Obtaining Security Clearance

What is a Yankee White Security Clearance?

I was researching some of the lesser known facts about security clearances and background investigations and ran across a very informative and interesting article posted on WiseGeek.com that described what a Yankee White security clearance is and what the requirements are to get one. In a nutshell, in order to work on the staff of the President or Vice President of the United States, one has to undergo and pass the extensive background check (basically an enhanced SSBI) that is conducted to identify potential security risks. But that is not all. Anyone being considered for one of these positions will also have their friends, acquaintances, and family members checked out and possibly interviewed as well.

The basic eligibility requirements for a Yankee White clearance are:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen with unquestionable loyalty to the United States and a proven track record of maturity and trustworthiness.
  • Must not have any serious criminal convictions, any history of dishonest conduct, or history of illegal drug use (same criteria applies to immediate family members)
  • Immediate family members should be U.S. citizens

The article breaks down the staff positions that support the president and vice president into three categories: Category 1 consists of those staff members who work directly for or have direct contact with the president or the vice president; Category 2 is made up of support personnel like the White House communications agency, travel staff, air crews, and maintenance staff; Category 3 is made up of honor guard and military bands, or other like staff that has occasional direct contact.

As with all high level clearances, periodic reinvestigations and continuous evaluation checks are run to ensure that no areas of concern pop up unnoticed in between investigations. So there you have it; the short and skinny on Yankee White.

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    “Yankee White” is NOT a security clearance it is a profrase use to screen clearances that are in support of the Executive office of the President (EOP)and other National Priority Programs.
    It causes the PSI and handeling, tracking, thru adjudication of a SSBI, to be given a highest prority !
    Again, to reiterate YW is NOT a form of a CLEARANCE, it IS A PRIORITY HANDELING LABEL.
    Hope that this clears up the misinformation on this page.
    Thanks, for the opportunity to contribute. Best Always Harry Rensel

    • Avatar


      Appreciate your comments and technically you are correct, as there are only three official levels of clearance (Confidential, Secret, Top Secret). However, just as Special Compartmented Information is tossed around as one having a TS/SCI clearance, there are many other special access programs that require additional vetting beyond the basic SSBI, and thus, the word clearance is ballied about and are use to identify these special requirements. Cheers!

      • Avatar

        One or two extra financial forms are required depending on the Category of Yankee White (YW) position, but there’s only one standard enhancement to all background investigations for YW positions and that’s a check of Secret Service records. Additionally certain designated Category One positions require periodic CI Scope polygraph exams. Otherwise the investigations are same as for other clearances. Category One and Category Two YW are considered Critical Sensitive positions, so SSBIs are required regardless of the level of classified access required. Other than expedited handling, the main difference with YW cases is the suitability/fitness adjudication that’s required. A suitability/fitness determination is always required, and it occurs separately after the security clearance eligibility determination, if access to classified information is needed. The suitability/fitness criteria for YW are generally more restrictive than the eligibility criteria for a security clearance.