Obtaining Security Clearance

Hot Hints for Completing Your SF-86

Today, clearance veteran William Loveridge offered his insights for tackling the legendary “Standard Form 86” (SF-86)/”electronic Questionnaire for Investigation Processing” (eQIP).  Among his recommendations?

– Certain things you know are required, so start gathering the info in advance, such as: Employment history Address history Current copy of your credit report

– Be sure to familiarize yourself with accessing the eQIP website – it will fast become your friend.

– Sometimes you can ballpark dates, sometimes specifics are required. Loveridge will guide you on when you can use both.

– Generally, no single answer will be determinative of your clearance evaluation, so don’t be afraid to (indeed, be sure to) mention that DUI from a few years ago. Honesty is the best policy.

Oh, and you know how they always suggest printing a copy for your records?  DO IT.  Although the eQIP system is built to retain the info forever, poor Bill found out the hard way mistakes can happen.

Read more about completing your SF-86 here.

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    I suggest just guessing on everything, take about five minutes filling it out. You can clarify everything during your Subject Interview.

  2. Avatar

    Please note: Fed’s advice is only good if you are capable of being openly hostile to your investigator. After guessing on your paperwork and putting down information that you know to be inaccurate simply to get through the form, it is IMPERATIVE that you get indignate with your investigator when they then ask you to provide the correct information during your interview. Remeber: you are very important and they are wasting your time.

  3. Avatar

    Totally agree with VSI, please angrily tell your investigator that ‘the form is correct and you don’t need to go over it all again.’

  4. Avatar

    Make sure to tell your interviewers they are investigators and should be able to figure out where you have lived, worked, and went to school, even without the correct info on the forms.

  5. Avatar

    And don’t forget to state you don’t have any foreign contacts and then list the reason for your 15 trips overseas was to ‘visit friends or family.’

  6. Avatar

    And your 5 trips to the Philippines were to sightsee only 🙂

  7. Avatar

    And you only used marijuana on one occasion in your nine years of college.

  8. Avatar

    And, when asked about drug use within the past seven years during the interview, don’t forget to answer, “well, not within the past seven years but…” then go on to reiterate all your past drug use. Same with your past criminal history.

  9. Avatar

    Please tell us more funny stories of your past indiscretions–we love that, even if it happened 30 years ago.

  10. Avatar


    I worked a similar case for a subject in DC. Every time I’d interview a former employer they would say, “You know NCIS was here like 4 months ago asking about all of this as well, right?”

    Also, as often as we see cases of investigators getting prosecuted for falsifying investigations (as they should), it is kind of nice to see a subject get prosecuted for lying for a change.

  11. Avatar

    That’s AWESOME! Finally some accountability.

  12. Avatar

    Here’s your chance to sound off about the relevance and wording of the questions on the SF86. OPM is proposing changes to the SF86 and is accepting comments for the proposed change through May 13 in either written form to the Federal Investigative Services, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E. Street NW., Washington, DC 20415, Attention: Donna McLeod. Or comments can be sent via email to: [email protected].

    You don’t have to restrict your comments just to the proposed changes, which are:
    Question 21 – exception for victims of sexual assault.
    Question 17 – add words to cover civil unions.
    Question 23 – must list illegal drug use even if legal under state law.

  13. Avatar

    Well my company has hit the trifecta of screwing investigators. First it was the loss of matching 401K, then the loss of leave and now we got word there are stipulations to getting a raise for our performance in FY 12. No raise for me even though I was rated a 4 out of 5. I am at the salary cap for my Tier in my area.
    What sucks even more is that just last week we got an announcement we hired another President for our HR division and this week we got an announcement of a VP of Security being hired. I am sure both of those positions make six figures yet many investigators will not get a raise.
    I wonder if my company will have a mass exodus of investigators again.

  14. Avatar


    I know that the closest competitor to your company is ramping up hiring big-time this year…

  15. Avatar

    But the grass isn’t necessarily greener with other companies.

  16. Avatar

    @ William,

    Just saw a document that mentioned how the Director of National Intelligence has done interim policy guidance that will be for the question 21 exemption, so until the formal review is done it appears that victims of sexual assault do not need to report counseling. He said he did it cause the process can take a long time and this is an issue that needed to be acted on.

  17. Avatar


    Good–thanks. Common sense injection–WOW

  18. Avatar

    i have to fill out a new SF-86 , im a contractor working ,i have a DUI in 2009, i was giving clearence before in 2010 when i got the job with the company that i’m with now, with the charges, i wanted to know is that going to effect me this go around with new SF-86 from that i have to sumbit.i have not been in any trouble since then and did everythging that was require by me to get back on track after the charge which was a misdemeanor .

  19. Avatar

    Does lying on a sf 86 count as one offense, or does every false statement count as a count of perjury.
    I may or may not be an e4 stationed and JBLM and lied in more than 10 occasions on my sb 86 (theoretically) what am i looking at? dishonorable, general, other than honorable discharge or jailtime? (currently under investigation)