DHS clearance and background type?

Does anyone know what type of background check DHS use? My buddy switched from DoD to DHS and had to wait about 18 months even though he had S and was in the process of TS.


Depends on the agency and the position

And if he was in scope on BI. Likely he was going for a TS, and the Secret was long in the tooth. Usable parts of the TS would be used.


Once his DoD TS came in, DHS grant him clearance but he didn’t have to fill out any form for it. He says he knows they use BI investigation but that could be both 85P or 86. And he honestly has no clue what clearance he has but it took 18 months to transfer from DoD to DHS.

I am good with 85P. I just don’t like the new 86 due to the mental health stigma that they made much worse via the lifetime coverage of question 21. My assessment is that a lot of people, especially military people, will stop seeking help.


It’s CBP scientist non-leo position. The people interviewed me didn’t know which form(s) they use.

Isn’t the scope of question 21 a lot narrower now though? I don’t have mine in front of me but if I recall right you only have to answer yes if it was for a specific short list of conditions or if you were ordered by a court/chain of command to get treatment.

Nonsense. The question is more focused so the investigations are not chasing down the person who was depressed or had some problems.

Military members who may be reading this post. No matter what the barracks lawyers tell you, there are only three ways a military security clearance holder loses their clearance while still a military member:

  1. See a counselor outside of the military medical system with the military medical system’s knowledge
  2. Not seek treatment when instructed to do so.
  3. Not follow the treatment plan, such as fail to show up for your scheduled appointments.

BTW, #3 is the most common reason in my experience. “Agent BackgroundInvestigator, I can’t answer the medical questions because your Subject has not shown for his last (fill in the blank) appointments.”

Seeking help and following the treatment plan is the mitigating factor.

The new mental health question eliminates having to see the doctors for casual treatment.

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Thanks for the clarification. I guess I had been given incorrect information. It is a mess out there. I recently consulted my security chief about foreign travel for family and received incorrect information that I needed to fill out SF-86 addendum. Further inquiry revealed that I need not report at all if I am not the traveler. I even asked to confirm if SF-86 was applicable form for relatives who are not federal employee and was told it is the same form for everyone. It is scary that even security chief doesn’t know this information and it shows the not all rules and regulations are straight forward. Have a lifetime requirement on question 21 puts too much burden on applicants especially when even a visit to a church counselor is also reportable per the verbiage of ‘etc’ in the description.

@backgdinvestigator, can you expand on this?

I have seen a tightening of the definition of counseling and even an acknowledgement letter for a candidate. So I lean, as always to full disclosure. Seeking advice from a trusted Pastor isn’t the same as attending counseling sessions and therapy. I will put this out there, I had counseling after my father passed. It was helpful. And reported. IS there any record of that in sealed and stored military records from 20 years earlier? Likely. Or maybe not. Regardless, if asked in my lifetime, I answer yes. I also had marriage counseling for a year after divorce. I speak to that as well. Even though that was carved out previously. An investigator said not to mention it, the poly person tells me I should have…moving forward I always mention it. I obviously cleared the BI portion as I advanced to Poly. AT that stage I needed to pass the Poly so I followed that advice. So there is a disconnect between various SF86’s for me on the topic. It is explainable and understandable. Never put yourself in a position where you are downplaying any potential factor being weighed. FIrst off, most come across as untruthful on the topic (I speak from years of experience hearing excuses). Treat the SF86 as a confessional and put it out there. Always best you reported something for the investigator to scope or consider vice them telling you “during the course of the investigation we uncovered…” You are on a spiral downward at that point.

there was a misspelling - it should read “without the military medical system’s knowledge…”.

I’ve had cases where a military member successfully hid their (civilian) court ordered counseling …until their security clearance investigation came up and the court records were found.


Makes sense. Thanks.