If you are planning on applying or have applied for a Government, Military related job, or any job requiring you to have access to restricted information, you will have more than likely had to go through a security clearance.
A security clearance is technically a license issued by the head of a department, division or agency of the federal government. The type of security clearance depends upon the department, division, or agency involved.
The largest source of individuals with security clearances is the military population.
There are three basic classifications of security clearances that one must obtain:
- Top Secret
You can expect to almost every type of security clearance to obtain the following:
- Background checks
- Credit Records
- Interviews with co-workers, family, employers, and rental offices, and
- An Interview with you, by an investigator.
You must sign a release authorizing release of ANY and ALL information about you to the Security Clearance investigators, which they will then have access to any sealed records, medical records, or any erased or deleted records.
What to expect the application process to be like:
For a military member needing a CONFIDENTIAL OR SECRET security clearance, they will be instructed to fill out a ESPQ Security Clearance Background Investigation Questionnaire. When completing this questionnaire, you must provide information from the last five years, and for TOP SECRET clearances, the previous ten years.
Once the ESPQ is completed, it is sent to the DSS for verification and background investigation.
The process time depends on several factors and what type of investigation is being processed. For CONFIDENTIAL and SECRET clearances, expect 1-3 months, TOP secret, between 4-8 months, but note that some Top secret clearances can take up to a year to clear.
How long is a security clearance valid?
A periodic reinvestigation (PR) is required every 5 years for a Top Secret Clearance, Secret Clearance every 10 years, and TOP secret clearance every 15 years.
There are 3 main steps in the process of completing a security clearance.
Currently, there are more than 500,000 background investigations pending for security clearance approval. To get additional information on the security clearance process, you can visit the DoD’S website at www.defenselink.mil