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Frequently Asked Questions Investigations

Background Investigations

  • 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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  • Providing information that is as complete and accurate as possible will assure that your investigation is completed in an efficient and timely manner. If you are unable to answer a question with precision, provide approximate information, note that you have done so on the questionnaire.  If you are interviewed in person, point out the approximated information on the questionnaire to the Investigator.

    Estimate the date (month and year) to the best of your ability and check the "EST" checkbox, indicating that this is an estimated date.
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  • NBIB's agents will leave OPM Form 1634 at the residence of contacts. Individuals can verify the status of an NBIB investigator by contacting NBIB Security and Safety Team at 888-795-5673 or fissst@opm.gov.

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  • Many types of background investigations involve a personal interview. Moreover, you may submit information on extra pages with your questionnaire if you feel you need to more fully explain details or circumstances of the answers you put on the form.
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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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  • Yes. Background Investigators are required to identify, locate, and interview a sufficient number of people who know you well. We want a balanced and unbiased investigation. It would be a questionable investigative practice to only interview persons whom the individual being investigated identified for us.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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