Q clearance..am I qualified?

I’m going for a DOE Q clearance. I have special (rare) skills that the DOE contractor is looking for. I have unique situations. Will I be able to receive a Q clearance?

  1. Is SF86 used for a q clearance?

  2. Within 10 years, I have had numerous jobs. I had some jobs only lasted less than a month. For about two months, I also had two jobs at the same time (remote). My job application or resume I submitted for the DOE contractor position did not indicate these jobs I held in the past. Will this be an issue?

  3. I moved a lot due to job changes. I do not know my present and past neighbors names at all. Will this be an issue?

  4. I am a naturalized US citizen. I do not have dual citizenship. I became a US citizen 15 years ago while in the US military (during training). I was in the military only for 5 months. I had such hard time adjusting myself to the military culture and was discharged with an uncharacterized description (not a dishonorable discharge).
    My DD-214 (U.S military record) shows, “the separation authority is “AR 635-200, PARA 5-17” and the narrative reason for separation is “a condition, not a disability”, and the separation code is JFV. The reentry code is 3.” Will this be an issue getting the clearance?

Thanks for reading.Please help.

  1. you will use the SF86
  2. List all jobs you have had in the last 10
    Years. If the investigator needs to discuss discrepancies then they will ask you and you will be given the opportunity to discuss the reason for the discrepancy. Why were these not listed? Were there issues? Were you fired, counseled, reprimanded, written up?
  3. List all residences in the last 10 years. Be sure the residences match the locations you worked in person. If you worked remote, you will explain that to the investigator. Neighbors are preferred, then landlords/managers, then someone who has frequented the residence (like a friend). Non family is preferred. If coverage cannot be obtained from a non family member then we can interview a family member for coverage.
  4. If the employer is aware that you are naturalized and it was not an issue, then it will not be an issue for the clearance. (Some positions of national security do not allow foreign born applicants.) As far as the military service, there WILL be questions to answer due to your discharge was not “honorable”. ANY discharge that is not classified as “honorable” has additional questions. How that is adjudicated will depend on how those questions are answered, what adjudication “guidelines” may be affected due to the nature of the discharge, and what the nature of your new position is. There is potential for this to be an issue.

Thanks a lot for your comments.

  1. Yes, the DOE contractor knows I’m a naturalized US citizen but I did not tell them about my military situation as this was 15 years ago. Even for private sector jobs I have had, I have never listed my military experience on my job application and have not had any issues for getting hired. The discharge type is an uncharacterized description as I was in the military for less than 6 months. I had counseling sessions in the military my adjustment to military was challenging. I was young stupid but after I was discharged I went back to college and graduated with a degree and have worked in private sector. Should I not accept the offer from the DOE contractor? I know my employment will be terminated if I fail to receive the clearance after starting…

I did not say you could not be cleared, I said there was a possibility of having an issue depending on the circumstances surrounding the discharge, that is why they ask additional questions, to get details to make the determination. They will look at the whole person, what happened, any mitigating information, time since incident, age at incident, accomplishments since, how your life has changed, etc. Be open and honest and answer the questions the investigator ask during your interview.

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When the investigator learns that you left out some employment that should have been listed, the human reaction will be to say “well what else did this person leave out?” and then you may face greater scrutiny on the rest of the questionnaire to include the references for places where you used to live.

Result could be a longer investigation period.


The employment will not affect the residential references at all. The coverage is literally based off a chart and each issue that arises has predetermined requirements. The investigator does not get more or less “scrutiny”. We do not treat one applicant differently, we do not discriminate, we do not interject our opinions. We are a neutral party that simply reports what facts have been found. That’s all. Residential coverage is predetermined and the listed employments will not change it. I answered his question with the most accurate information available. I am not basing my knowledge on assumptions, this is my full time job.

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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

  1. I have never been laid off or fired by my previous employers. I started my professional career literally at minimum wage. I gained my skills and when I was ready to switch my jobs, I was interviewed by multiple companies but their offer letters were not available to me at the same time to compare apples to apples and pick one. I would get a better offer shortly after I started (some of them had extensive background checks that delayed the process). I changed my jobs for higher salary mostly. Since these short-duration jobs were less than a month, I leave them out on my resume. I have never had issues with my current and previous employers for leaving out my short duration jobs. Some career couches actually recommended not adding those jobs into my resume. I have very unique skillsets that many companies eager to hire (not to be cocky or anything). I was able to locate all of my previous supervisors’ names from my previous offer letters I saved so I can add them to SF86 although many of them are no longer employed.

  2. All residences match my current and previous jobs I have had. I don’t have a lot of friends that I talk to. I pretty much only enjoy spending time with my own family members (my spouse and children). I also just wave to my neighbors so I don’t know their names but I could find their names thru some google searches I guess.

  3. Only people overseas I talk to are my parents but this happens once in a while. Since the pandemic started, this has been very infrequent and rare as I have my own family here to support but prior to Pandemic, I used to travel to my parents’ country once a year. Back in when I was in the military, I didn’t know this was going to be an issue down the road. Could you elaborate more on this statement “what the nature of my new position is”? Have you ever seen clearance denials due to this type of military discharge? I have never done any kinds of drugs and my police records are clean.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

The military will use an uncharacterized discharge for MANY different reasons, some of which end up being issue related, which is why it is ALWAYS discussed and further questions are ALWAYS asked. It is not an automatic disqualification which is why I said it depends on your specific situation. I am not qualified to adjudicate your case for you, but if there are no major issues and just minor discrepancies and clarifications that would need to be explained to an investigator then I would guess you would probably be fine.

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That’s encouraging. Thank you. So based on my DD214, chapter 5-17 discharge may not disqualify me for getting my clearance? Have you ever seen cases like this? This is my biggest concern I have.

Honestly it would not matter if an investigator had seen a case like yours or not because investigators are never informed of the adjudication decision after the investigation is complete. I do however have a list of automatic disqualifications and what you have mentioned is not on the list. Good luck.

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Thank you so much for sharing. I really appreciate it.

Update… While awaiting their offer letter, they reached out to me and requested to update my resume to see if I had any jobs in early my career as their careers website only mandated applicants provide their work history for the past 10 years. They claimed they wanted to get my wage at the highest point possible. I went ahead and updated my resume with all missing entries (short duration jobs, simultaneous jobs and my military records) and sent to them. Now, I disclosed every bit of my work history. It feels good. SF86 will now match my job application but they may not pursue with my application. Let’s see if they will really extend an offer to me… The position was open for a long time and they closed it as soon as they showed an interest to hire me as I have the qualifications for the role (they told me they were closing the job posting). What do you think?