What are my chances for an Interim Secret Clearance?

I just accepted a job offer from a government contractor. I haven’t had a security clearance before, so the whole process is very overwhelming to me. I ended up hiring a lawyer to help me through the entire process of filling out the forms, to make sure that I don’t misinterpret anything and make a mistake. After completing the SF-86 through e-QIP today (I didn’t certify it yet unless I am 100% sure I don’t need to make any changes), the lawyer reviewed it and told me everything looks great EXCEPT for the part where I have two immediate family members who are living in the Philippines.

Here is my background:

  1. I moved here in 2005, and became a U.S. Citizen in 2011 and automatically lost my Philippine citizenship as a result.

  2. My Philippine passport has been expired since 12/2007 and I never left the country since I arrived here.

  3. I sponsored my mother to come to the U.S. in 2012 and she became a Green Card holder, but she is currently residing in the Philippines. The original plan was for her to be able to come and visit us and her grandkids at least once a year. We couldn’t do this with a tourist visa because in order for her to get a tourist visa, she needs to show evidence that she can afford her trip and that she has enough assets and ties to return to the Philippines. In short, she needs to be rich to get a tourist visa, but she is just an ordinary English teacher at a private Christian school in the Philippines.

  4. My sister is also just an ordinary citizen who works as an HR specialist in a call center. We don’t talk to each often, mostly an occasional hi and hello on Facebook. We don’t talk on the phone or skype either.

  5. Everything else in my background is clean: No financial/credit problems, no drug/alcohol abuse, no police records or driving violations, no mental or personality disorders, no criminal conduct/history, etc…


The lawyer only pointed out my relationship with my mother and sister, and that if not mitigated, can result to a denial of an interim clearance. However, she said that with all the detailed information I provided that I have a strong probability that I will get the SECRET clearance. However, my job is contingent on the interim clearance, and I am afraid that my this is going to cost me the job that I worked so hard to get. I want to know other’s opinion on this.

Can this be a sole disqualifying factor of not getting my interim clearance? What other mitigating factors do you think I could add to my SF-86? I’ve read somewhere in the Internet that I can add more information in the comments section under each relative to explain that none of them would “not constitute an unacceptable risk” and that they " are not agents of a foreign power or in a position to be exploited by a foreign power in a way that could force them to choose between loyalty to the person/s involved and the United States".

Thank you for any advice and thoughts on this matter.

Although I would not ever have a lawyer advise me on how to complete the application for a security clearance, as they interpret information from quite the different standpoint than adjudicators do, the advice provided is correct. However, there is no hard or fast rule regarding this scenario that would result in automatic denial for an interim Secret. Each case is decided on its own merits and propensity of risk to the government. Sorry to say, but it can go either way and the only thing you can do is to be completely up front and honest about everything.

Thank you, Marko. I will try to add more details in the comments section under my mom and my sister and hopefully, that will help out.

I have received a tentative offer of employment as a federal prosecutor. In order to start employ quickly, I have been asked to complete the national security questionnaire, so I can receive interim clearance. My concern is that I received a bad performance review from a partner at a law firm where I previously worked. Another partner was pleased with my work. I left the firm within a month or so of receiving the bad review, and knew before bad review throughout this time that another job offer was imminent, as I was waiting for a final signoff for new job. Question - should this be disclosed since I knew I was leaving when I received bad performance review -or- would this be considered “Left by mutual agreement following notice of unsatisfactory performance.” If the ladder, how will this affect my chances of gaining interim clearance?

Performance ratings are not considered issues for background investigations. It is of no concern to an adjudicator how well you do you job. Now if you left the job because of issues and were told you would be fired unless you quit then you should disclose it. Or if you received counseling for misconduct such as tardiness or other misconduct you should disclose this. Adjudicators look for patterns of unreliability or misconduct in employment. It should not prevent you from getting an interim.