Security Clearance Blues
August 17, 2012 11:21 PM   Subscribe

What are my options with a lengthy wait on an interim security clearance?

The day before I was supposed to start my new job, I got a phone call from HR informing me that my interim security clearance had not come through and I could not start without it. It's a conditional offer of employment that hinges on a clearance. A few days later, I met with an investigator to review my e-qip paperwork. There were some things I couldn't address in my credit history (duplicate items, which I have since followed up with to the investigator). In addition, I have two sizable defaults on my record, one of which was completely resolved and one that I have been making regular payments towards for over a year.

It's been two weeks since I was told I couldn't start my job and a week and a half since meeting with the investigator.

How much longer should this process take? What are my options for earning money in the meantime?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A couple months ago it took about 100 days for my clearance to come through. I was never officially told I didn't get an interim, but I assume that was the case.

Here are some statistics.
posted by pseudonick at 11:34 PM on August 17, 2012

My federal (U.S.) clearance took 9 months to process, for some more anecdata.
posted by arnicae at 11:43 PM on August 17, 2012

How large is the company? My last job was with a "name brand" (25k+ staff)
consulting firm in DC, and historically they'd put people to work on marketing while people were waiting for their clearance to come thru. Unfortunately I think those days are disappearing and most firms want people to be billable ASAP.

If I was you I'd talk to HR and see what their process was and if there was any billable unclassified work you could be doing. If she says no to that ask if there is any unbillable work that you can do. I'd also follow up - a "public trust" clearance should have zero wait, secret should definitely be more, and TS and above can be quite a while. Do you know the manager who you'll be working for? If so, contact them and see what's what - there may be alot of internal miscommunication between HR and your potential new boss.

And unfortunately if you don't get satisfactory answers, start looking for another company to work for. Memail me if you're in the DC area, I know something about that market.
posted by Farce_First at 4:08 AM on August 18, 2012

What level and how long ago did you submit the paperwork? You can MeMail a mod with an update.

Unfortunately, the answer really varies based on case load, complexity, and level. I had a friend two years ago whose Secret (interim?) delayed his start date by about a month. More recently, another friend's update took about five months (submit to finish). It seems like 2-6 weeks between interview and clearance.

Follow up with HR or their in-house security (hopefully the same one you've worked with to start with) and find out if they can see where you are in the pipeline. If it's a larger company that does these with regularity, they can give you an idea of how long the process is taking currently.

In the mean time, Farce_First has some good suggestions. Look into part-time or temp positions, perhaps?

Good luck!
posted by bookdragoness at 8:15 PM on August 19, 2012

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