The irony of working in the national capital region is that not only is it incredibly expensive, but finding childcare is incredibly challenging. That’s why I had a begrudging empathy for a recent visitor to ClearanceJobsBlog who commented that they had a nanny with an expired green card who they had been paying under the table for several years. The commenter was not only an attorney, but also an attorney who was looking to apply for a position with the CIA due to their unique skillset and experience.

The Nanny Problem

This individual is hardly the first person to consider federal government or public service and have a ‘nanny’ problem. Several political appointees have removed themselves from the running due to their illegal nanny problem. That was as much of a public affairs problem as it was an employment problem – the court of public opinion caused those individuals to pull themselves from the running before pursuing the process.

Investigators and adjudicators commenting on the forum noted the issue that is more important than the nanny’s legal status is the tax issue. As we’ve pointed out before, the government is particularly interested in people who fail to pay it – your debts may be fine, but your taxes owed to Uncle Sam are probably not.

The applicant has taken the critical first step – realizing they’ve done something wrong, and they need to rectify it before they apply. Paying back-owned nanny taxes NOW – before applying – will be the most important step on the process. The bigger issue than the nanny’s legal status in the country is the foreign influence factor – the nanny will need to be listed on the SF-86, and their country of origin will matter.

Like almost every issue that could potentially result in a security clearance denial or revocation, there are multiple factors at play. It’s not just the nanny’s legal status that’s a consideration, it’s the failure to pay taxes. And because the nanny isn’t from this country, obviously the foreign influence issues are a factor. But like all situations, the applicant shouldn’t opt themselves out of the process. If issues are addressed before application, in particular, chances of a favorable determination are decent. When in doubt, consult a security clearance attorney or consultant prior to applying to get specific advice on how to mitigate the issues.


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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