Type of information required Confidential or secret clearance Top secret clearance
Personnel security questionnaire : Information reported by applicants on standard form 86
National agency check : Information from the FBI and other national agencies.
Credit check : Information on where the individual has lived, worked and attended school during the past seven years.
Local agency checks : Data from law enforcement agencies where the applicant has lived, worked and attended school for six months during the past seven years.
Date and place of birth
Citizenship : For applicants born outside the U.S., verification of American citizenship by appropriate authorities is required.
Education: Corroboration of the most recent attendance, degree or diploma.
Employment : Review of employment records for the past seven years and interviews with workplace references.
References : Data from references both identified by the applicant and found by investigators.
National agency check for spouse or cohabitant
Former spouse : Interview with former spouse if divorced within the last 10 years.
Neighborhoods : Confirmation of all residences for the past three years through interviews with neighbors and records checks.
Public records: Verification of bankruptcies, divorces and other criminal or civil court actions.
Subject interview : Interview with the applicant.

SOURCE: The United States Government Accountability Office .