Reasons for clearance denial can seem unclear before you begin the process. But the process doesn’t have to be confusing. There are things you can do, like look over the adjudicative guidelines. You should also rely on the best policy for your SF-86 and background investigation: honesty. It’s important to not count yourself out of the running before you have even applied. Make sure you have credible sources, and when in doubt, check with a lawyer or consultant for help on discerning how to answer various questions throughout the process. While some things in life may be outside our control, the best plan for a security clearance applicant is to fill out the SF-86 as completely and thoroughly as possible and handle each step of  the process with honesty.

TOP 5 Reasons for a Security Denial

Tried and True Reasons for Denial Over the Years

The fifth most frequent cause of clearance denial is criminal conduct. Commit a crime, and be prepared to show passage of time and changed behavior if you’d like to get a clearance. While legislation may be adjusting when it comes to drugs, the rules for being a clearance holder have not. Drug use is the fourth most frequent cause of clearance denial. The third most frequent cause of clearance denial is foreign influence. Understand the current security pulse and choose friends, acquaintances, and travel plans wisely. The second most frequent cause of clearance denial is personal conduct. Lying on your security clearance application, or about prior criminal activity or drug use, will result in clearance denial.

It’s all About the Money

The number one reason for clearance denial is always financial considerations. This could range from high levels of debt, unpaid bills, or unfiled taxes. Always make sure you keep your house in order if you don’t want it to threaten your clearance status. While perfection is not expected, progress and honesty is. So, where there are problems, there isn’t always a denial. Strive to maintain the necessary records, as well as, making progress in improving your any financial issues that have arisen.

How Will I know?

Applicants who have been denied will receive notice. Your Statement of Reasons (SOR) will shed some light on why the government decided to deny you a security clearance. However, if you’ve been denied, you can appeal. Executive Order 12968 provides two levels of appeal for security clearance applicants, and the process isn’t over until both of those appeal levels fail. If you still desire to work in national security, there are more options available for you. You can either find an open unclassified position that supports the mission, and/or you can wait a year while you try to make progress on the issues raised, and try again with any company willing to sponsor you for the clearance process.

Related News

Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.