Time since naturalization a factor in clearance process?


I was wondering if anyone had experience with being told that “not enough time” has passed from the time you naturalized for you to be able to be sponsored for a security clearance “without risk”. Alternatively, have any of you been sponsored for a security clearance within a year of naturalizing? If so, what level?

Looking for more insight on whether this is a standard issue in the industry for all security clearance levels, or if it’s just a policy that some companies/agencies have.

Thanks in advance.

Both . . . Neither . . . It’s going to depend on far more than what you have posted here and we still will not be able to answer you.

What country? How long have you been in the U.S? Did you immigrate on a visa or based on asylum? How long has it actually been? What clearance and with what organization are applying?

Naturalization will always delay the clearance process. You likely have many foreign contacts, travel and other issues that will also delay your investigation.

That’s before we deal with the needs of the company you are applying to. They may need to onboard people fairly quickly and knowing that you will be delayed introduces too much risk for them.

And about two dozen other things . . .

In my specific case, I’ve lived in the US for almost a decade, became an LPR via marriage to a citizen about four years ago and naturalized within the last 12 months. I am a dual citizen of the US and Israel (until the relinquishing process goes through) and I’m not sure what clearance was being considered - any, for the sake of the argument.

Based on a discussion with the security clearance department, as far as I can tell any foreign contacts I have and any travel I’ve done (only once to Israel in a decade, actually) were not considered nearly as important as the time since naturalization for the particular potential sponsor. The requirement was to be able to obtain a clearance within 2 years (I don’t actually know if that’s considered “quick onboarding” or not).

Does this extra information help?

Based on that, there’s a real good chance that you will not clear in two years. You need to complete the process of giving up your dual citizenship (I don’t know how long that will take).

You say that you don’t have any foreign contacts? Is all of your family here naturalized? Are any still dual citizens? Your parents? Siblings?

I would recommend that you go ahead and apply for other cleared positions and see what happens. Don’t take the requirements of one agency or one contractor as gospel. It doesn’t work that way. Just know that your first clearance is going to be quite a process.

You became a legal permanent resident by marriage? How did you come to the country initially? I don’t want to presume but did you overstay a student visa or anything like that?

I came in on an F-1 visa and was married before graduating from the degree, so I legally switched from a non-immigration status to an immigration status without invalidating the student visa at any point.

Also, I did not say I don’t have any foreign contacts. I said that I asked about that specifically and was told it wasn’t as big a concern as the time factor. My immediate family are not US citizens but I also only speak to them on average once every several weeks. I am much closer with my in-laws who are all citizens. I have some facebook friends who are not US citizens either, but I haven’t seen any of them in person or spoken with them in any voice-carrying medium in seven years or more. All of the people I’d define as my “good friends” are all US citizens.

I’m essentially looking to see if there’s any hope for me obtaining any sort of security clearance at any point in the foreseeable future through a company that requires one within 2 years. I am graduating from an advanced degree and I’d appreciate being able to work in my field :-\

All of that will effect your timeline even if they are telling you that the problem is your recent naturalization.

Coming from a friendly nation will make a big difference but even “only” talking to your family once every several weeks will mean that they will need to considered.

As I said, I would continue to apply for other positions with this company and others until you find one to sponsor your clearance. In the meantime, I would also be looking for jobs in the non-cleared community in order to make money while your are waiting.

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Just avoid Jonathan Pollard and Mordecai Vanunu as much as possible!

Hah. Yeah, not going anywhere near anywhere remotely related to either of those XD

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@adr_rine, I would mention that Israel is one of the countries that US Government is watching closely. So, disclose every foreign contact even if you don’t maintain contact with them. There was a case when an American citizen either had his clearance revoked or denied because of a foreign influence (Israel). He successfully won his case by proving his allegiance to US. In that case, I believe he was able to proof it by showing that he purchased a burial rights in US or something to show that he intended to be buried in US.

Point being, disclose everything. Your application might take some time, tho.

I just wish naturalization wasn’t seen as a negative quality. I mean, there’s a lot of effort that already goes into naturalization, and a lot of documentation you provide to show that your life is in the US now, that this is your home now… and you’re swearing fealty to the US so that you’re ready and willing to defend said home. I feel for the security clearance they just shove all of that prior work aside and ask you to start over, except from a worse position than most of the other applicants. It’s just frustrating. I’ll keep trying, but I’m not super confident it will work. The aerospace (satellite) industry isn’t very big, and pretty much all of it requires a clearance of some kind.

I don’t think that naturalization is a negative. I think that you are looking at it in the wrong way.

Naturalized citizens take longer to clear because of the amount of foreign contacts. Friends, family, the fact that many have lived overseas. Yes, you have sworn allegiance to the U.S. but it can be argued that your allegiance was previously given to another nation.

The guidelines used for investigation and adjudication are not arbitrary. They are based on past failures, on previous cases of spies, leaks and other crimes.

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I never said the rules were arbitrary, just frustrating :stuck_out_tongue:

I know it’s because of family/friends and such, and that someone who was born a citizen but had the same “level” of foreign contacts overseas would be subject to the same (or similar) investigation timeline as me. I also know that it’s a very serious matter and that eliminating any risk of spying is very important. I just wish all the effort I already put into proving to the government that I was worthwhile to have around counted a bit toward shortening the timeline. I mean, I can wish all I want for as many unreasonable things as I want and it won’t make them viable or realizable. It’s mostly just about wishing there was something I could do that would be effective.

I am one of the recent naturalized U.S. citizen and my timeline for U.S. Secret clearance was under 6 months as you can see my timelime. I will be going for TS/SCI with CI Polygraph very soon.

Clear answer is no, it’s not a problem. I’m in adjudication for an IC institution and I naturalized less than a year ago, after clearing Poly and other interviews. Get ready to go the extra mile and be ultra candid and super clear about all your foreign contacts and details in your SF-86. I was not asked anything about my naturalization other than when it happened.

What clearance are you seeking?

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@khan007 and @sec_cler, do you have immediate relatives who are still citizens of, and still living in, your country of origin? Have you been living in the US for 10 years or more? I’m pretty sure they were checking for potential delays in the timeline for a TS clearance. They just told me that it would take too long for a background check to be performed on me (longer than two years) so they wouldn’t be willing to sponsor me.

Yep. My entire family literally. Funny you should say that, I was told 12 months tops because my case is so complicated. Is this a contract position?

Dual citizen here. My experience has been frustrating.

TS/SCI & Poly is a must-have for any meaningful employment in my geographical area. When I apply for sponsorship, I’m told even if I renounce my other citizenship AND cease contact with any non-US relatives (who I already don’t maintain contact with), the fact that I have relatives who live abroad and are not US citizens is a show-stopper, even if I don’t have contact with them. This is true for several major workstreams, and severely limits my professional options.

This is beyond frustrating–I cannot control who my family is. I’ve served in the US military. Own properties here. My family’s here. I’ve been here since I was a kid–but they look for petty details that are irrelevant in my opinion.

No, it was for a full time position at a national research lab that requires security clearances for every full time employee. My experience is pretty much the same as @pawngobbler, but my sample size is just one place. I was just shocked to find this out because everything else went super smooth with my interviews and such, and then this just slammed the door in my face and there’s nothing I can do about it.