At what point does IC clearance processing become a lost cause?

If someone is processing for a TS/SCI with one of the three letters and not seeing any progress, at what point should the assume that they they got played? I know that they can take a while but it’s difficult to believe that these places take their applicants seriously or value them, especially after reading some of the posts on this site.

Example: An individual who has been processing for over a year with a partially conducted BI, no Poly, no Psych.

I’m sure this is agency and situationally dependent, but I’m most interested in knowing about the MD and big VA ones.


When did you submit your SF86?

submitted security forms in June 2018

I am being processed for TS with one of the three letter agencies for exactly a year since submitting SF86. I had a security interview and a poly almost as soon as I submitted it. Some of my references were interviewed, but not my neighbors or foreign contacts. Not sure why. And my sec officer is not helpful at all in terms of updating me on the progress of BI.


That’s interesting, it seems like most people have their poly right off the bat. Hope you hear something soon.


I’ve been on this blog for a couple of months now and from what some of us have been able to gather does not seem to be an order in which things are done. For instance, you noted that some people seem to have their poly/psyc done first, that does seem to happen based on some responses, but that was not the case in my situation. Mine was down last. No two timelines seem to be the same either, there are a variety of jobs at each of the three letter agencies and clearances take time and are also dependent on your life, what have you done, lived, traveled to, etc… all this stuff gets checked out and it takes time. I know my BI said I would meet with them for 2 hours, it took 5 hours, then I got follow up calls/texts needing documentation for things, mostly job info that they could not personally verify.

I applied in October of 2017, interviewed in March of 2018, CJO in Sept 2018, and submitted SF86 in October of 2018, and then BI in June 2019, and poly/psyc August 2019.

I have a decent amount of foreign travel and foreign contacts because of my discipline and grad school.

There’s also a backlog. So that will take time too…

Try to hang in there, your recruiter should be able to give you some info, but they aren’t always helpful. I was checking in about 1-2 months with my recruiter, but it would take a while to get a response from them… It does seem that the closer I am to being done with the process, the faster the recruiter returns my calls/emails. But, that can just be a coincidence.

Good luck!


These agencies are, by purpose and definition, secretive. What makes you think that wouldn’t also apply to the process of getting to work there? Even more so than most, they have a variety of employees to clear. You don’t really know what position you are applying for. At least, you don’t always know what positions you are being considered for. Budgets change, priorities shift, you don’t see any of that.

If you don’t want to wait, go get a job and live your life. They will come and get you if they need you.


So very true and you give good advice @EdFarmerIII Several months ago I was told to live my life like I would normally do, and that was pretty good advice.

@Desk I agree with “Get a job, or keep the job you have” because the process is long and it may not pan out. Keep applying for jobs too … I already had a job, but just ready to start an actual career related to what I do and to move. But, I also did not expect this process to be a 2 year process. I’ve learned a lot from this blog and I recommend reading more of the posts and responses. It helps to understand you’re not alone and this is normal.


I’ve got a job and am doing productive things with my life @EdFarmerIII, I anticipate that most applicants are as well. The advice “live your life normally” is a bit inaccurate in my opinion. For example, people take vacations abroad, change jobs, move, get promoted, etc. all of these things impact clearances.

It’s completely fair to start questioning employer interest when things don’t seem to be headed anywhere. That said, thank you both for your input.


I too found that “live life like normal” difficult. I do research out of the country and so it meant turning down research this summer because I didn’t want to add any more time to my processing. I could have traveled, other people I met traveled while in processing, but for me, I would rather not add any time to the already lengthy process.

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@archaeochica totally understand. I’ve had similar situations arise. I’m motivated by the chance I have to do something good for America—at the end of the day public service involves personal sacrifice. Hang in there!


Agreed about order of things. Submitted my SF86 in July and just had my BI interview in August. Poly/Psych have yet to be scheduled.

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@Waffles both in 2019? If so, that’s super fast…

My psyc and poly happened within a month or so after my BI interview. Good luck!

Yes, both 2019.

4/2019 - Interview
5/2019 - CJO
7/2019 - SF86 Submitted
8/2019 - BI Interview (myself and references)

My recruiter said the Poly/Pysch should happen sometime in the next few months. It does seem like it’s moving fast. Which I assume is really great or really bad.


I think it might depend on the agency, whether you do a poly and an interview before the BI and visa versa. I had a poly done a year ago exactly, when the lady said “I am picking up something “ but I will still recommend you and I they (HQ) have questions, they will contact you. So given that it’s been a year since and I am still in BI and no one contacted me about additional poly, should I assume no one has a problem with it and I just have to wait for BI to conclude?

That’s fast in comparison to what others have experienced/noted. That’s awesome!

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I would assume that y’all will all be hearing something soon! The backlog is caught up


If you already had significant travel, adding more isnt going to affect it much if at all. Even if you make it through the entire process, there is still a chance they dont hire you. When they told you to live your life like normal, they meant it. You might end up regretting it if something comes up again and you dont take it.

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Something else came up that worked out instead of traveling this summer. And, I hear what you’re saying about even making it through the process and not getting hired. I wonder what percentage of people that is that that happens to?

I made a conscious decision not to travel so that I didn’t lengthen my time of processing, fully knowing the risks in the decision.


I would imagine over 66% for NSA and probably 75% for CIA.