What determines how long adjudication will take?

I’ve seen several posts here where people have long investigations and short adjudication periods < 1 month. I’ve also seen posts where people have a short investigation but sits in adjudication for months. I’m 4 months into waiting for a DOD secret clearance for an aerospace contractor and it seems like the investigation phase has taken forever, I’m just hoping adjudication won’t take another 4 months. I have 4 foreign contacts that are people I knew from college and took CBD gummies once 4 years ago on a trip to California with friends. My timeline so far:

11/24/20 - E-QIP Submitted
2/17/21 - Credit Pulled
2/26/21 - Current Employer Contacted
3/12/21 - Investigator Interview
3/17/21 - Reference 1 interviewed
3/18/21 - Reference 2 interviewed

Honestly it seems like nothing happened for almost 90 days between submitting my E-QIP and my credit being pulled. Is there a reason this phase of the investigation would have taken such a long amount of time?

Yes there is a reason. However nobody can explain it in a way that an average rational person would understand.

Could be another four months. That would not be terribly unusual. Some cases go more quickly. If an investigator just spoke to someone within the past week I doubt that the field work has wrapped up yet. Then it may need to go through a couple of levels of review before it goes to the adjudications office… assuming the review process goes smoothly. Then it has to actually be assigned to an adjudicator, and then get to the top of their queue.

Hang in there! Still way too soon to get nervous.


Your credit report is normally pulled shortly after the eQip is accepted. The delay could be funding, need, or simply too many submissions during that time period.


For what it’s worth, my DoD Secret investigation back in 2014 took 2 months to complete, but it sat in adjudication for over a year.

Weird stuff can happen.

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@clearance4294 patient is the key with the process. I reported to my agency on 10 Nov 2019 and immediately submitted my eQIP SF86, the BI was completed in Aug 2020 and I received my granted notification on 8 Feb 2021. As you see, I waited over a year to receive a decision but, everyone’s situation and circumstances are different as well. If your FSO or DoD CAF requests additional information, get it to them in a timely manner. Stay in fight and stay positive.

I’m no worried about getting the clearance, it’s more about the length of time that scares me. I’ve heard story’s of companies rescinding job offers simply because the clearance process takes too long. My position requires me to obtain the clearance before I am even allowed to start.

My investigatory (Omniplex) was really personable and provided me his details and encouraged me to check in with him for awhile so I would know when it had gone through their internal review before flowing up to the Customer. If you have their details you may want to send a professional & courteous e-mail asking for a final date of internal review and submission upstream. That might help you gauge your timeline.

But as SBUsquirrel stated…you’ve got a ways to go. Also, keep in mind the Pandemic and the fact that Adjudicators CAN’T work from home on this stuff, in addition they are restricted to a alternating schedule for days they can go into the office. It’s a perfect storm of a system that is eyes-off and time intensive colliding with a Pandemic affecting everything from staffing, building occupancy, and hours worked, etc.

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@gwoz81 the process takes alot of patience and everyone situation and circumstances are different. Keep a positive outlook and let the process take its course. Fortunately in my case, I’m a federal employee and they have due processes. Stay in the fight! My timeline is below.

SF86 submitted- 10 Nov 2019
BI completed- July 2020
Granted notification: 8 Feb 2021


Paying for the charges I received

Could you elaborate a little more on this. By funding, do you mean the company sponsoring might have held off paying for the investigation for 90 days after I submitted the E-QIP?

I know companies can pay to have the process expedited if they really want the employee to start ASAP. I guess the reverse could be true, not needing an employee right this minute.

@adrianlittle You’re timeline is very similar to mine so far, ex-IC to DoD and now trying to go back to IC

SF86 submitted by CJO: Dec 2019
BI completed: ~Aug 2020 (covid not withstanding)
Assigned to Adjudicator as per FSO: Jan 2021

I definitely hope that everything works out in your favor!

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (“A Piece of the Action”) where Captain Kirk is making up the rules of a fake card game to buy time. It is utter nonsense and incredibly convoluted.

I think the adjudication process must work along a similar set of rules, at least for the folks who do not get adjudicated quickly. :crazy_face: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


I like to think of the “Bob’s” scene from Office Space.

Companies do not pay for the clearances, the requesting federal agency pays for the investigation. Background investigations are normally not directly appropriated (funded) by Congress, but are part of every agency’s funding which is then “given” to the ISP (normally DCSA) to pay for investigations.

I was sponsored by my first company in June 2017 and wasn’t cleared until July 2019. Literally waiting for almost 6 months before I received a phone call from anyone. Once I met with my investigator she was really surprised about how long I had been waiting to be interviewed. Luckily I still had a full time job that point but it’s a grueling process for some. I basically gave up at a point assuming that it was never going to happen. One of my contractors had turnover in July 2019 and by a stroke of luck that’s exactly when my TS was approved and I got a awesome job about 2 weeks later. Hang in there man it will happen.

I was surprised your company didn’t rescind the job offer due to how long the process took. I have a conditional offer with a DoD aerospace contractor and I’m worried 4 months in they are going to give up my spot because of how long the process takes. This position requires a Secret and Special Program Access…so I don’t get a start date until I’m cleared.

Is the job still being advertised? If not they aren’t actively looking.

If it is being advertised…

Wow - Your schedule is close to mine → I am an IC Contractor.

September 2019: Submitted Clearance
October 2019: Clearance Assigned an Investigator
October 2020: Investigation Completed
November 2020: In Pre-Adjudication Phase (to be assigned a case adjudicator)
April 2021: Still in Pre-Adjudication Phase (Per FSO, they cannot provide a timeline on when my case is assigned)