Obtaining a security clearance is a significant step for federal employees and contractors. It allows access to classified information for national security.
The process includes a comprehensive investigation to ensure trustworthiness. Therefore, you should know how to prepare for a security clearance investigation.
Learn the basics
The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency processed more than 836,000 security clearance applications in 2021. It is important to learn about the process and the different levels of security clearances, such as confidential, secret and top secret. Identify the level you need because each level requires a progressively more thorough investigation.
Review your history
Gather all your personal documents, including birth certificates, passports and Social Security records. Also, update your credit reports and get the errors removed. Address any delinquent debts or unresolved financial issues.
Complete the SF-86 form
Complete the Standard Form 86 (SF-86) to initiate the investigation process. Meticulously fill out this form, as any inconsistencies or omissions can raise concerns.
Review your online presence
Investigators may scrutinize your online presence. Review your social media accounts, set your privacy settings appropriately and remove any content that could raise red flags or compromise your security.
Collect additional information
If you have foreign contacts, provide detailed information about your interactions and relationships as well as their background information. Collect relevant documents and records for past mental health treatments or legal issues, such as arrests or court appearances. Prepare to discuss the circumstances and your current status.
Gather your references and witnesses
Identify trustworthy references who can vouch for your character, reliability and suitability for a security clearance. Notify these individuals that investigators may contact them.
For the best results, remain honest, cooperative and responsive throughout the investigation process.