Travel is back for many, and that means you may be thinking about getting a new stamp on your passport. A passport can also be one of the items a background investigator asks to verify during a background investigation interview, or you may even be asked to produce copies of your passport for an investigator – why would this documentation be required?
While it’s not always something an investigator needs to see, if there are disparities in foreign travel records and your SF-86, an investigator may request to see your passport. It may also be requested if a reference provides information that contradicts what you’ve reported. It shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. It’s worth remembering that an investigator isn’t making any value judgments on your reliability and trustworthiness – they’re chasing down details and trying to corroborate with different sources. Your personal passport is one of the sources at their disposal, and it may be relevant – particularly if you’re a frequent traveler.
If you’re heading to a background investigation interview, it’s worth bringing a copy of your passport along. Even if your travels are limited, if you find yourself in a situation where you reported something incorrectly (or a friend did), you can use your passport to confirm the fact – and potentially provide context for why you remembered incorrectly.
It’s also worth noting that with Continuous Vetting implemented across the entire Department of Defense workforce, the government will have more visibility on your foreign travel as it happens. Don’t forget your foreign travel reporting requirements. A ‘whoopsie’ and showing your passport stamp after the fact is not going to be helpful, particularly as the government is notified of your trip whether you report it or not. But using your passport as verification after the fact can demonstrate that yes, you made a specific foreign travel plan and here is the stamp to prove it.
Safe (and self-reported) travels!