Signature Algorithm and Digest Method to SHA256.
    9. Review the other settings as needed by your IdP. Click Create when done.

SAML Policy – Advanced (nFactor) Method

Workspace app and Gateway Plugin (i.e. VPN plugin) requires nFactor (Advanced Authentication Policies) to support SAML authentication.

Licensing – nFactor requires ADC Advanced Edition or ADC Premium Edition. The newest builds of ADC 13 have added nFactor support for ADC Standard Edition but its configuration is not ideal and is not detailed here.

If you prefer to configure the older Classic Method, which doesn’t work with Workspace app, then skip to the Classic Method.

Do the following to create an Advanced Authentication Policy, a AAA vServer, and bind it to the Gateway vServer:

  1. In the left menu, expand Security, expand AAA – Application Traffic, expand Policies, expand Authentication, expand Advanced Policies, and then click Policy.
  2. On the right, click the button labelled Add.

    1. Change the drop-down for Action Type to SAML.
    2. Change the drop-down for Action to the SAML Action you created earlier.
    3. In the box labelled Expression, enter true.
    4. Give the policy a name and click Create.
  3. In the left menu, expand Security, expand AAA – Application Traffic and then click Virtual Servers.
  4. On the right, click the button labelled Add.

    1. Change the drop-down named IP Address Type to Non Addressable and then click OK.
  5. You can optionally bind a Server Certificate. If you don’t bind a certificate, then the AAA vServer will be down but it will still work. It doesn’t matter what certificate you choose. Click Continue when done.
  6. On the left, in the section named Advanced Authentication Policies, click the row that says No Authentication Policy.

    1. Click where it says Click to select.
    2. Click the small circle to the left of the SAML Policy that you created earlier. Then click the blue button labelled Select at the top of the screen.
    3. There’s no need to configure Select Next Factor unless you want to bind an LDAP Policy with Authentication Disabled so you can extract groups from Active Directory and use those groups for Gateway authorization. This configuration procedure is detailed in the next section.
    4. Click the blue button labelled Bind at the bottom of the window.
  7. Click Continue,
  8. At the bottom of the page, click Done to finish creating the AAA vServer.
  9. In the left menu, expand Citrix Gateway and click Virtual Servers.
  10. On the right, edit your existing Gateway Virtual Server.
  11. On the right side of the screen, in the Advanced Settings column, click Authentication Profile.
  12. On the left side of the screen, find the Authentication Profile section and then click the button labelled Add.
  13. Click where it says Click to Select and then select your AAA vServer.
  14. Give the Authentication Profile a name and then click the blue button named Create.
  15. Make sure you click the blue OK button before you click Done. If you don’t click OK then your changes won’t be saved.

Here are some sample CLI commands for this nFactor SAML configuration.

# SAML Actions
# ------------
add authentication samlAction "Azure AD" -samlIdPCertName AzureADSAML -samlSigningCertName WildcardCorpCom -samlRedirectUrl "" -samlIssuerName -Attribute1 emailaddress -logoutURL "" -logoutBinding REDIRECT -relaystateRule "aaa.LOGIN.RELAYSTATE.EQ(\"\")"

# SAML Authentication Policies
# ----------------------------
add authentication samlPolicy "Azure AD" ns_true "Azure AD"

# Advanced Authentication Policies
# --------------------------------
add authentication Policy "Azure AD Advanced" -rule true -action "Azure AD"

# Authentication Virtual Servers
# ------------------------------
add authentication vserver nFactor-AzureAD-SAML SSL
bind authentication vserver nFactor-AzureAD-SAML -policy "Azure AD Advanced" -priority 100 -gotoPriorityExpression NEXT

# Authentication Profiles
# -----------------------
add authentication authnProfile nFactor-AzureAD-SAML -authnVsName nFactor-AzureAD-SAML

# Citrix Gateway Virtual Servers
# ------------------------------
set vpn vserver -authnProfile nFactor-AzureAD-SAML

SAML nFactor LDAP Group Extraction

If you use AAA Groups with Citrix Gateway, then be aware that SAML usually does not provide the user’s group membership. Instead, configure a LDAP Policy to get the user’s groups from Active Directory so the groups can be later used by Citrix Gateway.

If you don’t need LDAP Group Extraction, then skip ahead to the StoreFront section.

Do the following to configure LDAP Group Extraction.

