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Detailed. Perceptive. Always Vigilant.

Requesting the Investigation

4.0 Preparing to Request an Investigation

4.1 Position Designation

Investigation type, standard form type, and additional documents NBIB requires to conduct an investigation stem from position designation. The position designation is derived from the designation of a position’s assessed risk and national security sensitivity. Correct position designation is essential to the standardization of the investigation request process and reciprocity. The Position Designation System and Automated Tool are available on the OPM website.

Using a position description and the hardcopy Position Designation System or Automated Tool, will provide you with the investigation type and form type needed for that specific position. However, it is important to note that accurate position designation requires precise and up-to-date position descriptions.

Position designation guidelines were initially created by OPM and implemented by the Federal Government in 2008 in order to support security and suitability reform efforts originating from the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA). For more information on position designation, please see the paper version of the Position Designation System.

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4.2 Validate Need

Validating the need for an investigation is the act of properly designating a position and practicing reciprocity as introduced in E.O. 13467 and subsequently outlined in E.O. 13488, FIN 9-06, FIN 10-04, FIN 11-04, FIN 12-01, and 5 CFR 731 and 5 CFR part 1400. Before an investigation is requested from NBIB the requestor must check the Central Verification System (CVS) to see if a previous investigation meets the current position's requirements. 

While initiating an individual's e-QIP request, an agency can utilize the validate need function within e-QIP to do a general check of CVS, which will check to see if there are any closed investigations within the last 5 years that meet or exceed what is being requested. For more information on this function, please see the “Initiating a Request” job aid in the NP2 Portal Library.

The following charts and information outline the forms and documents required by NBIB to request an investigation. The forms are submitted after the position has been designated with the correct risk and sensitivity level and the need for an investigation has been validated.

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4.3 Correction Requests

In order to avoid delays in processing investigation requests, it is important to verify the correct PII is reflected in NBIB’s systems of record. If a SAC (Case Type 92) was submitted with incorrect PII, submit documentation to validate the subject’s PII as part of the new e-QIP submission or request a correction for the SAC prior to submitting your investigation request. Send a message in NP2 to (S) FISCTR Boyers Corrections Tech (NTC), call 724-794-5612 x4414, or fax 724-794-1459. Provide one of the following data points:

• Case or Request Number

• Social Security Number

• Subject’s first and last name

Identify the requested correction and the reason for the change. In addition, provide documentation to support the correction.

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5.0 Required and Optional Forms for Requesting Investigations

The type or level of investigation requested, and form type required are directly related to the risk and sensitivity level to which the position is designated. See chart 5.1 for the correlation of risk and sensitivity levels to investigation type and form type.

Once the investigation type and form type are determined, other investigative documents may be necessary depending on whether the investigation is an initial or reinvestigation, and whether the individual needing the investigation is a Federal civilian, contractor, or military. Charts in section 5.2 outline how these factors affect the submission requirements for fingerprint charts, the OF 306, and résumés.  The types of investigations NBIB offers along with the numeric codes used in the Agency Use Block (AUB) of the Standard Form are as follows:

NAC – National Agency Check (06)
T1 – Tier 1 (63)
T2S  – Tier 2 (57) 
T2RS - Tier 2 Reinvestigation (58) 
T4 – Tier 4 (66)
T4R – Tier 4 Reinvestigation (67)
T3 - Tier 3 (64)
T3R - Tier 3 Reinvestigation (65)
T5 – Tier 5 (70)
T5R – Tier 5 Reinvestigation (71)

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5.1 Position Designation, Form Type and Investigation Type

Although the Position Designation System will show the required investigation and form type by determining the sensitivity and risk level, table 2 depicts the correlation between position designation, investigation types, reinvestigation types and form types.

