Security Clearance Information

MJ

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The amount of information needed to complete the security clearance can be large and sometime difficult to collect, especially under time constraints. This topic is intended to provide a heads up on the information you need so you can prepare ahead of time. A security clearance consists of filling out the SF86 online questionnaire on e-QIP, and the SF87 fingerprint cards. Please ask any questions you have, but realize the intent here is to help prepare completion of the information, and not how that information is handled relative to the clearance issuance/denial.

OPM Help file: https://nbib.opm.gov/e-qip-background-investigations/standard-form-sf-86-guide-for-applicants.pdf

Also, see the attached pdf for information on factors considered for a non-adjudication of the background investigation.

Below are portions of the SF86. The subsequent post outlines typical information required for each section.

Topics Covered
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Residence Information
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Personal References
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Financial Information
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MJ

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#2
Section 8 Passport
  • If you have a passport (even if it's expired), you need this info
    • passport, Citizenship Certificate, Naturalization Certificate, or Alien Registration Number
Section 9 Citizenship
  • If you aren't a natural US citizen, documentation proving you are a citizen
Section 10 Dual/Multiple Citizenship
  • Foreign passport info, if ever held
Section 11 Where You Have Lived
  • places where you have lived beginning with your present residence and working back 10 years, accounted for without breaks. The actual physical location, not a Post Office box or a permanent residence when you were not physically located there. If you split your time between one or more residences during a time period, list all residences. Do not list residence before your 18th birthday unless to provide a minimum of 2 years residence history.
  • not required to list temporary locations of less than 90 days that did not serve as your permanent or mailing address.
  • For any address in the last 3 years, provide a person who knew you at that address, and preferably still lives in that area. Do not list people who knew you well for residences completely outside this 3-year period, your spouse, cohabitant or other relatives.
Section 12 Where You Went To School
  • Do not list education before your 18th birthday, unless to provide a minimum of two years education history
  • School attended within the last 10 years
    • Physical address (address records are kept at for online school), dates of attendance, date/type of degree
Section 13A Employment Activities
  • all employment activities, including unemployment and self-employment, beginning with the present and working back 10 years. The entire period must be accounted for without breaks. Military duty: list separate employment activity periods to show each change of military duty station. Do not list employment before your 18th birthday unless to provide a minimum of 2 years employment history
    • Address, phone number, supervisor name and contact information
  • Date and explanation of any disciplinary action taken within the last 7 years
  • Reason for leaving past jobs, and any information regarding involuntary termination
Section 14 Selective Service

Section 15 Military History
  • Dates of service, discharge info (if not honorable)
  • Details of any court martial or other disciplinary procedure under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), (Article 15, Captain's mast, Article 135 Court of Inquiry, etc.) in the last 7 years
  • Any information regarding foreign military or government service
Section 16 People Who Know You
  • Three people who know you well and who preferably live in the U.S.. Friends, peers, colleagues, college roommates, associates, etc., who are collectively aware of your activities outside of your workplace, school, or neighborhood, and whose combined association with you covers at least the last 7 years. Do not list spouse, former spouse(s), other relatives, or anyone listed elsewhere on the form.
    • Dates of relationship, contact information
Section 17 Marital Status
  • Spouse or ex-spouse name, birthday, place of birth, place of marriage, citizenship info
  • Cohabitant name, nationality
Section 18 Relatives
  • All living or dead immediate family and in-laws contact info, birthdate, place of birth, citizenship, any different names used
Section 19 Foreign Contacts
  • have/had close and/or continuing contact with a foreign national within the last seven (7) years with whom you, or your spouse, or cohabitant are bound by affection, influence, common interests, and/or obligation? Include associates as well as relatives, not previously listed in Section 18.
    • Name, contact info, citizenship, place of birth, nature of relationship, dates of contact
Section 20A Foreign Activities
  • you, your spouse, cohabitant, or dependent children having EVER had any foreign financial interests (such as stocks, property, investments, bank accounts, ownership of corporate entities, corporate interests or businesses) which you/they have direct control/ownership (Exclude financial interests in companies or diversified mutual funds that are publicly traded on a US exchange).
    • Type of asset, value, who it belongs to, how/when it was acquired
  • As a US citizen, have you, your spouse, cohabitant, or dependent children received in the past 7 years, or are eligible to receive in the future, any educational, medical, retirement, social welfare, or other such benefit from a foreign country
Section 20B Foreign Business, Professional Activities, and Foreign Government Contacts

