CBP Final Letter Offer

I recently applied for a non LE position with CBP for which I had to undergo a background investigation for a Secret Clearance. I was told about a week ago by my background investigator that my case was complete and he sent it off to OPM for final review.

About how long should it take for OPM and CBP to make a final decision regarding my suitability?

Thanks for your help

Each agency is different, hard to say. But if it is going to OPM (or DSCA or whatever) then it is not really and truly complete. Even after that, their HR department will need some time to prepare the final offer and start looking at a start date for you which may depend on training (that is, when will the next class be, will there be an open seat, etc).

But again, I only have experience with DOD, no idea how CBP/DHS works.

The adjudication portion is dependent on several things. How backlogged they are, how critical your position, is it a support or operational slot, and exactly what personal issue did you have to report? If it was super clean, 850 credit score, no arrests, no drugs, no foreign travel…I would say faster than others. I’ve seen people soar through in a week, others sit 9 months.


Hey Amberbunny,

Overall, my record is pretty clean. I was terminated from a job back in December 2017 for something really dumb…mostly dumb in the sense that no one should lose their job over it. However, I was upfront and honest about it on the SF-86 and fully explained everything during the personal interview. Furthermore, nothing like this has EVER happened to me in the past, so I assume they won’t deny me over it as it does not indicate a pattern. I have debt, but I am NOT delinquent on any debts and am making good payments. I have never been arrested (knock on wood), have not done any illegal drugs (marijuana) since 2009, and have not done any foreign traveling outside of the military. Based on this, what do you think Amberbunny?

Thanks for the information Amberbunny. What more does OPM have to do once my background investigator submits their report to OPM?

The next step after consolidating all the national agency checks, and BI, is to put it together and move to adjudication. That is where a person weighs the whole person and determines if you get cleared. From what you described it appears okay. Even getting fired doesn’t disqualify a person. As long as it is truthfully revealed and explained exactly as it is described by the company…you should be okay.


“The whole person”…I assume this means that they weight the positive against the negative when determining whether to clear someone.

I have an honorable discharge from the military
Dual master’s degrees and multiple graduate-level certificates that will be highly useful in my prospective job field
No drugs in over 10 years
No alcohol in almost 10 months
No delinquents debts or arrest record

I can only see a couple negative things on my record: termination from a job back in Dec. 2017 for something relatively minor, the amount of debt that I have (over 100K…vast majority of which is student loans), and past alcohol usage.

I hope they can look more at the positive than the negative

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So it seems that they focus primarily on negative information when determining whether to grant a clearance? “Disqualifying and mitigating conditions”

That’s about right… but others insist that they have seen chicken bones, Ouija boards, and various forms of dice in use by adjudicators.

I don’t believe any of it… that’s because I personally have seen the drawings for the special “Magic 8 Ball” insert with messages such as, “why not?” “not this time” “need more info” and “seems like a good guy” on the different faces.

The specifications also say that the adjudicator must shake the magic ball for at least six weeks, and that the answer cannot appear in less than four weeks.


IMHO…as I see it…they look at the collective of info. If there is nothing negative, then you are good to go. If there is something negative, they must scope it and see if there is exculpatory reasons, mitigation, etc. Depending on severity of the firing and if it was related to the alcohol use…it gives a few rabbit holes they must wander down. The qualifications are nice but reliability, trustworthiness, willingness to follow the rules…dangerous past choices…are all sifted and weighed. But great credit overall, strong repayment history, long time no recreational drug use…are key findings and believed indicators of behavior they feel indicates a more discernible future. It is a crap shoot really. Like stocks past performance is the best indicator of future results…but then stocks correct or tank. Excellent and low risk folks sell secrets…

That’s only a portion of the puzzle. There are way to many other pieces. Expect 90-179 days if you’re lucky. Oh and the backlog is now in normal range so that is no longer an issue.