Table 2
Final Sensitivity Designation from the Position Designation System/ToolFinal Risk Designation from the Position Designation System/ToolType of Investigation
Reinvestigation for Designated PositionForm Type
Special-Sensitive or Critical-Sensitive "High Risk" T5 (70) T5R (71)
SF 86
Non-critical Sensitive  "High Risk" T5 (70) T5R (71) SF 86
"Moderate Risk" T3 (64) T3R (65) SF 86
Non-sensitive Public Trust  "High Risk" T4 (66) T4R (67) SF 85P
"Moderate Risk" T2S (57)* T2RS (58)* SF 85P
Non-sensitive  "Low Risk" T1 (63) No Reinvestigation Requirement SF 85

* The Tier 2 investigative product no longer includes the Optional Enhanced Security Interview (ESI) unless there are Expandable Focused Interview (EFI) flags within the submitted investigative paperwork, to include the Additional Questions for Moderate Risk Positions.  See section 5.2.3 for details on this process.

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5.2 Form and Document Submission Requirements

Table 3: Document Requirements for FEDERAL CIVILIANS
Investigation Type and Form TypeFingerprintsOF 306
- SF 85
- SF 87* Required
- SF 85P
- SF 87* Required
- SF 85P
- SF 87* N/A
- SF 85P
- SF 87* Required
- SF 85P
- SF 87* N/A
- SF 86
- SF 87* ONLY required when discrepant information exists between OF 306 and SF 86
- SF 86
- An SF 87* is only required if no prior classifiable results exist N/A
- SF 86
- SF 87* ONLY required when discrepant information exists between OF 306 and SF 86
- SF 86
- An SF 87* is only required if no prior classifiable results exist N/A

*Until further notice, fingerprints may be submitted on the SF 87 or FD-258. Agencies are strongly encouraged to submit electronic fingerprints instead of submission of hard card charts.

**Requires Additional Questions for Moderate Risk Positions form. For further guidance, please see section 5.2.3.

Table 4: Document Requirements for CONTRACTORS or MILITARY
Investigation Type and Form TypeFingerprintsOF 306

- SF 85

- SF 87* Questions 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17a must be answered**
- SF 85P
- SF 87* Questions 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17a must be answered**
- SF 85P
- SF 87* N/A
- SF 85P
- SF 87* Questions 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17a must be answered**
- SF 85P
- SF 87* N/A
- SF 86
- SF 87* N/A

- SF 86

- An SF 87* is only required if no prior classifiable results exist N/A
- SF 86
- SF 87* N/A
- SF 86
- An SF 87* is only required if no prior classifiable results exist N/A

*Until further notice, fingerprints may be submitted on the SF 87 or FD-258. Agencies are strongly encouraged to submit electronic fingerprints instead of submission of hard card charts.

**Investigations on contractor personnel requested on the SF85 and SF85P require the contractor to answer specific questions found on the OF 306 (2010 or newer version): 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17a. To provide that additional information, the OF 306 may be used, or the specific questions and answers may be provided on an attachment.

***Requires Additional Questions for Moderate Risk Positions form. For further guidance, please see section 5.2.3.

5.2.1 Form Requirements for Childcare Positions

Investigations for childcare positions using position code "H" (Tiers 2 through 5) or extra coverage code "8" (Tier 1) will require the documents listed in table 4.1 for each state the subject has listed residency since the age of 16. These documents are required in addition to the documents listed per government affiliation and case type in section 5.2.

Due to the state repositories needing original copies of fingerprint cards and other required documentation, all original copies of forms must be mailed to the address below. We cannot accept faxed or electronic submissions.

Once you have completed all of the necessary documents per the individual state requirements, please mail to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management – NBIB


PO Box 618

Boyers, PA 16018

There are additional document submission details for the states in table 4.1, which should be reviewed before submitting the investigation for childcare positions and can be found in the NBIB Childcare Agency Guide. This Guide is available in the NP2 Secure Portal in a public folder labeled "Childcare Investigations Documents".

Note: Some state forms may request that payment be sent with the application. DO NOT send payment for ANY state to NBIB.