Section 20C Foreign Travel
  • Trips outside the US in the last 7 years
    • Where you went, dates (mo/yr), length, purpose, details of any incident with any law enforcement or government agency, contacts by anyone seeking classified/sensitive info
Section 21 Psychological and Emotional Health
  • Visits with a health care professional regarding an emotional or mental health condition or hospitalization (Except non-violent family counceling, combat related, or sexual assault victims)
    • Name and contact info of the professional and the facility/organization
Section 22 Police Record
  • Report information regardless of whether the record in your case has been sealed, expunged, or otherwise stricken from the court record, or the charge was dismissed. You need not report convictions under the Federal Controlled Substances Act for which the court expunged under the authority of 21 U.S.C. 844 or 18 U.S.C. 3607. Include all incidents whether occurring in the US or abroad
  • Any arrests, tickets, summons, or convictions in the last 7 years (including traffic tickets, unless the fine was less than $300 and didn't include drugs or alcohol)
    • When, where, and all details related to it
Section 23 Illegal Use of Drugs or Drug Activity
  • Neither your truthful responses nor information derived from your responses to this section will be used as evidence against you in a subsequent criminal proceeding. As to this particular section, this applies whether or not you are currently employed by the Federal government.
  • Illegal use of any drugs or controlled substances (includes injecting, snorting, inhaling, swallowing, experimenting with or otherwise consuming any drug or controlled substance) within the last 7 years
    • Type of drug, started using, last use, use history, why you do/do not intend to use it in the future
  • Ordered, advised, or asked to seek treatment/counseling for illegal drug or controlled substance use ever
    • By whom, explanation of action taken
  • Voluntary treatment at any time
    • Explanation, treatment facility/professional, contact information, dates of treatment, result of treatment
Section 24 Use of Alcohol
  • use of alcohol which had a negative impact on your work performance, your professional or personal relationships, your finances, or resulted in intervention by law enforcement/public safety personnel in the last 7 years
    • Dates, circumstances, and explanation of negative impact
  • Ordered/Voluntary counseling, same as section 23
Section 25 Investigations and Clearance Record
  • Name of agency conducting clearance, date started/completed, type of clearance granted
  • Any denial, downgrade, or revocation of a clearance; the agency taking action, explanation
Section 26 Financial Record
  • Bankruptcy filed within the last 7 years
    • Name and address of court, court/docket number, type of bankruptcy, file/discharge dates, amount owed
  • Financial difficulty due to gambling ever
    • dates, amount of money lost, description of action taken to remedy the problem or reasons no action was taken
  • Failure to file or pay taxes in the last 7 years
    • Date, amount, explanation of why you failed to file/pay and actions taken to remedy the situation
  • Discipline or warnings over the use of employer provided travel/credit cards within the last 7 years
    • Name and contact info of employer, date, amount of violation, explanation of violation and action/non-action taken to correct
  • Currently using or planning to use credit counseling (or similar service)
    • Name and phone number of service, explanation of why you are using it and actions taken to resolve the credit problem
  • Delinquent enforcement of alimony, child support, liens, or other judgments, evictions, collections, credit cancellations/suspensions, wage garnishments, etc. within the last 7 years
    • Type and amount of debt, name of debtor, reason why in debt, name and address of court, action taken to resolve the situation
Section 27 Use of Information Technology Systems
  • Neither your truthful responses nor information derived from your responses to this section will be used as evidence against you in a subsequent criminal proceeding. As to this particular section, this applies whether or not you are currently employed by the Federal government.
  • Illegal or unauthorized access to any IT system within the last 7 years
    • Date, address of incident, and actions taken (criminal, administrative, etc) as a result
Section 28 Non-criminal Court Actions
  • Been a party to any public record civil court action, not otherwise listed, in the last 10 years
    • Date, name and address of court, details of the action and its results, names of principle parties involved
Section 29 Association Record
 
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MJ

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#4
Curious as to how heavily weighted they are on the credit history part? Anybody have any clue?
Significant. Financial disclosures are consistently one of the top reasons for rejection. Not having a perfect credit score isn't going to get you rejected, but a history of poor financial choices, not disclosing things info in the application, defaulting on debts... could all be grounds for rejection.
 
