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Frequently Asked Questions Investigations

  • The Office of Personnel Management has no procedure 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 (contingent upon satisfactory completion of an investigation), the government will require the person to complete a Standard Form 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, initiate the investigation, adjudicate the results, and issue the appropriate clearance.

    We know that 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Suitability determinations are made on a case by case basis in accordance with part 731 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, for covered positions that are subject to investigation.  Covered positions are those in the competitive Federal service, those in the excepted service that noncompetitively convert to the competitive service, or career appointments to positions in the Senior Executive Service.  This regulation does not apply to military personnel, positions in the excepted service other than those subject to suitability, or contractors. 

     

    A felony conviction does not automatically make one unsuitable for Federal employment.  When making a suitability determination, an agency will evaluate the individual’s character traits and decide whether their employment or continued employment would or would not protect the integrity or promote the efficiency of the service.  The factors that may form the basis for finding a person unsuitable can be found under 5 CFR 731.202(b) and include criminal or dishonest conduct. 

    To the extent deemed pertinent to an individual’s case, the agency making the determination must give consideration to the additional considerations found under 5 CFR 731.202(c) which include things like the nature of the position for which the person is applying, the circumstances surrounding the conduct, the recency of the conduct, and the absence or presence of rehabilitation. 

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  • If a material, intentional falsification, or deception or fraud issue is developed during an OPM investigation, we will contact the agency to coordinate the adjudication. We may assume jurisdiction after discussing the case with the agency. If an agency feels an OPM investigation developed a material, intentional falsification, or deception or fraud issue that should have been adjudicated by OPM but was not, it may contact SAB to request a second review of the case.
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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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  • Agencies should closely review all application material (such as the OF 612, résumé, OF 306), or the results of any completed background investigation, for indications of material and intentional falsification, or deception or fraud. This may relate to responses to the suitability questions or to qualifications, diploma mill degrees, or other types of merit system fraud. Agencies must refer the case to SAB when it involves the examination or appointment process (initial appointment or reinstatement to a covered position). OPM may exercise its jurisdiction and take a removal and/or debarment action, or coordinate adjudication with the agency if the agency wishes to take action.
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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 10450 requires that all Federal employees be fingerprinted.
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  • Agencies may request SAB to reopen a NACI for issue resolution of A, B, or C issues (original, upgrades, or conversions). The agency should submit a written request to reopen the case and show what issues need to be resolved. Include the name and telephone number of the requesting official and copies of pertinent documents.

    If appropriate coverage or issue resolution is absent from a background investigation, the case should be discussed with OPM-FIS Systems Access Support Team at (724) 794-5612, extension 4600. SAST will determine if the requested information was within the scope of the requested investigation and should have been covered or if an upgrade investigation or Reimbursable Suitability/Security Investigation (RSI) is needed to obtain the information.

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