Table 4.1: Document Requirements for CHILDCARE POSITIONS
StateHardcopy SF87 or FD-258Two Hardcopy FD-258'sState Fingerprint CardState Request FormNotarized SignatureOPM General Release FormCopy of Photo ID
Alabama N/A N/A N/A Required Required Required Required
Alaska Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Arkansas N/A N/A N/A Required Required
Required N/A
California Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Colorado Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Delaware Required N/A N/A N/A N/A Required N/A
Idaho Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Illinois N/A N/A Required N/A N/A Required N/A
Indiana N/A N/A N/A Required N/A N/A N/A
Iowa N/A N/A N/A Required N/A N/A N/A
Kansas Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Kentucky N/A N/A N/A Required N/A Required N/A
Michigan Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Minnesota N/A N/A N/A Required Required N/A N/A
Mississippi N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Required
Missouri Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Montana Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Nevada Required N/A N/A N/A N/A Required N/A
New Hampshire N/A N/A N/A Required N/A Required N/A
New Jersey Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
New Mexico N/A N/A N/A Required N/A Required N/A
New York Required N/A N/A Required N/A N/A N/A
North Carolina Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
North Dakota N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Required N/A
Ohio N/A N/A Required Required N/A N/A N/A
Rhode Island N/A N/A N/A Required N/A Required Required
South Dakota Required N/A N/A Required N/A Required
Tennessee Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Texas Required N/A N/A Required N/A N/A N/A
Utah Required N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
West Virginia N/A Required N/A Required N/A N/A N/A
Wyoming N/A Required N/A N/A N/A Required N/A

5.2.2 Form Requirements for Foreign Coverage

If an applicant lived in one of the following Countries for 180 days or more, regardless of case type or form type, a release is required to be submitted as an attachment along with their investigation request in e-QIP: Ireland, Iceland, Argentina, or Australia. For the Ireland release only, a photo copy of page 1 of the applicant’s passport must be submitted along with the Ireland release form.

These forms can be found in the public library on the NBIB NP2 Secure Portal in the “Country Release” Forms folder.

5.2.3 Requesting Tier 2 Investigative Products without a Subject Interview

The Security and Suitability/Credentialing Executive Agents (SSC EAs), by memorandum dated June 5, 2018, have revised the 2012 Federal Investigative Standards to delete the Optional Enhanced Subject Interview (ESI) for Tier 2 investigative products.  Agencies must collect subject responses to the questions in the Additional Questions for Moderate Risk Positions form in addition to the Standard Form 85P prior to agency review and submission of the investigative package.  The Additional Questions for Moderate Risk Positions form must be submitted as an attachment to the investigative package.

Case types "T2S" (57) and "T2RS" (58) will continue to be utilized within electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP), the Central Verification System (CVS), other NBIB systems and in completed investigations until such time as the systems can be updated.  The T2S and T2RS will be relabeled in NBIB guidance as simply Tier 2 and Tier 2 Reinvestigation.   

Requesting agency must collect the information listed on the document titled "Additional Questions for Moderate Risk Positions" from the subject. The document, available for agency use, is posted in the NP2 public library in the 2012 Federal Investigative Standards folder or you may request it from your Agency Liaison.

    • All questions on the document must be answered.
    • Document must be signed and dated by the subject of investigation. Documents may be digitally signed.
    • The document with the required additional information must be attached to the e-QIP request as an "ATS".

The e-QIP request will be rejected back to the requesting agency if the additional document is not attached as an ATS.  In this instance, the agency does not have to reject the request back to the applicant, but will have to obtain the additional subject responses and attach them to the e-QIP request before releasing back to NBIB.

For a limited period of time, agencies ordering case types T2 (57) and T2R (58) without the subject interview will be charged the full case types 57 and 58 pricing.  A billing adjustment will follow using an "EC" event code that credits the agency the equivalent TESI price.  If at any point during the investigative process an EFI trigger is presented in the case, a TESI will be scheduled on the case and the agency will see an "EC" event code notating the additional cost, i.e., reversing the previous credit.

