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If you are applying to work for the Federal government or a defense contractor on highly classified projects, you may need to get a Top Secret clearance. A Top Secret clearance means that you will be protecting information that, if released without authorization, could be expected to cause grave damage to national security. You will need to work with a security manager or service security officer to complete the process.
Contact your agency's security manager or security representative and ensure you'll need Top Secret access. If so, he will set up permissions for you to access the Office of Personnel Management's e-QIP website so you can enter your personal information.
Download the SF 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, from the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) website. Although your security manager may have access to the electronic version, it's easier to fill out your info on the hard copy before entering.
Answer each question to the best of your knowledge. If you don't have the answer, provide an explanation as to why. Any missing or false information can cause a delay in clearance processing. Review your entries with the security manager.
Log onto the e-QIP website and enter your information listed in the SF 86. Complete the signature release forms at the end. If you can't digitally sign them, you can print them, sign, scan and upload to e-QIP. If there is no electronic capability, have your security manager send your hard copy to the appropriate address, which he should have.
Locate an official fingerprinting station, such as the local sheriff's office or a military police station, and get your fingerprints done on an SF 87 card. Turn the cards into your security manager. If your fingerprint station has electronic transmission capability, ask your security manager for the proper identifier codes that the processors will need.
Make sure your contact information is updated. Sometimes investigators need to do follow-up interviews with you or your listed references.
Run a current credit report before filling out the financial questions to ensure you are not delinquent 90 or 180 days.
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