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.


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.