Foreign Contact - To Report or Not

As others have been I too was tripped up by the Foreign Contacts question. At first thought, no I don’t have contact with any foreign nationals. Not even on social media. After further analysis though I remembered that a friend of my spouse is married to a man from England. He’s been in the US now for many years (10+). I thought he was a naturalized citizen but apparently he is not. But after re-reading the question and then re-reading it again do I even need to report him? Yes, he’s married to a friend of my spouse but even my wife doesn’t talk to or see him. These people live in a different state. She talks to the friend and the friend comes to visit (by herself), but how does the association with the husband meet the close and continuous contact qualification? The last time I saw him was in 2017. I don’t communicate with him at all and I don’t really expect to see him again any time in the near future.

The problem now is that I didn’t list him on the SF-86 and I’ve submitted and released by forms to start the investigation. I haven’t heard from an investigator yet. I think I’m going to disclose this at the interview just so I can clear my mind/conscience, but I’m still wondering if that’s even necessary. And if I do disclose it in the interview will that cause me any problems? It was definitely an oversight on my part as I thought he was a naturalized US Citizen but after asking some questions found out he is not.

In the last seven years have you had close and continuing contact with him and have you or your spouse been bound to him by affection, influence, common influence and/or obligations? If so, report him and explain you thought he was a US citizen. If not, don’t report him.

I’ve always been of the mindset to put anything that I’m not sure about and let the investigator say yes or no.

It’s not fair to you or the investigator to ask the investigator to make the call on “yes or no” for “anything you are not sure about“. It’s fine to ask the investigator for clarification of the confusing directions, and maybe for his/her opinion on the situation, but ultimately you are the one who has been put under oath, it’s your background investigation, and it’s your clearance. You are the person who is in the best position to make the call on whether your spouse’s friend’s spouse meets the definition of a close and continuing foreign contact


So the question is tricky as it reads “Do you have, or have you had, close and/or continuing contact with a foreign national within the last 7 years with whom you, or your spouse, or cohabitant are bound by affection, influence, common interests, and or obligation?”

If you don’t have contact with him, especially if it’s not close or continuing, then you don’t need to list him. If you don’t know pertinent details about a person such as their birthday, where they are born, who they are employed by, etc, then that is a good indication that you don’t know them well.

I wouldn’t sweat it OP, it is a confusing question and I’ve even had people list the names of cab drivers that they rode with in a foreign country as foreign contacts, even though they didn’t know anything about them other than a name.

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I used to play soccer every Saturday for many years with a bunch of people who were born outside of US. I am sure most of them are US citizens now, some may not be, I don’t know. So yes, it seems like I did have continuous relationships with them but I definitely am “not bound by affection” as half of these bastards can’t even stop and pass the ball and that annoys me. So to summarize: I wouldn’t list them, as they don’t fit all criteria listed in that question.

Hi. Investigator here.

In general, my thinking would be that if your wife had a relationship with him in any way I’d be more inclined to throw it in just in case. But you nor your wife have any close or continuing contact with him, you’re not bound by any obligation or affection, etc. so I’d say you’re fine.

Now, if I was your actual investigator and you brought it up as ntotoro suggested, I’d read the question back to you and make you decide. Ultimately I cannot decide for you.

I’ve even had the flip side happen, where the guy explained that he didn’t list his grandmother who lived in Russia, with whom he spoke monthly, as a foreign contact. He claimed that she was not a foreign contact, so that’s what I put in my report. Investigators have to be objective and avoid putting words in your mouth at all costs. (Not saying there aren’t some investigators who play a little fast and loose with that responsibility but, hey, what can you do…)

I visited a really good friend in a foreign country and it came up on my interview. The first question was “Is this person an agent of the government.” She wasn’t but of course they give you the side-eye and keep digging. I happened to have a copy of her CV because I reviewed it for her at her request while on my visit. I offered it to the investigator who wanted nothing to do with it, saying it was way too much information. I don’t know if that meant it would make more work for him, or if it’d appear the US was checking out other nationals. But it was better to be safe than sorry.