Does an Expired TS Clearance Automatically Downgrade to Secret?


I held a TS Clearance and then took another job that only requires a Secret Clearance. My TS Clearance has since Expired. Does it automatically get downgraded to a Secret, and when would it expire. Or do I no longer have a Clearance?


If you no longer have a clearance and your current job requires a Secret, you would know about it . . . The PR time frame is different for Secret (longer) so I expect that you are OK.


Although we say that we “have” clearance, we do not. The clearance is assigned to the position that we occupy. By going through background investigation and favorable adjudication, we become eligible to occupy that position, but we do not “have” clearance.

With that in mind, once you leave a position that requires TS… you no longer have the need to know. However, you are eligible to be “reinstated” to similar position (one that requires clearance) up to a certain time (I think… 2 years). Since you transferred to a different position that requires clearance, your eligibility was transferred to that position (I assumed so) even though your new position only requires lower-tiered clearance.

Point being, we do not “own” clearance. So, clearance does not automatically upgrade or downgrade unless the clearance level of the position that we occupy changes.

If you do not use your eligibility within certain time, yes… it expires.


Awood captured it well. That question comes up a lot and seems reasonable. But yes the position requires access and we should all lose access when we no longer need it. But the hopelessly clogged system we already have would be more clogged. So mostly people continue to show access even after leaving a position requiring it, and most everyone states the words “I have a clearance,” vice I have eligibility. The rules generally say 2 years, but I know DoD clearances have crossed over repeatedly up to 5 years. And my client will cross one back over or reactivate if they were with this client 7 years ago.