Federated Identity Credential

Not all service account tokens can be exchanged for a valid AAD token. A federated identity credential between an existing Kubernetes service account and an AAD application has to be created in advance. Refer to doc for an overview of federated identity credentials in Azure Active Directory.

NOTE: Federated identity credentials are supported on AAD applications only. A maximum of 20 federated identity credentials can be added per AAD application object. The federated identity credentials API is not available in national cloud deployments - source

Export the following environment variables:

export APPLICATION_NAME="<your application name>"
export SERVICE_ACCOUNT_ISSUER="..." # see section 1.1 on how to get the service account issuer url

Currently, there are several ways to create and delete a federated identity credential:

Azure Workload Identity CLI

To create a federated identity credential:

azwi serviceaccount create phase federated-identity \
  --aad-application-name "${APPLICATION_NAME}" \
  --service-account-namespace "${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_NAMESPACE}" \
  --aad-application-name "${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_NAME}" \
  --service-account-issuer-url "${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_ISSUER}"

To delete a federated identity credential:

azwi serviceaccount delete phase federated-identity \
  --aad-application-name "${APPLICATION_NAME}" \
  --service-account-namespace "${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_NAMESPACE}" \
  --aad-application-name "${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_NAME}" \
  --service-account-issuer-url "${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_ISSUER}"

Azure CLI

To create a federated identity credential, login to Azure Cloud Shell and run the following commands:

# Get the client and object ID of the AAD application
export APPLICATION_CLIENT_ID="$(az ad sp list --display-name "${APPLICATION_NAME}" --query '[0].appId' -otsv)"
export APPLICATION_OBJECT_ID="$(az ad app show --id "${APPLICATION_CLIENT_ID}" --query id -otsv)"

cat <<EOF > body.json
  "name": "kubernetes-federated-identity",
  "issuer": "${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_ISSUER}",
  "subject": "system:serviceaccount:${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_NAMESPACE}:${SERVICE_ACCOUNT_NAME}",
  "description": "Kubernetes service account federated identity",
  "audiences": [

az rest --method POST --uri "https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/applications/${APPLICATION_OBJECT_ID}/federatedIdentityCredentials" --body @body.json

To delete a federated identity credential, the federated identity credential ID needs to be obtained with the following command:

az rest --method GET --uri "https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/applications/${APPLICATION_OBJECT_ID}/federatedIdentityCredentials"

Select the desired ID of the federated identity credential and run the following command:

az rest --method DELETE --uri "https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/applications/${APPLICATION_OBJECT_ID}/federatedIdentityCredentials/${FIC_ID}"

Azure Portal UI

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Go to App registrations and open the app you want to configure.
  3. Go to Certificates and secrets.
  4. In the Federated credentials tab, select Add credential. The Add a credential blade opens.
  5. In the Federated credential scenario drop-down box select Kubernetes accessing Azure resources.
  6. Specify the Cluster issuer URL.
  7. Specify the Namespace.
  8. Specify the Service account name.
  9. The Subject identifier field autopopulate based on the values you entered.
  10. Add a Name for the federated credential.
  11. Click Add to configure the federated credential.

Screenshot showing Azure Portal app registration federated credential screen for Kubernetes scenario