You will need to have security clearance in the UK to apply for jobs within the defence and public sectors. It is required by the UK Government to ensure that people working with ‘sensitive assets’ do not pose any risk to national security by having access to this information.
There are four different types of security clearance.
- BASELINE PERSONNEL SECURITY STANDARD (BPSS)
BPSS is the first and most basic mandatory check for anyone who has access to Government assets. BPSS does not allow individuals access to classified information but an employee cannot progress to higher levels of clearance without having a BPSS being in place.
To obtain a BPSS you will need:
- ID confirmation
- Right to work
- Employment checks for the last 3 years
- Basic disclosure criminal record check
- SECURITY CHECK (SC)
SC is the most common type of security clearance. It is for candidates who would require access to secret and occasionally, top secret government assets. This type of check would also involve you going through MI5 records, doing credit checks, checking reports from your previous employers and you could also get a face to face interview. The candidate will also need to have been a resident for at least 5 years in the UK. SC is also transferable between different Government departments and it covers a variety of jobs.
To obtain a SC you will need:
- BPSS Clearance
- Completion of an SC questionnaire
- Department/Company records check
- Criminal Record check
- Credit reference check
- Security service check
- COUNTER-TERRORISM CHECK (CTC)
This CTC clearance check is for candidates who will be working with sensitive data or materials, or who are vulnerable to terrorist attack or whose work will involve unrestricted access to certain government or commercial establishments. CTC is used to check whether candidates have any connections to terrorist organizations or if they are vulnerable to pressure from such groups. This check is also checked on a personnel level as well as professional.
- DEVELOPED VETTING (DV)
This is the highest level of security clearance, which is for candidates who will have substantial unsupervised access to ‘TOP SECRET’ assets and/or will be working with intelligence and security agencies. This is mandatory for individuals with frequent or unrestricted access to Top secret files, as well as for those who by nature of their job have the potential to cause a similar amount of devastation and damage by means other than exposing Top secret files. The candidate will have to volunteer a large amount of personal information in order to guarantee reliability and establish confidence. The candidate should take in that this is not an interrogation and should not feel like one.
CAN I APPLY FOR SECURITY CLEARANCE?
You can not apply for security clearance yourself unfortunately only your employer or recruitment partner to conduct all the right checks to ensure all employees are security cleared. There is a certain vetting process your employer should fully comply with the guidelines set by the United Kingdom Security Vetting Unit (UKSVU). The UKSVU sets out certain guidelines of the security clearance process that ensures the relevant information is vetted.
HOW DO I GET SECURITY CLEARANCE?
Your employer will arrange for all the necessary checks and it will then be carried out through a government agency. You will need to provide your ID, nationality, immigration status and complete a criminal record declaration form. The higher levels of security clearance will require a more intense background check on your criminal record, credit reference and a security service check.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BECOME SECURITY CLEARED?
It depends of the level of security clearance you need.
- Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)- Around 7-10 days.
- Security Checks (SC)- Around 7-10 days.
- Counter Terrorist Check (CTC)- Around 10 days.
- Developed Vetting(DV)- Around 6-9 months.
WHAT INFORMATION WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE?
Basic security clearance you will need to show:
- Personal information
- Date of birth
- Proof of address
- Immigration status
If you apply for the higher level security clearance you need to show:
- Financial history
- Family history
HOW LONG IS SECURITY CLEARANCE VALID FOR?
Security clearance lasts for five years for contractors and ten years for permanent candidates. Some security clearance only lasts the duration of the employment contract. DV clearance lasts for seven years with a reinvestigation conducted after five years. If you are working on the same contract for over ten years then your security clearance will be renewed and you will need to provide information. If you are a migrant contracter your security clearance will need to be renewed every 12 months until you obtain ‘indefinite leave to remain’ status. If you decide to change jobs while your security clearance still has time left on it, you will be free to apply for other roles which require security clearance.