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5.3 SACs, RSIs and Reopens

Special Agreement Checks (SACs)

SAC availability, codes, and pricing for the current fiscal year can be found on the NBIB Billing Rates webpage. The INV Form 86C can be used to request a number of NBIB's National Agency Checks as Special Agreement Checks, case type 92. Please note: By submitting an investigative request using the INV Form 86C, the agency is acknowledging that the fees associated with the SAC request have been approved by the agency. Additionally, the Periodic Assessment SAC and National Crime Information Center/Interstate Identification Index SAC require Special Agreements with NBIB before an agency can begin requesting them. Contact NBIB at 724-794-5612 to initiate a special agreement.

Reimbursable Suitability/Security Investigation (RSI)

An RSI can be requested in order to expand on issues or to obtain additional coverage where appropriate. NBIB must also be in possession or receipt of a complete SF 85, SF 85P, SF 85P-S, or SF 86, including a signed Signature Form/Certification and a signed Authorization for Release of Information. For directions on how to submit RSI requests via the NP2 Portal using FIPC Form 554, please visit the NBIB Reopen and RSI webpage.

Questions regarding the submission or pricing for the RSI product should be directed to NBIB Telephone Liaison at 724-794-5228.

Requests to Reopen an Investigation

If an investigation needs to be reopened please submit a FIPC Form 553 via the NP2 Secure Portal and provide the reason for the reopen along with any other pertinent details such as updated contact information for the subject, etc. To request a reopen on a discontinued case, NBIB must receive the request within four months from the discontinuation date.  To request a reopen on a closed complete case, NBIB must receive the request within one year of the closing date. Reopen submission directions and the form FIPC 553 can be found on the NBIB Reopen and RSI webpage.

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5.4 Standard Forms: Additional Information

All information requested on Standard Form (SF) questionnaires is essential for the expeditious investigation scheduling and processing. The Submitting Office (SON) is responsible for ensuring completeness of the SF 85, SF 85P, SF 85P-S, and SF 86. The agency must have an individual complete all information required, as NBIB will not accept incomplete investigation requests. Refer to table 2 for the correct investigation types to be used with each form. Automated case scheduling is based on zip codes and other data provided by the individual. Consequently, complete and accurate information on the investigative forms is extremely important to the overall investigative process. Incorrect zip codes, missing addresses, or gaps in dates may cause delays or rejection of the request.  

Standard Form (SF) 85P-S, "Supplemental Questionnaire for Selected Positions"

The SF 85P-S is used only as an exception to standards. It contains additional questions regarding drug use, alcohol use, and mental health treatment that may be required for certain specified positions. Agencies with unique position requirements must request approval from NBIB to use this form. If you are uncertain if your agency has the required approval, or whether this form is appropriate for a particular position, contact NBIB at 724-794-5612.

Third Party Data Entry (3PDE)

NBIB no longer accepts hardcopy Standard Forms. NBIB recognizes that there are instances in which individuals may not be able to enter information directly into their e-QIP forms. To fulfill this need, NBIB created Fillable versions of the Standard Forms for use in the Third Party Data Entry process. 3PDE allows an authorized Agency e-QIP User to initiate a request in e-QIP and enter the individual's provided standard form information giving the requesting agencies the benefit of data validation in e-QIP.

An authorized e-QIP User must have the specific group role of "Third Party Entry" (TPE) in order to enter data in e-QIP on behalf of an individual. TPE agency users are presented with a disclaimer page of instructions at the beginning of the data entry. TPE agency users must acknowledge acceptance of these instructions before continuing with the data entry of the individual's standard form. Upon completion of data entry, the agency user will present the individual with the archival copy and e-QIP generated signature pages for review and signatures. Once signature pages are signed by the individual, agency users with the e-QIP role of "Reviewer" or "Approver" are required to upload signature pages to the e-QIP investigation request.

