Background Investigations

How to Complete Your SF-86


This article is not designed to be an item-by-item instruction manual for completing the Standard Form 86 (SF 86)/electronic Questionnaire for Investigation Processing (eQIP), but I hope to provide general information about completing the form and where to get help if you need it.

For most Federal Government civilian, military and contractor positions, employees are required to complete a SF 86.  This form, and its equivalent electronic version (eQIP), have evolved over the years and the latest version, revised in December 2010, appears to be a monster.  Monster or not, it is a necessary item for investigation and suitability or clearance processing.  When I applied for my first Secret clearance in 1972, the form used was one – repeat “one” – page long.  When I applied for my first Top Secret clearance, the form was all of three pages.  For my last periodic reinvestigation (PR), my completed SF 86/eQIP was 46 pages long.  Welcome to the future.