Vexed, but hopefully not hexed

I’m extremely anxious.

I’m a non-US citizen married to an American citizen, we both live abroad in a country that is not my country of citizenship. We both have very good and well paid jobs.

I’ve never lived in the US and don’t have a green card since we’d never planned to move to the USA.

My husband has been offered a job that would take us both out of our current country of residence to yet a different 3rd country (meaning not the US nor my country of origin).

He is required to fill out an SF86 form on eQIP in order to get a Top Secret clearance.

They are also making me fill out an SF85 through eQIP even though I wouldn’t be working, just living in the same government provided housing.

I had an addiction to marihuana over 20 years ago, the addiction was sustained for 3 years in yet a different country where I was living with my parents when I was young, I was never caught nor was I selling or trafficking it. Save for being asked point blank about it, I don’t know if something that happened so long in the past will arise from the investigation of a non-US citizen, nor Green Card holder spouse of a man who is an SF86 applicant. My SF85 only asks about the last 7 years, which I have been of course responded accurately.

Now, here is my biggest dilemma:
If I’m found out during the interview process that I, not him, used drugs 20 years ago, would that:
a) Hurt his chances of getting the job
b) Be on the record, and accessed by the USCIS to later determine whether that I’m ineligible for a Green Card in the event of me and my husband ever moving to the US.

Interestingly enough, it seems that for a TS clearance for a US Citizen an identical drug situation could be easily mitigated, however for a non-US citizen and non-permanent resident, it seems like the immigration (and SF85 clearance?) consequences could be insurmountable given the fact that US Immigration law treats past drug addiction, no matter how far in the past, as grounds for inadmissibility.

Could it be that one alien could get somehow an SF85 clearance and yet not be allowed to ever live in the US? So in between assignments, during the home leave times I couldn’t live with my husband? Does that make sense?

What are your thoughts?

I am vexed, but hopefully not hexed!


I believe as long as your form is accurate on the times, if I understand you have not used in the past 7 years, maybe not in 20 years, I don’t see that hurting you. Or your spouse. Did you have a medical diagnosis as “addicted” to MJ? If not, even if you used very heavily 20 years ago I would not use that term.

Thanks for replying…
I don’t have a green card, nor I’ve lived in the USA. The reason being that having a history of heavy drug use makes you inelegible to getting a green card, even when married to a US Citizen. (Very unforgiving!)
In the eyes of federal immigration law I wouldn’t be admissible to live in the US. So wouldn’t that affect the DoS adjudication process by default? Is it theoretical possible for an alien to both hold a Public Trust clearance and yet not being able to enter the US at the same time?

Has anyone ever seen something like that happening at any agency? US citizen getting adjudicated a TS Clearance while married to alien who can’t even enter the US because of immigration law, but whose “flaw” can be mitigated as not being a security threat to the nation, and yet not being admissible to the country…???

I am not sure what constitutes “heavy” drug use in their eyes, as that is a very subjective thing. Does it exclude youthful use of MJ? If you wander through LSD, Cocaine, ecstasy, it gets complicated. Are you saying heavy based on your opinion of heavy? Or are you using a text book definition of heavy? If so what is that source? Time is a great mitigator for drugs. If you are closing in on 10 years with no use I think it is not really going to be a problem for a clearance…however, the US has many bureaucracies not communicating a standard definition or policy. So I would not be surprised if immigration defined it one way and the cleared world another. Age at time of use is also a factor for clearances as well as circumstances.

The OP posted that she had a three year, addiction (her word) to marijuana 20 years ago. She is NOT applying for a clearance.

It would really surprise me if immigration would blanket ban someone married to a U.S. citizen. Twenty years ago? Use? No trafficking?

It seems like we are missing some piece of information or there is some error somewhere else.

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Stop assuming agencies have an easy and open flow of information with each other. I wouldn’t lose any sleep.

@EdFarmerIII: I was also surprised to find out about this, but according to two immigration lawyers I’ve contacted there is indeed no immigration waiver for inadmissibility for people who admit to have used marihuana more than once EVER in their lives.

@amberbunny It’s been 20 years! Yes, indeed, they seemed to be defined differently. But would it make sense for any US Agency to allow a US Citizen TS holder living abroad, in US government provided housing, with an alien spouse, with no legal status in the US (because she hasn’t lived there), that under immigration couldn’t even be allowed to live in US soil?

I guess my biggest concern is what would happen in the future:

  • My husband gets his clearance(SF86) and I get my SF85P BI clear
  • Fast forward 2 years I apply for a permanent residence and I get it denied? Would that in turn put his clearance in jeopardy and perhaps even the separation of our family!

I would highly recommend an immigration lawyer. The complexities and what you risk are too great to rely on this forum. Ed, that is stunning. Can’t say I am surprised based on many disconnects in our federal agencies but that takes the cake. It forces a person to lie if they want to become a citizen and meet every bar for acceptance except one…and it is one that doesn’t disqualify a person from being cleared TS.


Any additional insights would be greatly appreciated!