I am up for a job that will get me a Secret Clearance. Between 2006-2009, I was a contractor. I had 5 contracts. 4 of them I was self employed. 1 I was a w-2.

For the w-2 there should be a record of my dates of employment at the contract company. The others were through an LLC and later an S-Corporation. There are no requirements for contract companies to keep records. One of the companies I worked with for a year went out of business.

I might be able to get references for 2 of the contracts from people I worked with. I don't even remember my managers name on some of these.

Not sure what I should provide the investigator? Will this cause a problem? Also, I think they go back 7 years. The company I was at before I contracted is a large company. I have no idea how to contact their HR department. Can I just give the company name? Will they be able to find it?

  • Don't worry, even if you give false information that cannot be confirmed by them (or they are to lazy for) it will be approved anyway unless you have done something very bad in the past. Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 10:21
  • The large company is going to be the easiest. Large companies keep records for long periods of time. Commented Dec 8, 2012 at 1:08

4 Answers 4


When I filled out the application for my US Secret clearance two years ago, I did not need to provide references at each company. What I needed to provide was a set of references covering the time period for people who could vouch for my employment and residence.

Your employer (or prospective employer, if this is a new job rather than a promotion) almost certainly has a designated "security officer" whose job includes shepherding people through the clearance process. That person can help with specific details of the application.


Do you have someone not related to you that can vouch that you were doing that contract and not selling drugs, or knockoffs, or doing time in jail? What they care about most is that you can prove that you were doing something legal that you say you were doing and not something bad. If you have the name of a contact at the company that you were contracting and they can say that yes you were working on that contract around those dates it will usually be enough for basic security clearances.

There are different levels of security clearance that require deeper back ground checks. Some of the checks can take over a year to clear even if you have everything for them. Generally if you can get to the point where they are willing to start that investigation, and your skill is in immediate need they will issue you a temporary clearance. This could be revoked at any time if the investigation hits a snag. I worked with a contractor that lost his clearance for 3 weeks over a wrong phone number. But when the issue cleared the clearance was resumed.

  • Other than my former accountant since he did my taxes. No. how would people really know? I have my corporate tax returns and I paid a considerable amount of money in taxes. It was my only income. When an S-Corp, my taxes were paid to my business account. I do have a 1099 form for one of them and some other forms like that. Would my tax returns be enough? This was my only income. I did have one contract on a w-2 with a contracting company, but who knows if they have any records. I still have the w-2 for that.
    – Bob
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 19:47
  • Then I suspect that your tax forms will be fine. If they have a problem with them then they will probably tell you what they need to prove it. The more information you can provide on the companies you did work for the better though. Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 22:04

You should provide more information than they need. Make a list of everything you can find: Who you worked for; Where you worked; Dates; Somebody who worked there. You might have old emails or are connected to some of these people though LinkedIn. You might need to look back at your old tax records. Look at old resumes.

They will decide who they need to interview. The investigators know the farther you go back, the harder it is to find people. People leave companies, they retire, they seem to drop off the face of the earth.

Ask the security office at the company or government agency. You are not the first with this situation. Others have tough challenges too: they moved 10 times while in the military including war zones; they went to college out of the country; they worked for one company but at 7 different work locations.

You will probably be interviewed after you complete the forms, this is the time to bring the box of paperwork so that if they ask for more information you can try to find it. They will go over every line on the form at that interview, if they want more info than you have, then you will be given time to gather the names and numbers.


I've had to deal with security clearances for a long time. It's best to keep a log with details and contact numbers of people who aren't related or don't live with you to vouch for your activities at different times of projects and self employment. It might take a few hours, but you can put all that in a private resume for your own purposes with dates and contact information. Since you are struggling with identifying someone unrelated who can vouch for your activities for a few projects, that could slow things down. It's best to make an effort to think about who can vouch for those times.

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