Help with SF85 Security Clearance Form

We are happy to help with your SF85, the “Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions” or government jobs. Standard Form 85 (SF85) is the E-QIP form for public trust or lower-risk positions compared with the Standard Form 86 (SF86), which is used for higher-level security clearances including Secret and Top Secret. It’s used to show whether you are reliable, trustworthy, and of good conduct and character.

Man who needs help with SF85

You should be instructed by your prospective company’s security officer which form is necessary but if it for a non-sensitive position, you will likely only need to complete the SF85.

The SF85 form is used as a basis for the background investigation for the prospective employee once a conditional offer of employment is made.

Getting Prepared

SF85 is a lengthy form with many different sections relating to different aspects of your personal and professional history. It’s important to complete the form to the fullest extent possible because the US Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Operations, Security, and Preparedness (OSP) able to complete your investigation, or complete it in a timely manner, if you don’t give us each item of information we request. You will need to provide your Social Security number as it is used to maintain accurate records in the federal agency system.

You’ll want to get a copy of your credit report from or and confirm that everything is accurate. The three credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax) are offering free weekly reports during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people get a grip on their credit.

You should also set up an account on the e-QIP site, which is under the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). When you first access the eQIP system, you will be prompted to create a user ID and password, as well as three “Golden Questions”, essentially security questions as you may have for other system accesses.

If you need help with SF85 during any step, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Help with SF85 Form

OSP provides some instructions to help with SF85 completion. It’s important to answer everything and be honest.

  1. Follow the instructions given to you by the person who gave you the form and any other clarifying instructions furnished by that person to assist you in completion of the form. Find out how many copies of the form you are to turn in. You must sign and date, in black ink, the original and each copy you submit.
  2. Type or legibly print your answers in black ink (if your form is not legible, it will not be accepted). You may also be asked to submit your form in an approved electronic format.
  3. All questions on this form must be answered. If no response is necessary or applicable, indicate this on the form (for example, enter “None” or “N/A”). If you find that you cannot report an exact date, approximate or estimate the date to the best of your ability and indicate this by marking “APPROX.” or “EST.”
  4. Any changes that you make to this form after you sign it must be initiated and dated by you. Under certain limited circumstances, agencies may modify the form consistent with your intent.
  5. You must use the State codes (abbreviations) listed on the back of this page when you fill out this form. Do not abbreviate the names of cities or foreign countries.
  6. The 5-digit postal ZIP codes are needed to speed the processing of your investigation. The office that provided the form will assist you in completing the ZIP codes.
  7. All telephone numbers must include area codes.
  8. All dates provided on this form must be in Month/Day/Year or Month/Year format. Use numbers (1-12) to indicate months. For example, June 10, 1978, should be shown as 6/10/78.
  9. Whenever “City (Country)” is shown in an address block, also provide in that block the name of the country when the address is outside the United States.
  10. If you need additional space to list your residence or employments/self-employments/unemployment or education, you should use a continuation sheet. SF 86A. If additional space is needed to answer other items, use a blank piece of paper. Each blank piece of paper you use must contain your name and Social Security Number at the top of the page.

Below is the interactive PDF version of the form that will help you familiarize yourself with the questions and answers you’ll be required to submit.