All jobs or opportunities require an active or current security clearance issued by the Federal government - no exceptions

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Security Clearances 101:

What is a Security Clearance?

A security clearance is a designation that the United States Government makes that an individual or company is eligible for accessing sensitive classified information. Security clearances can be issued by various United States Government agencies. The agencies that would issue Security Clearances are the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Energy (DoE), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Justice (DoJ) as well as other independent agencies. The Department of Homeland Security with the DoD issuing on average 80% of all security clearances.

Security Clearance Types and Levels?

There are two different types of security clearances. You can either have a Personal Security Clearance also referred to as a PCL or you can have a Facility Security Clearance or also known as FCL. Secret (L) and Top Secret(Q) clearances are referred to as “L” and “Q”. There are three levels of security clearances – Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret.

Is my Security Clearance still active?

If you are in a current position that necessitates access to classified material your clearance is still active. If you are not in a current role that requires your access to classified information your security clearance is not active. Contact the agency’s personnel security office that granted you your security clearance or if you are a contract employee contact the company’s security officer to assist you in verification of your status.

If it has been less than 24 months since your Security Clearance was active then you remain eligible for reinstatement without having to start the complete process from the beginning.


We are often asked at what is the advantage of having either an active, inactive, or lapsed security clearance as a Veteran Job Seeker? There can be many benefits to any of these scenarios.

  • You become a more attractive job seeker with civilian employers who may need employees with a security clearance or who they know can easily obtain one since they previously had one.
  • There could be preferences to ex-military with a current security clearance for DoD (Department of Defense) contractors.
  • It significantly improves your ability to get employed in some sectors that someone without a security clearance could otherwise obtain.
  • Employers typically do not cover the cost of a security clearance application for a job seeker and this savings can be leveraged back into your starting salary.
  • If you have left the military in the last 24 months you car have your clearance re-activated without starting the process all over again.

Frequently asked questions of of Veterans searching for jobs or Security Clearance Jobs.

Are there benefits to a job seeker even if my Security Clearance has lapsed?

Yes, as a potential employer is more interested in hiring people who have had a prior security clearance as you can apply and they will sponsor you for renewing your security clearance. Also, depending on how long your security clearance has lapsed and it could take less time than someone who has never had a security clearance.

What is the difference between ‘active’, ‘current’ and ‘expired’ clearance mean?

You either have a security clearance or you do not – period. However the (PSI) or Personnel Security Investigation (your background investigation) that the Security Clearance is based is either ‘expired’ or ‘current’. Your PSI (Personnel Security Investigation) is ‘current’ if they are not more than 15 years old for a Confidential Clearance, 10 years old for a Secret Clearance, and not more than 5 years old for a Top Secret Clearance. If you have had a break in your service of more than 24 months your PSI would be ‘expired’ and you would need to complete a new application the same as if someone who never had a Security Clearance would.

Expired Security Clearance – Break in service of 2 years and not eligible for reinstatement.

Current Security Clearance – Terminated clearance inside of 2 years but eligible for reinstatement.

Active Security Clearance – Clearance has not been ‘terminated’.

How long is a Security Clearance valid for?

As long as you remain in a position that requires access to classified information your Security Clearance will remain in effect with periodic reinvestigation requirements.

How long is the process to get a Security Clearance take?

Typically the average time for obtaining a Security Clearance from start to finish is approximately 99 days. Based on the level of Security Clearance it could take up to 200 days but this represents less than 10% of all clearances issued.

Can I apply for a Security Clearance directly with the Government or on my own?

No, you will need a contractor or Government agency to sponsor you.

Can a non United States citizen acquire a Security Clearance?

No, however you may apply for a Limited Access Authorization (LAA).

How much does it cost to get a Personal Security Clearance (PCL)?

There is no direct charge from the DoD and most agencies.

If I had a prior Security Clearance over 2 years ago or if I have family members with a current Security Clearance, will it speed up my process?

No, a complete investigation from start to finish will still be conducted.

What should I expect the (PCL – Personal Clearance) Security Clearance process to be like?

Typically a contractor/employer/Government agency will have you complete an Electronic Questionnaire for Investigation Process also known as (e-QIP) and forward to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducts an investigation and those findings are sent to Department of Defense Central Clearance Facility (DoDCAF) who either grants a clearance or will send you a letter of denial.


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