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What Is a Homeland Security Clearance Certificate?

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A Homeland Security clearance certificate can only be granted through the federal government, to applicants doing work for government agencies or contractors, that justifies access to classified information.

Confidential Security Clearance

Confidential security clearance is the lowest and easiest level of clearance to obtain. It provides limited access to less crucial information, and is valid for 15 years. Because the background check required is less stringent, it typically takes 1-3 months to obtain, although with the current backlog of applications, applicants should be prepared to wait a year .

Secret Security Clearance

Secret security clearance is valid for 10 years and is a medium-level clearance, giving individuals access to sensitive information that could cause serious damage to national security. Requiring an extensive background check by the Defense Investigative Service, it takes 4-8 months to obtain.

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Top Secret Security Clearance

Top secret security clearance is granted to very few individuals as the information they access can cause grave damage to national security, if released. Good for five years, it requires the most years of information about the applicant's background on the application and takes 4-8 months to obtain.

About the Author

Based in Barcelona, Spain, Chris Ciolli has been writing professionally since 2003. Ciolli's work has been featured in "The Tipton Times," "The Joplin Independent" and LaVanguardia.es. She received Bright Flight and Curator's scholarships in 2001 and was a Fulbright finalist in 2005. Ciolli holds a dual bachelor's degree in communications and Spanish with a minor in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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