New policy requires federal employees and contractors who will be working on site at federal facilities to fill out a form listing their vaccination status. With hot COVID cards already available some may be tempted to fake their vaccination status in order to get into their government office. But the Biden Administration’s Safe Workforce FAQ includes special warning for those who may be tempted to lie about their vaccination status:

Federal employees who make a false statement on the Certification of Vaccination form could be subject to an adverse personnel action, up to and including removal from their position. It is also a federal crime (18 U.S.C. ยง 1001) for anyone to provide false information on the form. Falsification could also affect continuing eligibility for access to classified information or for employment in a national security position under applicable adjudicative guidelines.

Trustworthiness Critical for National Security Workers

Eligibility to access classified information is based largely on an individual’s trustworthiness. Lying in any capacity is a top reason for security clearance denial, outlined via the personal conduct adjudicative criteria. Lying in the course of a security clearance background investigation generally takes the form of lying on the SF-86. But lying on any government form – even one requesting vaccination status – could certainly result in security clearance denial, as well.

Like lying on the SF-86, lying on any vaccination forms could result in more than a clearance denial or revocation, it could result in prosecution and a prison term of up to five years. The critical aspect is honesty. While the Biden Administration’s push is to have all federal employees and contractors vaccinated, the form gives an option for declining to reply. Those who decline to provide a response will still face the testing and mask requirements of the unvaccinated, but if privacy is your primary concern, that is an option.

Working in national security is a privilege, not a right. Security clearance denials and revocations have always emphasized the government’s focus on supporting its own interests, rather than the individual. When it comes to vaccination status, that focus is the same. Federal employees and contractors may need to be vaccinated in order to do things like travel or go into their offices regularly. Regardless of how you feel about the requirements, if it comes time to fill out a form, honesty, as always, is the only policy.

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.