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Frequently Asked Questions Investigations

Background Investigations

  • Not necessarily. Any negative information is evaluated regarding its recency, seriousness, relevance to the position and duties, and in light of, and in relationship to, all other information about you.
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  • Your employing agency is responsible for making this determination.  Executive Order 12968, as amended, sets forth the responsibility and requirements for agency heads to determine the need for employees within the agency to have access to classified information, in addition to the eligibility requirements for being granted access and maintaining such access. 

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  • So that we can verify your claim that you're not a criminal by checking the FBI's fingerprint files. Executive Order 13467, as amended, requires that all Federal employees (and covered individuals as defined in EO 13467) be fingerprinted.
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  • For some types of investigations, the former spouse may be interviewed regarding the Subject of the investigation. The need to interview a former spouse is dependent on the type of investigation requested.
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  • Not necessarily. Any negative information is evaluated regarding its recency, seriousness, relevance to the position and duties, and in light of, and in relationship to, all other information about you.
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  • It is a requirement of a background investigation, and actual employment, that your current employer be contacted. We must verify your employment data and make other inquiries concerning your background. If you are a Federal employee or contractor, for example, it may be that your current employer needs you to have a security clearance for the work you do. In other instances, you are asked to complete the investigative form for an investigation and clearance only after a conditional offer of employment has been made for a position requiring a security clearance.
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  • The investigation is a job requirement. Providing the information is voluntary, but if you choose not to provide the required information, you will not meet the requirements of the job and will therefore not be considered further. If you are already employed by the Federal government, your appointment will be terminated. The courts have upheld this principle.
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  • Immediately notify the security officials (your sponsoring agency) to whom you submitted the questionnaire.
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  • Federal Government regulations do not present requirements that allow for an individual to independently apply for an investigation, positions maintained by contractor, or security clearance. Clearances are based on investigations requested by Federal agencies, appropriate to specific positions and their duties. Until a person is offered such a position, the government will not request or pay for an investigation for a clearance. Once a person has been offered a job, in order for the person to be eligible to hold the Federal position or work on behalf of the Federal Government, a sponsoring Federal agency will require the person to complete a Standard Form 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions. The sponsoring agency that requested the individual fill out the standard form will then initiate the investigation, adjudicate the results, and issue the appropriate clearance.

    Some Defense Department contractors require applicants to already have a clearance, and they have the right to administer their personnel hiring procedures the way they want as long as they don't discriminate based on prohibited factors (such as race or religion). Persons who already have clearances are those who are already employed by a government contractor (or by the government itself) and are looking for other job opportunities.

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  • Educational history is necessary for jobs that require specific education and expertise. Any information supplied by the applicant must be verified.
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