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#5
I don't plan on withholding any information on that portion but unfortunately i did get in a tight finincial situation when I was younger unfurtonately it doesn't fall out of the 7 year range. It was closer to the 5 and 6 years but hopefully that "Add optional comment" box will help explain my case.
 

#1349

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#6
Curious as to how heavily weighted they are on the credit history part? Anybody have any clue?
During the investigation, if they bring up something you potentially forgot, then acknowledge it (unless it sounds like a discrepancy).

I was in the Navy for 5 years and during deployment, I used my mother's address as my "home of residence".

I got grilled for over two hours during my interview in regards to where I actually was, why I used an address I wasn't physically located, and so on.

I literally redid my background paperwork right there on the spot since it didn't coincide with what I put originally. But nonetheless, it was accepted and here I am.
 

#1349

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#7
TL;DR - Just tell the honest truth and be consistent with your responses. Just like on the MPII or MMPI or whatever acronym it is.
 

MJ

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#9
I didn't list two short term temp jobs that I had about 7 years back. Is that something I can fix here? Nothing bad happened I normally just don't include them since they were so short.
I don't understand what you mean by fix here. Yes it should be included, exactly as the form requests.
 

ATOH

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#10
If you received a W2 or 1099 for those jobs I absolutely would have included them. If it was something where you just received cash I wouldn't worry too much
 
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#11
It mentions passport information, is it necessary to have a passport? I don't have one but was thinking of getting one for a possible trip to Mexico.

Also I've lived in seven different places in the last five years, is that a red flag? I can explain all of them, I rent a room and move if I find something cheaper, nicer, or closer to work.
 

MJ

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#12
It mentions passport information, is it necessary to have a passport? I don't have one but was thinking of getting one for a possible trip to Mexico.

Also I've lived in seven different places in the last five years, is that a red flag? I can explain all of them, I rent a room and move if I find something cheaper, nicer, or closer to work.
If you don't have one, you don't have to put anything. If you have one that section needs to be filled out.
 
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#13
I've been paying rent, in cash, for a not-exactly-legal apartment for about a year and a half now. I never use my street address, unless I really have to, since it's technically my landlord's home mailing address. I use a PO box for all of my mail. Is there anything I should, or shouldn't list on the background check regarding my residency?

I doubt my landlord would be too receptive about being listed as a reference for my residency here, so would I just list the street address, and maybe a friend or coworker who can vouch for me living here? Obviously I can't leave this residence blank, but I don't want to inadvertently out the existence of an apartment here, which would probably screw my landlord.
 

MJ

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I've been paying rent, in cash, for a not-exactly-legal apartment for about a year and a half now. I never use my street address, unless I really have to, since it's technically my landlord's home mailing address. I use a PO box for all of my mail. Is there anything I should, or shouldn't list on the background check regarding my residency?

I doubt my landlord would be too receptive about being listed as a reference for my residency here, so would I just list the street address, and maybe a friend or coworker who can vouch for me living here? Obviously I can't leave this residence blank, but I don't want to inadvertently out the existence of an apartment here, which would probably screw my landlord.
Yeah there's no requirement for who you can put, other than it can't be family or someone you listed in another part of the form. I think the exact wording is "someone who knows you well" from when you lived at that address.
 
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#15
Yeah there's no requirement for who you can put, other than it can't be family or someone you listed in another part of the form. I think the exact wording is "someone who knows you well" from when you lived at that address.
Thanks MJ, that's what I figured. Just getting extra paranoid during the wait haha
 

echster

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#18
SF-85 for non-sensitive positions requiring public trust; SF-86 for sensitive positions requiring a security clearance. Outside of that, the big difference is the length of the hard copy questionnaire: 8 pages for SF-85, 127 pages for SF-86.
 

MJ

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#20
And maybe I'm wrong or read incorrectly, terminal is (s85) and enroute is (sf86). Is that correct?
No. I'm under the impression everyone does 86 nowadays (someone correct me if I'm wrong). But, I've done 86 for terminal.
 
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