How Can I Check the Status of a Security Clearance?


In 2018, various developments related to security clearances were frequently reported by news media outlets. Some of the news came from the White House, where the President’s son-in-law experienced a hard time getting a clearance. There was also the issue of clearances being revoked for political reasons; moreover, members of the United States Armed Forces learned that a new personal finance monitoring system came into effect, thereby putting them at risk of losing their security clearance status.

The standing, condition or status of security clearances, whether they are issued on a personal or facility basis, is determined solely by the granting authority and never by the individual; this means that clearances can be approved, denied, suspended, revoked, or terminated anytime and without notice. To find this status, individuals who are employed or contracted by a government agency can inquire with their security officers; in the case of active duty military personnel and reservists, they should check with their S-2 sections at the battalion or regimental levels.

For the most part, security clearances issued to military members are terminated upon discharge or permanent change of station if they are no longer required. Civilians who are no longer in a position to need security clearances to perform their duties can expect termination of their clearances.

In essence, the status of a security clearance is binary insofar as being active or terminated. Within the terminated status, a clearance may be current or expired, which means whether it would be allowed to go through the reinstatement process. Clearances may also have expiration dates that call for termination; if they are not subject to a term, they can be reinstated as long as the individual has served in positions that would have required clearances within two years of termination.

Civilians can also file a Freedom of Information Act request to learn the status of their clearances. In the case of Department of Defense employees, they can submit a privacy act request to their Manpower Center liaison officer. Clearances can be placed in withdrawn status for individuals who no longer need them but remain employed or assigned to positions within the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Judicial Branch, Homeland Security, or intelligence agencies.

An important aspect of security clearance status is related to the personnel security investigation, which stays current for five years once a Top Secret clearance is granted. it is easier to reinstate terminated clearances when the personnel investigation is current.