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Myth Busters

You may be concerned about things you've done in the past raising red flags for investigators. Perhaps you smoked marijuana or you were caught shoplifting or you made a fool out of yourself after drinking too much. If that's happened to you, your chances for a security clearance are not squashed. Everyone makes mistakes and the government knows it. But officials will look at each incident carefully and determine the circumstances, the intent and the frequency of your mistakes. All that is taken into account when reviewing your life during this process. Remember, honesty is the best policy.

Look below for myth busters about security clearances. Hover or click on the word BUSTER to learn the truth about each scenario.

MYTH: If you have previously experimented with drugs, had a DUI or consumed alcohol while you were underage, you will be unable to obtain a security clearance.

MYTH: In cases where charges have been dismissed or the applicant was given probation before judgment, there is no need to disclose that information for the application.

MYTH: Because you lived in the United States for a period of time and graduated from a college or university here, you would be eligible to take a position which requires a security clearance even if you are not a U.S. citizen.

MYTH: To obtain a high level security clearance, an applicant has to be perfect, or close to it.

MYTH: To ensure you have the potential to be hired for a position requiring a security clearance, you can request and pay for a security clearance application and investigation prior to being hired.

MYTH: There are several different levels of security clearances and not all levels require that the applicant go through the investigative process.

MYTH: Once a candidate has obtained a security clearance, he or she can easily be granted a higher clearance level if promoted and not have to worry about going through the process again.

MYTH: When an applicant goes for a security clearance, he or she should expect to be tripped up, surprised or even tricked by the investigator or polygrapher.

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