• United States

What to expect during the security clearance process

News Analysis
Jun 07, 20042 mins

If you apply for a security clearance, be ready to air your dirty laundry. Government investigators gather the following information as they determine whether or not you can receive a confidential or secret clearance:

•  You must self-report answers on a standard form, known as an SF-86.•  Investigators will seek data about you from federal databases, including those run by the military, FBI and IRS.•  Your credit is checked.•  Investigators contact local law enforcement agencies where you lived and worked during the last five years.•  Investigators corroborate your date and place of birth.

For a top-secret clearance, the following additional information is gathered:

•  Investigators validate your U.S. citizenship.•  They corroborate educational information, including attendance and degrees earned.•  They review your employment records and interview workplace references including former supervisors and co-workers.•  They seek personal references from people who were suggested by you and those who were not.•  Investigators run a check on your spouse or cohabitant.•  Interviews are conducted with a former spouse if you have been divorced within the last 10 years.•  Investigators canvass your neighborhood and verify your residence.•  They review public records related to bankruptcy, divorce, criminal and civil court cases.•  You are interviewed to collect data and to resolve inconsistencies. Expect questions about your use of alcohol, illegal drugs and travel to foreign countries. Back to Management Strategies: “Worth the wait”