  1. Create a new LDAP Action.
    1. Use the Search in Menu to find LDAP then pick any of the results.
    2. Check the box next to an existing LDAP policy and click Add to copy its configuration. Or create a new one.
    3. Change the name of the LDAP Action.
    4. On the top right, uncheck the box next to Authentication.
    5. Scroll down a bit and in the right side re-enter the Administrator Password. Copying an existing LDAP Action does not copy the Bind password.
    6. Scroll down to the Other Settings section.
    7. On the left, change Server Logon Name Attribute to –<< New >>–.
    8. Enter userPrincipalName. The UPN is extracted from the SAML Assertion.
    9. Scroll down and click Create.
  2. On the left, go to Security > AAA – Application Traffic > Policies > Authentication > Advanced Policies > Policy and click Add to create a new Policy.

    1. Change Action Type to LDAP.
    2. Expression = true.
    3. Click Create.
  3. On the left, go to Security > AAA – Application Traffic > Policies > Authentication > Advanced Policies > Policy Label. On the right, click Add.

    1. Give the Policy Label a name and click Continue. The Login Schema should be LSCHEMA_INT.
    2. Select your LDAP Group Extract policy and then on the bottom click Bind.
    3. Click Done to close the Policy Label.
  4. On the left, go to Security > AAA – Application Traffic > Virtual Servers. On the right, edit your SAML AAA vServer.

    1. Click where it says 1 Authentication Policy.
    2. Right-click the Authentication Policy and then click Edit Binding.
    3. In the Select Next Factor field, click where it says Click to select.
    4. Select your LDAP Group Extract Policy Label and then click Bind.
  5. Skip ahead to the StoreFront section.

Here are some sample CLI commands for this nFactor SAML LDAP Group Extract configuration.

# LDAP Actions
# ------------
add authentication ldapAction LDAP-GroupExtract -serverIP -serverPort 636 -ldapBase "dc=corp,dc=local" -ldapBindDn ctxsvc@corp.local -ldapBindDnPassword ****** -ldapLoginName userPrincipalName -groupAttrName memberOf -subAttributeName cn -secType SSL -authentication DISABLED

# LDAP Policies
# -------------
add authentication ldapPolicy LDAP-Corp ns_true LDAP-Corp

# Authentication Policy Labels
# ----------------------------
add authentication policylabel LDAP-GroupExtract -loginSchema LSCHEMA_INT
bind authentication policylabel LDAP-GroupExtract -policyName LDAP-GroupExtract -priority 100 -gotoPriorityExpression NEXT

# Authentication Virtual Servers
# ------------------------------
bind authentication vserver nFactor-AzureAD-SAML -policy "Azure AD Advanced" -priority 100 -nextFactor LDAP-GroupExtract -gotoPriorityExpression NEXT

SAML Policy – Classic Method

Classic Policies are deprecated and will be removed in a future release of Citrix ADC. Only use this method if you are not licensed for ADC Advanced Edition or ADC Premium Edition. Recent builds of ADC 13.0 added nFactor in ADC Standard Edition but its configuration is not ideal.

  1. In the menu on the left, expand Citrix Gateway, expand Policies, expand Authentication, expand SAML.
  2. On the right, switch to the tab labelled Policies, and click Add.

    1. Give the policy a name, select the SAML Server, and enter ns_true for the expression. Click Create.
  3. Create Citrix Gateway Session Polices if you haven’t already.
  4. Edit your Session Policy/Profile.

    1. On the tab labelled Published Applications, make sure Single Sign-on Domain is not configured. Repeat this for your other Session Policies/Profiles.
  5. Create a Citrix Gateway Virtual Server if you haven’t already.
  6. Edit your Citrix Gateway Virtual Server.
  7. Scroll down to the Basic Authentication section, and add a policy by clicking the plus icon.
  8. Change the type to SAML and click Continue.
  9. Select your SAML policy and bind it. This is the only authentication policy you need. You can remove all other authentication policies.
  10. Next step: configure StoreFront for SAML Citrix Gateway.

Configure StoreFront for SAML Citrix Gateway

  1. In StoreFront 3.6 or newer, in the StoreFront Console, go to Stores, right-click the store, and click Manage Authentication Methods.
  2. Make sure Pass-through from Citrix Gateway is selected.
  3. Click the bottom gear icon on the right, and click Configure Delegated Authentication.
  4. Check the box next to Fully delegate credential validation to Citrix Gateway and click OK twice.
  5. In StoreFront, add a Citrix Gateway object that matches the FQDN of the Citrix Gateway Virtual Server that has SAML enabled.
  6. On the Authentication Settings page, make sure you configure a Callback URL. It won’t work without it.
  7. Then assign (Configure Remote Access Settings) the Gateway to your Store.

