Van life may give you good experiences or strange realities that some find to be attractive, If you are ready to downsize your material things, living in a van can be a great way to save money and travel within a budget.

But being on the move – and not having a stationary address – could present a tricky background for investigators to explore as they are verifying facts listed on your SF-86. More so, if you don’t self-report when you should, could this present an issue down the line?

One ClearanceJobsBlog subscriber writes:

I know this is odd, but I’m trying to flesh out the idea of living in a van while having a TS/SCI for the military. Living in a van alone is not illegal in any way. BUT, parking your van in spots you’re not allowed, making messes, dumping garbage where you’re not allowed, etc. are all illegal. There are plenty of illegal things that some people who live in vans do.

I would live in a van AFTER I get my initial clearance. I could see the living situation causing a delay in renewing my clearance later down the line.

I know a couple other people who are in the military, live in a van, and are able to save all their housing allowance money because of it. As for why I want to, it allows better flexibility, exponentially more money saved, and the base I’ll be living at has horrid housing around it.

Parking – most Walmart’s allow parking as long as you avoid making a mess.

ID – states are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow you to have an identity/driver’s license.

Mail – local P.O. Box. Using a friend/relative address.

Does anyone know of situations like this, or can anyone foretell any problems I may have down the line?

This pre-military applicant is well aware of the issues they may experience further down the road, but filling out the SF-86 for the initial security clearance application is the first step. Once the security clearance is obtained for the military, they should keep their Command Security Officer (CSO) informed on addresses – even though a change in address isn’t necessarily listed as a reportable event under DCSA, it’s best to err on the side of caution. If you are unsure of whether to self-report while serving in the armed forces, your recruiter or Security Officer at your service duty station will know the answer.

If you’re already living in a van and are interested in obtaining a clearance or applying for national security work, be as specific as possible when it comes to where you were parked when you are filling out the SF-86. List the physical location you were camped at, and a contact who knew you there, if applicable. Having another individual verify your general whereabouts will be substantial. If there are long periods of time where you are unable to share what your location was, or you don’t have contacts to verify this info, there could be hurdles with investigators grilling you on issues of trustworthiness or responsibility that may be complicated to mitigate.

Lindy Kyzer wrote previously that “a physical address (or lack thereof) will not be the issue. Just make sure the location of your car camp out is one you’re allowed to be in – if you’re trespassing or parking in a location without authorization, breaking the law is the security clearance issue – not your lack of four walls and a doormat.”


Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” For this reason, we maintain – a forum where clearance seekers can ask the cleared community for advice on their specific security concerns. Ask CJ explores questions posed on the ClearanceJobs Blog forum, emails received, and comments from this site. This article is intended as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your specific situation. 

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