Priority Handling

Hello. Does anyone have any feedback regarding what the typical timeline looks like these days for a clean “Q” clearance with priority handling?

As a point of reference, my personal interview was completed earlier this month and all of my references have been contacted as of a week ago. My understanding is that my case has been sent along to OPM for final review before being sent along to the agency for adjudication. I have no idea, though, how long priority cases usually take when at this stage.

Thank you.

Once all of the required items are completed and OPM conducts their review, they send it to the agency. Priority cases are usually completed within 45 days, and then the agency is supposed to adjudicate within 21 days if no issues are present that require follow-up.

Thanks Marko. Just to clarify, when does the 45-day window begin – when the e-QIP is submitted or when the BI submits their investigation package to OPM for review?

Also, is there any way to check or track the status online of the clearance packet as it makes it’s way through OPM?

I’m not anticipating any problems during the adjudication portion of the process; the agency (DOE) is eager to fill the position (hence the priority handling).

Thank you.

The clock starts when OPM receives the EQIP and schedules the investigation. If your FSO has access to OPM’s Central Verification System (CVS) they can see which items on the investigation are still pending, otherwise, no.

The clock starts when OPM receives the EQIP and schedules the investigation. If your FSO has access to OPM’s Central Verification System (CVS) they can see which items on the investigation are still pending, otherwise, no.

I contacted OPM last week (after submitting a Freedom of Information request), and they informed me that my priority case has a couple of items left to be wrapped up before the case can be closed and forwarded to DOE for adjudication. Would examples of these last-minute items on a clean case be things like employment verification, law enforcement record checks, that sort of thing? I’m assuming that these verifications get mailed out when the case is originated, or at least once the BI occurs. Just curious in any event.

OPM didn’t give me details of what was actually pending in my particular case, of course, but at least the gentleman who assisted me on the phone implied that the outstanding items were just administrative in nature.

As the saying goes, patience is a virtue. :slight_smile:

What you described is normal. OPM has to get all required checks back to close the case. Some, like the FBI and military services, take longer. If Air Force Reserve or NG service needs to be verified they have a big backlog.

I followed up w/ OPM yesterday, and they told me that it looks like two of my previous employers (both less than 6 months in employment duration, so no interview…) failed to respond to OPM’s written request for verification. I know that all of my contact info for the two businesses is current and correct in the SF-86; the companies just didn’t bother responding. OPM said that they would probably just “cancel” the two verification requests that remain unanswered and move on with my case.

Does that course of action sound correct? I would have thought that OPM would have an investigator follow-up by phone or in person w/ each of the two non-responding companies. Will any of this continue to hold up OPM’s processing of this SSBI w/ Priority Handling?

As an aside, I asked OPM if there is anything that I should be doing to assist in getting the non-responding employers to actually return the questionnaires, and they said that there is not.

Any advice/comments are welcome.

Sounds pretty much standard, and no, there is nothing you can do to speed up the process.

As a follow-up question, how then does OPM verify employment during a SSBI in which an employer of six months or less fails/refuses to return a system-generated questionnaire?

In different words, does OPM reach out to the BI and have him/her attempt to interview the non-cooperative employer in person/by phone, or does OPM truly just “cancel” the verification attempt as the case’s closure date approaches and let the adjudicating agency ultimately decide themselves if a verification is still necessary (potentially delaying the process further)?

Just curious. Tnx!



Ugh. Just got a call from a second investigator to tell me that the original investigator abruptly quit his job and never finished his report. Also learned that the original investigator didn’t even type up many of his notes, and that the replacement investigator will need to re-interview some sources. Incredible!! So much for my SSBI being a priority…

Seems that the original investigator left a bunch of applicants’ case work hanging, and his case load is just now getting doled out to other staff. Funny thing is that the company involved is not USIS.

Looks like it’s going to be a looonnnng Fall season while I wait.

I was recently hired by a company that can’t locate my clearance with USIS as it is not located in JPAS. Does anyone know where USIS maintains the clearances and background investigations of there employees.

Marko, any thoughts about how long it typically takes for a replacement investigator to rework a priority initial SSBI case so that OPM closes it out and transmits it to the requesting agency for adjudication? I guess what I’m asking is dotes the typical 45 day reset in such situations?

There is no set number of days for a scenario such as this, you will just have to wait it out and it will eventually get done. There used to be the old days where an SSBI took up to a year, so its all about perspective.

Skywarner, the industry is a bit of a mess right now overall. Sorry…

Lossforwords- I believe OPM houses investigator information in a different database and can provide verification directly. We aren’t in JPAS since we aren’t DOD. The security office will need to reach out to OPM directly.

UPDATE: I spoke with my “replacement” investigator who told me that she wrapped up her side of my SSBI and submitted it for review early last week. I then called OPM, and they said that my case continues to reflect a status of Pending (lady on the phone slipped and said that there was just “one item” left to wrap up). Since my investigator is done, my hunch is that all that is left is an FBI or DHS item or something to that effect. The suspense is slowly eating me alive… Ugh!

All of this is for a priority SSBI started three months ago. Contractor was not USIS, have lived at the same place for over a decade, absolutely no drugs/fiscal/court issues, not even a speeding ticket. No military service. I did list one foreign national, though, although in hindsight I shouldn’t have since I’m not “bound” to the person but rather am an infrequent social acquaintance. Maybe that’s the hold up?

Day 91 at OPM and counting… So much for my Critical Date, lol.


Could you please tell me how to contact OPM. I was under the impression that FSO is your only link to any information regarding your case. Can you provide me with the phone number to call. First-timer here. I call my FSO every month and the only response I get from them is: “Investigation pending”.

Thank you

GIRLCTX: Sure. Call them at (724) 794-5612 ext 7000. Then, press “5” to speak with a person. Pressing anything ultimately brings you to a recording or to a person just telling you to call your FSO. Before they can tell you more, though, you will need to file a freedom of information request with them, but it’s easy to do and it can even be faxed to (724) 794-4590. Once it is on file, they can then advise you to status in real time, basically, pending or closed. Some reps are more generous with info than others, of course.

Also, if they tell you that your status is closed, make sure that they are referring to your investigation and NOT your original freedom on information request. Ask me how I know that, lol!

Good luck.

Very similar issue with me. I was also informed my investigation was a priority. OPM confirms that my investigator is not USIS.

The investigator told me they would submit to adjudication mid-July. JPAS still shows the investigation as open. Last time anyone was contacted by my investigator was early July.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, that we as applicants cannot receive any substantive information other than “pending” or “closed.” It’s not so much the timeline that concerns so many of us, it’s the lack of basic information in this checklist-chasing process that is so frustrating.

There are official stats all over the Internet that speak to OPM investigations being closed out in 45-65 days, but those stats don’t appear to have any basis in reality. What I’d REALLY like to see are stats concerning the number of applicants that move on to other endeavors rather than waiting for months (or years) for their clearance to be processed. Those stats probably wouldn’t be quite as flattering to OPM or Congress.