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.
Welcome to the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system. e-QIP is a web-based automated system that was designed to facilitate the processing of standard investigative forms used when conducting background investigations for Federal security, suitability, fitness and credentialing purposes. e-QIP allows the user to electronically enter, update and transmit their personal investigative data over a secure internet connection to a requesting agency.
Please see the Quick Reference Guide and Frequently Asked Questions for information about the type of internet connection you need to use e-QIP, diagnostic tools for your computer and other help topics.
OPM-FIS now allows some e-QIP applicants to digitally sign their certification and release forms as part of a “Click to Sign” pilot. This pilot will support future implementation of “Click to Sign” for all OPM-FIS customer agencies. E-QIP utilizes the appropriate safeguards to ensure that the digital signature captured in the e-QIP system is legally recognized in accordance with the Federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN) 15 U.S.C. 7001 and the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) which is a United States Uniform Law Commission between state level governments. Public Law 105-277, Title XVII states “Releases that are digitally signed are as valid as those with handwritten signatures.”
Applicants can only access the e-QIP system if they have been invited to do so by an appropriate official at their sponsoring agency. Individuals cannot pre-apply for a security clearance, nor update their security questionnaire unless granted access by an appropriate agency official.
This Quick Reference Guide is provided to assist you in completing the Questionnaires for National Security, Public Trust and Non-sensitive positions using the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system. Please follow this guide step-by-step to ensure that your questionnaire is completed properly.
e-QIP is a web-based automated system that was designed to facilitate the processing of standard investigative forms used when conducting background investigations. e-QIP allows you to electronically enter, update, and transmit your personal investigative data over a secure internet connection to a requesting agency. The requesting agency will review and approve the investigative data.
The U.S. Government conducts background investigations to determine if applicants or employees meet the suitability or fitness requirements for employment, or are eligible for access to Federal facilities, automated systems, or classified information. All persons must be properly investigated and adjudicated to be issued a credential and to be authorized access to classified information.
The scope and type of background investigation varies depending on the duties and access requirements for the position, as does the amount of time it takes to be completed. The employing or sponsoring agency is responsible for determining the appropriate level of investigation to be conducted based on current rules and procedures.
Providing the information requested on the form is voluntary. However, if you do not provide the information requested, you will not meet the requirements of the job and therefore will not be considered further. If you are already employed by the Federal government, your appointment will be terminated.
Be completely honest and forthright when answering all questions on the form. If necessary, provide clarification or explanation for how you answered a particular question in the Optional Comment section provided in e-QIP.
Be as timely as possible in completing your investigation request. You should earnestly try to meet the deadline your agency has established for you to complete this form.
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Security is of major concern whenever you’re dealing with personal information. This concern has been addressed by specific Federal guidelines implemented to safeguard Personally Identifiable Information (PII). PII is defined as information that can be used to discern or trace a person’s identity; and alone, or combined with other information, can be used to compromise the integrity of records relating to a person by permitting unauthorized access to or unauthorized disclosure of these records.
Several security measures have been built into e-QIP to help minimize unauthorized access to your information:
It is OPM policy to ensure that all information technology (IT) systems that collect, maintain, or disseminate information in an identifiable form have Federally mandated controls in place to protect and prevent the breach of PII. Learn more about OPM's privacy policies.
To complete your e-QIP investigation request form you will need access to a computer with an internet connection and a web browser. You should also gather the following information:
Note that for each of the categories listed above, you will need provide information covering the amount of time specified in the question on the form or to your 16th birthday, whichever is shorter. In most categories the instructions will state that you should not list information before your 18th birthday unless necessary to provide a minimum of two years history. Please follow the specific instructions for each question.
e-QIP is designed to be accessible from any computer, anywhere in the world. You can use your personal computer at home or at the office. e-QIP is compatible with most well-known browsers including Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari. The following procedures are provided as a guide for configuring your browser to work with e-QIP.
To use Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to access e-QIP, you must have version 6.0 or higher. To check your version, open Internet Explorer and select Help > About Internet Explorer. For the latest version and updates, visit the Microsoft website.
Note: If you use AOL, make sure you open Internet Explorer in a new window outside of AOL.
TLS and SSL encrypt the segments of network connections. e-QIP requires that TLS 1.0 be enabled in your browser. If you do not enable this setting, you will get a “Page Cannot be Displayed” error.
To use Mozilla Firefox with e-QIP, you must have version 1.0 or newer. You can find out which version of Firefox you have by selecting Help > About Mozilla Firefox. To get the latest version, visit the Mozilla website.
Although security settings may be preset to default to appropriate settings, you should verify that they are configured as follows.
Use the following instructions to configure your Safari browser to access e-QIP:
Job Access with Speech (JAWS) is a vocal screen-reading software program that enables visually impaired users of e-QIP to complete their forms. It accomplishes this by providing the user with access to the information displayed on the screen via a text-to-speech system. This system converts normal language text into speech or by means of a Braille display and allows for comprehensive keyboard interaction with the computer.
To use the JAWS Screen-Reading Software with e-QIP, you must use Internet Explorer 6.0 or later and JAWS 10.0 or later. For more information, use the JAWS resource at the Freedom Scientific website.
To begin completing the form in e-QIP, you must first access the e-QIP login screen.
Note: If an error message displays saying “Page Cannot Be Displayed,” you have not enabled TLS 1.0. Go back to section 4.0 of this guide, Configuring Your Browser, for more information.
Once you have accessed the e-QIP login screen, follow the steps below to log into e-QIP.
If you entered your SSN correctly, you should next see a screen that asks you to answer three “Golden Questions.” If this is your first time logging into e-QIP, the “default” Golden Questions display. These ask for your last name, city of birth, and four digit year of birth. Once you answer these correctly, the system will prompt you to create three new Golden Questions and Answers.If you have logged into e-QIP at some other time, your previously created personal Golden Questions will display.
