Security Clearance: When Will My References Be Contacted?

When you apply for security clearance, it will involve a lot of paperwork and an equal amount of details. As you fill out the references in the required fields, you may think you’re doing what is required of you by providing references, but not all references are created equal. The big question is, will the background investigator be able to reach the references you provided? Or, is the contact information so outdated, you’ll send the investigator on a wild goose chase?

All background investigators run into the same problem – sloppy SF-86 forms filled out by applicants. When you submit a security clearance application and the references are either impossible to reach or locate, or it provides inaccurate information for references, can you imagine how this affects the background investigator on your case? It makes their job hard, extremely hard and it only leads to delays in the processing of your application.

What You Can Do to Help

So, what can you do to streamline the process for investigators? For one, don’t make the mistake of believing it’s the investigator’s job to chase your references down if the contact information you provide is inaccurate. The investigator relies heavily on the information you volunteer in the SF-86, so help the investigator out by making sure you provide updated contact information.

If your application consists of old email addresses and phone numbers and people who can’t even recall you, don’t be surprised if your background investigation drags on for months on end. It’s time-consuming, but our advice is to reach out to your references personally before jotting them down on the application. Of course, you’ll have to tell them that you don’t know when they’ll be contacted, or if they’ll be contacted, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. And, this way, you can be sure you provide their current contact information.

Next: Security Clearance: Will They Look at My Juvenile Records?