Secret clearance question and concern


#1

First, a comment. I’ve seen lots of posters ask about timelines for passing their secret clearances, and the responses are usually that it takes months or to up to a year or more. However, my situation is that my employer is going to issue an interim clearance enabling me to start working while I wait for the entirety of the clearance to go through. It may be that way with others, too. It would be worth checking into.

Second, my concern. My particular job will require me to move 300 miles away. It’ll be great getting an interim clearance so I can start working (assuming the interim goes through) - but I can’t very well move my family once I start working in case a disqualification comes up while I’m waiting on the remainder of it to go through. (Just imagine if my family and I sold our house, bought a new one in the new city, then four months later something came up that disqualified me from this secret clearance? Then I would be stuck, jobless, in a town with no other real opportunities for me in my job field). In the meantime, I’m having to live in a hotel or a room-for-rent for up to a year and only able to see my family sporadically during all that time due to the huge distance. It would really suck since I have small kids. Has anyone else run into this scenario, and how did you deal with it?


#2

Tough decision. Is it a really good job, that is, is it the kind of job that would make you employable someplace else in case you did have to leave unexpectedly? That’s a plus in favor of making the move.

Once you get the interim, it could be several months before you hear anything else.

I guess you would not make the move until you did get the interim?


#3

Yes, it would be a good job if I got it. But if the interim clearance comes through and I moved there to start work, then a few months later the full clearance fell through, I’d be screwed since it’s a smaller city with far fewer comparable-paying jobs. We would have moved there only for me to wind up unemployed again. Also, I’m going to have to take the job if the interim clearance comes through, since I’ve been unemployed for a month and my savings is depleted. But my family can’t move there or even start seriously looking until the full clearance is Oked. I could wind up living in a room-for-rent there for up to a year, waiting on the full clearance. But I don’t see any other alternative.


#4

I wouldn’t make the move until the interim comes through - and then only myself and in an extended stay or something until the rest is cleared. My family would stay put. I might see them once a month during that time. I guess it beats being unemployed.


#5

As long as you are entirely truthful and disclose everything on your SF-86, if you are granted interim, I don’t see how you could have it revoked and/or denied final clearance. Only way that happens is if you were not truthful and something comes up in the investigation. Also keep in mind interim clearances are typically not awarded unless your background/credit is relatively spotless. Many people including myself know this from firsthand experience.

I was lucky enough that my employer allowed me to start even before I filled out the SF-86. I moved several hundred miles away, just to be denied interim a month and a half later. I am still employed while we wait for final, however I have been sleeping on an air mattress on a friend’s floor for the past 5 months. I have been told they cannot afford to wait much longer so I may wait all this time just to end up terminated, so believe me when I say I understand your concern.


#6

@Crunchyhippo Myself and several people I know have gone through this process so I know what you’re talking about. If you get an interim, you should move alone and rent an apartment or hotel while waiting for your final clearance. Do not move your family or the rest of your life with only an interim clearance. Honestly, the best situation would be to wait for the final clearance before relocating. Interim clearances can and have been cancelled for a variety of unknown reasons.


#7

If there is any question about you potential eligibility you would not get an interim. Unless you are really hiding something, you should be ok. Very few people fail to get a secret. If you have issues, you are given a chance to recitify those problems before denial. And even if denied you are allowed to appeal the denial. I spent 5 years as a FSO/CIP. The only people that get denied all the way through the process are the people that do not make an attempt to fix their issues… it’s not what a person did but what a person is doing to fix the problem.


#8

Unfortunately, I can’t wait until I get a final clearance to start working - I’m currently unemployed, having been laid off. Better to live 300 miles away, see my family once a month, and at least be getting a paycheck than wait for up to a year or more and have zero income with late bills negatively affecting my credit.


#9

Three hundred miles isn’t as far as it sounds . . . Look into bus and train trips home instead of driving. It might take longer but you can sleep and then spend the time at home with your family instead of in bed.

Talk to your employer: You may be able to work more hours in the middle of the week and leave early on Friday and/or come in late on Monday. See if they can work with you. This can be long process and you don’t want to only see your family once a month.

At the same time, keep looking for work near your home. You’re not making a lifetime commitment to your new company.


#11

Are you serious? Both a train and bus would take about 12 hours, if that. By the time I got home, I’d only have a half a day before it was time to turn around and leave again. I know how far 300 miles is - I’ve driven it many, many times. I’m beginning to think that a better alternative would be to just tell the employer that I want to wait until the entire investigation process is complete before I start in order to make sure I’ll have a secure job. Then find other work in the meantime to get me by until then. But - if I find a decent perm job elsewhere, what’s the point in going to the one requiring a clearance. No real good options here.


#12

Yes . . . Knowing many people who have done exactly what you are talking about and having seriously considered it myself, I am completely serious.

I don’t know where the hell you live but there are plenty of areas in the country that support long distance commutes and I only suggested that you look into.

If you don’t like the advice, don’t take it.


#13

Why are you so blunt? I’ve traveled this 300 mi. distance many times and a weekend trip to see family is out of the question; too short a period of time after the round-trip travel time.


#14

I travel a similar distance on weekends at least 2-3 times a month to see my family. I arrange to leave work early on Fridays to make up some time, and I suppose if I really wanted to I could come in late on Monday like Ed suggested. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in the cleared business, especially at the beginning. It’s just one of the cons you have to weigh when deciding to take the job. I think Ed has offered you some good suggestions. This is a forum, we’re here to offer advice, but as stated, you simply don’t have to take it.


#15

I have known people in your exact situation. Your best bet is to do AirBNB, rent a condo, or extended stay. That would give you a chance to become accustomed to the area, figure out where you want to buy a house, and is less risky. This all is predicated on being able to afford the food and housing. Having small kids is hard with being far away. I was in Baghdad for a year and left a wife and 2 y/o at home back then. It was tough but can be done.

You might also consider moving your family closer to your or your spouses family. Maybe even have them move in with family while you try to establish roots.

Lastly, while it can be stressful waiting for the final clearance, you are in good shape with the interim.

The risk is worth the reward.


#16

Because I suggested something with limited information and your response was, “Are you serious?” How, exactly, should I take that?

Three hundred miles can easily turn into a seven or eight hour drive. Add in the risks of accidents, weather and road closures and the wear and tear on your car and 12 hours on a train doesn’t sound so bad when you can sleep, study or work during the trip and get home much more refreshed that after a long car trip.

Anyway . . . You don’t seem that interested in suggestions.


#17

I know a lot of people (myself included) who worked in wichita, ks and would drive home to Dallas/Fort Worth every weekend. I know people who do the opposite.

I know some who work 4/10 schedules to make it even better. (really ends up being 8/12/12/8 so you can drive on monday and thursday and only stay in a hotel 3 nights. (Trust me - I did this, it’s not hard)

You go where the work is. When the work dries up you have to decide if you want to sell the house and move the family again or adjust. Sometimes adjusting is easier. Especially if you want to make the big money as a contractor.


#18

Yeah, I know. I just hate uprooting my kids yet again.