Note: If questions other than the “defaults” (listed above) are displayed, you have either entered your SSN incorrectly, not yet been initiated in e-QIP, or exceeded the timeframe for logging in after your request was initiated. Please try again. If you continue to experience an issue, you must contact your sponsoring agency for assistance.
The first time you log into e-QIP, the three default Golden Questions display. Once you answer these correctly, the system will prompt you to create a set of three new Golden Questions and Answers.
Golden Questions are one of several security measures that have been built into e-QIP to help minimize unauthorized access to your information. Golden Questions enable e-QIP to verify your identity. Create a combination of Golden Questions for which only you will know the correct answers. It is best to use a one word answer to minimize login error.
Remember! It may be several years before you return to the e-QIP system to complete a reinvestigation, so it is recommended that you use responses that you will remember in the distant future.
It is your responsibility to remember your Golden Questions. It is also important to protect the answers to your Golden Questions. These are your “password” to the e-QIP system.
Note: If you cannot remember the responses to your Golden Questions, or if you encounter any other issues with logging in, you must contact your sponsoring agency to have them reset your Golden Questions.
After you have successfully logged into e-QIP by entering your SSN and answering the Golden Questions, you’ll see the “Complete an Investigation Request” screen.
Note: If you have been sponsored by multiple agencies within e-QIP at the same time, you may have multiple e-QIP request numbers here. Make sure that you select the correct link for the request you want to complete.
Prior to entering data for the first time, you must read the instructions on the “Form Completion Instructions” screen.
You are now ready to complete your questionnaire.
Note: If you are filling out the Standard Form 86, a more detailed guide is available: e-QIP Guide for National Security Positions - SF 86.
In order to ensure the completeness of your data, a validation routine runs each time you click Save or Save/Continue. The validation routine will point out any Errors or Warnings and provide detailed instructions on how to satisfy each missing item. You will only receive validation messages if you have not answered a question appropriately.
For example: The required input for a telephone number is 10 numeric digits. If you enter anything less or greater than 10 digits, or entered a non-numeric character, the validation will reject your data and show an error at the top of the screen explaining the issue and prompting you to make a correction.
When you are satisfied that your form is complete and no validation errors are present, you have the option of reviewing a display copy of your form before certifying it. You can also review the Display copy at any time as you complete the form.
Note: Do not click the Certify Investigation Request button more than once.
Follow the instructions provided carefully below in the order they are provided. Once you certify your form, there are a few additional steps before you can release the information to your sponsoring agency.
The final release of your request is completed in several steps.
Review the instructions for printing the signature pages, attaching files and printing a copy for your records.
Print and/or save an electronic copy of the information you provided on the form for your records. If you do not have printer access, logout of e-QIP and go to a computer with printer access. Then log back into e-QIP to print the forms.
To save an electronic .pdf version of this Archival Copy, you may right-click on the link shown “Display the Archival Copy of the Investigation Request for Printing” and follow the steps to save the document in an appropriate location.
Signature Forms are a required part of an investigation as they authorize your Investigation Service Provider (ISP) to obtain necessary information. These are the forms you must sign and then send to your sponsoring agency by fax, mail or uploading via e-QIP. You must follow instructions provided to you by your sponsoring agency as to which option to choose to transmit these signature forms to them.
Note: The Fair Credit Report is a release form that must be submitted with all SF 86 forms to allow requests for credit checks and other financial data.
The attachments are the Signature Forms and any other information, such as a resume, that you would like to provide your sponsoring agency as a part of your investigation. Because there are multiple options, you must follow instructions provided to you by your sponsoring agency as to which option to choose to submit these attachments to them.Note: Contact your sponsoring agency if you have any questions or need fax numbers or mailing addresses.
Repeat to add other attachments
This will create a fax cover sheet that will include your Request Number, Contact information, and a Barcode which will route the attachment to the correct Request in e-QIP.Note: The fax cover sheet is active for only seven days. You will not be able to fax that cover sheet after that date has expired.
Important! You will not be able to access your investigation forms after you click “Release Request/Transmit to Agency.” Be sure you have printed and/or attached all required forms, including signature forms, before clicking “Release Request/Transmit to Agency.”
Congratulations! You have completed and submitted your investigation request.If you have any questions about your investigation status, please follow up directly with your contact at your sponsoring agency.
Your sponsoring agency will carefully review your submitted form. In the event your information or attachments are incomplete, the sponsoring agency may return the information you provided in e-QIP and contact you to make corrections to the form.
In the event you are contacted to make corrections to your form, you will need to:
Once the investigation has been scheduled, you may be contacted by an investigator to schedule your personal interview, if required. In the event an interview is neccessary, you will be required to provide photo identification, such as a valid state driver’s license. You may be required to provide other documents to verify your identity, as instructed by your investigator.
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Get more detailed information about filling out the Standard Form 86 for National Security positions in the e-QIP Guide for National Security Positions - SF 86
The e-QIP system is used by a wide variety of Federal contractor and military personnel, and it is important that each user contact the appropriate personnel for assistance in completing their questionnaire. Please pay close attention to the following options:
Initial point of contact for account lockouts, challenge question resets, forgotten usernames, and other technical support should be the local security or human resource official of your sponsoring organization/agency.
For Military and DoD local security or human resource officials: The DoD Security Services (Call) Center is not able to view e-QIP or help with access to e-QIP for applicants whose e-QIP questionnaires are not initiated/managed within the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS).
Initial point of contact for account lockouts, challenge question resets, forgotten usernames and other technical support is the DoD Security Services (Call) Center at 1-888-282-7682.