People often conflate the terms public trust and security clearance. A position of public trust is not the same as a security clearance, although the process for obtaining them can be quite similar. A common question for applicants for either is – how long does the process take?

Unlike security clearance processing times, which are regularly released by the government, public trust positions are more decentralized and locally administered, which means processing times are not currently tracked in aggregate the way clearance eligibility determinations and timelines are.

Many applicants assume a public trust will be issued faster than a security clearance – but the process can often take as long, or even longer. There is no universal policy on interim suitability determinations, either – each agency creates its own policies around whether employees can be onboarded as they await a final public trust determination.

As the high risk public trust population begins becoming enrolled in Continuous Vetting this year, however, the government may finally have a better system of tracking its trusted workforce across agencies and position – and creating greater visibility into timelines and other key metrics.

For now, the best source of information about how long it may take to obtain a position of public trust will be through the agency issuing the position.

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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