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Detailed. Perceptive. Always Vigilant.


1.0 General Information about Requesting Investigations

This website provides information for Federal applicants, employees, contractors, and military as well as policies, notices, and tools to assist agency human resource and security offices. Federal Investigations Notices (FINs) are posted to this website to provide timely communication from the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) to Federal agencies.

NBIB's Federal Investigations Processing Center (FIPC) receives requests for investigation, processes the requests through an automated system, and serves as an entrance point for case-related and operational questions. Agencies may contact FIPC for assistance in ordering investigations, obtaining access to NBIB's automated systems, or for information about NBIB investigative policies and procedures.

OPM-FIPC 724-794-5612
7:00 am – 5:30 pm (Eastern Standard Time)

All non-electronic correspondence regarding investigations processing, operational matters, and requests for investigation should be mailed to:

PO Box 618 (for deliveries requiring a street address use: 1137 Branchton Road)
Boyers, PA 16018-0618

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2.0 Submitting/Security Offices (SONs and SOIs) and Telephone Liaison

Submitting Office Number (SON)

NBIB assigns a unique four-character alphanumeric code, known as the Submitting Office Number (SON), to each office that requests investigations from NBIB. The SON identifies the office that initiates the investigation and is recorded in the appropriate Agency Use Block (AUB) of the SF 85, SF 85P, SF 85P-S, and SF 86. To obtain a SON from NBIB, complete a PIPS 12 form obtainable from the NBIB website or the FIPC Telephone Liaison at 724-794-5228. Agencies are required to keep the contact information for their SON current and accurate.

Submitting offices may have multiple SONs. Everyone authorized by the head of the Submitting Office can use the SON to obtain information on the case status of a background investigation from NBIB, provided the caller can answer the questions asked by Telephone Liaison. Security/Suitability Investigations Index (SII) data is not available to the SON.

Security Office Identifier (SOI)

An agency's Security Office is responsible for receiving completed investigation reports from NBIB, controlling the agency's cases, and making the suitability and security determinations on individuals being investigated for employment. Each Security Office is issued a unique alphanumeric four-character identifier from NBIB, the Security Office Identifier (SOI), which is used to identify the appropriate agency official who will receive case results, data, or other information from NBIB. Security offices are responsible for designating security office employees (authorized contacts) who may contact NBIB to obtain SII data (detailed information about a case). Only these "Authorized Contacts" approved by NBIB may obtain detailed case information. The authorized contacts must be able to answer identification questions posed by Telephone Liaison before information will be provided.

Each Security Office is responsible for providing NBIB with an official mailing address, contact information, and an approved list of employees authorized to request information about agency cases in process. The SOI should update this list regularly. Approved employees are the only individuals who may receive information by telephone. Contact Telephone Liaison at (724) 794-5228 or go to the NBIB website to obtain the PIPS 11 form required to obtain an SOI and update the SOI contact information. When submitting investigation requests to NBIB, the SOI may also be used in the SON block of the standard form if the SOI and SON are the same office.

Agency security officers must have a favorable determination based on the results of, at a minimum, a Tier 3 or Tier 4. All persons assigned adjudicative responsibility must be familiar with the laws and regulations governing suitability adjudications. Each Adjudicator must have been subject to a favorable determination based on the results of, at a minimum, a Tier 3 or Tier 5, in accordance with the results of the Position Designation System for Adjudicator's position. It is recommended that at least one or two individuals in an Adjudications Office have had a Tier 5. This is to ensure that in the event that classified material at the Top Secret level is included in a file, this material can be handled in accordance with current laws and regulations. For SII access, the minimum investigation level acceptable is Tier 3 or Tier 4.

NBIB-FIPC Telephone Liaison for SON and SOI Authorized Contacts

The SOI or SON may obtain the following information via the FIPC Telephone Liaison: (724) 794-5228. When calling Telephone Liaison, please have necessary verifying information. If an agency has access to the Central Verification System (CVS) the below information can also be obtained electronically. For more information about accessing CVS electronically, see information on the Personnel Investigations Processing System (PIPS) in section 3.0.

Table 1
Type of Information AvailableInformation Available to SON ContactsInformation Available to SOI Contacts
Ability to ask questions regarding case papers, fingerprints, and reprints Yes Yes
Receive current status of investigation Yes Yes
Receive expected completion date Yes Yes
Authority to discontinue a case (not available via CVS) Yes Yes
Authority to Upgrade or Downgrade an open investigation (See Upgrade/Downgrade Instructions below) Yes Yes
Receive SII search results No Yes
Receive NAC search results No Yes
Access to a Reviewer for case specific information No Yes
Receive types of issues in case No Yes
Receive pending items in case No Yes

Upgrade and Downgrade Requests

Upgrade/Downgrade/Case Service change requests are for pending investigations only (closed cases cannot be upgraded or downgraded).  Requests must be submitted to NBIB's Correction Techs on agency letterhead via fax (724-794-1033 or 724-794-1459) or email (FISUPGRADEDOWNGRADE@OPM.GOV). Requests must contain the following information:

