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Primary Points to Consider

Now that you have all the essential information about entering the job market and you have a better understanding of the security clearance process, there's still more to consider when attempting to successfully obtain a security clearance.

The government needs trusted individuals to protect our national security - it's no wonder that this process to obtain a security clearance is as extensive as it is.

Perhaps, one of the most daunting tasks is correctly filling out the 20-page Standard Form 86 (SF86). This extensive questionnaire paints an intimate picture of your life for the government. It is needed to truly understand who you are.

It is in the best interest of the government for you to successfully complete the SF86. It is a costly process for the government to research and diligently go through each application. Officials want you to pass. But many applicants are denied because of careless mistakes or omissions that raise red flags for the investigators.

Before you sit down to fill out this form, you should collect all the documents needed to prove who you are and support the information about your life and your answers on the SF86:

  • Birth certificate
  • Driver's license (copies from other states)
  • Social Security Card
  • Passport
  • Selective Service Number (available at
  • Naturalization Certificates of any foreign-born family members
  • Tax returns
  • Resumes
  • Employment records
  • Records of residences for the preceding 10 years
  • Record of Military Processing-Armed Forces of the United States (DD Form 1966)
  • Education records for the preceding 10 years
  • Records of foreign travel (locations, dates and foreign contacts)
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