The Standard Form 86 (SF-86 or soon-to-be PVQ) is the first and pivotal step for individuals seeking a security clearance. Whether for military service, government employment, or contracted positions, filling out the SF-86 accurately and thoroughly is essential to securing your cleared career dreams So here are a few tips to help navigate the SF-86. 

Be Prepared 

Collect all necessary documents and information before starting the form. This includes personal identification, addresses, employment history, education details, and references. 

Read EVERYTHING Thoroughly 

Begin by thoroughly reading the SF-86 instructions. Understanding the purpose of each section and the required information will help you complete the form with precision. 

Be Honest, Even if You Don’t Want to Be 

Honesty is paramount when completing the SF-86. Disclose all relevant information, including any past legal issues, financial difficulties, or foreign contacts. Omitting or misrepresenting information can result in clearance denial. 

Remember: Foreign Travel or Connections Must Always be Disclosed 

If you have foreign contacts, have traveled abroad, or have financial interests tied to another country, be transparent and provide detailed information. Include any foreign relatives and connections, as these may be scrutinized during the clearance process. 

Review Your Answers  

Before submitting your SF-86, carefully review each section to ensure accuracy and completeness. Check for typos or missing information, as errors can cause delays in the clearance process. 

By following these guidelines, you’ll enhance your chances of successfully obtaining the security clearance you seek. Remember, thoroughness and honesty are your greatest allies in navigating the complex process of security clearanceS. 

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Phoebe Wells is the Public Relations & Partnerships Marketing Manager at ClearanceJobs and loves every aspect of her role. Creating content and working with the CJ team to connect cleared candidates with employers is incredibly rewarding, as the work ClearanceJobs does ultimately supports the mission of the U.S. As the daughter of a veteran and former cleared worker, she knows the sacrifices security and defense professionals make. She is honored to assist them in leveling up their careers. Plus, she gets to work from home in the Adirondack Mountains with her partner and two huskies!