PLEASE HELP - chances of approval?


#1

I’m probably joining the military soon, and I’m worried I won’t be able to get a secret security clearance, which I’ll need. Two issues:

  1. I taught English abroad for a year, living in several different apartments/hostels, some of which I don’t know the address, the exact dates of residing there, and may not be able to get in touch with anyone who can vouch for my being there.
  2. I have 100k in student loan debt I incurred last year before deciding to join the military. The military will probably be paying about half of it for me it seems from military websites. Also, I have a maxed out $5000 limit credit card. Otherwise, I have no financial issues. I have many employment opportunities outside of the military so I’m not worried about being able to pay back my debt and have never considered myself in serious financial trouble, but are these red flags going to be enough to prevent me from getting a secret security clearance?
    Thanks guys

#2

The foreign addresses and contact may present enough of an issue to slow your clearance but it you moved a lot and didn’t have much contact with the neighbors, you should come through it. They can only expect you to provide the information that you actually have. Do as much research as you can and give them everything that you have. Of course, the country(s) that you lived in will make a difference. If you were in France and Germany, you should get through, if you can remember where you lived in Qatar and the UAE, you are going to have a problem.

I don’t see the debt as a problem if you are current on the loans and the credit card. Keep making payments and working with them if you are behind.


#3

Ed nailed it. But do try to find the addresses. Surely you remember something? You can estimate the dates in each location somewhat but need to be contiguous in times with no gaps. If you worked for a company they can relate the addresses perhaps? Also as Ed said, if you were in middle eastern countries it may be difficult but still achievable.


#4

Great, thanks. Yeah, there are a few that I can find everything except exact dates to the day and then a few that I won’t be able to get an exact date to the day OR an address or the contact info of any neighbor, friend, or employer who knew where I lived. It was in a couple countries in Asia, so I don’t imagine the location will be much of an issue. See any issues if I really can’t get them any of the info above? I can’t afford to start down this road if it’ll end in a clearance rejection. Willing to roll the dice a tiny bit though of course.


#5

Thanks Ed. Yeah, for a few of the places we’re talking ZERO contact with neighbors and nobody who I’ll be able to hunt down who knew my address. I can explain it well enough in person, but from what I’ve seen online it just didn’t seem like they were much for giving you the benefit of the doubt with details like that.


#6

For the foreign residence, at the bare minimum try to come up with someone (preferably a person in the US) who can at least verify that you were overseas in the city you were in for the times you said you were there. Oh yes and did you file income tax when you got back? You may not have had to pay any tax but I think you have to file. Hopefully you can at least come up with the name of an employer. Try to decipher the entry/exit dates on the stamps in your passport.


#7

The concern: if you claim you do not know and have no ability to know…comes off as “I refuse to remember, or I may not want you to know where I was, what I was doing, and who I associated with.” It really isn’t feasible to have no memory, and no ability to pinpoint where you were. I spent a total of 9 years overseas, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, UK…and I can pretty much recreate every place I lived 23 to 30 years ago. I just returned from a visit to San Antonio, and took my daughter to the two neighborhoods she lived in at age 14 months up to 3 years of age. That was 15 years ago. San Antonio changed significantly in 15 years. I was still able to navigate my way to mom and pop Taqueria Jalisco’s (taco restaurants) I used to visit. My point: with google maps you could find a close approximation to where exactly you lived and stayed, and taught, and earned money. Previous student names? How were you paid? Foreign bank account? Not unusual, I taught conversation English in Japan as a private company and as part of an organized company with a Japanese bank account. Claiming you have no ability to remember or find this information…isn’t a good path to go down. I’m not saying it is impossible…but it is hardly credible. The responsibility is on you to find this info.


#8

Oh I’m sure I could approximate, but there’s no way I’ll be able to come up with an address for a couple of them.


#9

Given that you are enlisting in the military, your recruiter should have pretty good insight regarding your chances of approval. With that being said, unless you are military intelligence (which you are not based on your clearance level), then the issues that you described shouldn’t inhibit you from obtaining the necessary clearance.

In regards to your first concern, as long as you didn’t stay in a specific country for more than 90 days than it doesn’t really count as a residence. For example, if you were in Guatemala for 2 months than you can just list that under the “travel section” and annotate that you were teaching English in the comments. If you were hired by an actual company, that is even better because they can verify your employment as well as the places you taught.

Although 100k is a lot for student loans (unless you were pursuing a medical or law degree), student loans typical aren’t a big issue unless they are in default and then it becomes a huge issue. The same goes with the credit card, as long as you make your monthly payments then you should be okay. Although you should pay more than the minimum if you can.