Are You Experiencing Security Clearance Processing Delays?


Only comment I have is that your recruiter may not have access to JPAS, and may be relying on the personnel security folks to pass info along to them.

Not that would be that much more info in JPAS anyway.

SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE simply MUST have more insight into this process!!!

Or not.


Our client routinely takes 9 months to a year for an initial with full scope TS. Re-investigations routinely take 15 to 18 months. For my Secret positions I am now seeing waits of 6 plus months as opposed to the average of 4 months it was taking. We are only told "in progress." Nothing more.


I'm seeing what GunnerMP is seeing. We don't use JPASS we use the other programs. Adds levels of complexity. Mystery.


I've learned over time (30 years) once Halloween rolls around almost all of federal government offices enter into a slow motion mode. You have some folks taking off early for Thanksgiving, minimal staffing left behind, followed by Thanksgiving, those denied vacation for Thanksgiving, so they take post Thanksgiving vacation, early Christmas, Christmas, post Christmas, New Years, followed by catch up for 2 to 3 weeks after New Years. Then we get back to the normal speed of bureaucracy. Which is slow to begin with.


Question for you as it seems you may have the answer...:;

I requested a check in JPAS on the status of my investigation.. the status in JPAS is listed as "pending secret" or "Secret Pending", my questions is; what doe this status mean? My investigation was opened in mid November yet I submitted my Equip to my FSO in August.. August 17th to be exact.

My credit was pulled in early Nov 2016 and my current supervisor contacted around the same time.. I would say before Nov 14th 2016 but no later then Nov 28th 2016.

Do you have any inclination as to where I may be in looking at as far a knowing if I will have an interim or just have to wait out until final determination.


Hello Folks,
could you please help me understand this. I submitted my SF86 packet for TS Dec 3rd 2015 and the only thing I have done this then is the polygraph test, no references have been contacted and no subject interview yet , no credit check. Every time I request an investigation status from my FSO, they tell me "you're still in process". what does that mean ? is this timeline even normal ? and don't they usually do polygraphs towards the end of the investigation? your reply is truly appreciated.


Right now we are experiencing 6 month waits for Secret clearances. We have a dozen or more "stuck in the pipeline" showing "In Process." Once those hit 8 months I work with my government rep to prod the system and see if they can move it along.


For full scope Poly positions we are seeing about a 4 month wait from submission time until they get a personal interview. Roughly 4-5 months after that a Poly is scheduled about a month out. If they resolve all issues the clearance is awarded in roughly another 4 to 5 months. Some have gone on 15 months. At times an employee (myself included) will wait 4 plus months after the first Poly and then get a call back 30 days out for another Poly. High stress? Absolutely. After that they seem to complete within 30 odd days.


Thank you @amberbunny for your intake. The thing that worries/frustrate me is that since submitting my SF86 on ( 12/03/15) till now (been a little over a year now) , nobody has reached out to me . I did the poly on Sep / 2016, don't you think thats abnormal? Coz usually they do the interview before the poly, don't they? So it's not like I'm 4 or 6 months out, its been over a year. Thanks a lot!


Actually I think you are right on the timeline we experience. I conduct about 180 security interviews annually, submit about 60 or so for clearances, and the average for Secret is 6 months. TS with Poly...mine took 11 months and that was with coming in to the position with a brand new DoD TS. This client initiated their own investigation. I have a deputy program manager position stuck in limbo for 15 months. They crossed him over as Secret....and he has now been waiting ever since and had two polys. It has been a while since the second Poly so I expect his to drop in mid January once they get back to work. This time of year nothing moves.


Thanks a lot for your response . Hopefully things will move along for me after the holidays. Yes it is stressful.


amberbunny - when you say 6 months for secret, is that from the submission of eqip or from around the time credit is pulled or previous employer is contacted?


I understand. Like mine, coming in with a brand new DoD TS that took 18 months for the re-investigation, you start to wonder if there are things even you don't know about. But if you keep tabs on your credit, keep your nose clean and are confident in your references and what they may say about your character, it is but a waiting game. If you were untruthful or deliberately hid items there will be a problem. I have had senior members of our company called in for follow up interviews months after their Poly to clarify responses to the form. If they feel you were deliberate in trying to hide info it won't end well. But several parts of the form can confuse a person such as the portion on crimes and police contact. It bounces back and forth between stating "last 7 years, 10 for higher" and "have you ever. " I always tell clients to over report instead of under report. Be as frank and open as possible so they need not flip a coin to determine if there was intent to deceive or cover up.


