Security Clearance Process

Can Clearance Holders Travel to China?

Due to an increase in inquiries on this topic I felt the need to post some information about overseas travel for security clearance holders. This information is only intended to provide general guidelines and requirements. If you already have a security clearance or intend on applying for one, I advise you contact the granting agency Security Office for specific criteria and guidance. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued Security Executive Agent Directive 3 last June which outlines reporting requirements, to include foreign travel, for all clearance holders and those assigned to sensitive positions. Individual agencies can add additional agency-specific requirements that may be more stringent. When it comes to SCI access holders, it is the granting agency that determines any additional foreign travel reporting requirements.

The DoD developed their own Foreign Clearance Guide (.mil email required) for military and civilian personnel which provides specific country visa and passport information, medical and immunization standards, customs inspections procedures, and State Department alerts. The site also provides specific Command Theater requirements and points of contact. The Defense Logistics Agency has a pretty good breakdown of foreign travel reporting requirements.

Travel to China or contact with Chinese nationals is of particular concern for all clearance holders. DoD contractors require prior approval before having any contact with Chinese nationals involving technology. This is not surprising since the Chinese were suspected of being behind the OPM data hack. This is not to say you cannot travel to China, but rather, just ensure you know what restrictions are in place and what reporting requirements and information are needed BEFORE you go.


  1. For me its not should I travel to China but should I live and work in China with a security clearance. I speak the language and went to one the top universities for awhile through a school in the US.