Interim secret?

Hey everyone. I accepted a contract job offer pending stipulations over a week ago and it requires the ability to obtain a security clearance. I haven’t been through this before (had a clearance). I was told they are going to ask for or put in for an interim so I can start work ASAP and I believe the job is dependent on me getting that interim.

Is an interim secret easy to get? How long do they take? Are there delays currently because of the coronavirus? I was told I have to submit an eQuip but I haven’t been sent that yet. Is that simple to fill out? I also have not been told to go get fingerprints yet and I was told that is required as well for a clearance. The FSO of the company that wants to hire me just reached out today to get proof of citizenship and my SSN. Do I have to have the fingerprints and eQuip done before they process me for an interim? Do I get interviewed for an interim or just the final clearance?

I’m assuming I’m early in the process but since I haven’t done this before… not really sure about timelines or any of it really :thinking:

Welcome to the world of security clearance processing! To answer your statement at the end of your post, yes, you are at the very beginning of the process.

When I was first accepting a contractor position (Secret as well), the company sent a set of initial security questions. This essentially verified citizenship status and basic information about me. My guess is that is what you’ve just been asked for.

Following these questions, I was sent a security prescreening, which was essentially an abbreviated SF86 form, asking most of the questions the SF86 asks. I believe that this form is used by the FSO and the company to know of any sort of major problems that would be included on the SF86. Long story short, a company isn’t going to want to pay for someone to go through the clearance process if they believe they won’t be granted clearance. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re sent something similar shortly.

Then comes the SF86… the thing is quite literally a beast. It sounds like your company uses the eQip which will make things much easier than the paper version, but it will take time. Be sure to be very accurate and thorough in filling this out. Put in the extra time to make sure that all of the little details are spot on, as well as verifying that all reference contact information is accurate and up to date. This will make things much easier, and likely, much quicker to review. I would also be expected to submit your fingerprint cards (likely via mail if you aren’t local, otherwise, they may do it with you) around this time as well.

After that, you play the waiting game. I’ve seen interim decisions come in as little as 2 weeks. I’ve seen others take a few months. How easy these are to get depends on who you ask. Rumor has it interim Secret isn’t as easy to get as it used to be, but again, I’ve seen it go both ways.

Really only you know what kinds of hurdles you may face for the clearance. Take a look at the 13 adjudicative criteria and you should be able to gauge for yourself roughly how troublesome your case is. Depending on those issues, you may or may not be asked for an interview, in which you can try to further mitigate negative information (more so than the comment sections on the SF86 allow for).

Full clearance timelines are in the same boat as interim in that they can be all over the board and really depend on your case. I’ve seen some go through in a few months, and also seen horror stories of well over a year.

Best thing you can do is be thorough and forthcoming on all of your security forms and on the SF86. Anything besides that is completely out of your hands.

Best of luck!

Somebody posted an incredibly fast timeline recently for an interim secret followed quickly by a final. In my experience, these timelines can vary wildly (especially for interims) but it is cause for hope!

The eQIP is not particularly easy to fill out. It doesn’t help that they don’t give you a whole lot of time but try to be as accurate and complete as possible. Yes, you’ll need the eQIP complete and submitted to be considered for an interim; not sure about the fingerprints but I assume those will be needed as well.

Everyone here has given great info so far.

I’ll just emphasize the importance of accurately completing the e-qip. It is definitely a beast, as described. Just go slowly and take it one section at a time. Read every question twice and make sure you really understand it and that you chose the best options and entered the required info accurately.

My best advice for completing the form is to start with pen and paper and list out everywhere you’ve lived, attended school, and worked in the past 10 years.

For example:

06/19 - present 123 Main St
04/17 - 06/19 456 Frank St
7/14 - 04/17 987 Beach St

Then do the same with dates and names of education, and again with employments

That way you can see it all outlined on a page or two and make sure it’s all accurate before trying to type it in.

Also, pro-tip- if you only have a cell number, don’t put your cell repeatedly in the home number, work number, and evening number spots just to fill the form. Keep it accurate. It will make your investigator happy.

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