Agency users with the "Reviewer" and "Approver" roles in e-QIP are able to manage the completed third party data entered investigation request just as any other investigation request in e-QIP. The Agency Use Block (AUB) tab in e-QIP is still required to be completed accordingly by a TPE, Reviewer, or Approver in e-QIP.

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5.5 Certification, Releases, and Additional Documents

Refer to section 5.2 for basic guidance to assist with determining which documents are required to request an investigation. Additional guidance is provided below regarding documentation that may be required or considered as optional when submitting an investigation request. The most common documents or attachments submitted with the Standard Form within e-QIP include the Certification, General Release, Medical Release, Fair Credit Reporting Release (FCR), OF 306, résumé, and any special attachments the agency wishes to provide to NBIB. 

Fingerprint requests are sent separately to NBIB. Agencies are strongly encouraged to submit fingerprints electronically instead of mailing hard card charts. Fingerprint documents must be received before NBIB will process the e-QIP request. If an e-QIP request is received and the investigation type requires submission of fingerprints, and there is no evidence of a fingerprint result (result can be no more than 120 days old) on file with NBIB, the investigation request may be held for up to 14 days awaiting fingerprint documentation. If after 14 days the required documentation is not received, the e-QIP investigation request is flagged as unacceptable and returned to the submitting office. Automated daily notification reports are available to assist agencies with identifying e-QIP investigations in danger of being made unacceptable due to lack of fingerprints. Please contact NBIB’s System Liaison at (724) 794-5612, extension 4600 to receive daily notification reports.

Any required documentation (excluding fingerprints) must be scanned and electronically attached within e-QIP for forwarding with the e-QIP request to the Investigations Service Provider. However, if mailing fingerprints related to an e-QIP submission, please make sure the fingerprints arrive and are processed at NBIB before releasing the e-QIP request to NBIB. Fingerprints  can be mailed to the e-QIP Rapid Response Team at:

Attn: e-QIP Rapid Response Team
PO Box 618 (For deliveries that require street address: 1137 Branchton Road)
Boyers, PA 16020-0618

Certification and Releases

A Certification and General Release are required with every investigation request. Standard Investigative forms such as the SF 85, SF 85P, SF 85P-S, or SF 86 must be submitted to NBIB within 120 days of the date that an individual electronically certified their Standard Form within the e-QIP system (not the date written on the Certification page if the individual signed their Certification page with pen and ink). Investigations rely on current information provided by the individual on the SF; therefore, investigation requests released to NBIB with certifications that were signed in e-QIP more than 120 days ago are deemed "unacceptable" for processing and returned to the requesting agency without action. 

Certifications and releases printed from e-QIP contain the request ID of the questionnaire completed by the individual. The request ID printed on the Certification and releases must match the e-QIP investigation request ID being submitted to NBIB. The FCR is required to be submitted to NBIB with all investigations submitted on the SF 86. Information regarding acceptable electronic format of attachments and guidance on how to electronically attach these items may be found in the e-QIP Job aids maintained in the NP2 Secure Portal or through e-QIP help screens accessed via the help menus in e-QIP.

e-QIP has the ability to accept electronically imaged attachments as part of the investigation request. The imaged attachments include the signed investigation questionnaire Certification, releases, and special attachments. This does not include fingerprint charts. Please see section 6.0 for information about submission of fingerprints.

Submit the Medical Release, "Authorization for Release of Medical Information Pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)", with an investigation request to NBIB when the SF 86 contains a positive response to the mental health section (section/question 21 – Psychological and Emotional Health). An agency should also submit the Medical Release if there is a positive response to question 5 on the SF 85P-S. The request ID printed on the Medical Release must match the request ID of the e-QIP investigation submission. Reminder: Agencies must have a special agreement for use of the supplemental portion of the SF 85P, which is the SF 85P-S.

