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    Investigations FAQs

    • The timeliness of a background investigation depends on the type of investigation conducted. Depending on the type of background investigation, the scope of the investigation may require coverage for specific items. The need for a security clearance may affect the time period in which an investigation is completed. Each background investigation requires that certain areas are covered before an investigation is completed.
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    • We talk to as many knowledgeable people as possible to get a balanced, accurate, and comprehensive picture of the person being investigated. Later, you may have an opportunity to refute any misleading or false information that was reported 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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    • Security clearances are granted on a need to know basis when there is a need for access to classified information.  The reinvestigation requirements differ based on the type of clearance.  For Top Secret, the person will undergo a reinvestigation every five years.   For Secret and Confidential, the reinvestigation requirements are every 10 and 15 years, respectively.  The sponsoring agency is responsible for initiating the reinvestigation at the appropriate time.
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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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    • The United States Government does not discriminate in employment.  The hiring process we use is merit based, and relies on open competition following public notice of the positions we are filling.  Should you apply for a job on USAJobs.gov, your qualifications and application materials will be evaluated.  Qualified candidates will be compiled on a list and forwarded to a hiring manager for further review.  Your financial situation would not come into play at this stage of hiring. Some positions will require a background investigation to determine your suitability for Federal employment or your eligibility for a security clearance.  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.  This is determined by the hiring Federal agency.  In some instances, your hiring will be contingent upon completion and favorable adjudication of a background investigation.  It is at the background investigation stage that your financial situation would be considered. Adjudicators use what is called the “whole person” concept to evaluate a person.  Any potentially 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 a person. Financial situations in your life will not necessarily impact your ability to obtain a Federal job.  We encourage you to apply for any positions in which you are interested.
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    • The identity of NBIB investigators can be confirmed through NBIB’s Security and Safety Team.  There are two ways to confirm the identity of an investigator; by phone at 888-795-5673 option 1, or by e-mail to FISSST@opm.gov.  
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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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    • So that we can verify your claim that you're not a criminal by checking the FBI's fingerprint files. Executive Order 13467, as amended, requires that all Federal employees (and covered individuals as defined in EO 13467) be fingerprinted.
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    • Directions for requesting a copy of your background investigations that was conducted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), National Background Investigations Bureau can be found on NBIB's website.  If you are currently in contact with your agency's Human Resources or Security Office and need access to your previously filled-out Standard Form. You may request that access via your agency's Human Resources or Security Office.
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    Total Count: 49, Number of Pages: 5, Page: 1
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