Security Clearance Process

Stay Within the Scope of What Questions are Asking for on the SF-86

Background investigators can tell you they hate it when they are interviewing someone who has listed information way beyond what the scope of the questions are asking for on the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF-86). That is because the investigator has to cover all of the information listed by the applicant, even if it is not within scope. Why does this happen? Many applicants may have previously filled out the SF-86 in e-QIP (now eAPP) and when they start a new one, the old information is still there. Instead of deleting what is no longer within scope they leave it there and just update what’s new.

Here are examples of what the current scope of the questions are:

  • Residences going back 10 years
  • Schools attended going back 10 years
  • Employment and unemployment activities going back 10 years
  • People that know you well when combined covering the last 7 years
  • Foreign travel in the last 7 years
  • Police record questions that ask going back 7 years
  • Illegal drug use going back 7 years
  • Financial record questions going back 7 years
  • Misuse of IT going back 7 years

The rest are EVER questions where it doesn’t matter how long ago it was, you still have to list it. What investigators see most in over-reporting is on residences, education, and foreign travel. So, the bottom line here is when you are filing out the SF-86, stay within the scope of the question being asked. Your background investigator will appreciate it and it will make the interview process go quicker.