Human Resources and Security Specialists should use this tool to determine the correct investigation level for any covered position within the U.S. Federal Government.
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.
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
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:
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
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.
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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