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Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 17
Getting/Updating a Clearance, investigations, Security Cleared Jobs, Security-Cleared Career Advice

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  1. Needing advice

    In our business, that is not a lot of debt–we see much worse. You have nothing to worry about IMO.

  2. Monty–

    Typically carries over.

  3. I got my TS/SSBI Clearance few months ago. Out of curiosity, I asked the copy of the investigation. This note caught my eyes;
    The Investigator sent the SF-86 to the previous employer. The Previous employer HR said the fax was came out blurry.
    Ok, is this a normal thing? Really? SF-86 to an ex-employer? The whole form? Isn’t my information and the whole family members should be confidential?

    Thank’s in advance for your explanation.

  4. JT said on May 15, 2013

    Thank you in advance for any information you can offer me. I will briefly summarize and then offer more detail.

    I learned this month, May 2013, that after denying my interim Secret clearance in Sept 2011, No Further Action/Investigation was conducted. This despite the fact that the DoD contractor continued to sponsor me for clearance/employment until March 2013.

    From Sept 2011 to Mar 2013 DoD reported to my sponsor that clearance status was “Pending”. Of course I never got the job with original sponsor and have not been able to even get an interview with employers requiring clearance because they can learn that I have a “Pending” status. I would appreciate opinions on if I have any legal recourse from getting OPM/DoD to perform an investigation to suing for damages caused by failure to perform the investigation given that I still had a sponsor.

    I was offered a job–which required a Secret Clearance–in July 2011 with a DoD Contractor. I completed the online e-QIP Application and had interview with OPM contract investigator in Aug. 2011. My interim clearance was denied, but DoD contractor continued to sponsor me for employment until March 2013. During this time DoD contractor indicated my clearance status showed”pending.” To learn both why interim clearance as denied as well as why clearance was “pending” for nearly 2-years while DoD contractor continued sponsorship, I had to go to my US Senator and get them to contact OPM and then DoD liaisons and finally a freedom of information act request. From this I have learned why my interim clearance was denied. I believe that had a complete investigation been done, the two issues raised could have been explained. But no reason for why no further investigation was conducted, given that I continued to be sponsored for this same job/clearance for another 18-months.

    Thank You,

  5. Two questions –

    1. I have a contractor who had a DUI after his 18th Birthday almost 4 yrs ago. I am putting him on a contract that requires a low risk NACI. Will this affect him passing?

    2. I myself, got a DUI in January after a long night of hanging out with college friends in town visiting. I went to sleep and everything, woke up the next day, running late for work and had a fender bender. I wrote down my information for the woman and gave it to her, but she was screaming and yelling in the middle of the street and wouldn’t move the car to the gas station. I told her I was going to pull into the gas station on the next corner which I did. Long story short, I got a DUI because the cop who arrived smelled alcohol on my breath from the night before and he gave me a hit and run for moving my car and “leaving the scene”. Both misdemeanors. There was no damage to either car, though I think she is trying to get money from my insurance.

    It has been horrible, I even had to do jail time, classes, counseling, more classes, and don’t get me started on how empty my savings account is now. I would never intentionally drink and drive and while I felt a little hung over in the morning, I certainly didn’t feel impacted or that my driving would be jeopardized. I’ve felt worse driving from a lack of sleep.

    Anyway, my question is, I now am up for some big DoD contracts that require a Facility Clearance where I will be the Project Manager. Will we be denied this because of my DUI and Hit and Run? Also can I pass a regular NACI background check at this point?

    Please advise.. thank you.

  6. JA said on July 11, 2013

    I have a question about national agency checks of an immediate family member (father-in-law). What does the naturalization verification entail? Does the status (asylum) through which his initial residency was granted make a difference? The position I am applying for is a limited appointment at a consulate/embassy.

  7. I know someone who has a top secret security clearance and has cheated on his wife. They are going through a divorce now. If his friend were to come forward and bring up evidence of this would he lose his clearance or for that matter his job?

  8. My fiancé and I are planning on getting married in two weeks. He has a top secret clearance. We were told by someone that my having a misdemeanor for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Is this true? It is the ONLY thing on my criminal background at all! Just in case you need more info on the charge….. My ex boyfriend whom my children and I lived with was a VERY mean person… He left bruises on my son’s bottom with a belt. For my own safety and the safety of my children’s lives I would not tell the courts what really happened until I got away from that situation and then came forward and told them what had happened…. I was then charged with the contributing as he was charged for abuse…. I pled guilty so that I would be able to fully testify against my ex he was then found not guilty…. I am in the process of having my charge overturned however out wedding is set for 2 weeks and I know it will not be off my record by then. Could this affect his Clearance? He can not do his job without his clearance.

    Thank you

  9. In 1994 I was arrested for marijuana. I plead no contest, paid a fine and moved on. I later hired a lawyer to expunge my record. 19 years later and several employers later, I have always answered no I have been arrested and no drug offense because my record was expunged. In my current company I recently took a position which requires a NAC SF86. So all of my stuff is good, credit score, job history, finances, where I lived. I haven’t been arrested in 19 years, a few speeding tickets but nothing out of the ordinary. So I don’t think I will have a problem with the clearance the issue that I am concerned about is answering, have you EVER been arrested for drugs, which technically I have but its been exunged, so how to I answer the NAC and do I open myself up to be terminated by my employer cause they now have access to information that was technically not avaialble to them?

  10. The security questionnaire specially instructs you to list offenses even if they were exunged. Your employment forms may not have contained such specific language about disclosing arrests.

    Some food for thought – a) Records are not the only way to find out about drug use/arrests. b) What if your next position requires a higher level clearance? Will you keep lying and therefore falsify multiple federal documents?

    We always tell Subjects that lying about an issue can have a greater effect on the outcome of their investigation than the underlying issue. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to disclose this information.