  8. Next step: create Active Directory Shadow Accounts

Native SAML on StoreFront without Citrix ADC

StoreFront 3.9 and newer have native support for SAML Authentication without Citrix ADC. Notes:

  • SAML overrides Explicit and Pass-through authentication.
  • SAML in StoreFront without Citrix ADC seems to work in Workspace app and Receiver Self-Service for Windows.

For an example configuration using StoreFront PowerShell commands and SAML metadata, see CTX232042 Configure StoreFront with OKTA.

To configure native SAML in StoreFront 3.9 or newer:

  1. Export the signing certificate from your SAML IdP. The IdP could be ADFS, Okta, Ping Identity, etc.
  2. In StoreFront 3.9 or newer console, right-click a Store, and click Manage Authentication Methods.
  3. Check the box next to SAML Authentication. If you don’t see this option (because you upgraded from an older version), click the Advanced button on the bottom of the window, and install the authentication method.
  4. On the right, click the gear icon for SAML, and click Identity Provider.
  5. Change the SAML Binding to the method your IdP expects.
  6. Enter the IdP token issuance endpoint URL. For example, in ADFS, the path is /adfs/ls.
  7.  Click Import.
  8. Browse to the signing certificate exported from your IdP, and click Open.
  9. Then click OK to close the Identity Provider window.
  10. On the right, in the SAML Authentication row, click the gear icon, and then click Service Provider.
  11. Click the first Browse button.
  12. Give the Signing certificate a name, and save it somewhere.
  13. Click the second Browse button.
  14. Give the Encryption certificate a name, and save it somewhere.
  15. Copy the Service Provider Identifier. Or you can change it to your desired value. Then click OK.
  16. In your IdP (e.g. ADFS), create a Relying Party Trust.
  17. Import the Encryption certificate that you exported from StoreFront.
  18. Enable SAML 2.0.
  19. For the Assertion Consumer Service (ACS) path, enter something similar to The hostname portion of the URL is equivalent to your StoreFront Base URL. /Citrix/StoreAuth matches your Store name with Auth on the end. The rest of the path must be /SamlForms/AssertionConsumerService. You can get this ACS value by looking in the SAML metadata at the bottom of https://<storefront host>/Citrix/StoreAuth/SamlForms/ServiceProvider/Metadata.

  20. For the Relying party trust identifier, enter the identifier you copied from the Service Provider window in StoreFront.
  21. Configure the Claim Rules to send the user’s email address or userPrincipalName as Name ID.
  22. Edit the Relying Party Trust. Import the Signing certificate that you exported from StoreFront.

  23. Create Active Directory Shadow Accounts. Federated users must be userPrincipalName mapped to local Active Directory accounts.
  24. If you point your browser to https://<storefront-host>/Citrix/<storename>Auth/SamlTest, it should perform a SAML Login, and then show you the assertion that was returned from the IdP. See Citrix CTX220639 How to configure SAML Authentication-Test Configuration.
  25. See Citrix CTX220682 Storefront SAML Troubleshooting Guide for event logs, SAML Metadata, Active Directory account mapping, Trust XML, etc.
  26. When you go to your Receiver for Web page, it should automatically redirect you to your IdP. After authentication, it should redirect you back to StoreFront and show you your icons.
  27. ADFS also works in Receiver 4.6 and newer, and Workspace app.
  28. When you logoff, it won’t let you log on again unless you close your browser and reopen it.

  29. To fix this problem, see CTP Sacha Thomet StoreFront – Allow relogin without browser close. Edit the file C:\inetpub\wwwroot\Citrix\StoreWeb\custom\script.js, and add the following line:
    CTXS.allowReloginWithoutBrowserClose = true

  30. Now when you logoff, you’re given an option to log on again.

Active Directory Shadow Accounts

To login to Windows (Citrix VDA), every user must have an Active Directory account in a domain trusted by the VDA. For Federated Users, you typically need to create shadow accounts for each Federated user in your local Active Directory. These Shadow accounts need a userPrincipalName that matches the SAML attribute (usually email address) provided by the SAML IdP.

If the email address provided by the SAML IdP does not match the UPN suffix for your domain, then do the following:

  1. Open Active Directory Domains and Trust.
  2. Right-click the top left node (not a domain node), and click Properties.
  3. In the UPN Suffixes tab, add a UPN suffix that matches the email suffix provided by the SAML IdP.
  4. When creating a shadow account in your Active Directory, the new UPN suffix is available in the drop-down list. Note that the pre-Windows 2000 logon name can’t conflict with any other user in the domain.
  5. The password for these Shadow accounts can be any random complex password since the Federated users never need the Shadow account’s password.
  6. If the shadow account is already created, edit the account, and on the Account tab, use the drop-down to select the new UPN suffix.
  7. Create a shadow account for every federated user. There are third party Identity Management tools that can automate this. Or get an export from the IdP and use PowerShell scripting to create the acccounts.

