1. Security Clearance FAQs
  2. Getting a Security Clearance

What can I do to speed up the process of getting a security clearance

A checklist of ways to getting a security clearance faster.

  1. Download a fillable PDF copy of the application form (Standard Form 86— SF86) from the OPM website. Complete the PDF copy of the SF86 before attempting to complete the web-based (e-QIP) version online. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
  2. Provide complete and accurate information. Too often applicants fail to list short-term employment, residence, education, and other seemingly unimportant information. When an investigation turns up missing or discrepant information, it adds extra time to the investigation. Among other things, failure to list the organization that is sponsoring your clearance as you current employer may cause your application to be rejected.
  3. Postal Zip Codes are critical. A wrong Zip Code can result in part of your investigation being sent to the wrong investigative office, and the case could languish for days before the error is noticed.
  4. Get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com and review them before completing an SF86. Something you were unaware of may appear on one of the reports and cause delays.
  5. When entering the “Name of Person Who Knew You” in the Residence Section of the SF86, try to list neighbors. Avoid listing relatives in any section of the SF86, except Section 17—Marital Status and Section 18—Relatives.
  6. Don’t indicate dual citizenship just because you were born in a foreign country, unless you are certain you have dual citizenship. Go to http://www.multiplecitizenship.com/documents/IS-01.pdf and check the citizenship laws of the foreign county where you were born. This document is old and may be inaccurate, but it’s a good initial reference document. If you have dual citizenship, you should indicate in the SF86 your willingness to renounce foreign citizenship.
  7. If you have been hospitalized for specific medical conditions or been diagnosed by a physician or healthcare professional with a mental health condition in the past 7 years, contact the facility or physician and determine if they will accept standard government forms for release of information concerning your condition or treatment. If not, get a blank copy of a release acceptable to your clinician and take it with you when you are interviewed by an investigator.
  8. If you left a job under less than favorable circumstances, explain the situation in the “Add Optional Comments” field of section of Section 13 of your eApp, and give the name and/or position of the person who terminated you or asked you to quit.
  9. Couch any unfavorable security and suitability information in terms directly applicable to the mitigating conditions listed in the Adjudicative Guidelines. On December 10, 2016 the Director of National Intelligence signed Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 4, “National Security Adjudicative Guidelines.” There are 13 guidelines covering such things as alcohol consumption, drug involvement, financial considerations, criminal conduct, etc. Each provides examples of potential disqualifying conditions and mitigating conditions. There are also “General Criteria” listed at paragraph 2 of the Adjudicative Guidelines that are applicable to all of the 13 guidelines.