  11. Hey Guys,

    I need some career advice. I was an Investigator at USIS for one year and have been working as a Reviewer for more than five years in the federal government. Now, I have been given the opportunity to become an Adjudicator of background investigations at another government agency. My only problem is that the new agency wants to pay me less money than I’m making now. It’s about a 6 grand difference. I’d be going from a GS 12 to a pay band which is equivalent to an 11, but I would be at the top of the pay band. Then next year, I’d go back to a GS 12 equivalent pay band. I’ve already gone back and forth with HR about trying to get more money and they are not budging.

    My questions are: is this a good move for me? After becoming an Adjudicator, I would have experience working background investigations from beginning to end. My other question is: what are the possibilities for my next career move after I put in some time as an Adjudicator? I really want to know if having all of this experience in background investigations is good for my career and where I can go after being an Adjudicator. Thanks.

  12. I am planning to travel to Mexico for visit for a month or so. Will this travel jeopardize my clearance? Currently, I am not working anywhere but I have final clearance. Also, do I have to report my travel if yes who should I report to?
    Thank you

  13. I just got a job that requires me to fill out an SF86. I am worried because I am married, but while I was separated from my wife for a few years, I had a girlfriend in Thailand. I sent her small amounts of cash through Western Union. Will this cause a problem? Is it even traceable? I really didn’t want to include it because my wife, who I am currently reunited with, is helping me with this and will see.

  14. Hello,

    I’m applying to a contractor and I need to submit the SF85P. I have a good credit score and no criminal background. However, I’ve been fired and resign in lieu of separation twice in the past two years. This is a public trust clearance. The first one the company first (verbally) told me that they were releasing me b/c of $$ problems, but when I applied for unemployment they stated that I wasn’t doing my job correctly. I won the appeal and unemployment was still granted. The second time they needed someone with more expertise so they decided to release me. I will provide this information in my form, but do you think that this will hurt me in getting this job? I had no misconduct on neither of the jobs.

    I’m looking forward to your comments

    Thank you

  15. Currently work as a contract guard (CSO) for a Federal courthouse. In the past, I ran for mayor. Days following my announcement several (3) local police agencies started running my name through the D.A.V.I.D ( Florida’s Driver And Vehicle Information Database) and National Crime Information Center (aka NCIC) looking for dirt to slander my campaign. I recently did a public records request to obtain my drivers license audits and FDLE tar reports. Low and behold there are NUMEROUS (45) hits on my records. I requested an internal affairs investigation into why was my information accessed since I haven’t been pulled over. IA investigation report came back last month. Officers lied under oath and gave false claims of pulling me over. Some actually putting me at the scene of an accident (actual report does not list me as a witness) I have proof that I was no where near these locations. I have time slips, on work cameras and even have travel itinerary that puts me out of state. My question is…in 2014 i will have to undergo my 5 year background check to continue with my CSO position. Will all of these hits on my DAVID report & FDLE tar report come up in the background check and hurt my chances of continuing my employment as a CSO?

  16. Dear Investigator(s),

    My scenario is as follows. I recently accepted a job as a Federal Contractor. The job will require me to receive and obtain a Secret Clearance.

    My concerns are primarily related to my work history/previous jobs and credit card debt:
    Job History over the Last Three Years:
    (A) I have been at my current job for almost one year. My midyear review did not go well due to performance reasons. I was told that I was trending to getting a rating of unacceptable performance at year end and would most likely be placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) by or at year end. I had a conversation with my supervisor and asked if he could hold off on the PIP and give me a shot to work out my issues. They said since I had a really good attitude and worked hard they would hold off on the PIP. At the conclusion of my project I was notified I was not meeting expectations and was placed on a PIP. Management suggested I look for another job that was a better fit. I did this and have secured a job as a Federal Contractor (with my previous employer). My current manager is nice from the perspective that she told me I will keep my eligibility of “being eligible for rehire” with the Company (i.e. when I apply for a job and someone calls HR I won’t be in the we fired him category). However, for the SF86 I will need to put my former supervisor down as a reference. She will say I am a nice guy who worked really hard but that I fell far short of what they expected of someone in my position. (This position was a step up for me. Prior to this I had not been in a management position). Since they (management) knew I was looking for a new job they had me sign the PIP, but did not have me work it (i.e. have weekly meetings with me to tell me if things were going bad or good, etc.) because they knew I was looking for another job and would leave in January (which I have and am). They are also letting me stay on until my new job starts.

    (B) I was at my second to last job for sixteen months. That job did not go well from a boss/relationship perspective. Essentially, the VP hired all is former colleges, who I was not one of, and provided them with lots of great opportunities. When I asked for other opportunities/projects to expand my skill set he denied all of them. In my annual assessment he told me I was an underperformer and gave me a verbal tounge lashing but gave me a favorable review on the form that was submitted to HR (he agreed that I met all my goals), but wrote no verbiage on strengths/weaknesses. As a result I got my raise and a bonus. In 2012 I was working on a subteam of 2 people. The other person left. In addition, a new person to manage the subteam I perform on was hired. He was based out of Asia. We do an annual project that takes 2 people (myself and the other coworker) three months. For 2012 I was assigned to complete the said project single handedly. Based on manpower, and my manager being based in Asia (I was on the West Coast in the United States), this was impossible to complete and the project was not going well. Since I left the department has vacancies for two positions (one for my position and one for a manager) to fill the work I was expected to do singlehandedly both of which have been open for fifteen months. I knew that I would eventually be written up, placed on a plan, and fired after the project was over. Seeing this coming I provided a one month notice and submitted by resignation notice. Prior to doing this I was never placed on a performance plan and/or served with any written warnings/notices regarding my performance. When I went to pick up my final check my termination paperwork said I am not eligible for rehire. Again, with the SF86 I need to put the VP or my manager in Asia (both of whom hates my guts and are very close friends) down as supervisors. I know they are going to butcher me when the Background Investigator contacts them. Additionally, there are a lot of people at that Company, in my former department, who my VP got hired, and I am sure they will not have nice things to say about me either. However, I do have one former coworker from the department who no longer works there who will put in a good word for me as a reference.

