Can I Initiate the Security Clearance Process Myself?

Your dream might be to obtain a lucrative and rewarding career with a particular government agency. However, the position you have your eye on may require security clearance. Whether you’re fresh out of college or considering transitioning to a new sector, you might not yet have the security credentials necessary for the job.

To obtain an advantage over other applicants or to get a head start on what you know can be a lengthy and intensive background check, you might consider initiating the security clearance process on your own.

But are you able to get started on this yourself?

Unfortunately, you can’t. The security clearance process is not something just anyone can do. It must be commenced by a contractor or government agency only after an offer of employment is made and accepted.

Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP at (877) 362-3176 to discuss the requirements for obtaining security clearance.

How to Obtain Security Clearance

Personnel in about 4 million federal and military jobs have access to national security information. The agencies or organizations employing these workers must ensure that the individuals can be reliable and trustworthy when handling sensitive data and details.

Employees in these positions must go through an extensive background investigation. Depending on the type of information the employee or contractor will or may have contact with, they may need confidential, secret, or top secret security clearance. The amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary credentials may vary based on the level needed, yet the underlying process is similar.

The steps for getting security clearance include:

  • Obtaining a job offer: Before you can be considered for security clearance, a government agency or contractor must sponsor you. That means they must make a written offer of employment for a position requiring access to sensitive information and you must accept. Whether you get the job will depend on whether you pass the background investigation.
  • Applying for security clearance: The next step is submitting Standard Form 86. This is a sizeable document that asks questions about various aspects of your life, including your citizenship, employment history, marital status, military experience, and psychological and emotional health, among other things. Because it serves as the basis for the subsequent background investigation, all responses must be complete and accurate. Any false or misleading information can delay your application or result in a denial.
  • Going through the background check: Your background will be researched in detail. Investigators will interview your friends and family, review your criminal history, conduct a credit check, and have you submit to drug and alcohol screenings, and more.

It can take months to up to a year to hear back about your security clearance application status.

The process can be lengthy and stressful, but don’t be deterred. Our attorneys in San Diego can guide you through it. We’ll assist in preparing your SF86, helping avoid any future issues.

For legal counsel during the security clearance application process, please call Claery & Hammond, LLP at (877) 362-3176 or submit an online contact form today.