Security Clearance: Will They Look at My Juvenile Records?

Suppose you’re seriously considering a job that involves security clearance, but you have skeletons in your closet from your youth. Perhaps you hung out with the wrong crowd and you realize you made a lot of mistakes. Or, perhaps you had a troubled childhood and you grew up in gang territory and did some bad things to survive. Regardless, you’re a changed person and you’d never repeat the same mistakes you made as a kid.

Now, a security clearance would do good things for your career. You’d love to do it, but you’re seriously concerned about your ability to obtain security clearance. You have a juvenile record, perhaps a really bad one as a direct result of some poor choices. Your question is, “My records are sealed, but are they really ‘sealed’?” Also, will they show up on a federal background investigation?

Juvenile Records Are Visible

When you are being investigated for security clearance, the investigators on your case will learn about your juvenile record because you will tell them about it. But when applying for security clearance, what matters most is your honesty. They don’t expect all applicants to be perfect since that’s impossible. What they’re looking for is honest, trustworthy people. If you lie about your juvenile record and they dig it up, you’ll have a problem.

What the investigators are most concerned about is dishonesty, as well as anything in your life or past that could be used against you to force you to disclose classified information. So, if you have things like a bankruptcy, a DUI, a former drug addiction, or a secret vice, you should be upfront about it. This way, no one can use it against you to blackmail you.

Related: Can My Juvenile Record Bar Me from Security Clearance?

“So, should I disclose my juvenile record?” Yes, disclose it. If your security clearance is denied, we can help you file an appeal. But be aware that as a general rule, when an applicant fails to disclose something, their appeal will likely be denied. So, complete honesty is without a doubt, the best way to go.