Instructions for Completing SF-86 On-line
Instructions for Completing SF-86 On-line
The Office of Personnel Management has instructed all U.S. government agencies
and departments that candidates being offered positions must file their
Questionnaires for National Security Positions (SF-86) on-line.
To streamline the process, the Department of State asks that you fill out the SF-86
electronically, certify it, print a copy along with the release forms, and then save it.
DO NOT RELEASE OR SUBMIT THE FORM AT THIS TIME. If you pass the Oral
Assessment, a Diplomatic Security investigator will review the hard copy of the form
with you and indicate when you are ready to submit the electronic version.
• To start, simply go to the following link to begin completing your SF-86 using
e-QIP: http://www.opm.gov/e-qip/browser-check.asp. Please read and
thoroughly follow the instructions for completing the SF-86 to prevent any
• Once you click on the link, your web browser will be tested to ensure
compatibility with e-QIP. Please follow the on-screen instructions if your web
browser is not compatible. If you click “Continue” and are directed to a page
that says “Page Cannot Be Displayed,” please go back to
http://www.opm.gov/e-qip/browser-check.asp and follow the instructions
pertaining to TLS (Transport Security Layer) under the “Continue” button.
Upon making this correction, you should now be able to access e-QIP.
• When you first log on, you will be prompted to answer three “Golden” security
questions. For your city of birth, please respond “Unknown.” You will correct
the response to reflect your actual place of birth after you enter the
o Please note: If you have previously submitted an electronic SF86
through e-QIP, your "Golden" security questions remain as you set
them at that time.
• Be completely honest and forthright when answering all questions on the SF-
86. If necessary, provide any clarification or explanation for how you
answered a particular question in the comments or continuation section.
• Please list not only your current spouse, fiancé(e) or cohabitant of a romantic
nature, but also any former spouse(s). Also include in-laws.
• Although the instructions for the SF-86 state that only data for the past seven
(7) years is needed for residence, education and employment, please go back
10 years or until your 18th birthday, whichever is the shorter period of time.
• If you had a period of unemployment or were a full-time student, list that as
period of “Unemployment” in the employment section, along with the
information for someone who can verify your activities during that time.
• If a residence was in an apartment complex, include the name of the complex
and the unit number. If your name was not on the lease, then include the
name of the individual who was on the rental or lease agreement.
• For overseas addresses, do not list APO or FPO addresses. Please include the
actual address information so our Regional Security Officers can properly
locate it if needed.
• If you have spent time overseas, provide references who are in the United
States now and who can corroborate or verify your overseas activities. If
necessary, this information can be added in the continuation section of the
• For question 14, for any foreign relatives or associates (if in doubt, list them),
please also provide the following information either in the continuation section
of the SF-86 or on an attached piece of plain bond paper that is submitted
with your release forms: (a) the person’s occupation, (b) current employer,
(c) whether they now or in the past have worked for a government agency,
police, security or intelligence organization, and if so, for which specific
agency/organization and government(s) and (d) the types of contact you
have with them (phone, email), as well as the frequency and date of your
last contact. (Also remember that the Supplemental Questions and the
Supplemental Form for Public Trust Positions (SF-85P and SF-85PS) are
needed, signed by the foreign spouse, foreign cohabitant, or foreign national.
See http://careers.state.gov/resources/employment-forms.html to download
• For male candidates, if you do not know your selective service number, you
can obtain it by calling the automated system at 1-847-688-6888 or via their
website at http://www.sss.gov.
• Include information for any prior security clearances issued. If uncertain of
the type or date(s), at a minimum provide the agency that granted it.
• Certify the document only when you are certain that all the
information is correct and complete, and up-to-date. You will
NOT/NOT be able to make changes after you certify the document.
• Print a copy of the SF-86 and bring it with you. Print the release
forms and bring them, with you. Reminder: Your spouse, estranged
spouse, fiancé(e), or cohabitant of a romantic nature needs to sign
the DS-7601, Authorization to conduct Criminal History Inquiry for
Spouse or Cohabitant.
• Save the electronic document which is available only to you, until you release
it into the system. If you pass the Oral Assessment, the Diplomatic Security
officer will review it with you and then request that you submit it.
• Not preparing the form in advance will delay the processing of your security
clearance. REMEMBER the information is secure until you authorize release.
• Oral Assessment passers will be fingerprinted on-site. It is not necessary to
bring completed fingerprint cards.
• If additional information must be submitted later, send it via Federal Express
or UPS to:
U.S. Department of State
1801 North Lynn Street
Arlington, VA 22209
Do not use USPS mail since items will be returned as ‘non-deliverable’.
If you encounter any problems while completing the SF-86, please contact the Office
of Personnel Security and Suitability’s Customer Service Center (CSC). The CSC is
staffed Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays, from 8:00 AM until 5:00
PM. They can be called toll-free within the U.S. at (866) 643-INFO (4636), or at
(571) 345-3186. You can also email [email protected]
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