What Happens If I Am Denied Security Clearance?

Having a security clearance can give you access to jobs that simply aren’t available to the average candidate. So, pursuing these government designations is important from a career perspective. Unfortunately, these clearance documents are not quite as easy to get as you might have perceived them to be. Just under 10% of applicants are denied by the National Security Agency. Just under 7% are denied by the CIA and just over 7% are rejected by the National Reconnaissance Office.

Every candidate is evaluated carefully during the security clearance application process. What can you do if your application was denied?

What To Do if You Were Denied Security Clearance?

There are many more reasons to deny your security clearance than there are to approve it. From financial debt to drug use, gambling addictions, or technology misuse, there are a host of behaviors the government could deem inappropriate. It can take the various government branches up to six months to figure out what status they want you to have. If you’re denied after having been waiting for months, it can be very frustrating.

Now that you’ve been denied, what can you do?

If you feel like the denial was in error you can appeal for a review or reversal of a decision. You will receive an SOR, or a Statement of Reasons that defines the concerns that led to the denial. If you’re already a federal employee, you can request copies of the documents and data that led to the refusal. You can respond by writing a rebuttal to the SOR, and some candidates even seek out a security clearance lawyer to handle this process. You’ll be assigned a security clearance adjudicator to review the case.

Ironically, many times you’re denied simply because you make a mistake on one of the forms. You may have missed some required documentation when you submitted the form. Some typical reasons for security clearance rejections include:

  • Forms that are illegible
  • Missing documentation
  • Fingerprints not submitted on time
  • Incomplete explanations

More serious reasons for denial could include financial issues, personal conduct, behavioral health issues, and more.

If you’ve taken the step toward having a security check adjudicator, this also extends the process. The adjudicator may take as long as half a month to review the information, but they will get back to you. If the adjudicator agrees with your argument, you’ll be granted the security clearance. You may also be given a list of ways to remedy the rejection and then your application can be reconsidered.

If that doesn’t happen, you move into a more formal appeal process. You can receive this review in writing or a federal employee can ask for a review before an appeals board or an administrative judge.

Say none of this comes to fruition. You’ve still been rejected and none of your appeals worked. Don’t worry—you can reapply in one year if you are already a federal contractor, government worker, or military personnel. Keep in mind that just because you were denied at one point that you always will be. It just depends on the issue that kept you from receiving a security clearance in the first place, which is why it’s so important to ask for the SOR.

Blackstone Talent Group has access to many tech-centric jobs that require security clearance. If you’re wondering how this process works or how we can help you land one of these lucrative contracts, why not get in touch?

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