If you have received a job offer contingent upon successfully obtaining a security clearance and completed all of the necessary applications and paperwork, then you will undergo a basic background investigation as a part of your security clearance application. The background investigation will evaluate your criminal and credit histories to ensure you will be “reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States” in your new position with the federal government.
The type of background investigation will depend upon requirements of the specific position. The background investigation process can take several months or up to a year depending on the backlog, need for more information, depth of the investigation process, and other factors.
A background investigation is an intensive process and does not even begin until your Stand Form (SF) 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, and any other requirements are submitted. The typical steps for a background investigation include:
- Submission of completed security package by the HR department to the State Department’s Office of Personnel Security and Suitability
- Review of security package for completeness
- Formal entry of security package into a case management system
- Fingerprint checks and National agency record checks
- Case manager is assigned to direct the background investigation
- Case manager or investigator will contact you for an in-person interview (usually within a few weeks of security clearance package submission)
- Verification of information included in security package (references, places of residence, work places, and more)
- Upon report completion, security clearance adjudicators will weigh the results against existing adjudicative guidelines for security clearances
- You will be informed that the security clearance has been granted or receive a Statement of Reasons as to why the clearance was denied
The background investigation process is a long, stressful, and detailed one. A security clearance attorney can help you every step of the way.