If you work in national security, chances are you’ll switch jobs at some point in your career. But will your security clearance transfer to your next job? Security clearance transfer is also known as security clearance reciprocity. And some switches are easier than others.

If you’re moving to a new position that’s at the same clearance level and supporting the same federal agency, you’re in luck! Your clearance information will still be in the same database as your last job—which should make for an easy switch.

But upgrading your clearance, or transferring it to another government agency, can be more complicated. All agencies use the same criteria for granting security clearances – but they don’t all use the same database to store them. If you move from the Department of Defense to the CIA, your clearance information needs to be transferred to a new database. Unfortunately, this can take time.

In all cases, be up front with the hiring manager about your current clearance details and get clear information about the new work you’ll be doing. A recruiter or hiring manager who works with cleared job seekers will be able to offer guidance on what challenges you may face in transferring your clearance.

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Caroline's background is in public policy, non-profit fundraising, and - oddly enough - park rangering. Though she once dreamed of serving America secretly in the CIA, she's grateful she's gotten to serve America publicly - both through the National Park Service and right here at ClearanceJobs.