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Completing the Applications & Forms

Honesty is the best policy when completing the government applications and forms.

You must provide accurate, complete, and honest answers to all of the questions on your security questionnaire. Incomplete or inaccurate information can delay the process because this information is required for issuing your security clearance. False information is prohibited by law and punishable by fines and imprisonment. Remember, the information you provide will be verified during your investigation.

If you have any questions about what to put in your security questionnaire, see or call your security officer, and then answer the questions to the best of your ability. If you doubt whether to provide certain information, it is always best to provide the information (and any clarification, if necessary). Your omission of adverse information may be interpreted by adjudicators as falsification of your security forms. That could cost you your clearance. In some cases, how you have dealt with a problem or issue, such as a credit problem or substance abuse problem, may demonstrate good character and judgment, and may work favorably for you.

Remember, when you sign your security forms, you are certifying completeness and accuracy under the penalty of prosecution.

The government-derived clearance forms ask questions that include both past and present information such as:

  • Have you ever used illicit drugs?
  • Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
  • Have your ever renounced your citizenship?
  • Have you ever been arrested or received a fine for more than a minor violation?
  • Are you or have you ever been a member of a group or organization that has advocated the overthrow of the United States?
  • Are you or have you ever been affiliated with a foreign government?
  • Do you have ongoing close ties to foreign nationals?
  • Are you married to a foreign national?

A "Yes" answer to any of these questions will be followed up on by the clearance agency. While it could potentially be cause for disqualification, a "Yes" answer is certainly not automatically grounds for disapproval.
Generally, you will be required to complete the same questionnaire for all security levels. Although different investigations are used for various levels of access, they all look at the same types of information that you will need to provide:

  • Your employment history
  • Education
  • References
  • Your military service record
  • Foreign activities and travel
  • Your financial history
  • Your police records (if any)
  • Drug and alcohol abuse (if any)

The amount of information you are required to provide will depend on the level of security clearance for which you have been nominated. For example, the investigation for a Top Secret Clearance covers the last seven to 10 years of your life. The investigation for a Secret Clearance only covers the last five years. If unfavorable information surfaces, a deeper investigation into your background may be warranted.

Generally, you will be able to fill out information through a web-based automated system called e-QIP, Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing. This e-QIP allows you to enter, update and transmit your personal information over a secure Internet connection to the requesting agency.

For more information on successfully filling out these forms, view the Defense Security Service Academy's training video "Tips for e-QIP Submission" at http://dssa.dss.mil/seta/training_videos.html

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