    (C) I was at my third to last job for three years . The first two years I got good to outstanding reviews. During my midyear review of my third year I got a review saying I needed to make some improvements and would have to keep them up to keep my favorable review (which I received at the 6 month mark), but based on my recent projects I was headed in the right direction. I closed out my last project before year end with an awesome review (I have a written review from the manager to prove this). However, after that they benched me for a couple of months because there was not enough work for the whole team. When my year end review came the manager butchered me and one of my colleges. She said even though I did a good job on my most recent project the review was for the entire review and I needed to do more. The review was pretty ugly. It essentially makes me sound incompetent and incapable. Essentially, she wanted a couple of us gone to free up budget for promotions of other employees. I ended up resigning a few months later and provided a months notice. I know that I am eligible for rehire because the job I just accepted (that requires me to get the security clearance) is with the same company on the East Coast. I am not sure what type of reference this manager will give me. I did not have to good of a relationship with the people she promoted to manager and the ones I use to work for (who I have good relationships with) are no longer with the company.

    Finances: I have $35,000 of credit card debt. About $10,000 of this was incurred from frivolous spending with the remaining $20,000 being from moving twice (cross country once), being unemployed for a few months, medical expenses, and my dog getting sick (doggie chemo treatments), and a couple of Graduate School Courses. I’ve had a couple of 30 and 60 days late payments over the last 2-3 years. They were attributed to not getting my mail. However, I am current on all my bills. I make $100,000 a year. I have a plan to have this paid of in the next 3-4 years. I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle.

    1. For my last three jobs (A, B, and C above) what should I put as the reason for leaving – Fired, Quit After Being Told You Would Be Fired, Left by Mutual Agreement following charges of allegations of misconduct, Left by Mutual Agreement Following Notice of Unsatisfactory Performance?

    2. With the information provided above (those are my major negatives. I have never been arrested, never had any misconduct charges at work (using the computer to look at porn, etc.) what are my chances of getting an interim secret clearance and final secret clearance?

    Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You to all the investigators who answer these questions. Have a great Thanksgiving.

  17. Hello, I am in the tail end of joining the navy and my job will more than likely require a secret security clearance. I submitted my packet with no problem. I recently did a credit check for the first time and found 2 delinquent debts in collections well over 180 days and a judgement against me (which I wa not properly served for but that’s beside the point). Now I do not go to meet with my background investigator for another week. My questionis, should I take the initiative and set up a payment plan for these things beforehand? Or just tell him what I uncovered at the meeting? The three things total to about $2000 and should not be a huge problem paying off.

  18. i just got an mos that requires a secret security clearance. i did not fully disclose my NJ driving record to meps just three out of the eight tickets i have had, nothing major and all fines were paid. Is my driving record gonna be checked? Will this disqualify me?

  19. I am currently a member of the Army Reserve and my MOS requires me to have a secret clearance. My home was foreclosed on over two years ago due to a layoff, the subsequent loss of income, and the housing market crash. Since that time there have been no negative issues on my credit and I have built my overall score back up to the 700’s. The Army recently renewed my clearance without any questions regarding this issue (they never even contacted me). However, I am currently in the hiring process for a Federal Law Enforcement job that requires another E-Quip and background check. I am curious if this will create an issue for me. I feel that I have a valid explanation for what happened and I have shown in the years prior to this incident and since its occurrence that I am indeed financially responsible.

  20. Ok here is my situation & eventually my question…

    Due to the economy tanking my government contract was cut short and I was forced to take another job making significantly less. Instead of loosing everything, I filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy. During this time I was in the process of awaiting adjudication of my TS/SCII w/full scope poly, which because of time (13 months), never happened so I ended up loosing that job. I immediately got hired at another agency who was willing to pick up the investigation, but during this time I was not working. I thought it wouldn’t take but a month or so to pick it up and adjudicate me, but that was not the case. In the mean time, I found a couple of short term contracts that paid next to nothing (literally they paid barely enough for gas to get to and from work). One year later my investigator realized that it was because I was not receiving a full paycheck she decided to close my case; citing lack of full time work, so they would rush it through adjudication. Needless to say my file sat on the adjudicators desk for over 3 months before it was even looked at and again, I was de-sponsored because the company could not wait any longer for them to investigate me.

    Now this put me at 2 years of unemployment or underemployment, and my lawyer converted my Chapter 13 to a 7. I had some back taxes but before the unemployment I had been paying them early every month. After I realized that it was going to be even longer before I got another long-term contract, I contacted the IRS with my situation and they put me in a “non-payment” status until I was working full time again and was able to apply for another payment agreement.

    So here we are in 2013, almost 3 years to the day that I was laid off and I finally found another permanent job. I began trying to get my bills back in line, was actually able to get a used car and keep my utilities from being continuoulsly cut off. In the fall my company moved me to a contract, which required a DHS TS clearance. I’m thinking, no problem, but oh was I wrong.

    The papers were filed in October, I finally heard from my investigator at the end of November requesting my tax transcripts to prove hardship, but here is the kicker they gave me 10 days to submit the transcripts and it takes 7 to 10 business days to get the documents from the IRS, so I submitted my full tax documents (all had been prepared by the same accountant) instead. In mid January my investigator contacted me explaining that he needed the transcripts and I explained to him the timeline to receive them, but he still ave me only 10 days to get them and closed my case. Well his manager stepped in and extended my investigation so that I could send in the documents, and I did. Once they were received my investigator stated that none of them showed documentation of a payment plan nor my current non-pament status. I explained that they only show tax records and any changes that may have occurred via myself or the irs to those filings. He never asked for proof that I was in this status, but I did provide him with notes that I took every time that I spoke with an IRS agent from the date, time down to the name. I even found some old records from 2007 that proved I had a payment plan and was paying it every month until the bankruptcy. What happened you ask? He declined my clearance stating the reason(s) as being, “due to questionable information developed during the investigation and/or preliminary checks.”

