SF86 Foreign Travel Question - Reporting

Hey all, I am helping me son complete his SF86 for a clearance job and had a question.

When it comes to reporting travel, my son had a layover in another country before traveling to a final destination. from america to Canada, then to UK (final destination). He was in Canada for 1 hour for a layover and didn’t leave the airport. Does he have to list Canada? Just making sure before we submit it. Any guidance will help, thanks

If you really want to help your son, get out of his hair and let him complete his questionnaire himself. If he can’t fill out an SF-86 on his own - or if you don’t trust him to complete the task - he should be looking for another line of work. I appreciate the parental desire to help, but when you write “just making sure before WE submit it” you are revealing perhaps more than you intend.

List the layover. It’s a pain, I know. The SF-86 instructions contain no carve-outs or exceptions for layovers, so better to perhaps over-report than under-report and run the risk of being accused of being less than candid.

Speaking of candor, the SF-86 - unlike your tax return - contains no field to identify the form preparer. The intent is for the applicant to fill it out himself. Better that your son make an honest mistake on the questionnaire than for you to make a mistake in his name and then he is forced to confess that another person - even in part - filled out a security questionnaire that he signed his name to.


I agree with @CrazyForts. You should not be filling out the form for your son. I assume he is an adult and should be able to do it himself. If he can’t fill out the form, he should not be applying.

1 Like

Also, I disagree with the posters above. While you clearly should not fill out your son’s paperwork for him, it is absolutely acceptable for you to help him with it. Parents and spouses often help their partners answer questions on the form as they are sometimes better at remembering the correct information. If your son asks you “when did we travel to the UK,” then you can absolutely help him list the right date. Doing so does not invalidate your son or the information in anyway. That being said, do not fill out the form on your son’s behalf. That can create a falsification issue.

A layover does not need to be listed in the foreign travel section if your son did not leave the airport. If your son had left the airport for any reason to travel within the country, then yes, it should absolutely be reported even if he only left for an hour or so. If your son wants to fully cover his bases, then i would have him list in the comments section under his UK travel that he had a one hour layover in Canada where he did not leave the airport or travel at all within Canada. That would cover any honesty issue should a reviewer or investigator take issue with his reporting.

I experience instances all the time where during a review of an individual’s passport, stamps from several countries appear in the passport that weren’t listed in the comments. In this case, all that is really required os an explanation that the passport stamp was in relation to catching a connecting flight and no actual travel occurred within the country. I have never had any of the Federal agencies take exception to this reporting style.

As a heads up, you may get different answers on this as it isn’t specifically noted in the instructions or guidance. My knowledge of the topic comes from a half decade of experience and clarification from the government agencies.

1 Like

I just had a case reopen for this. A layover airport (stamp) was in the passport, but was not listed on the form. CRO asked to treat it like foreign travel and ask all of the questions associated with that section… for the layover. So yes, to be safe, list the layover airports in the comments on the form.