What Happens to My Security Clearance If I Change Assignments?

As a government employee or contractor with security clearance, you might change positions or start work on a new project. The agency you’re moving to may also require that you hold security clearance as part of your role. You might be wondering whether the security clearance you currently have will transfer to the second agency.

It can – through a transfer process referred to as reciprocity.

Still, some situations exist in which you are not eligible for reciprocity or your new agency denies the automatic transfer of your security clearance.

If your position requires access to sensitive information, contact Claery & Hammond, LLP for legal help through the security clearance process.

Security Clearance and Reciprocity

Various agencies within the federal government require employees or contractors to have a certain level of security clearance before beginning an assignment. Obtaining the required credentials can be a lengthy and stressful process, involving substantial paperwork, interviews, and other assessments.

If you get a new position or assignment with a different agency, the second organization may also require that you have the appropriate clearances before you can start working. The thought of going through the background check process again can be overwhelming.

Luckily, you might not have to.

The Intelligence Reform and Prevention Act of 2004 established a system called reciprocity. Under the program, if a person holds a security clearance approved by one agency, the investigation and determination should be accepted by the agency the individual is moving to.

Therefore, you may be able to have your current clearance transferred to the new organization without being subject to an additional investigation.

Although clearance transfer from one agency to another is possible, the process is not always quick. It can take some time before the change happens. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, it took 2 weeks for 80% of transfers to be approved and 28 days or more for 10% of requests to go through.

When Reciprocity Does Not Apply or May Be Denied

Not all clearance transfer requests will be accepted or approved.

Your security clearance might not be eligible under reciprocity:

  • You held a temporary or interim clearance with your current agency,
  • Your current clearance was approved with exceptions,
  • Your new assignment requires that you take an additional polygraph,
  • You hold Confidential or Secret clearance, and your new role requires Top Secret clearance,
  • Your transfer documents were incomplete, or
  • Your last investigation was completed too long in the past.

Call Our Firm Today

At Claery & Hammond, LLP, we help government employees or contractors through all stages of the security clearance process. Our lawyers can provide assistance in preparing documents, appealing decisions, and giving counsel for hearings.

Please contact our team at (877) 362-3176.