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Frequently Asked Questions

Clearance Processing:

  • How long does it take to get a clearance?  Timeframes may vary depending on the level of clearance, type of background investigation, and complexity of the case.  
  • What would cause my clearance to be delayed? Reasons for a delay in the processing of a clearance can be attributed to both the investigative process as well as the adjudicative process. The investigation process can be delayed if it requires extensive efforts in pursuit of obtaining sufficient background information (i.e. foreign residence, foreign employment, law enforcement).  Delays in adjudication can be a result of adjudicative actions (ex. letters of interrogatory, personnel security interviews, psychiatric evaluations) necessary to address all security concerns in a case.   

Clearance Adjudication:

  • What could cause my clearance to be denied or revokedDerogatory information does not automatically disqualify candidates from being able to obtain a security clearance. Denials and revocations are a result of the inability to resolve serious derogatory information. For more information on what is considered derogatory information, see the Presidential Adjudicative Guidelines and the 10 CFR 710.8.
  • What if I hold a clearance with another government agency? A DOE clearance of equal or lower level can be granted through reciprocity if you are currently employed and hold an active security clearance with another federal agency.
  • What happens if I am being processed for a clearance and I have not filed my federal and state taxes as required? Filing Federal and State taxes as required is a law and not filing taxes or an extension is a violation of the law and as a result is a security concern. This will require adjudicative actions. 
  • Can I be processed for a clearance if I have filed bankruptcy? Yes. Filing bankruptcy is a legitimate means of financial resolution. However, each case will be considered on its own merits. Most cases require adjudicative action in order to assess the specific circumstances leading to the bankruptcy.   
  • Is treatment for a mental health related condition an automatic disqualifier for obtaining/maintaining a DOE security clearance? No. The mere fact of counseling or therapy for a mental health related condition will not automatically disqualify an individual for a clearance.  Most cases require adjudicative action in order to assess the specific circumstances.   
  • I do not use illegal drugs, but my relative/roommate does, is that something the DOE would be concerned about?  Yes. The DOE is concerned with candidates who associate with those who use illegal drugs. A candidate, who associates with known illegal drug users, is thereby associating with persons involved in criminal activity; which raises questions about that candidate's reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information. 
  • In some states, the use of recreational and/or medical marijuana is considered legal. What is DOE’s policy on this? Even if marijuana (for recreational and/or medical purposes) is considered legal according to state law, marijuana is an illegal drug according to Federal law.

Incident Reports:

  • Do I have to report identity theft? No. If you have been a victim of identity theft, this can be covered during your next reinvestigation or if an applicant, during the initial background investigation.
  • Do I have to report the arrest of any of my family members? No. This is not reportable unless during the process of the arrest the clearance holder or applicant is charged with any crime. 
  • Do I have to report late payments on my mortgage? No. Late payments on loans do not need to be reported to the Office of Personnel and Facility Clearances and Classification (OPFCC). However, this may be addressed when filling out your SF-86, Questionnaire for National Security Position.

Administrative Review (AR):

  • My clearance has been suspended, can I get it back?  Possibly, by participating in the AR process which allows an individual due process and an opportunity to address the security concerns identified in the adjudicative process.  Please see Administrative Review for more information.
  • I am an applicant for a clearance and I have been initiated into AR, what does this mean regarding my clearance?  You are afforded an opportunity to participate in the process.  Please see Administrative Review for more information.
  • Do I have to be represented by an attorney at my hearing?  No. The decision to be represented by legal counsel is at your discretion and at your cost. Please see Administrative Review for more information.
  • If my clearance is denied or revoked, can I appeal that decision? Yes.  Please see Administrative Review for more information.
  • If my clearance gets denied or revoked, will I ever be able to hold a clearance in the future?  You may request “Reconsideration” if you have a bona fide offer of employment which requires a DOE clearance.  For more information, please reference 10 CFR 710.32.