Looking to get to work right away? The good news is you don’t have to wait for a final security clearance determination. An interim security clearance can get you on the job faster – here’s what you need to know.

An interim security clearance is given based on the partial completion of an investigation. It’s only given on a temporary basis, pending the completion of the entire investigation and a final eligibility determination. An interim security clearance can allow you to get to work faster, pending the completion of a final investigation.

An interim clearance for a secret clearance is based on a review of your SF-86, clearance databases, and a basic credit and criminal background check. A top secret interim clearance may be given based on a review of the SF-86, credit checks, and submission to a single scope background investigation. A secret interim clearance may be granted in as little as a few days. A top secret interim clearance may take several weeks.

Wondering if you have a good chance of obtaining an interim clearance? Unfortunately, the process is highly subjective and often dependent upon the individual reviewing the record. Expect your interim clearance to be denied if you have bad credit or any criminal record (even overdue library books could mean a no-go for an interim clearance). You can improve your chances by using the ‘Additional Comments’ section on your SF-86 to mitigate any potential issues. If you list drug use on your SF-86, use the additional comments section to specify any dates, and the type of drugs used. If this information can clarify or mitigate your drug use, you’ll increase your chances of a favorable interim clearance determination.

The good news? Having your interim clearance denied has no bearing on your final clearance determination. While the denial rate for interim clearances is twenty to thirty percent, the denial rate for final clearances is around 1 percent.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at ClearanceJobs.com. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer