There are three main phases to receiving a security clearance:
- The first phase is the application process. This involves verification of U.S. citizenship, fingerprinting and completion of the Personnel Security Questionnaire (SF-86) via eQIP.
- The second phase involves the actual investigation of your background. Most of the background check is conducted by OPM’s Federal Investigative Services Division and their contractor companies (USIS, CACI, Keypoint, Dyncorp, Omniplex, etc.).
- The final phase is the adjudication phase. The results from the investigative phase are reviewed. The information that has been gathered is evaluated based on the 13 adjudicative factors determined by the Department of Defense (DoD) or OPM’s 14 adjudicative guidelines. Your Report of Investigation (ROI) will either go to the DOD CAF at Ft. Meade, MD or to the respective Central Adjudication Facility (CAF) or departmental/federal agency personnel security office for adjudication. Clearance is granted or denied following this evaluation process.
The Investigation Process
Your security clearance paperwork will be handled by your agency’s or department’s security office. All investigations will be routed through OPM. OPM’s Federal Investigative Services Division (FISD) conducts the majority of all federal background investigations, approximately 90%. More likely than not, it will be OPM who conducts your investigation; It will be either a FISD investigator or a contract investigator who contacts you.
Contact one of our consultants for more in-depth and inside information regarding the federal security clearance process.