Can a Felon Get a Security Clearance?

In some instances, you may need to acquire a security clearance. Clearances are a requirement for some jobs. These jobs are for the government or military.

Some basic positions do require a clearance. As an ex-convict, it can be hard enough to apply for jobs. It can be more discouraging when an in-depth check must take place.

Can a felon get a security clearance?

Can a Felon Get a Security Clearance

Though it isn’t an easy process, it is not impossible. A felony conviction does not disqualify a person from clearance. It may just be a bit more difficult to obtain.

Through the process a felon can even use their experiences to show their loyalty to the U.S.

Not all jobs require security clearances. If you are a felon looking for a job, you should check out

It is a great website that can encourage you along the way.

Let’s take a closer look at what a security clearance is.

Security Clearance

Clearance grants a person access to classified information. This information is material that is important enough to protect.

This information may involve material of talk with foreign governments. Important information that include military documents can be highly classified as well.

There are different types of security clearances. This is because there are different levels of information.

Types Of Security Clearances

Can a Felon Get a Security Clearance Type

Confidential, secret, and top secret. Those are the types of security clearances. The level deals with the duties of the specified job.

Let’s go over the three different types of security clearances.

Confidential Security

A confidential clearance is the easiest type for one to obtain. This covers information that would cause damage to national security.

This clearance can take a few weeks to a few months.


A secret clearance is a bit higher than confidential. This information would cause serious damage to national security.

These can take a few months to a year. This depends on the person’s background. Having ties with non-U. S citizens can cause the process to take longer.

Top Secret

A top secret is the strictest type. This clearance grants access to sensitive information. This information can put national security in great danger.

What Jobs Require A Security Clearance?

Security clearances are a requirement for some jobs. Jobs that require a clearance are for the federal government. These jobs include, military personnel or defense contractors.

In certain facilities a clearance is a requirement for every job. Jobs that are entry level require a clearance. An example would be a custodial position.

This is because of the facility in which their job is at. Top-secret facilities obtain a lot of classified information. This information must remain protected at all costs.

A clearance is to protect all information that is to be in protection.

There are more basic positions that do require a security clearance. Jobs in the medical, education, or financial field can require one. Those are examples of jobs not in relation to the federal government.

Who Issues A Security Clearance?

You may be wondering who issues security clearances.

A recent order has given authority to The Department of Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.  Clearance checks were through the Office of Personnel Management before.

How Does Someone Get A Security Clearance?

Can a Felon Get a Security Clearance How

To obtain a security clearance there are numerous steps to take. These steps include looking at your personal and professional history. Your loyalty to the United States will be under question as well.

A clearance involves an application, background check and adjudication. Once the application is complete, the process will take as long as need be. This process can take a few weeks to months.

A face-to-face interview is required. This interview will be with a Department of State investigator.

Disqualifications For Security Clearance

There are some situations that will disqualify someone from gaining clearance. Though there are some offenses that cannot be overlooked, there are many that can be dismissed,

If someone is mentally incompetent, clearance will not be given.

Dishonorable discharge from the military will not gain you clearance.

A person’s loyalty to the United States is an important factor. Someone who shows rebellion towards the government will be an issue.

Foreign affairs or having lived in a foreign country will raise security concerns. This is due to one’s loyalty to the U. S being in question.

A record of criminal activity creates concern for security. An applicant’s character comes in to play. It may be in question due to their criminal history.

As a felon it is important to keep in mind that your charges do not define you. Having a record should not hinder you from applying for security clearance.

What Felonies Will Disqualify You?

If a felon can obtain clearance or not depends on a few factors. Having a felony will not remove someone from the start. It may just make it a bit more difficult.

Loyalty to the United States plays a large role in clearance. Theft or embezzlement will result in automatic removal.

Someone who is an addict of any controlled substance would not pass through. A conviction dealing with this may include a DUI. Possession of controlled substances will result in removal.

A security clearance approval is on a case-by-case basis. This means, it will depend on the particular offense. As well as the extent of the offense.

There are some factors than will play a role in approval.

The amount of time that has passed since the committed crime is important. Charges that were in the past seven years must be reported.

Whether the crime committed was voluntary or not will also be important.

The extent of the crime will be in consideration. Some crimes will result in automatic removal.

Background Check

The job’s requirements determine how in depth the background check will go.

For a secret clearance, a more in-depth check will be in need. It will require a check with someone other than oneself. A check with a person you have lived with or worked with over the past seven years.

For a felon it is important to be honest about your past. It is important to show that you have improved your lifestyle.

A background check should not discourage. Instead, it can be an opportunity to show how far you have come. Use your record to your advantage.

Due to the strict nature of clearances, many do fail the background check. This is true for felons and non-felons alike. It can be a very long and tough process.

If you fail the background check, it should not discourage you from applying for jobs. It just means you cannot work a job that requires clearance.

There are many jobs for felons that do not require a security clearance. More so than not!

Jobs for the federal government will need clearance. This is due to the amount of information that those jobs deal with.


In conclusion, a felon can gain security clearance. Though it isn’t an easy process, it is not impossible.

Through the process a felon can use their experiences to show their loyalty to the U.S.

If you are not approved for a security clearance do not get discouraged. This just means you cannot work at a job that requires a clearance. There are many jobs out there that will hire ex-convicts.

I encourage you to check out

This website is a great place to browse jobs. Jobs in which you may or may not need a security clearance.

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