Gaining security clearance for government positions can take a bit of time. Clearance times saw an uptick in the second quarter of 2021 and often change as demand changes. The more people needing security clearances, the longer the process may take. So, how long is the security clearance process taking right now?
Security Clearance Processing Times
Because of the high demand for the clearance system, the process is taking anywhere from four to five months. Top Secret clearance processing times are sitting around 159 days, on average. To gain Secret clearance, the process is taking around 132 days. These processing times are for industry applicants. Processing times are slightly faster for Department of Defense civilians and service members.
Why the Uptick?
Not only is there a higher demand for clearances, but the process in which they are being granted has changed due to seasonal employment and COVID-19. Both of these things have led to delays. While background investigators are still at work, the individuals they need to get information from aren’t always accessible. This leads to an increase in security clearance processing times overall.
Officials have pointed out that, while processing times are higher, things are still moving forward. There have been a lot of changes, including many background investigators working remotely or working in staggered shifts. These changes to the overall process have definitely contributed to longer wait times for clearance.
On top of the changes to the physical workspace, investigators also have a higher workload. As mentioned above, there is a higher demand for clearances. This is because there are more temporary or seasonal workers that need clearance. Additionally, there are occasional IT problems that investigators are facing.
Despite the longer processing times, once an applicant’s background has been checked, determination times have significantly decreased. Security clearance determination decisions were typically made between five and seven days.
While dealing with higher demand, IT issues, COVID-19 restrictions, new work settings, and longer wait times, the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals has also noted an increased number of Statement of Reasons (SoRs). They have been working to implement better tracking procedures for SoRs and have been sending them directly to industry employees.
The Office of Hearings and Appeals has moved forward with remote work procedures and is working to ensure there are not any major hiccups in the workflow. They recently started using a new communications system for times where they are not able to access facilities or travel was not possible. This has largely allowed the office to keep all investigations moving forward, even if it has been at a slower than usual pace.
If you are looking for candidates with security clearances to make the hiring process faster working with an agency like the Staffing Resource Group can help. We can get candidates through the security clearance process before they are put in front of you, meaning you get applicants who are ready to get started. Learn more about how we can assist you in placing candidates with the proper clearances in your organization.