A position of public trust is a role or office that carries significant responsibilities and obligations to serve the public interest. Individuals in these positions are expected to uphold ethical standards, act with integrity, and prioritize the welfare of the country over personal gain. These roles often include public officials, government employees, and others who have access to sensitive information or the authority to make decisions that affect the public.

A green card holder on the ClearanceJobsBlog was interested in getting into a position of this nature:

I’m an IT engineer and a green card holder living in the US for more than 2 years. I got my green card 9 months ago, so I decided to find a new job in the US with better pay. Until today, I have been working remotely for a company back in my home country, doing contract projects for a big American company. Therefore, I listed that American company on my resume. Long story short, I received a great offer letter, but it requires me to obtain a moderate level public trust.

I told my potential new company about my situation (it requires a minimum of 3 years in the US) and my lack of US-based employment history. However, they said there is nothing to worry about. My credit score is great, I have no troubles, and I haven’t even gotten a ticket during these years in the US.

But I am afraid of going through the public trust process because of my lack of US-based experience and the discrepancy between my real consultancy company and the company listed on my resume, as well as the 3-year issue.

Can anybody help me? What are the odds? Has anyone in this situation passed this before? Should I be worried? Please help me, I am super nervous.

Per the Office of Personnel Management: “An investigation may NOT be requested on Non-U.S. Nationals in the U.S. or U.S. Territory for less than 3 years. At the discretion of the agency, based on a risk determination, an alternative facility access identity card may be issued until the employee or contractor in question has resided for 3 years in the U.S. or U.S. Territory.”

Marko Hakamaa, moderator of ClearanceJobs blog notes, “This means if you have not lived in the U.S. for at least three years prior you are not eligible to occupy a moderate risk public trust position since they cannot perform the required Tier 2 background investigation.”

The 2012 Federal Investigative Standards (FIS) define Public Trust Position as any position so designated under Title 5 CFR Part 731.

The original poster notes that their offer was rescinded for the position they applied to. That’s the bad news. The good news is if they stay in a commercial sector job for the next few years and maintain residency in the U.S., they should be able to re-apply.


Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” This case-by-case system is meant to consider the whole person, increase process security, and allow the lowest-risk/highest-need candidates to complete the process. However, it also creates a  lot of questions for applicants. For this reason, ClearanceJobs maintains ClearanceJobsBlog.com – 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.

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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! 🇺🇸