TIER 5 Clearance Timeline


Submitted eQip: March 28, 2019
Fingerprinting: April 3, 2019
Interim Secret Granted: April 13, 2019
Subject Interview: April 28, 2019
Interim TS Granted: ~ October 2019 (unsure of exactly when this happened but this is close)
Notice of final Adjudication of TS w SCI Eligibility : February 17, 2020

So it took just under 1 year for me. Pretty good compared to some horror stories I’ve read on here. From what I’ve seen this <= 1 year is the new average. Of course this varies case by case, but seems like the horror stories are mostly older, from when they had a huge backlog.


  • I had some “have you ever” issues 20+ years prior, but they weren’t major (no felonies, etc).
  • I had some unfiled tax returns for a few years, but they had all been mitigated >1 year of submission and I was owed, I didn’t owe.

I took a lot of time filling out my SF86 (eQip). I read over and over it, being very careful with my wording. Take your time. Do your research, don’t make stupid unforced errors. For goodness sakes don’t hide anything. I cringed every time I read some poster on here put “I omitted (heinous thing) will that be bad?” Seriously? It’s national freaking security! Even though my current job doesn’t require one, I wanted to be prepared for the future so I put down anything and everything germane to the SF86 that I thought I might get asked on a poly. Don’t hide anything. But be smart too. You can word things to make them sound resolved, or you can word things in an ambiguous way that just makes readers curious. Just be factual.

While my FSO is really bad (there seems to be a very large continuum re: quality in this role), I’m lucky to have a friend who is a very experienced FSO at a another company who was able to help me and also provide reassurance along the way when I was chomping at the bit.

As everyone who has been through this process can attest, the hardest part is where you stop hearing any news, i.e. no calls for clearing up info and no friends, neighbors, and employers/mgrs/colleagues letting you know they were called or interviewed. When all that stops - and you’re just waiting, waiting with no idea when or where you are in the process, that’s when it really gets difficult. It’s just silence…that is the hard part. I called it “the black hole” because you just can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve reached the edge of space, and all you can see is a vasty nothingness. Will it be done tomorrow, next week, next month, next year? Your mind races - is (insert past transgression here) going to hurt me? Will I get cleared or get a SOR? It can be maddening.

If you’re in a job you don’t care for, but you know you can’t leave until you get that clearance - that will make this even more difficult. You’re thinking “how long will I have to hold out?” and there’s no way to know that answer. I almost left my current job about 2.5 mos ago because of a bad supervisor. The uncertainty made it seem more unbearable for me. I’m glad I didn’t leave, because that situation mostly resolved itself, and now I have my clearance and things are going well where I’m at. But I am now FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST to do whatever or go wherever I want, which is a GREAT feeling. And now I have more options because of the clearance, and wouldn’t have to restart the process somewhere else.

So the moral of the story is that if you’re feeling low because of the wait, take heart. Everybody else has gone or is going through it too. Just have faith and hang in there. It will happen for you.


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I don’t think we have enough evidence yet to say that the “average” is under one year but it seems like the most recent reports show a shrinking timeline.

We’ll probably still see some long timelines but hopefully they will be less common.

I’m happy to hear the good news from @LukeSCIFWalker. I’m at 796 days and counting (TS/SCI direct hire IC). Celebrating others’ good news keeps me from pulling my hair out in despair

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