6 months is not unusual from the time we submit after we review to ensure everything is answered in the format required. My client doesn't use JPASS or Equip, All of our SF 86's are filled out in ink, hand scanned and submitted. Once we have the COTR sign the form we submit. So I would not get anxious until 6 months from the date the submit button was pressed. Once you see a credit pull was conducted that means it is actively moving forward and you are being investigated. There are varying levels of review and gates to meet along the way. If you just missed the batch going to the next level, your package sits until the next batch moves up. For my client we submit for TS Full Scope Polys. The average is 4 to 5 months before they get a call from an investigator for an interview, if no hiccups, 4 to 5 months before getting a scheduled Poly (30 days out, and often rescheduled for higher priority clearances) and another 4 to 5 months after that before either getting told of the need for another Poly, a special interview, or notification of clearance...or denial. For Secret, if you have zero criminal history and zero traffic incidents (a few won't hurt, but reckless drivings, DUI's, driving on suspension, no insurance tickets can and will hurt), and credit is average/normal 650 to 680 FICO, and work history is clean, not too many terminations, firings or job will be fine. I have never seen a clearance denied for a mysterious reason. Always for concrete, known violations even if initially denied by the applicant. Items such as recent drug use to include another person's medication or credit problems like unpaid or unspoken to federal tax debt or school loans that are delinquent, etc. I always tell our Secret cleared employees in upgrade status to TS if denied, come see me WITH the statement of reason from clearance division. Don't t ell me you forgot it, lost it, it didn't come, or you want to paraphrase from it. If you need my help with an appeal I need see the statement of reason and I can advise if any of it has mitigation to balance the denial. In some cases there isn't any. However, steady improvement in FICO over time can be a great way to challenge a denial on credit. As long as you move past 650ish you have a strong case.


Amberbunny, thanks for all the great insights. I’m waiting for full secret before I can deploy and I’m just wondering if there’s a way to know if a case has been turned over to adjudication, still in the BI phase, or should I even care. None of my references have been contacted and I don’t see that my credit was ever checked (no problems with my credit or any other background stuff). I recently learned from someone credible that their secret was granted without any references checked (a fresh-out of college though) Anyway, just looking for practical ways to track meaningful progress. And I appreciate the time frames you’ve already posted!!!
8/23/16 – SF 86 Submitted to DoD CAF
9/25/16 - OPM sent investigative employment request to my employers, all of whom returned them promptly.
11/4/16 (after about 70 days or 10 weeks) – Interim Secret received


I would anticipate by February yours will move quickly through adjudication panel. Your Security Manager/FSO/CSO can call and talk tot he case manager to get a feel where you are in that process. Likely, you just missed the gate for the last batch from 2016 heading into adjudication. They will play catch up the first week of January and then I expect to see a large amount of ours move through adjudication as well. Secret clearances are normally accomplished with a minimum of actual investigation. The investigators have 30 days to move their stack through the required wickets and on to the next table. I find even for TS the first few steps are designed to eliminate the investigators workload. If they can thin the herd through credit, employment or a crim check it is easier on them.


Thank you amberbunny so much for that. A question though: don't you think it's highly unusual not to get a call from an investigator after a year of submitting SF86?


Thanks for the info, amberbunny.
Submitted form on 6/3, notified credit pulled on 8/30, and received a call from HR on 10/4 that interim had been bypassed and had to wait for full secret clearance. SF86 wasn't clean so was not a surprise.


@amberbunny you have mentioned "batch" a couple of times. Can you explain a little more about this? I have not heard of this before.

Also I have not heard of FSOs being able to contact case managers directly, at least not for contractors. Our personnel security folks can reach out to their counterpart who rarely has any meaningful update.


@hoss81 I am sorry to hear about your situation but in one way I am relieved because I am in a similar situation.

As far as doing polygraphs toward the end, I dont think there is any hard and fast rule but they often occur early in the process. I think the rationale may be that if you can't pass the poly there's no point in doing an investigation. But this is purely speculation on my part.