How Far Back for the employment investigation?

How far back will they investigate my employment history for a:

  1. secret clearance;
  2. TS clearance;
  3. TS/SCI clearance?

The new SF86 requires employment history information back to 7 years uniformly for all the investigations. In the old days, a secret clearance traces back to 5 years, and a TS/SCI traces back to 10 years. Could an expert give out some ideas on how many years would be traced back for different types of clearance as shown above?

I got a fire on my employment about 6.5 years ago. I was wondering if this incident will be counted for a secret? Besides, if a TS/SCI is initiated after half a year, this termination incident would be 7 years ago. Will it still be counted?

Many thanks to your help!

You shouldn’t confuse the questions and timeframes asked with how far back investigators have to cover during the background investigation. For certain items on the investigation like employment, residence, school the requirements vary, and if an issue is noted on the SF86 it may require a follow-up regardless of when it occurred. If all you have is the one employment termination with nothing more recent since then you have nothing to be concerned about.

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For a TS/SCI, since only 7 years need to be filled in SF86, will it still trace back to 10 years now?

Thank you.

Some sections ask for 7 years, some 10 years, and some are EVER. Regardless of what is asked, you should be honest and accurate in the information provided. Issues or concerns that occurred more than 6 years ago usually are not a show-stopper if more recent similar issues have not popped up.

This question wasn’t answered. If people are forced to put down 7 years of employment, but only the last five years are asked about with the standard questions, how are the two years beyond the five years treated? Both year durations are still inquired by form, correct?

Who ever told you that only five years are covered lied to you or don’t know what they are talking about. Residence and Employment require 10 years for national security positions.

There are a lot of moving parts in the BI process.

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If you are asked on the form to put down seven years you put seven years. If you are asked to put down five, you put down five.

I’m sure you are familiar with the forms, they say put 7 years, but only five years have the termination question on it. how does this calculate into the investigators calculations? Scope I assume is 5? but they still want 7 listed?

Your life would be much easier if you just answer the questions on the form and stop trying to game the system.


I am very familiar with the national security and public trust questionnaires. I am also familiar with people trying so hard to game the system and only hear what they want to hear.

The scope is the time frames listed on the forms. The information requested is the information listed on the forms. This is a already a complicated system - no need to make it harder by trying to game your responses.


Definitely trying to game the system. Same poster, on multiple forums. He/she also sent me a PM asking about internal processes.

You’ve been told many time internal process will not be discussed.

Not good.

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Dont worry about listing that you were terminated. Unless you were fired for beating up the boss and then trying to steal his computer (or some other clear case of misconduct), it is not a big deal. People get fired for various reasons, it is a fact of life.

Mostly it is when people try to deny that they were terminated for cause or fail to disclose any derogatory circumstances that they create problems for themselves.

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Your best bet is to fill out the form completely and accurately(to the best of your ability). If you’ve been fired and it ask, list it. Don’t worry about the scope of this or that or how the investigation is completed.