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Safeguarding Integrity and Transparency

About Investigations

In the interest of safeguarding the welfare of the American people, it is required that all persons privileged to be employed in the departments and agencies of the United States Government shall be reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States.  Regulations require a background investigation to be conducted on each Federal employee, contractor and military member.  The scope of the investigation will vary, depending on the nature of the position and degree of harm that could be caused by the individual in that position.

Requirements to be investigated for the purpose of a suitability determination apply whether or not the position requires a security clearance to have access to classified national security information.

Please see the chart below for the general background investigation process. Click 'More' to get detailed information on each step.

Investigation Process

  • Step 1: Questionnaire
    You received an email notification from your sponsoring agency to fill out an investigative questionnaire in e-QIP. You may be required to provide fingerprints. More
  • Step 2: Submission
    You have completed and released the questionnaire to your sponsoring agency. More
  • Step 3: Investigation
    An investigative agency received your questionnaire and started a background investigation. More
  • Step 4: Completion
    Your completed investigation is sent to your sponsoring agency for a decision and you are notified. More
  • Step 5:
    If needed for your position, a clearance decision is made by your sponsoring agency. More