Drug use, Felonies and Security Clearance Security clearances and final suitability are adjudicated by looking at the candidate's entire profile (including court records). There are no automatic disqualifiers from the process. If you are interested in joining the Civil or Foreign Service, you should at least take the first step by registering to take the Foreign Service Officer Test, applying for a Foreign Service Specialist vacancy, or submitting your application for a Civil Service position on USAJobs.
How long does it take to for an intern to get a security clearance? What is involved? Students tentatively selected for the internship program must undergo a background investigation and receive either a Secret or Top Secret security clearance (pdf, 47kb). The clearance process takes approximately 60-120 days to complete from the time the forms are received by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). Investigations may take substantially longer than 120 days if you have had extensive travel, education, residence and/or employment overseas; or if you have dual citizenship, foreign contacts, immediate family or relatives who are not citizens of the United States and/or a foreign born spouse, or if there is a security, suitability, or medical issue to resolve. These issues could include a current or past history of drugs or alcohol abuse, as well as a recent history of financial/credit problems.
What happens if I do not receive clearance? Candidates who do not receive security clearances are ineligible for appointment. Potential candidates who have any serious issues which could prevent them from receiving a clearance should give some thought to the likelihood of their being found ineligible before starting this process. These investigations are conducted by the Department of State in cooperation with other federal, state, and local agencies.
What if I am a male and over 18 but have not registered with the Selective Service? If you are a male born after December 31, 1959, and are at least 18 years of age, Civil Service employment law (5 U.S.C. 3328) requires that you must be registered with the Selective Service System, unless you meet certain exemptions under Selective Service law. If you are required to register but knowingly and willfully fail to do so, you are ineligible for appointment by executive agencies of the Federal Government. If you are unsure of your registration status, or if want further details on exemptions to the registration requirement, you can check the Selective Service System website at: http://www.sss.gov.
What is involved the security clearance process? Officers: Applicants who are successful in the Oral Assessment will be asked to submit forms for the Top Secret security clearance required for appointment to the Foreign Service. The clearance process investigates the candidate's background and, prior to issuing a security clearance, considers such factors as: registration for the Selective Service; failure to repay a U.S. Government-guaranteed student loan; past problems with credit or bankruptcy; failure to meet tax obligations; unsatisfactory employment records; violations of the law; misrepresentation in the Registration Process; drug or alcohol abuse; a criminal record; extensive travel; education; residence and/or employment overseas; dual citizenship; foreign contacts; immediate family or relatives who are not citizens of the United States and/or a foreign born spouse; and/ or a less- than-honorable discharge from the armed forces.
What is the background investigation? Applicants who are successful in the Oral Assessment will be asked to submit forms for a security clearance required for appointment to the Foreign Service.