APPLICATION PROCESS

A career with the Intelligence Community (IC) can be enormously rewarding. It also demands the very best of the workforce. To meet the requirements, you must be highly competent in your field. You must also be highly reliable and trusted to safeguard some of the nation’s most sensitive information.

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You must be granted a security clearance before the hiring process can be finalized. The government considers many factors when granting security clearances, including citizenship, drug use and personal integrity and conduct.

The clearance process begins when you accept a conditional offer of employment from an IC member. It involves an examination of your life history and fitness to safeguard the nation’s secrets. Think of this process as the first step in building a bridge of trust between you and the IC. Candor is an essential ingredient in the establishment of that trust.

During the investigation, we examine your loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion and soundness of judgment. In addition, we want to sure make you are free from conflicting allegiances to other countries; are not a potential risk for coercion; and are willing and able to abide by regulations governing the use, handling and protection of sensitive information.

Most IC agencies will require a polygraph exam to check the veracity of information that bears upon the areas listed above.

You must be a citizen of the United States when you apply to work for the IC. Being a dual citizen of the U.S. and another country will not automatically disqualify you as long as we can determine you do not pose a security risk.

Recent and/or frequent use of illegal drugs, including marijuana even in states whose laws permit its recreational or medical use, could raise a security concern, and may be disqualifying. It is important to know that the IC is a drug-free workplace. During the application process, a urine test may be required to detect the presence of illegal or controlled substances. Once hired, IC employees are subject to random urinalysis testing.

The IC recognizes that no one is perfect. IC security officials consider the nature, extent, seriousness, and recency of past behavior and the likelihood of its continuation. Security officials carefully weigh all available information — favorable and unfavorable, both past and present, including mitigating factors — to make a security clearance access determination.

The hiring process may also entail a medical examination of one’s mental and physical fitness to perform essential job functions.

The application timeline begins once you’ve been contacted by an agency regarding your application on IntelligenceCareers.gov. Please note that the processing times provided below are approximate, and may vary significantly dependent upon the applicant or job opening. Although the application process is long, we believe you will find it is well worth the wait.


DIA Application Timeline

Week 0-2
HR Screening (Begin processing, approximately 2 weeks)
Your application, resume and basic qualifications will be screened by Human Resources to see if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Week 2-6
Operational Interviews and Testing (Approximately 2-4 weeks)
You are introduced to supervisors in your area of expertise who assess your qualifications in detail. You may also be asked to take a test. If all goes well, you will receive a conditional job offer.

Week 6-18
Security and Psychological Testing (Approximately 8-12 weeks)
This is the security clearance process. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire and meet with a background investigator. The investigator will work for several weeks to confirm the details you provide in the questionnaire. You may also be asked to participate in psychological testing and related interviews.

Week 18-20
Hiring Authority Final Approval (Approximately 1-2 weeks)
After successful completion of the security process, the hiring authority will approve your candidacy and clear the way for a job offer.

Week 20+
Final Job Offer
Congratulations! You get a job offer to start a new career with the IC!


NGA Application Timeline :

Week 0-2
HR Screening (Begin processing, approximately 1-2 weeks)
Human Resources will review your application, resume and basic qualifications.

Week 2-10
Interviews (Approximately 8 weeks)
You are introduced to supervisors in your area of expertise who assess your qualifications in detail. You may also be asked to take a test. If all goes well, you will receive a conditional job offer.

Week 10-24
Security and Pre-Employment Testing (Approximately 14 weeks)
This is the security clearance process. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire and meet with a background investigator. The investigator will work for several weeks to confirm the details you provide in the questionnaire. You may also be asked to participate in a polygraph, medical or other testing and related interviews.

Week 24+
Final Job Offer (Approximately 2 weeks)
Congratulations! You have successfully completed the pre-employment process, which clears the way for your final job offer and career with the IC!


NSA Application Timeline :

Week 0-5
HR Prescreen to Conditional Job Offer
Human Resources will contact you to review your application, resume and basic qualifications. The next step is the operational interview. Managers assess your qualifications in detail, and testing may be required. Should the hiring manager decide to move forward, a conditional job offer will be extended.

Week 5-9
Applicant Completes Security Forms
You will be required to fill out security forms. This step can take up to four weeks. Applicants who’ve traveled extensively, have a longer work history or foreign contacts may take longer than those without these experiences/contacts.

Week 9-23
Background Investigation, Psychological Testing and Polygraph
Around 9 weeks, the security clearance process begins. In addition to the background check, you’ll be asked to participate in psychological testing and a polygraph. Note: This stage is the most varied, depending on successful completion of the assessments.

Week 23-31
Authorize Final Approval and Extend Final Job Offer
After successful completion of the security process, the hiring authority will approve your candidacy and clear the way for a job offer. Your recruiter will extend a final job offer and set a start date to begin your new career with NSA!​


ODNI Application Timeline

Week 0-2
Screening (Begin processing, approximately 2 weeks)
Your application, resume and basic qualifications will be screened by Human Resources and hiring managers to see if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Week 2-4
Interviews (Approximately 2-4 weeks)
If you are selected for an interview, you will be contacted to arrange a time to speak with a panel about your qualifications.

Week 5-8
HR Process (Approximately 1-4 Weeks)
The preferred candidate will be extended an offer of employment. Candidates are given five days to respond. If the offer is accepted, a conditional offer of employment is extended along with all government/agency forms. The candidate will have two weeks to complete the packet.

Week 9-20
Security and Medical/Psychological Testing (At least 8-15 weeks)
The security process begins. You will be scheduled for medical and polygraph exams. A background investigator will confirm the details you provide in a questionnaire and determine your suitability for a clearance. Any omissions in the forms or missed appointments may significantly delay the process.

Week 20+
Hiring Authority Final Approval (Approximately 1-2 weeks)
After successful completion of the medical and security process, a Human Resources representative will contact you to schedule your Entrance on Duty orientation. Congratulations on the start of your new career with the IC!