Security clearance reciprocity is something sought by national security professionals moving from agency to agency – whether to gain new experience or move up in pay/job titles. However, clearances crossing over has not always been an easy feat.

Earlier this year Marko Hakamma reported why it is still difficult for some agencies to verify and grant reciprocity in a timely manner. “Non-DoD or IC security folks still only use OPM’s CVS/PIPS, the DoD uses the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency’s (DCSA) DISS, and IC agencies use Scattered Castles,” he noted. Personnel from DoD and IC components do not have access to OPM’s CVS/PIPS.

Another issue clearance holders need to be aware of is agency specific suitability requirements. Having a security clearance with a DoD agency does not necessarily mean you could obtain one with DHS – an entity that notoriously has strict suitability standards.

Security Clearance Reciprocity: Crossover from DoD to DHS

One ClearanceJobsBlog subscriber writes:

I am married to a permanent resident, and I obtained my TS/SCI earlier this year. I am currently unemployed due to issues with contracts not getting renewed. I have a job offer with a company that requires an SCI with DHS and they are in the process of a crossover. It’s been two weeks since they put my SCI in nomination. Does it hurt that I’m married to a permanent resident to obtain a crossover? I have read having foreign contacts may get people denied crossover, but I’m not sure if that’s true. Is it or should I be fine?


If you search through r/SecurityClearance, you’ll find several stories from Reddit users on successful DoD to DHS clearance reciprocity cases and others that were denied. One thing that holds true for both sides is that you will probably experience a waiting game. You’ll fill out forms including certain questions from the SF-86, or a background investigation requirements determination (BIRD) request.

DHS defines suitability as “an evaluation on a federal applicant based on a person’s character and conduct to decide whether their employment would impact the integrity or efficiency of the federal service.”

Being married to a permanent didn’t cause your DoD clearance to be denied. Will being married to a permanent resident delay or deny your clearance crossover? This really depends on the nature of the DHS position that you are applying for. Unfortunately, DHS is not forthcoming about their suitability criteria, leaving candidates in the dark as to what issues the suitability check is attempting to uncover. This is why suitability is the wild, wild west of hiring.

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Katie Helbling 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! 🇺🇸