  • Agency Name
  • Agency Phone Number
  • Agency Authorized Requestor's Name
  • SOI or SON
  • Date that the Upgrade/Downgrade request is being made
  • Subject's Name
  • Case Number or e-QIP Request ID of the current pending investigation
  • Reason for Upgrade/Downgrade request
  • New case type requested and any changes that the new case type warrants within the Agency Use Block fields (i.e., Service Code, Access, Risk, Sensitivity)
  • Any other additional information needed to process the new investigation type
    • NOTE: You cannot upgrade to an investigation type that may require a new Standard Form (SF) type. For example you cannot upgrade an investigation that was submitted on an SF 85 to an investigation that requires an SF 86. In this instance you would need to discontinue the first investigation, have the applicant fill out the correct Standard Form within e-QIP and submit the new investigation request on the correct form.

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3.0 Automated Tools for Processing Investigations

electronic-Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP)

e-QIP is a secure web-based automated system which facilitates timely, accurate processing of investigation requests to NBIB. Agencies initiate individuals into the system, the system then collects data from the individual based on the appropriate investigative questionnaire (SF 85, SF 85P, SF 85P-S, or SF 86), and finally agencies review and submit the investigative questionnaire electronically to NBIB or another Investigative Service Provider (ISP).

e-QIP agency users access e-QIP from the NP2 Secure Portal, while individuals who need to fill out their investigations form access e-QIP from the website.

Personnel Investigations Processing System (PIPS)

The Personnel Investigations Processing System (PIPS) is the computer system which maintains the Security/Suitability Investigations Index (SII), a repository containing background investigation records of Federal employees, military personnel, and contractors.

Through automated linkage, PIPS provides an agency's Security Office with direct access to NBIBs records. Direct linkage can reduce an agency's processing time by replacing mailed forms or the telephone inquiry process. Security Offices can conduct online SII searches, request files, transmit messages, record OFI Form 79 notifications, enter Special Agreement Checks (SAC), and monitor the progress of their cases. Agencies interested in obtaining PIPS access for agency personnel must have a Security Office Identifier (SOI) assigned by NBIB. Contact NBIB's System Liaison about access to PIPS/CVS at 724-794-5612, extension 4600.

OPM PIPS Imaging System (OPIS)

OPIS provides NBIB with image and document management capabilities needed to electronically capture, store, retrieve, and review investigative case documents in a new paperless environment. OPIS also provides a means of sharing these images with other federal investigative agencies electronically via eDelivery (electronic Delivery – formerly known as Agency Delivery). eDelivery replaces the traditional method of mailing a paper version of the completed investigation package with a secure electronic delivery through an automated process. For additional information about eDelivery call your Agency Liaison at 724-794-5612.

Central Verification System (CVS)

Before requesting an investigation, agencies should check the Central Verification System (CVS) to determine if there is an existing adjudication or investigation that meets the current need. CVS is designated as the primary tool for facilitating reciprocal decisions, as required by Executive Orders, regulations, and policies. CVS contains information on security clearance, suitability, fitness, and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) Personal Identity Verification (PIV) credentialing determinations. This information is provided by agency sources, NBIB legacy systems and a bridge to the Department of Defense Joint Personnel Adjudication System. More information about CVS, including the CVS user manual, various task aids, and forms is available on the NP2 Secure Portal.

NP2 Secure Web Portal

NBIB and others in the personnel security community conduct official business, communicate, and collaborate in a secure, encrypted environment known as the NP2 secure portal. The NP2 secure portal can be used for the exchange of Controlled Unclassified Information, including Sensitive But Unclassified Information (SBU), such as Privacy Act information and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Community members with portal access can send and receive email, review and download documents, and access information on NBIB products and services. In addition, the portal acts as a gateway to the automated systems (e-QIP, PIPS and CVS). NP2 access is limited and by invitation only.

Position Designation Automated Tool

Proper position designation is the foundation of an effective and consistent suitability and personnel security program. The process determines, through the evaluation of national security and suitability requirements, what type of investigation is required and the depth that an individual is screened for a position. In order to ensure a systematic, dependable, and uniform method of determining position designations, OPM provides the hard-copy Position Designation System (PDS) and the Position Designation Automated Tool (PDT) for those individuals within agencies charged with position designation responsibilities. The PDT is an interactive tool on the OPM website.

Quality Assessment and Reporting Tool (QART)

The Quality Assessment and Reporting Tool (QART) is a web based application available to Executive Branch agencies that provides the ability to evaluate the quality of background investigations based on the Quality Assessment Standards (QAS). QART assessments are reviewed and evaluated by NBIB staff and are used to enhance the quality of background investigations. Contact with questions or for assistance in registering users for QART.

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