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How to Get a Security Clearance to Work on a Military Base

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Working on a military base always requires some sort of background check or security clearance. These clearances ensure that all installation employees are suitable and trustworthy enough to perform their jobs. Although you can start work on base without a clearance, your employment is only conditional until the appropriate clearance check is favorably completed.

Determine what kind of clearance is required for your job. The clearance type should be listed in your job description, also known as the core document. Example clearance and background check types are Favorable, Confidential, Secret and Top Secret.

Obtain the proper form for your background clearance check by logging onto the Office of Personnel Management website. For Favorable background checks, the SF85 is needed. Favorable checks with public trust jobs such as working with children or finances will require the SF85P. Secret and Top Secret clearances require the SF86.

Fill out the form completely, leaving no information in question. You will be asked lots of personal information, such as any current debts, past criminal offenses and people who know you well. If you do not know certain information, such as where you lived five years ago, provide or be prepared to provide an explanation as to why not.

Sign the information release and certification documents at the end of each form. Double check the form for accurate information and explanations.

Make copies of your form for your records. Turn in the original copy to the human resources representative or the installation's designated security service officer (SSO). Fingerprints may also be required for your employment, so inquire with the representative.


Incomplete forms can result in security clearance delays or rejection.

The e-QIP computer program allows for online clearance application. Ask your human resource representative or SSO if they utilize e-QIP.

Recently separated military members who had a current clearance and less than two years break in service may not need to complete another clearance check.


Incorrect answers pertaining to past criminal history or delinquent credit may cause investigators to question your trustworthiness. Be sure to answer all questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. Consider obtaining a credit report prior to completing the clearance form.