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Frequently Asked Questions Investigations

  • 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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  • Unless an exception has been granted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) agencies must delay the collection of the Optional Form (OF) 306 until after the applicant's experience and qualifications have been considered and a conditional offer of employment has been made.
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  • If a material, intentional falsification, deception or fraud issue is developed during an NBIB investigation, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will contact the agency to coordinate the adjudication. OPM may assume jurisdiction after discussing the case with the agency. If an agency feels an NBIB investigation developed a material, intentional falsification, deception or fraud issue that should have been adjudicated by OPM but was not, it may contact OPM's Suitability Adjudications to request a second review of the case.
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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).

    Read more about the National Background Investigations Bureau at NBIB.OPM.GOV

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Security clearances are granted on a need-to-have basis when a person's position requires access to classified information.  When the need to access classified information ceases (such as when the person leaves the position), the clearance is administratively withdrawn.  A withdrawn clearance may be reinstated if the same level or lower access is required within two years, a reinvestigation is not due and no additional factors apply.  

    There is currently no mechanism for an agency to continue to sponsor a person's clearance when the person no longer requires the access.  Your agency security office can advise you further on your specific situation.
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