Verify FAS

When FAS is enabled on StoreFront, every user that logs into StoreFront (local or remote) causes a user certificate to be created on the FAS server. You can see these user certificates by running the following PowerShell commands:

Add-PSSnapin Citrix.Authentication.FederatedAuthenticationService.V1
Get-FasUserCertificate -address fas01.corp.local

Citrix uses these certificates to logon to the VDA as the user. No password needed.

806 thoughts on “Citrix Federated Authentication Service (SAML) 2203”

        1. SAML on Citrix Gateway is preferred.

          SAML on StoreFront doesn’t always work with some IdPs.

      1. We are seeing event is 39 in our Domain Controller System log for our FAS generated certificates. It’s just a warning for now but could be a problem in May 2023. Text is: The Key Distribution Center (KDC) encountered a user certificate that was valid but could not be mapped to a user in a secure way (such as via explicit mapping, key trust mapping, or a SID). Such certificates should either be replaced or mapped directly to the user via explicit mapping. See to learn more.

  1. Hello Carl,

    How do we do the setup where we need 2 FAS Servers .do we need to do separate FAS setup manually in both the servers and Define the FAS server FQDN in GPMC under federation Authenticated service ?

  2. great article, however i followed it all the way through but am getting 403 error Error:app_not configured_for user Service is not configured for this user. We are using google authentication for SAML. any thoughts are appreciated

      1. We use ADC 13.1 configured for Citrix Gateway to Storefront LTSR 1912 CU3. I get past the Google authentication then error comes connecting Citrix gateway to storefront – it does not get to the published apps. We also setup a FAS since that was required to pass authentication across. Is there a log file I can check to see what is happening or where it is failing?

        1. Check StoreFront Server > Event Viewer > Applications and Services > Citrix Delivery Service.

  3. Hi Carl, any updates on when FAS will issue an Azure AD PRT? Without it, Azure resources (e.g., Outlook) require auth and SSO doesn’t work.

    1. Are these hybrid-joined? If so, enable Seamless SSO in Azure AD Connect and it should be able to authenticate to Azure AD-authenticated resources using Kerberos. Are you saying that’s not working?

          1. Thanks Carl. That seems to be the case. If anyone else was able to get this working please reply.

  4. Thanks Carl for sharing useful information about FAS.

    I am looking for automating FAS deployment and configuration using Scripts specially for Azure Hosted Server. Is there any reference you can suggest?
    I have gone through the link( that you mentioned above for the same has mentioned about it but cannot find actual code that I can refer.

    Thanks for your help!

      1. Thanks a lot for your help..!!

        Sometime i wonder what would have been the situation of all Citrix folks if you were not around.

  5. Hi! I followed “Configure Citrix ADC as SAML Service Provider”. It’s successfully login with Keycloak. But when it redirect to StoreFront web site, I got an error code 43531 from an empty page. There is an error message in ns.log like “[Remote ip =] wi_server is either down or is not vip/csw type {user:, wihome URL: http://cxdcc.test.local/Citrix/testWeb/, port: 80 wi_server_state: 1, wi_server si_cur_flags: 0x24008000}”.

      1. Here is same message in ns.log
        “IDP: Checking whether current flow is SAML/OAuth IdP flow, input /Citrix/testWeb”
        “Invaid tass cookie while checking whether current authentication is due to idp functionality: /Citrix/testWeb ”
        “SAMLSP: Trying to detect Assertion replay for sessionid ab829cd9-b6a2-46b3-9860-623a6b90a4f4::cdefa596-ebbe-4b48-96ed-9e059da79e5f assertionid ID_eecf8ed6-35b4-462c-84d7-66c2ded48334”
        “SAMLSP resumeNotification; entry not found, dht_error 6”
        “get_session user: , aaa_info flags 1 flags2 0, new webview 0, sess flags2 0, flags3 0 flags4 8000 ssoDomain , ssoUsername: , ssoUsername2: ”
        “SAMLSP: LOGIN SUCCESS; Core , Copying logout url to session for saml logout, user ” 04/15/2022:09:30:17 GMT NSG 0-PPE-1 : default AAA Message 320 0 : “Copying SAML logout URL from AAA session to VPN session for SAML single logout”
        “In vpnsession_adv_policyeval : Calling action-trigger for policy = Receiver For Web”
        “In vpnsession_adv_policyeval : Calling action-trigger for policy = SETVPNPARAMS_ADV_POL”
        “VPN_DBSREP_GET{ns_vpn_getdbs_svc:10515}, dbsrep_name: cxdcc.test.local_0_50_ipv4, dbsrep: 0x120f41910, dbsrep->ref_cnt: 3”
        “[Remote ip =] VPN_DBSREP_GET{init_icamode_homepage:9807}, domain: cxdcc.test.local, servicetype: 0, port: 80, session: 0x122600000, user:, dbsrep: 0x120f41910, dbsrep->ref_cnt: 3”
        “[Remote ip =] wi_server is either down or is not vip/csw type {user:, wihome URL: http://cxdcc.test.local/Citrix/testWeb, port: 80 wi_server_state: 1, wi_server si_cur_flags: 0x24008000}”
        “Ica mode status is not okay”
        “Cannot complete login for user: sessionid , session state , reason: “

