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Investigations FAQs

  • The timeliness of a background investigation depends on the type of investigation conducted. Depending on the type of background investigation, the scope of the investigation may require coverage for specific items. The need for a security clearance may affect the time period in which an investigation is completed. Each background investigation requires that certain areas are covered before an investigation is completed.
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  • Adjudications officials at the agency requiring the investigation will evaluate your case and communicate their recommendation to the appropriate personnel or security office.
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  • OPM's agents will leave OPM Form 1634 at the residence of contacts. Individuals can verify the status of an OPM investigator by contacting FIS Security and Safety Team at 888-795-5673 or fissst@opm.gov.
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  • The only persons authorized to see this information are Personnel Security, Suitability, and Investigations professionals who have been investigated and have a demonstrated need to review the information. You may request a copy of your investigation file under provisions of the Privacy Act. For an OPM investigation request, write to OPM-CIS, FOIP, Post Office Box 618, Boyers, PA 16018-0618. You must include your full name, Social Security Number, date and place of birth, and you must sign your request.
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  • Agencies are responsible for ensuring that applicants selected for positions are suitable for Federal employment. While it is more practical and cost-effective to initiate a complete suitability investigation after an individual is selected and has accepted a job offer, agencies may choose to begin preliminary suitability determinations for all applicants at any time during the hiring process.
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  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Defense, and a few other agencies share this responsibility. The FBI mostly conducts investigations on the following:  High level Presidential appointees, cabinet officers, agency heads and staff who may work at the White House directly for the President.
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  • The interests of national security require that all persons privileged to be employed in the departments and agencies of the government shall be reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States. This means that the appointment of each civilian employee in any department or agency of the government is subject to investigation. The scope of the investigation will vary, depending on the nature of the position and the degree of harm that an individual in that position could cause. The requirement to be investigated applies whether or not the position requires a security clearance (in order to have access to classified national security information).
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  • The Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Federal Investigative Services (FIS) conducts background investigations on Federal applicants, employees, and contractor personnel for suitability and security determination purposes at the request of our customer agencies.  A credit search is a routine part of many of these investigations. The subjects of background investigations are requested to sign a release form allowing a check of his or her credit history.  Searches are conducted for each name variation a person has used; therefore, there may be more than one search by OPM showing on a person’s credit report.  Credit inquiries from OPM investigations are included in the Regular Inquiries portion of a credit record, but these inquiries are “soft” hits and do not have an impact on a person’s credit score.  
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  • We talk to as many knowledgeable people as possible to get a balanced, accurate, and comprehensive picture of the person being investigated. Later, you may have an opportunity to refute any misleading or false information that was reported about you.
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  • The RSI is not a background or criminal investigation. RSIs are focused investigations to obtain information to resolve issues developed about an individual. An agency may request an RSI when it needs additional investigation to resolve issues that might fall outside the normal scope of another investigation (such as alcohol or drug rehabilitation or credit); to establish a history or pattern of behavior; or to obtain other information related to suitability or security which is not necessarily connected to a current background investigation. The cost of the RSI varies depending on the work to be performed; expedited service is available at an additional cost. A representative of OPM-FIS will contact the agency prior to scheduling the investigation to provide a cost estimate. To initiate an RSI, the agency needs only to submit a letter or memo to OPM-FIS Customer Interface. Customer Interface processes agency requests to reopen investigations and conduct a Reimbursable Suitability Investigation (RSI). Agencies may submit their requests via fax (724) 738-0178, or mail: OPM-FIPC Customer Interface PO BOX 618 1137 Branchton Rd. Boyers, PA 16018-0618 If you have a question about a reopen or RSI, please call the Telephone Liaisons at (724) 794-5228. Reopen or RSI requests must be typed on agency letterhead and contain the following:
    • Security Office Identifier (SOI)
    • Submitting Office Number (SON)
    • Interagency Payment and Collection Code (IPAC)
    • Subject's current location and phone number
    • Clear description of the work being requested in the reopen or RSI
    • Name, phone number, and email address of the individual submitting the request
    For more information about RSIs, see the Federal Investigation Notices, Letter No. 97-2, dated July 29, 1997, and Letter No. 93-4, dated June 14, 1993; or, call SAST (724) 794-5612, extension 4600.
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Total Count: 69, Number of Pages: 7, Page: 1
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