Active versus Inactive Security Clearance

Having functioned as a Chief of Info Protection (FSO) in the Air Force before retiring and becoming a BI, I have worked two of the three sides of the security clearance process.
It amazes me the number of BI’s that don’t understand the process and rather or not they have a clearance.
When you became a BI, you submitted your SF86 and the investigation request was sent to OPM. You were investigated which is an “open investigation”. Once OPM was finished your investigation closed and your case was forwarded to DoDCAF for adjudication. These dates are always listed in JPAS. Once DoDCAF made a determination, let’s say favorable, JPAS was updated with the date of the decision and a statement “determination of eligible” place in JPAS.
This means you have an “active clearance eligibilty” from the date closed for 5 to 10 years or whatever the case is.
As long as you are actively sponsored by an agency in JPAS, your clearance eligibility stays active. If you lose sponsorship then your clearance will stay active for up to 24 months break in service.
Active “Access” is only granted by your agency if needed. That’s when you sign a non disclosure statement SF 312 and your agency goes in to JPAS and grants you “access” only after they have verified your eligibility in JPAS. If you leave your agency they debrief you and your “access” is removed. However, your “active eligibility” still exists in JPAS for 24 months or expiration based on time from close date whichever comes first.
ALL BI’s should have “active TS eligibility. Your agency CANNOT take your eligibilty away, only your access.


Thank you for good information

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As a caveat…I do not recall specifically filling out an SF312 in the past for any of the vendors I worked for although I have signed NDA’s for alternate contract work.

Prior to my clearance “expiring/lapsing or whatever” in mid October, I was told by a DOD contractor that there was nothing showing up in JPASS. They said I was never adjudicated after my last update in 10/17, so after being laid off in 9/19 my clearance supposedly then lapsed last month. I did fill out a SF312 for another BI contractor, and submitted an updated EQIP last week with a response this week of a favorable status from DCSA. By filling out the SF312 will that activate my clearance or is that a form to begin the actual adjudication?

SF 312 allows your current Agency to grant you “access” to classified. If you have something from DCSA saying you are eligible, you are good. DCSA won’t make an eligibilty decision on a case if the Subject isn’t actively “owned” in JPAS. That may have been your case and when your new Agency sponsored or owned you, they may have requested DCSA make an eligibilty determination which was easy and it was for you…

The big question becomes… For jobs requiring an active TS…can I answer affirmative to that or is it more that grey area?

I do not want to stick doing 1099 work as a BI. Done it close to 2 decades full time. Need a change.

You have active TS eligibility

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Is that how it will show up in JPAS?

The DOD contractor I applied to prior to my GDIT layoff said I did not have a clearance. The senior security manager at GDIT told me it just was never adjudicated at my last update which was back in 2017. Now this week I get an email from one of the BI vendors stating I was given “favorable status” from DCSA based off my updated eQIP I submitted last week. Obviously there was no adjudication done in the span of two business days.

A lot of job postings require an active TS, which I’m guessing is different than active TS eligibility.

You clearance before was probably never adjudicated because whomever sponsored you at that time didn’t have you properly owned or serviced in JPAS. Even if your favorable, DoDCAF won’t grant eligibility if the agency hasn’t done their part. Obviously you were favorable and DoDCAF had that in file so when your new agency went in, they asked DoDCAF to take and make a re determination based on what was already in file. They did and 2 days later you were cleared.

An active TS is the same as active eligibility.

Active “access” in applies to your sponsor which means your sponsor has given you “access” to classified based off the favorable eligibility…

DoDCAF grants eligibility.

Agency or Sponsor grants access based on favorable eligibility.


Appreciate it. I will need to update a couple places I applied to as at the time I had not gone through this most recent EQIP update.

There were some BIs that did receive emails from DOD stating their clearance was active. I was not one who got that email. Some BIs do not even know why they got that as they never needed to access a secured location or information. It is such a messed up process.

OPM/NBIB adjudicated their own, to include contract investigators. Your clearance was in OPMs “CVS” not JPAS. Before the move to DoD, the only time an OPM agent or contractor had their clearance information in JPAS was when a DoD clearance was required.

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I am a contact investigator. My clearance is and has always been in JPAS.

So it sounds like I should tell potential employers to check CVS and not JPAS being they never find anything in JPAS

Then you are unusual or have been working non-NBIB contracts as most contractors don’t have a clearance unless they are working certain DoD or DoE sites.

Everyone has “eligibility” or “a clearance as you call it” and that is what counts. No one has “access” unless they are working on an assignment where it is needed. Simple click in JPAS to grant “access” by the FSO or Security Manager. Retired FSO here…

So where is the link to JPAS so I can click on it?

Seems so easy!


Lol… get level 5 access to JPAS and I’ll walk you through it. Takes about a minute…

" This means you have an “active clearance eligibilty” from the date closed for 5 to 10 years or whatever the case is."

Don’t you mean 6 - 10 years?

Yes that’s correct. My bad