Your guide to getting top level security clearance

There are many exciting jobs that due to their nature require employees to pass requisite security clearance.

Developed Vetting (DV) is one such process which ascertains an individual’s suitability for access to sensitive government information or other valuable assets. As you might expect, obtaining this level of security clearance takes time and effort – anything from three to 12 months but for those who make the grade, doors will open to some of the most rewarding and challenging projects. Here is some expert guidance on what to expect…

How do I get DV clearance?

Firstly, you need a sponsor as individuals cannot ask for a security clearance unless they are sponsored.  You will only be sponsored if the company that is employing you (or yourself, if you are a consultant) is contracted, or is in the process of being contracted, to work on Ministry of Defence (MoD) classified projects. 

If the company is LIST X (a commercial site on UK soil that is approved to hold UK government protectively marked information marked as 'confidential' and above), it will be able to sponsor the clearance itself. If you are employed by a company that is subcontracted by a LIST X main contractor, the LIST X firm will also be able to sponsor you. If there is no LIST X sponsor, the MoD authority responsible for placing the contract will sponsor the clearance.

What should I expect from the process? 

The National Security Vetting (NSV) will carry out criminal records and a check against security service records. They will also double check some of your references by writing to or interviewing the individuals who provided them. You will also be interviewed by a Vetting Officer.  In addition to this, you will be required to provide access to your medical records and you and (if you have one) your partner’s financial information.

What hints and tips can the team at ARM give me?

Honesty is the best policy, so be completely truthful and transparent throughout the entire process.  The NSV will refuse to issue clearance if they find out that information that you have supplied is false or you have failed to disclose relevant information. Vetting Officers are highly trained and experienced professionals and they will have heard everything before. Those who have been through the process have referred to the interview stage as the “confessional”! 

How long will I have to wait to get cleared?

Due to the thorough nature of the process it isn’t quick. Each case is individual so there is no way to prescribe a given timeframe. However, in our experience you should expect it to take a minimum of three months and certainly no longer than 12 months.

If you would like more information about the UK Government security vetting and clearance process visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/security-vetting-and-clearance