How Much Does a Secret Security Clearance Cost

Title: How Much Does a Secret Security Clearance Cost?


In today’s ever-evolving world, security clearances have become an essential component for individuals seeking employment in various sectors. Among these, a Secret Security Clearance is one of the most commonly sought-after levels of clearance. However, prospective candidates often wonder about the costs associated with obtaining and maintaining this clearance. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of the Secret Security Clearance process and explore the expenses involved, shedding light on the frequently asked questions surrounding this topic.

Understanding Secret Security Clearance:

A Secret Security Clearance is a level of clearance granted by the government to individuals who require access to classified information that could potentially cause damage to national security if disclosed. This clearance is typically required for positions within the military, government agencies, defense contractors, and other sensitive industries.

The Costs Involved:

1. Application Fee: The initial cost of applying for a Secret Security Clearance can vary depending on the agency or employer. On average, the fee ranges from $100 to $500. However, it is typically covered by the employer.

2. Background Investigation: The government conducts thorough background investigations on individuals applying for a Secret Security Clearance. While the cost is covered by the government, it can range from $3,000 to $15,000, depending on the complexity of the investigation.

3. Polygraph Examination: In some cases, applicants may be required to undergo a polygraph examination as part of their clearance process. The cost of this examination can range from $700 to $2,000.

4. Renewal and Maintenance: Secret Security Clearances must be renewed periodically, usually every ten years. The renewal process incurs additional costs, such as reinvestigation fees, which can range from $3,000 to $15,000.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. How long does it take to obtain a Secret Security Clearance?
– The process can take anywhere from a few months to over a year, depending on various factors such as backlog, complexity of the case, and applicant cooperation.

2. Can I pay for my own Secret Security Clearance?
– No, the costs associated with obtaining a Secret Security Clearance are typically covered by the employer or government agency requiring the clearance.

3. Can I transfer my Secret Security Clearance between employers?
– Yes, Secret Security Clearances are portable. However, the new employer may need to initiate a new investigation or request a transfer of the clearance.

4. Do I need a Secret Security Clearance to apply for jobs that require one?
– No, you can apply for jobs requiring a Secret Security Clearance even if you do not currently hold one. However, the employer will initiate the clearance process if you are selected for the position.

5. Can I expedite the Secret Security Clearance process?
– In certain cases, applicants with urgent national security needs may have their clearances expedited. However, this is at the discretion of the government agency and cannot be guaranteed.

6. Can bankruptcy affect my chances of obtaining a Secret Security Clearance?
– While bankruptcy itself may not disqualify you, it can raise concerns about financial responsibility. The circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy and steps taken to address the issue will be evaluated during the background investigation.

7. Can foreign contacts or relatives affect my clearance eligibility?
– Having foreign contacts or relatives does not automatically disqualify you from obtaining a Secret Security Clearance. However, it is important to disclose such associations and provide relevant information during the clearance process.

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8. Can drug use affect my Secret Security Clearance?
– Drug use, including illegal or unauthorized prescription drug use, can impact your clearance eligibility. Honesty and mitigating factors, such as rehabilitation efforts, will be taken into consideration during the review process.

9. Can a criminal record disqualify me from obtaining a Secret Security Clearance?
– A criminal record does not automatically disqualify an individual from obtaining a clearance. The nature and severity of the offense, rehabilitation efforts, and the time elapsed since the incident will be considered.

10. Can I appeal a denial of a Secret Security Clearance?
– Yes, applicants have the right to appeal a denial and provide additional information or mitigating circumstances for reconsideration.

11. Can my Secret Security Clearance be revoked?
– Yes, clearances can be revoked if new information comes to light that raises concerns about an individual’s suitability or reliability.

12. Can my Secret Security Clearance be upgraded to a higher level?
– Yes, it is possible to upgrade a Secret Security Clearance to a higher level, such as Top Secret, if the position or job requirements necessitate it. The process for upgrading clearances may involve additional investigations and requirements.


Obtaining and maintaining a Secret Security Clearance involves various costs, ranging from application fees to background investigations and periodic renewals. While the expenses associated with this clearance are typically covered by employers or government agencies, applicants should be aware of the potential financial obligations. By understanding the costs and requirements, individuals can navigate the clearance process more effectively, enabling them to pursue careers in sectors that require access to classified information while upholding national security.

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