This process and traveling... and living life while in limbo

Hi All!
I’m new here and I am wondering about the process. From everything I have been reading, this process is long and unique to everyone and their own personal experiences. I was told this can take 6 months to 18 months and this correlates with what I’ve been reading here.

My timeline:

I will require a TS/SCI

I applied for a position in Oct 2017.
Interviewed in March 2018 (via hireview, so not even in person on site), was told I would hear back in two weeks. It was a long two weeks and I kept checking in during that time with my POC.
Sept 2018 I received a CJO
Oct 2018, submitted equip.
Dec 2018, they had a question for me on financials
Jan 2019, I was notified that they are processing my paperwork
Feb 2019 they needed clarification on employment while I was a grad student

I’ve traveled out of the country because I am an archaeologist and my research has been out of the country. I also have foreign colleagues and I lived with a study abroad family in Costa Rica. I’ve returned several times for research and vacationing.

I’ve not heard anything since and I understand that I am “young” in the process. I don’t know how to plan, or if I can plan for the next stages. Or how long the next stages will take.

I am also an academic with a PhD and have research opportunities this summer, but I don’t want to travel back to Costa Rica if (1) it will delay my process, or (2) make my process start over.

Since after interviewing in March 2018 and I was told I would hear back in two weeks, I figured I wasn’t going to get an offer, so I also went back to school to learn Arabic and I have a year of language acquisition already. I’ve applied for funding to study abroad or in the US for the summer, but studying abroad will really strengthen the language skills I already have and accelerate my learning. It’s hard to know what to do, because I feel I need a back up plan if this position falls through but I also don’t want to complicate or lengthen my process. I very much want this position.

I’ve been told “keep living your life” but I’m hesitant to make research plans or vacation plans that take me abroad.

Any advice?

Thanks in advance!

Live your life, as in, don’t really make any plans around it because it is so hard to make any expectation of when (or even if) it will come through. I have been waiting for 230+ days for a secret clearance, and I really regret not just applying to other jobs after I got my CJO. If I don’t get my clearance, I am really screwed. That is my fault, but it was fueled by me thinking that accepting a CJO is equivalent to accepting a job offer.

I don’t imagine that traveling to Costa Rica or any non-US-hating country will prevent you from getting a clearance. It might slow it down since they will nearly certainly discuss it during clearance interviews (and it might need some investigation), but that is still better than the regret you will feel if you cancel plans for a clearance which, ultimately, isn’t guaranteed.

Traveling outside the country will delay your process. I am in somewhat similar situation except for the language part and the field of study. While studying abroad while greatly improve your language, it can also have a negative impact on your job progress and pressing as you will be in touch with more foreign nationals and travel verification. This will not only slow your security clearance, but will put it on hold. If you got a FLAS scholarship, I would recommend UW Madison or Middlebury as it is a good alternative to study abroad.

I was worried about delaying the process and do not want to do anything to add more time/delay the process. It is a FLAS but I am waitlisted for summer, seems I’m in limbo for a several things. Thanks for the recommendation of UW Madison or Middlebury, I will check them out.

Good luck with your situation.


Thanks for your reply and I totally understand what you are saying about regret. I guess that is why I am a little anxious about the limbo. I am eager to start a career but I am also still applying for jobs in the meantime, just in case. Have you thought about applying for other jobs now, even though you have been waiting 230+ days?

I started to apply for other jobs once my interim was denied, around the 90 day mark. Unfortunately, I also have a PhD and that makes my job search quite narrow and the application/interview process quite long. I have had 3 interviews since SF-86 submission, but none have worked out.

I should have devoted more efforts to applying for other jobs, but I was thwarted by my own belief that the full clearance wouldn’t take long (the average was only ~190 days) and having to devote my time to a $15/hr menial job just to make ends meet in the mean time.


Coming from a person in his early fifties, Never put your life on standby for anything, This is my advice.


Merlin nailed it. There are only two days you cannot get something done, yesterday and tomorrow. There is only today. So live, eat, drink, be merry chase the bucket list. I have significant foreign travel and have no plans to stop. Now, traveling to “I hate America” countries? Not a good idea.