How to Get TS SSBI Clearance

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A TS SSBI (Top Secret with Single Scope Background Investigation) clearance is required for positions involving access to particularly sensitive information. TS SSBI clearances may be required to obtain jobs with the federal government and some private corporations. To qualify for a TS SSBI, you must successfully pass a thorough background investigation covering a minimum of 10 years or dating back to your 18th birthday. To validate your character and candor, as well as your experience and ability, investigating agents will contact references, check your credit, interview your relatives and associates, as well as run a criminal records check. Once the investigating agency, usually the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), clears your investigation, you will be issued a TS SSBI clearance.

Fill out and submit an on-line e-QIP investigation package as directed by the investigating agency. Include all pertinent information, such as places you lived, past employers and credit information, as well as all foreign travel and contacts. Once received, the agency will schedule a personal security interview.

Go to your interview well dressed and prepared on the date appointed by the agency. Bring with you any additional documentation requested by the agency. The investigator will verify the information from your investigation package for accuracy and truthfulness. The agency will then run National Agency Checks (NACs) and Local Agency Checks (LACs) to verify information on national and local law enforcement databases. Agency investigators will review your credit record and will also conduct field interviews with friends, employers, neighbors and other associates.

Follow up with the investigating agency or your employer concerning the status of your investigation. You may need to work with limited access until fully cleared, but be patient. Due to its comprehensive nature, a TS SSBI investigation usually takes about six to 18 months to clear. Some, however, may take as little as three months or as long as three years or more depending on the candidate's background. When cleared, you will be notified by your security office. TS SSBI clearances must also be renewed every five years.


Complete your investigation package fully and accurately. Ensure that your background does not disqualify you for a TS SSBI clearance. Felony convictions, theft, fraud, violent crimes and drug or alcohol abuse, as well as confirmed lack of candor, will result in denial or revocation of your clearance.

Explain any faulty gray area incidents, such as credit problems, car accidents, liens or expunged court records in as much detail as possible. These issues may significantly delay your investigation process if not properly disclosed.