It’s a common misconception that individuals – whether contractors or applicants themselves – pay for their own security clearances. Clearances are issued by the government, and paid for by the government. While the majority of background investigations are conducted by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), agencies are responsible for reimbursing the government for the investigation costs. And what are those costs? From 2019 to 2020, figures did not increase at all, and in 2021 only modest gains are reported.

For a full breakdown of security clearance costs, check out this week’s security clearance news update.

How much does a security clearance cost?

Security clearance costs will go up marginally in 2021, but the biggest game changer in security clearance costs is continuous vetting. The current cost of a Top Secret periodic reinvestigation is $3,134 – and under continuous vetting, those costs will only be incurred when an issue is triggered, not simply every five years – for the approximately 1.2 million Top Secret security clearance holders.

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