Click to Sign (Use of Digital Signatures within e-QIP) provides individuals the ability to digitally "sign" their Certification and releases. The Click to Sign signature process is a separate process from digitally signing a document with Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Cards or Common Access Cards (CAC). This functionality is now available for the Certification page, Fair Credit Reporting Release, General Release and Medical Release. Applicants can still opt-out of signing their documents digitally and may still print, sign and either upload as a scanned attachment, upload via the fax-solution, or mail hardcopy to their sponsoring agency (sponsoring agency must electronically attach these hardcopy documents prior to releasing their request to NBIB). Information and instructions for the e-QIP Fax Solution can be found within the e-QIP Help-screens on the agency attachment screens. For more instructions/details concerning e-QIP Click to Sign, please visit the Digitally Signed Releases page and read the e-QIP Help-screens on the attachment screens within e-QIP.

Optional Form (OF) 306 "Declaration for Federal Employment"

The OF 306 is a form utilized to collect information during the hiring process to determine an individual's acceptability for Federal employment and Federal contract employment. It is also used to determine an appointee's status in the Government's Life Insurance program when the appointee has been previously employed by the Federal Government. Although the OF 306 is an optional form, providing the specific information requested by the OF 306 is not optional when OF 306 information is required for the investigation submission per section 5.2.

COMPLETE OF 306 information must accompany each request for investigation submitted on an SF 85 or SF 85P when the individual to be investigated is a new Federal civilian employee or applicant for Federal employment. For SF 86 submissions, the OF 306 information should be submitted for such individuals only when there is a discrepancy between information submitted on the SF 86 and the OF 306 information. The individual and agency should carefully review the OF 306 information and any attached sheets. If additional space is needed, the individual may provide material on additional sheets. Any amendments to the OF 306 will require the individual being investigated to initial and date the amendments.

Investigations on contractor personnel requested on the SF 85 and SF 85P require the applicant to answer specific questions found on the OF 306: 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17a. Question 17a requires a signature and date in order for the form to be complete. To provide the additional information to NBIB, the OF 306 may be used, or the specific questions and answers may be provided on an attachment. The latest version of the OF 306 can be found here.

Application or Resume

An application or résumé should only be submitted to NBIB when there is a substantive discrepancy between the application/résumé and the Standard Form, and your agency needs that discrepancy addressed during the investigation.

Agencies sending the résumé to NBIB for review and scheduling must use FIPC Code “1B” in the AUB block of the Standard Form. Additionally, complete information for the residence, employment or education which the agency wishes NBIB to address will be required before NBIB schedules the investigation. To avoid delays in scheduling provide any needed supplemental information for the application/résumé on a separate document as an “ATA” attachment within e-QIP. 

As agency submitting offices are responsible for comparing the application/résumé to the Standard Form, applications/résumés provided with investigation requests without FIPC Code “1B” on the AUB will not be reviewed by NBIB. However the applications or résumés will be provided with the investigation results to the SOI for adjudicative purposes with a comment alerting the SOI that the application/résumé was not requested to be reviewed by NBIB.

Special Attachments

Agencies may provide special attachments with the investigation request, such as license or certificate; issue information; individuals in the U.S. who can verify activities outside the United States; agency-conducted subject interview or pre-appointment checks; and any other pertinent information. To notify NBIB of special attachments provided with the submission, use Extra Coverage Code 7 when completing the Agency Use Block (AUB).

"Unacceptable" Investigation Requests

NBIB will attempt to obtain incomplete or missing information from the submitting office; however, if unsuccessful the standard form and corresponding documents are returned to the agency for completion. NBIB emails the group email provided on the PIPS 12 for the SON to obtain missing information in the investigation submission. If a group email address is not listed, NBIB calls or emails the requesting official(s) listed on the Standard Form. The case is returned unacceptable if information is not provided to NBIB within 7 days of the call, voicemail, or email. The electronic questionnaire and any electronic attachments are rejected back to the releasing agency in e-QIP for correction. 

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