    I have passed two polygraphs on the first time, each time I had to go (they are only good for one year and since the clearance took so long I had to retake it one year later), and the same info and statuses that he was seeking, but never asked for proof or explanation of, was asked and the same answers that I gave him I gave my polygrapher and I passed. My question is after I supplied him with every piece of documentation that he asked for, if there were any inconsistencies or questionable information, why was I not asked specifically about them so that I could supply him with any necessary documentation, why couldn’t he call the IRS and get anything that he needed? I gave him those documents, and it was transcripts for 6 years, on the 29th of January, and was declined yesterday, less than a week after he got them.

    I am an extremely responsible person, never been in trouble with the law, don’t do drugs, and I just love my job. I have been a government contractor for most of my career (since 1996), and because of 3 years of hardship it is about to come crashing down. How can i fix this??

  21. If I said I didn’t smoke pot on an naci investigation, admitted it for a security clearance (which was denied)…what are my chances of getting a new naci at my job if I’ve been clean for a year?

  22. I am applying for a job that requires DOE Q (TS) clearance and then a SCI. Both of my parents are US citizens and I was born in Texas. However, I lived most of my school age years overseas until graduating from High School as my father works for a US based international oil company. I don’t have any attachments to anyone or anything overseas, and neither do my parents. Will living overseas in Dubai, UAE and Jakarta, Indonesia be a problem for getting clearance?

  23. I recently went through a divorce that I initiated and the ex got her car that is in my name. You can see where this is going already. She now refuses to pay for it and my lawyer will get a lawsuit together against her, but the car is already 2 months behind. The house note in another state has been one month behind continuously because she wont pay it either and it is her responsibility according to my lawyer. The way this works is, once the house in AL sells then the house in GA gets paid off by me. Ok no problem, however that also is in my name. Because the property is court ordered to her but in my name what are the ramifications to my clearance. I can show the SSO all of this but right now, I am up for renewal and it has been over a yr and I havent heard anything about my clearance. HELP.

  24. O.P. said on May 9, 2014

    My spouse is currently planning on joining the Navy and will be going through OCS. If I were to publish erotic novels on amazon for sale through their kindle device, would that count against his security clearance in any way?

  25. As long as you are doing everything legally and aboveboard there should be no issue with it. A Spouse’s legal employment is usually not an issue unless it involves criminal activity, drugs, or foreign involvement.

  26. I currently have a top secret security clearance and am thinking about getting married. The problem is that he just went to jail for 1 year under a sexual assault case. I don’t know what kind of charge, whether it was a misdemeanor or felony, but it was through the military so it’s a federal case I think. He gets to appeal at 6 months but I want to know what could happen to my clearance if we get married.

    • Two things for you: If he was convicted of a crime that resulted in being jailed for a year or more then it is a felony; if you currently have a TS and are getting married (especially if he is a convicted felon)you are required to report this information to your security officer or agency that granted you your clearance. It does not mean it will affect it, but it will be reviewed as a potential concern,

  27. I have a question about a top security clearance and MEPS. I am in DEP right now and I decided to switch my job to something that requires a TS Clearance. there are some things that I forgot to mention at meps while filling out medical history and background history. Things that were 10 years ago, such as removing my tonsils, surgically removing a teeth. I’m not really worried about those because I honestly forgotten about those, but there is one pressing issue I am concerned about. I left out that I went to talk to a therapist (twice). The only reason I talked to the therapist is because my sister thought I was weird for not talking much. This was purely based on what her perception of me was and convinced me and a therapist to talk. All I did was talk about myself and that’s it. I didn’t receive any medical treatment or prescription, and I wasn’t diagnosed with anything and nothing happened. Will I get a fraudulent enlistment charge when I tell the truth when talking to an investigator/MEPS investigator? I plan on telling the truth and disclosing EVERYTHING when being interviewed. What are my chances, if I have a chance, of getting a TS Clearance? and what should I do?

    • You should fully disclose the situation and circumstances during your security interview and explain why you did not disclose it on the form. Mitigation can be applied as long as you have voluntarily come forth with it instead of it being found out later.

  28. Quick question,

    I worked for 2 years as an OPM investigator and then was laid off for force reduction reasons/no work in 03/14. I was hired by another company as a contract Investigator in 05/14 but when they submitted my info to OPM to get my credentials back I was denied. HR has no idea why, I called my previous company just in case and Security said she has no idea why either. No security violations or anything in my file. It’s only been 2 months since I last worked as an investigator so this is strange. There have been no changes in my situation either. Any ideas or suggestions? I have requested a copy of my investigation with OPM but i really don’t think this is a clearance issue. Thanks!!

    • When you say you were laid off for no reason/work, it does not sound entirely above board, as there is always work for those that want it. Contractors providing investigative services to OPM usually identify those that are strong investigators that put out a good work ethic with good reports and give them the bulk of the cases. On the flip side, those that do not submit good reports are slowly weaned off the caseloads. If I were you I would find out from your previous company why exactly you were laid off and how it was reported to OPM.

  29. I’m very worried about this,

    I went to see a counselor once when I was feeling very pressured about maintaining a high GPA. Now, I’m graduated, but my bank statements show a debit payment to “Psych Health Center.” Would this be found in a top secret security search? What if I closed this account and opened a new one with a different bank?

    Thank you!

    • It is not an issue that would prevent you from getting a TS, but should be disclosed on the SF-86 under Section 21 under Psychological and Emotional Health. If you don’t disclose it and it is found out during the investigation then the dishonesty will be an issue.

