Written Inquiries Sent Out for a Background Investigation

Originally published at: https://www.clearancejobsblog.com/written-inquiries-sent-out-for-a-background-investigation/

The Office of Personnel Management’s National Background Investigation Bureau (NBIB) conducts background investigations for low risk non-sensitive, public trust, and national security positions for both civil servants and contractors working on behalf of the government. Some of the items on the Tier 1 through Tier 3 investigations may require completion of a form sent out…


Of note: In the last few months, DHS HQ is sending out (per OPM/NBIB request) a (19 page) supplement to the SF85 for Public Trust-Moderate Risk (T2) Investigations.

On a side note, why is the federal gov’t using the SF85 for T2/T4 Investigations as the positions are now considered sensitive…

They use the SF-85P for Public Trust positions. The new supplemental questionnaire is not sent out, it is filled out by the applicants and submitted in lieu of having a subject interview on T2s.

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I am an FSO for companies that support DHS. In June/July OPM/NBIB directed DHS to send out the supplement to all in process T2s and send them to OPM. DHS now requires the supplement for all new T2 requests.

My question about SF85P was in reference to the term “non-sensitive.” It appears as if the form is no longer appropriate for Moderate and High Risk “Sensitive” investigations.

Exactly what I stated, the supplement is not sent out to anyone other than the applicant and then submitted. The other forms I noted in the article are sent out to other entities for return to OPM/NBIB. Regarding the form used, the SF-85P Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions instructions state it is used for eligibility for public trust or sensitive positions…


Is there some type of internal timeout that OPM uses for the return of these forms? As in, if one of the references receives a form but never sends it in, how long does OPM wait around until they just move on with the investigation?


The T2 Supplemental Questionnaire is only temporary until the SF 85-P is revised to include these expanded questions. As originally envisioned, the T2 would not have a PRSI unless certain triggers are present from the questionnaire. Going back to contractors and employees alike for this additional form has been a mess as well as balancing the OPM bill since those T2s have already been billed will now receive around a $1,000 credit for not requiring a PRSI.

It depends on the type of investigation and whether the check is a hard requirement in order to close the case, e.g., education check. The majority of the time the investigation can closed even with several pending inquires.

Agreed, it is a mess. We have tons of T2s that have been open for over a year waiting on the subject interview and now have to obtain and submit the questionnaire to OPM and have it reviewed before the investigation will get closed.

The last time I checked, T2s and T4s are as follows:

T2 MBI = Subject Interview only; every other lead is Inquiry (I) which means “mailed out” or Linkage (L) which means “computer check.” The only human contact is the Subject Interview between the Investigator and Applicant.

T4 BI = Subject Interview + Personal Interviews of other Sources by the Investigator(s)

@DcConsulter: In the joint Executive Agent memorandum published on June 5, 2018, Transforming Workforce Vetting: Measures to Reduce the Federal Government’s Background Investigation Inventory in Fiscal Year 2018, the PRSI for T2s was eliminated. The only reason a PRSI was being done was to ask the additional questions required by the 2012 Revised Investigative Standards which are now collected via written questionnaire. T4 and T5 level cases continue to have a PRSI.

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Thank you for the info!

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The T2 ESI has gone the way of the T3 ESI - The ESI is only conducted when there are specific reasons to conduct an ESI.

@DcConsulter @FedPerSec by saying that the only human interaction in the MBI T2 investigation is between the applicant and investigator, how are the employer/employer workplace performance questions initiated? Had some tell me they just call to basically check that you worked there, some have said they show up face to face and inquire deeper about work performance/question possible issued. So under current protocol do they Phone call, email, or letter now?
How are the references you list on the 85P checked, phone call? Why must you list people who knew you where you lived and their address if they have no intention of doing a face to face? And am I correct in assuming that the additional supplemental questions that have been “added” to the 85P for MRPT, are the questions that are asked at the ESI or PRSI? Thanks for any help.

Hi. For the Tier 2, all of the investigation is conducted through mailed inquiries. There is no subject interview unless certain life events trigger a face to face meeting with an investigator, such as credit issues, problems at an employment, etc.

@FedPerSec so does that go for the references I listed on my 85P as well? A form is just mailed to them? No call or interview? I thought a second name or reference would by asked of the references I listed so that the investigator could have more people to talk to. I’m confused how this could happen if its only a form mailed out. Thanks for your help.

@FedPerSec @backgdinvestigator

bumping this conversation as I’m wondering about bgrass34’s questions as well.