English teacher abroad had hundreds of students

I am going to be submitting an SF86 for a TS job at DOS. For 4 years I lived and worked abroad as a freelancing and for-hire English teacher with HUNDREDS of students, all of them foreign, adults and children alike. Some people I tutored for years, but others for only weeks or month. I wouldn’t say I developed affection, I just had a courteous and professional teacher-student relationship, that ended as soon as the class would be over. Since 3 years ago I am no longer in the teaching business.

My question are:

  1. whether I should include this on the form? Or who and where should I include them on the form?

  2. Do English learning students who came to me from my online ad from that country’s local Craiglist count as what’s described on 20B.3 as: “Has any foreign national in the last seven (7) years offered you a job, asked you to work as a consultant, or consider employment with them?”. I mean that’s what my livelihood depended on and I turned down many hundreds more who wouldn’t want to pay my class rate. I don’t even keep all the emails from the rejections!
    There has to be a better way to approach this period of employment that doesn’t involve listing hundreds of random people I turned down because I had an online ad about offering English classes?

Please advise me! Your help will be invaluable!


There are others here who know a lot more than me on the subject, but I do know a little bit about this.
The form mentions “close and continuing contact” so you may need to go over a case-by-case basis. Everyone is going to interact in some way with somebody foreign, so you need to know where to draw the line between a student you talked to a few times, and someone that you keep up with on a personal basis. It may also be swayed by what their nationality is, for a country like Iran, you may have to list a significant amount of people.

My security officer lived as a Buddhist Monk for several years and was instructed to put all 80+ fellow monks on their clearance investigation, so hopefully you won’t have that same problem.
Hope this helps at least a little bit, good luck!

Thank you for your insight… what about the prospect students I turned down, in your opinion would you count them as 20B.3?

Explain what you did, how you recruited clients and what type of interaction you had. If you worked in a convenience store you would have many customers who are foreign nationals but you wouldn’t report them. Prior to my last investigation, I worked for an IT consulting company that was loaded with H1B visa holders. I didn’t report any of them as contacts because I had no social interaction with them. My investigator asked about it and I explained. It was a non-issue.

This was your job and they were your clients, not your friends.

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For 20B.3 I would recommend putting any down if there were some that were very pushy or offered you a job multiple times. If they asked if you could tutor them for a couple hours then it wouldn’t be necessary. This is something you would have to clarify in the personal interview and in the comments section, since you wouldn’t be expected to list every single time someone offered you a job. The ones that you actually considered taking would be worth noting. Since you were for-hire the government doesn’t really want to do 100 background checks on everyone you interacted with, so I agree with Ed. Try to think of which ones the government might be interested in, and put yourself in the shoes of the investigator. I’m sure you’ll have a dozen names to put down, but just remember that you’ll have to write down the same names (and any new ones) for future clearances as well.

Each investigator is different. I was asked to list everyone on my Facebook even if the interaction was limited to a like of a picture. I haven’t seen these people in 11 years, but the investigator insisted that as long as they are my virtual friends and I do like their pics here and there, it is a continuous relationship.

Your investigator was being overzealous . . . . I didn’t have to list 100 foreign nationals that I worked with every day because I didn’t do anything but work with them. No socialization, etc.


I have been working on it for three weeks now. I have more than 250. He wants all of them to be listed on a paper copy of sf86. I had to print out hundreds of pages. Other than their name and the fact that we were classmates in middle school, I don’t know anything about them.

One investigator asked for anywhere I’ve slept in the last 3 years, hotels, friends couches, et al, even if only for a night.

Wound up not meeting with them as the only location I could arrange was in another areas jurisdiction, but I thought that was pretty odd.

Real, known, continuing. Of course if you were being targeted, it may very well be of interest for them to run all the names of those reaching out to you. But if it was one and done you have no idea if the people reaching out were indeed not US citizens. So I would list those I taught that I personally can verify told me they were citizens of another country. Just because someone has a Hispanic name and appears swarthy…or speaks with a lilt…doesn’t mean they are foreign. Likewise for those appearing Oriental. Now, if your investigator told you those instructions, you need follow what they tell you or risk being told you were not candid.