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Common questions about security clearances

Security clearances may be an important part of your job so it is helpful to understand them and have any questions you might have about them answered. A security clearance may be required in many government jobs, including military service and in others.

You might wonder who needs a security clearance and who can apply for one. When the position requires access to classified information, the government determines if the individual will need a security clearance. Based on the duties and responsibilities of the individual's position within the government, the government will determine what level of security clearance they require. There are three levels of security clearance. In general, only United States citizens can apply for security clearances.

You may also wonder what the purpose of a security clearance is. The overall purposes of a security clearance is to determine that the individual applying for one is willing and able to safeguard national security information. The determination of whether or not the applicant is willing and able to safeguard classified national security information is based on a review of their loyalty, character, trustworthiness and reliability. A security clearance is subject to review every five years.

Because there are many complexities associated with a security clearance, including how long they are good for and other considerations, those seeking one should be familiar with how they work and what they do. Successfully obtaining a security clearance can be important for the career and livelihood of the applicant which is why it is helpful for them to understand as much about the process as possible.

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