      • Thanks so much for the advise! I was just afraid because I was hoping for military intelligence and I know the Army frowns on any psych care. So I was trying to decide if I should settle for something other than intelligence in the military or shoot for an institution outside of the military that is more forgiving of that sort of thing.

        I have to ask though, in TS background investigation, do you know if they check debit transaction histories? Also, how do they find your bank to begin with?

        Thank you again for your advise.

        • An investigation includes a credit report check from all three major credit reporting agencies, it does not check individual bank accounts unless there is suspicious or illegal activity associated with it that was reported by the bank to Treasury.

  30. I had a written offer for a VA Medical Center. The start date was June 2. My last day was May 20. We rented our house, our lives were packed and ready to move our family of 7 1700 miles for an exciting job. I got a call at 430pm on May 20 stating that my job offer had been rescinded. One of the persons I listed to fill out background investigation, listed that I had an issue with internet porn 11 years ago. This person is a pastor. I had confessed to him in private, then my denomination helped me through a rehab process. I sought help and got it. This issue didn’t happen at work. Anyway, this is the reason my offer was rescinded. Now, no job, no house and lost. I just don’t understand how this can be a significant enough issue to deny employment, especially considering the fact that I sought help, unlike so many. Thanks for any insight.

    • Before your question can be fully explored additional information is needed. How do you know that was the reason the job offer was rescinded? Was that in writing or verbal? Any issues beyond 9 years are considered out of scope if no similar behavior has occurred since then, therefore, IAW with OPM guidelines it should have not been disqualifying. The VA may have it’s own specific criteria depending on the position sensitivity, but that should have been stated up front. Unfortunately, there are no appeal rights for having a job offer rescinded, but I would definitely have the VA provide you in writing the specific reason for rescinding the job offer if they have not done so.

  31. I recently got a job offer with a federal contractor and I would be working directly with USAID for this position. To be able to start the job, I would have to obtain an interim clearance and then obtain a final Secret Clearance.

    I was born and raised in the U.S. but both of my parents are naturalized U.S. citizens from India. I’ve grown up traveling to India to visit my grandparents, but as the years have progressed I am not at all close to my extended family. I only speak to one maternal uncle and a paternal aunt, which I indicated on my form, other than my living grandparents because I’ve lived in the US my whole life and been out of touch with everyone else. A few months ago, I obtained an Overseas Citizen of India Card (OCI Card) which basically grants me a life-long Indian visa. The State Department has indicated that this is by no means dual nationality, and basically the equivalent of a green card that allows me to visit India. In addition, I went to graduate school in France(that too a university accredited by the US) and have done a lot of traveling throughout Europe in the last 6 years (study abroad in college, language courses, summer backpacking trips, etc) and volunteered for a summer for an NGO in South Africa. The only Asian country I’ve been to in the last 7 years other than India is Singapore, and that too for a day as part of an extended layover. I studied abroad in Turkey, but it was a program arranged by my undergrad university and it was with all American students. I am in my early twenties and have a very clean record with no history of arrest, tickets, drug use, etc. My financial history is also very clean with the exception of graduate student loans, which have been deferred to July due to the fact that I just graduated and haven’t started work yet. Although my work history consists mainly of internships and research positions, I’ve never been fired. I just really love to travel and I’ve taken advantage of my years as a student by traveling as much as possible.

    My question is this: will my foreign travel and the fact that I have an OCI card affect my ability to get an interim clearance? My security officer told me that everything looks good and that the only problem to secure an interim might be my foreign travel. If I can’t get an interim than my job offer will likely be rescinded. I’m currently waiting on the interim which I reckon will be determined by the end of this week. Any thoughts or answers will be appreciated!!!

  32. tom said on June 3, 2014

    I was recently fired for cause because of working from home without permission.

    If I come clean on the investigation questionnaire, would this prevent me from getting a secret clearance?

    • Not necessarily. Telling any untruths about it will hurt you. Best to be humble and make clear you violated the rules for your job. Obviously the boss felt it was a bigger problem than you did. If you are remorseful and feel you learned a lesson be clear on that point. But be honest across the board. Don’t try to give “good boy” answers. We all made bad choices along the way. If we learn from them and press forward not repeating the bad behavior…that is a good thing. If you can somehow demonstrate you now adhere closely to the rules and can show that in a few evaluations, even better. However, if there is more to that story than you alluded to, that as well will be weighed.

  33. I applied for a few local county and city Law Enforcement positions and reached the background phase but was not selected. Will my background Personal History Statements that were submitted for the Law Enforcement positions be pulled and reviewed by the investigator for my security clearance? Thanks

  34. I am curious how the process’s work for employer history references for an SF-85P:

    1. How exactly is my employment verified at previous companies? I am not trying to lie about my previous employment, I am just trying to figure out what is needed to be done to get through that aspect of the investigation, for example:

    – Does the investigator send a inquiry letter to the HR folks or do I need my old supervisor’s information for them to send it to?

    – Who all do they interview there if they do that?

    – Do they actually pull your personnel file there?

    Again, I am curious as to how much effort it should take since my old company is going to have to put in (they are VERY slow) and I am not receiving an interim clearance to start and am unemployed at the moment because of previous health reasons.

  35. Cam said on June 26, 2014

    I recently received a tentative job offer for a government agency pending I am able to receive a secret security clearance. However, my current job (contractor) also requires a security clearance (although I believe it is only a NACI check). Will it cause any issues that both investigations are happening at the same time (I just recently started the contract job when I got the offer with the government)? I do not want to tell my current employer that I am looking into another job, just in case the new one falls through.

  36. TB said on July 9, 2014


    I am currently under investigation to recieve a intermim clearance. My question is, I have had a lot of debt. Mainly because I have not had the money to pay my bills on time. I currently work part time and that doesn’t even pay my rent. I have been evicted once and not by my own fault. I just didnt have the money to pay because my job cut my hrs. Will this prevent me from getting a security clearance???