        1. Does it work without SAML? Can ADC resolve the DNS name of your StoreFront URL? You can change it from FQDN to IP address. Can ADC reach the IP address of the StoreFront URL?

          1. Thanks. I fix it when I user IP address. I added domain name to /etc/hosts and used it before. But ADC could not parse the domain.

            P.S. Could you modify my name to Eric Su in the first comment? I accidentally used a Chinese name.

  6. Hi Carl, first I would like to say thank you for all your contribution to the Citrix community. The work you put out is priceless. I have nothing by gratitude and appreciation.

    I am setting up a FAS server for the first time and the issue is, it’s a bit similar to Naveen’s issue. When logging into the NetScaler which takes me to Okta. I put my credentials as a local user and get presented with my VDAs. However when I launch the VDA, it should take my credentials and log me in via SSO. It does not, It presents me with the last user logged in the VDA or requesting a logon. Any guidance you can share would be greatly appreciated. I have a case open with Citrix, and they are still logging into it.


  7. Are there any workarounds when users AD UserPrincipalName and SamAccountName are different when implementing Citrix FAS with Azure MFA?

    1. SamAccountName is not considered when using FAS. Only the UPN is used. Azure AD needs to send back the user’s UPN in the Name ID SAML attribute.

      1. So the user AD account must have these match when implementing? User profiles would still use SamAccountName, is it still functional if they don’t match? Thanks so much Carl!

          1. You can bind a Traffic Policy to the Gateway. The Traffic Policy can construct a username in UPN format that uses one of the attributes returned by the SAML assertion.

          2. I think I might be facing a similar situation. I have an external client using Azure AD idp to my ADC and implementing FAS. I have a user with a UPN of and a sAMAccountName of BWHITE. Once logged into the VDA, the user shows as being logged as BOBWHITE, pulling the username from the UPN. Prior to AzureAD IDP/ADC/FAS, it would show the user logged in as the sAMAccountName BWHITE, name the profile BWHITE, and any other internal server communication is done via the sAMAccountName (BWHITE). Now it appears that everything is being done via the UPN, which isn’t going to work for all of our programs that rely on that sAMAccountName. I am wondering if Carl’s suggestion of constructing a traffic policy would be able to get me back to passing the sAMAccountName to the VDA. If so, any tips on how to construct that policy? I’m a little green on the subject so any step by step help would be appreciated. Also, I see a major flaw in using the username of the UPN. When I tested this, I had a user and another user They were completely different accounts, and when both were logged into the same VDA at the same time, they wrote to the same windows profile.

  8. I have config SANL based authentication with nfactor authentication nd EPA enabled, my log in and authentication works absolutely fine but when i log in i don’t see any of resources rather i get a error ‘cannot complete your request’ upon successful sign in.

    1. Are you doing StoreFront? Or are you doing VPN with clientless portal?

      If StoreFront, what do you see in StoreFront Server > Event Viewer > Applications and Services > Citrix Delivery Services?

  9. Nothing Much on storefront and Fas server

    On the Storefront server Event ID -1 – The web application has started.

    On the Fas server – Event Id – 105 –

    [S105] Server [Domain\test123$] issued identity assertion [upn:, role Default, Security Context: []]. [correlation: 0fe50fcc-1945-4264-9810-1acd92642013]

    Fyi.. i have removed my domain name and user name and put the dummy name in the FAS Event logs above.

  10. Hi Carl,

    We are facing weird issue in SAML configuration. When we are enabling FAS on Storefront users are not able to launch applications. Application starts launching and disappears after few seconds. As i disable FAS on Storefront server application start launching fine. Same behavior if i am launching application from Storefront. Any help would be appreciated.

    All servers are running on 2019 OS.

    1. What do you see in StoreFront Server > Event Viewer > Applications and Services > Citrix Delivery Services and on the FAS Event Viewer?

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