Suitability Review Appeal to the State Department


#1

I am a student who applied to the FS and was denied by the Suitability Review committee after admitting to using marijuana (on the form and during the interview. I used exactly 4 times in early 2016 and 1 time last October. They indicated an appeal based on new information may be grounds for reinstatement. I have been in counseling for months, so that is new. I My counselor, employer, clergy are all writing character references to attest that with everything I do, I use great judgement, and will submit to weekly or random drug testing for the rest of my life. What are my chances of winning an appeal and how should I approach this process? I am being
told that my chance of a successful appeal is dismal.

Please give me some encouragement.t


#2

Forget offer to be drug tested weekly or whatever . . . No one will take you up on that. If they felt the need to test you weekly, you’re not the person for the job.

Your appeal should be based on the reasons that you were led to get high in 2016 and 2017 and what you have done to prevent it from happening again.


#3

Last October might be a bit close especially if new job requires a clearance in addition to suitability. From my experience suitability is used as a way to weed out the people that would definitely fail clearance so the agency doesn’t waste money on the investigation they know will turn up derogatory information. I would rather take a suitability denial and get my act together than a full blown clearance denial and have that on my record for life. Get another year of zero drug use. Cut out any friends that could potentially lead you back to drug use. October was only 7 months ago. Respectfully, not many are going to believe you are reformed from an incident that happened less than a year ago.


#4

@Smile, I am curious about your experience on that.

I asked because federal agencies typically make suitability determination and clearance determination together. Also, federal agencies do make suitability determination for positions requiring public trust; thus, no clearance required.


#5

I’m afraid I have no encouragement. The only way to be successful is to refute the reasons stated in the SOR… that is, prove that they are wrong or they omitted significant relevant information. If you admit that you used marijuana and that is the reason you were denied, that’s the end of the story.

The good news (as I see it) is you were not denied a clearance (I don’t think) so you don’t have to report that, and I think you can apply again in two years.

A hard lesson, indeed.