  37. I am sure something similar to my situation has been posted before but this thread is so long and everyone’s situation is different so I will post my specific anxieties about the background investigation.

    I did a 3-month internship while in college 2 years ago but did not get a full-time offer of employment after graduation because they felt I would not be a good fit. Is that something that I would need to disclose on the SF86 or that would be found?
    My other anxiety is regarding a traffic citation for a late emissions fee. I was operating my father’s vehicle (which I never would have driven had I known) and there was a late emissions fee tied to the car’s registration so I got the ticket. Even the state trooper realized he should have written the ticket in my father’s name and advised me himself to take it to court and plead not guilty!
    Will either of these occurrences affect my ability to received a Top Secret Security Clearance?

  38. Will a UTH for AWOL in 1985, keep me from passing a NAC-I background and become a federal employee now. I have since served in the merchant marine and volunteered with the USCG Auxiliary and have a clean record.

    • An OTH that happened almost 30 years ago will not affect passing a background investigation and obtaining federal employment. Only dishonorable or under dishonorable conditions types of discharges ones of concern.

  39. I currently have a security clearance with poly. If my security office finds out I have committed adultery can this affect my clearance?

    • The adultery itself is not the issue but rather because of the fact that it could be used to influence you into doing something it is a concern, so yes it could affect your clearance, especially a TS requiring a poly.

  40. I had some drinking issues in the past when i was in the military after a very tough seperation with my wife in 2012. I received 2 dui’s within 2 months and was discharged under general conditions in November 2012. I also was criminally arrested for a DUI when my car was in a parking lot but the case was thrown out because I was not driving in 2013. My credit has been steadily getting better since 2012 as I have been working very hard to restore my credit. I am a university student now and Im constantly doing volunteer work in my neighborhood. Is there any chance that a security officer would look past this being that the incidences are so close together?
    This following is what I filled out on my security form.
    Last year in December, I had done a stereo install in my car and my wife and I walked to the park where I had been installing my system. While we were there, my car was parked and the engine was shut off and we listened to music while I adjusted my sound levels. While we were sitting in the car, a car pulled up behind us with their high beams blocking my view of the vehicle parked behind us. At this point my vehicle was still turned off. I waited about 2 minutes while we sat in silence wondering who was behind us and why they were parked less than a foot behind us, blocking us in the parking space with their car running. I began to fear that this would turn into a hostile situation and turned my car on. At the moment I turned my car on, the car turned on its police lights making me realize that there was no danger and that the car was a police vehicle. I immediately turned my vehicle off and waited for an officer to approach my vehicle. The officer asked me if I had been drinking and driving and I told him that I had not been driving and that my car has been parked here all day as evidence of the speaker boxes, loose wires and tools that were scattered all over my vehicle from the install. The officer made me do a field sobriety test, arrested me, and took me to the station. I was completely cooperative with the officer and explained the situation to him at the station. I appeared in court and the case went to trial where the case was dropped and I was found not guilty of any charges.

    While working at BLANK, I agreed to work there under the conditions that the first 5 months would be “long hours” but after the initial start-up period, the hours would normalize to 8 to 9 hour days. Under this pretense, I agreed that I would work there on a salary basis and would not get paid for overtime for the duration of my employment. For the two months I worked 50 + hours a week which was the least amount of time that I worked in any given week at BLANK. After the first two months, I worked anywhere between 63 to 73 hours a week which included weekends and holidays. After being employed with this company for 9 months and having their initial promise broken, I informed my employer that this was not what I agreed to and that I’ve been working over 60 hours a week 6 days a week without overtime for 9 months and I could no longer continue working here under these conditions. I also explained that I will not be able to work on the weekends. I explained to him that I would work at uni select as long as I could but I could no longer secure child care for the extended hours. I was warned that if I did not continue to work weekends and work a minimum of 10 hours every day that I would be terminated. During this meeting I told him that I understood and I will continue to come to work until I was no longer needed. I received my first write up a month after our conversation. On this occasion, I “mandated” to work a 12 hour shift on Saturday and only given 1 days’ notice to make arrangements. I had previously informed him 2 weeks in advance that I volunteered to be the host of a festival for Fairfax County and I was under contract and could not cancel. My second and finial write-up was given to me when I left after working 10 ½ hours saying that “I left without notifying him.” I was asked to leave in June of 2014

    • Sorry, my post did not load properly as a reply:

      2 DUI convictions and a charge of DUI that was dropped is a major concern. You have not stated what your alcohol use is now or if you have completed any rehabilitation. Your story about walking to the park does not ring true and even though the charges were dropped, you had obviously been drinking when the incident occurred. Based on these bare facts an adjudicator would find it hard to make a favorably determination.

  41. 2 DUI convictions and a charge of DUI that was dropped is a major concern. You have not stated what your alcohol use is now or if you have completed any rehabilitation. Your story about walking to the park does not ring true and even though the charges were dropped, you had obviously been drinking when the incident occurred. Based on these bare facts an adjudicator would find it hard to make a favorably determination.

  42. I was laid off about 6 months ago from employment that required a security clearance. This made my security clearance inactive because I am no longer employed.

    I have been aggressively seeking employment through resume submissions online. One company I submitted a resume to asked for a video interview using the Skype application. I complied and attended the interview through Skype. The job I was applying for is located in at a US branch of the main company. When the interview started I was presented with individuals from the US branch, who were doing the interviewing. An additional interviewer was present from the main branch in Praque, Czechoslovakia. After doing this interview, I became concerned about issues that may arise in my security clearance. Were there any problems from this pertaining to my security clearance?

    • The Czech Republic is now a member of NATO and is considered an ally of the western nations. Unless they were asking you specific questions concerning your previous level of access or specific proprietary and/or classified information then there is no issue. Should you get your clearance reinstated ensure you put this interview information on the SF-86 update.

  43. At my previous job I once (maximum twice) looked at porn in the office and then it was when the office was closed, I was the only one, and I was in a locked room. I also (once/twice a week) would go to the a private restroom and look at porn. Is this enough to risk a TSSCI security clearance? This was a few years ago when I was 19-20.

    • This was also on my own (personal) computer and ipod. Also, it may have been more recent. Going through the listings of why people have been denied clearances I have not found where someone in my situation did not get a clearance, but I want to get another opinion nevertheless…

      • The situation does not sound like it would prevent you from getting cleared as long as no pattern of similar behavior currently exists., however, just because you were on your own devices does not mean you weren’t in violation of agency/company IT use rules. If you were using a government Wi-Fi it is still a violation.

  44. Ok so I was wondering if an investigator could answer this question for me:

    During my sophmore year of college I took an internship that required a secret level clearance. Six months prior in Jan 2012 I used marijuana less than 4 times when I was with some high school friends. It was the first and only time I ever used any type of drugs. The security officer/personell when I was filling out my SF-86 forms for the internship had specifically told me that “if I had smoked pot with some buddies in a basement a few times but never got caught, then they dont need to know about it.” scared and embarrassed to report it I think I said I never used it. I remember at the time I was back and fourth in my own head if I should report it. I was only 20 and had no clue how serious it could be to not report it and only wouldnt b/c of what the companies security officer said.

    two years later now I am about to graduate college and still have my secret level clearance. I work for a different company and they want me to get my TS w/ full scope poly. I want to know if I will get denied for the TS if I did intentionally lie? Is there a way to go back and see my old SF-86 answers. I plan on reporting that yes I did use drugs within the past 7 years and will say yes I may have lied and only because I was instructed to. I would never lie now that I worked in the defense industry for 2+ years and know how big of an issue honesty is. I was only 20 and dumb and believe I followed the security officials statement and lied.

    If I am denied will I lose my Secret clearance and could I possibly face legal issues?

    Help please!!!

    • You may be questioned as to why you did not disclose your drug use previously, and it will be up to you to convince them that you were following the advice of a security representative. Your age at the time, experimental use and circumstances are enough to mitigate the drug use itself. Nothing you can do but be up front about it now, or continue the falsehood and risk being found out and then your clearance revoked and find yourself looking for a new job. No legal action will be taken against you.

  45. Please help, Im about to submit my eqip. I work for the federal gov. and I lied on my app twice in the past 7 years. I applied for customs 2 years ago and lied during my polygraph and ended up telling the investigator that I had driven with a boyfriend many, many times to sell drugs and I tried my self a few times but did not like it, four years ago. I am now applying for another federal job (its a contractor job that I need a secret clearance for) and it uses the eqip. Should I lie to keep my job and get the new one or do I tell the truth, to clear my mind but cut my chances of not getting this job and maybe messing up my current career? Do I not apply at all? My gut is telling me to tell the truth especially since I had to sign a Miranda warning after my polygraph.

    • Eventually these falsehoods and deceptions will catch up to you and the consequences serious. If you plan on trying to make working for the government a career then you should come clean with this now and hope that there is some mitigation that could be applied to help you keep your current job.

  46. help! my dad is filling out his security clearance paperwork for his work and one of the questions asked for my date of marriage. While he thinks that my date of marriage was in 2010, I actually got married in 2006. Will they check on the date of my marriage or will this be minor and surpassed? I really can’t afford for my father to know. Please help me.

  47. I once transferred $200 to my then boyfriend’s american bank account for a car payment while he was in India. Does this count as “providing financial support to a foreign national”? Also, with this, having a history of mental illness (with mitigating evidence from my psychiatrist that my condition will not affect my judgement in the foreseeable future), having lost used pot 4 years ago, and being fired from job due to performance (not misconduct) prevent me from getting interim clearance?

  48. If I forgot trying marijuana once when I was 15, I am almost 21 now, and didn’t list it on my sf86 will that be automatic denial of my clearance if I let the investigator know about it. They asked the reason I didn’t list it and honestly I forgot, never thought about it. I listed other adverse items, just forgot this one.

    • Your one time use at age 15 is not the issue, and if you have never before filled out an SF86 then the fact that you came forth voluntarily about it is a big mitigator. If that is the only issue then it should be favorably mitigated.

      • Thank You for your response. The process is so confusing. I didn’t remember until after I left employment, was only employed a couple of months, then a few months later was hired and needed a public trust, no one tells you what the process is, what to do if you forget something. I was never interviewed for the secret, it seems like they just gave that. I have since started a file to keep everything organized. Confusing!

  49. I’m 33 yrs old and ex military. 2013 was a tough year for me. In October of that year, saddened by my midterm grades I decided to smoke some pot. I’m a California resident so I went about it the legal way, obtaining a medical prescription and buying from a licensed location. After about two times smoking I decided that it was not for me. I go to church regularly and even participate in ministry so i felt guilty. I then went to the VA psych dept for counsle. They diagnosed me with some adult adhd and tested me before giving me a prescription. The pot was detected but I was given time to test again and given medication. How should I go about listing these events on my SF 56 clearance form and what is the likely outcome in respects of me gaining a clearance?

    • You list them exactly as you have on this forum. Depending on clearance level and position (if only a Secret) then the issues could be mitigated through medical documentation showing rehabilitation and a favorable diagnosis from the doctor.

  50. I have 2 question:
    1. I because US citizen in June 2014. Can i get security clearance in Feb 2015. does it matter how long you have been a citizen?

    2. would by husband’s record considered- he is convicted of medicaid fraud(before marriage) and is fighting it.

    • There is no set length of time you have to be a citizen to get a clearance. However, they would look at what country you were previously a citizen of, foreign relatives, property, connections, and determine what, if any, concerns there are. For a Secret there would be no reason for them to consider any information regarding your husband, unless he was currently engaged in criminal activity and you knew about it.

  51. I’m being reinvestigated (TS-SSBI, non-military agency). The guy talked to me, my friends, etc and I’m guessing my paperwork is in adjudication. My question is simple: no news is good news, right? Wouldn’t they have contacted me if there were any issues they found? I haven’t done anything that I know of that could cost me my clearance, and nothing came up during our interview, but I’m an anxious person in general. I guess I’m just seeking reassurance that the investigator would have spoken to me if he’d found anything concerning. Or do they submit derogatory information without asking the subject to explain?

    • The investigators only report information, they have nothing to do with reviewing the entire report of investigation. Don’t assume the investigation is closed, sometimes certain checks hold up the process. If it is closed then ,depending on the agency and their workload, adjudication times vary. If there was an issue of concern you would have gotten a letter outlining them and a chance to respond.

  52. The investigator asked me about my parents, who were both Vietnam-born. I am American-born. My dad mentioned off-handedly a few years ago that he was a junior officer in the South Vietnamese Army. He never saw any action but somehow resigned his post after a few short months. The investigator made a big stink about this and pressed me for more information.

    Am I under any obligation to disclose information regarding my father? I told him everything I know. The investigator wanted me to dig down and get the dirt. I’m not happy with the idea of playing spy against my dad. Shouldn’t they conduct their own separate investigation against him?

    • You are correct, any questions about your foreign contacts or relatives should only require you to disclose what you know, not go out and inquire or solicit more information. You didn’t not say whether your parents are no U.S. citizens or legal residents, but it sounds like you may have an over zealous investigator.

  53. I was fired from a job for performance issue which I find it not true. I am working for another security company right now. i want to know can i be eligible for secret clearance for future jobs?


    • Job performance is not an issue considered under adjudicative guidelines, but rather is a job qualification consideration by the hiring authority.

  54. Hi, I used marijuana off and on from 2002 to march 2012. From 2009 to 20012 i used it once per year. I am about to finish my Masters Degree and have accepted a position at a National Lab. I am required to get a TS clearance. Are my chances good?

  55. How can someone figure out there was an investigation if the charges were dropped and you were not processed and without knowing about it initially?

    • Go to the court system that has jurisdiction over the law enforcement agency, as the prosecutor would be the one who has to determine whether or not to drop or file charges based on the evidence at hand.

  56. I’m a contractor getting ready to deploy again with my company but I have to renew my clearance since I’m approaching my 10 year mark. I originally obtained my secret clearance through the military and I got out with an honorable discharge back in 2010 at 22 years old after completing my enlistment with no problems. After I got out, I went through a rough patch up until 2012 when I finally got hired and deployed with this company. In that two year period that I just mentioned, I was evicted, on the verge of having my car reposed, collection accounts, pulled over 3 times for driving on a suspended license, and my credit score went down. I was never arrested for the suspended license nor have I ever been convicted of anything, the state dropped the case, but I was required to maintain SR.-22 insurance for a year and a half, and I fulfilled that obligation back in 2013 and I haven’t had a moving violation since. Since then, I’ve paid off my debts with the eviction, collection accounts, and paid off my auto loan early. My credit score has gradually been rising and I haven’t been late on a bill since I got hired. I’ve also maintained steady employment, and I have a good reputation at work. Will that rough patch have an adverse effect on getting my clearance renewed?

    Also, I would like to add that I haven’t had a moving violation since 2011. The way the sentence reads makes it seem as though my last moving violation was in 2013.

    And one more thing. Since I’ve gotten back on track these past three years, my credit score went from poor to average. I know they look at credit scores, so will they take the fact that I’ve been improving my credit score into consideration?

    • As long as you have resolved any delinquent debts adjudicators can see that you took the initiative and responsibility, and had a legitimate reason for the debts (we call it life). Credit scores have no bearing on clearances. Traffic tickets are not an issue as long as they are paid and do not reoccur. Sounds to me like you have mitigated any concerns.

  57. I am applying for a TS SC. I haven’t told my parents that I am applying for this position yet, I figured I will mention it IF I am accepted, I don’t want to rock the boat just yet. My question is: for the SC interviews, will they just interview my references (friends, supervisors, colleges, etc.) or will they inevitably also have to speak with my parents at some point? they are immigrants that were naturalized as US citizens, if it makes a difference.

    • Family members and current spouses are only interviewed when corroboration about required items for the investigations cannot be obtained from other sources. Just because they are naturalized citizens does not mean there are any concerns, that is, unless you know of some.

  58. My fiance has a felony record (drug addiction,theft,etc) that happened almost 8 years ago. When I met her she was clean and neither of us have had any problems with drugs since I’ve known her. Will this affect my chances of getting a Top Secret clearance since they would also investigate her? I plan on being honest about all that on the application.

    • There is nowhere on the SF 86 form that would require you to disclose the information, however, if it did come up then you would just communicate the same information you have on this forum as mitigation for any concerns.

  59. My 20 year old son went to meps with the navy and was offered an intelligence job but then was denied his top security clearance due to a medical bill on his credit that we thought had been paid by the secondary insurance company. we have paid it and they are removing this from his credit report. can we appeal this denial? the recruiter keeps telling my son that the meps guy thinks he lied and is not interested in resubmitting it. He has a car loan and credit card also on his credit that have never been late.

    • The “MEPS” guy does not determine who does or does not get a clearance, all he is supposed to do is review the security applications and interview the individuals to go over the information and resolve any potential issues. Is it possible your son has not provided full disclosure to either you or the MEPS Security Officer? Or perhaps other processes during the enlistment prevented it? Did he sign up? If not, then he can always try again.

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