All You Need To Know About The E-QIP

All You Need To Know About The E-QIP

Have you ever needed to apply for a security clearance? If so, you may have come by the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) system.

E-QIP stands for Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing. It is a web-based automated system created by the FBI and designed to facilitate the processing of standard investigative forms used by DCSA (Defense counterintelligence security agency) and other investigation service providers when conducting background investigations for Federal security.

It allows authorized users to electronically enter, update and transmit their personal investigative data through a secure internet connection to their sponsoring agency.

The e-QIP system is used to process forms for applicants who must have a background investigation as a condition of employment or membership in an organization. The Defense counterintelligence security agency (DCSA) conducts these investigations to determine whether an applicant poses a risk to the safety and security of the United States.

There are three agency roles in e-QIP: The requesting activity, the Defense counterintelligence security agency (DCSA), and the security management office (SMO).

  • The requesting activity is the organization that requests an investigation on behalf of the applicant.
  • The Defense counterintelligence security agency (DCSA) is responsible for conducting the background investigation.
  • The security management office (SMO) manages the security clearance process. Also, the SMO will review and adjudicate the results of the investigation.

Why Does The Government Need To Conduct A Background Check?

A soldier using a computer

The United States government performs background checks to verify whether job applicants or employees fulfill suitability or fitness standards and whether they are eligible to access Federal facilities, automated systems, or classified information. Everyone must be thoroughly investigated and judged to be granted a credential and authorized access to classified information.

The depth and type of background investigation process vary based on the job duties and required level of access for the position. The amount of time needed to complete an investigation also differs. According to current rules and procedures, the agency responsible for hiring or sponsoring someone determines which level of research to conduct.

So you might be wondering why the government uses e-QIP. Well, this system offers many benefits over the traditional paper-based system.

  • Allows applicants to enter, edit and submit their investigation data over a secure internet connection to a requesting agency.
  • It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • It can be accessed from any location with an Internet connection.
  • It is a secure system that protects your personal information.
  • Allows you to save your progress and log in at a later time to finish the forms
  • Reduces the amount of time spent on paperwork
  • Allows DCSA to receive, process, and track investigative forms electronically.
  • Allows DCSA to manage its investigative workload better
  • Improve customer service by providing status updates to applicants and Investigation Services staff
  • Enhance the security of investigative information

E-QIP Questionnaire Details

An infographic

The e-QIP questionnaire collects applicant information for National and federal agency security clearance investigations. The questions asked are based on the requested clearance type (e.g., Top Secret, Secret, etc.). The questions cover an applicant’s:

  • Biographic data
  • Birth information
  • Citizenship
  • Education and employment history
  • Financial history
  • Foreign travel, contacts, and relatives
  • Health and drug use
  • Legal history
  • Military service
  • Residence history
  • Security violations

The E-QIP questionnaire is divided into sections, or “parts.” The number of parts will vary depending on the requested clearance type. Each component must be completed before moving on to the next part. In some cases, additional documentation (e.g., birth certificate, transcripts, etc.) may be required to complete the E-QIP questionnaire.

How To Apply For E-QIP

How to get a security clearance

If you need to apply for a security clearance, you will need to use e-QIP. Follow these steps to get started:

-The first step is to create an account. You can do this by going to the e-QIP login page and clicking on the “Create New Account” link. You will need to provide basic information, such as your name and contact information.

-Once you have created an account, you can log in and access the e-QIP forms. The forms you will need to complete depend on the type of security clearance you are applying for. For example, if you use it for a Top Secret clearance, you must complete the SF86 form.

-The next step is to complete the forms. Be sure to answer all questions truthfully and accurately.

The questionnaire has three main sections: personal information, employment history, and education history.

  • In the personal information section, you will be asked to provide your full name, address, date of birth, and other essential information.
  • In the employment history section, you will need to list all of your past employers, job titles, dates of employment, and salary information.
  • Lastly, in the education history section, you will need to list all the schools you have attended, degrees earned, and dates of attendance.

-Once you have finished the forms, you will need to submit them for processing. Once your documents have been submitted, Investigation Services Division will begin working on your case. You can check the status of your case by logging into your e-QIP

The investigation process can take several months, so please be patient!

-After the investigation is complete, you will be notified of the results. If you are granted a security clearance, congrats! You are now able to begin working in your new position.

Other Tips For Using E-QIP

Here are some tips to help you use e-QIP successfully:

-E-QIP can be accessed through the DCSA website:

-You will need to create an account before you can access the e-QIP form

-Applicants can only access the e-QIP system if they have been invited to do so by an appropriate official at their sponsoring agency. Individuals cannot pre-apply for a security clearance nor update their security questionnaire unless granted access by an appropriate agency official.

-E-QIP is not intended for use by the general public. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to use e-QIP.

– Make sure you have all the necessary information before starting the application process. This includes your Social Security number, date of birth, and contact information.

-Applicants should review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) before starting their application. The FAQs provide valuable information about the security clearance process and the e-QIP system.

– Answer all questions truthfully and accurately. The DCSA will verify all the information you provide, so you must be honest.

– Be sure to complete all of the required forms. If any forms are missing, your application will be delayed.

– Save your progress as you go. You can log in and log out of e-QIP at any time, so you don’t have to complete the forms all in one sitting.

– Check the status of your case regularly. The DCSA will provide updates on the status of your case, so you can log in and see how things are progressing.

-Your initial point of contact for account lockouts, challenge question resets, forgotten usernames, technical support, as well as guidance on completing the questionnaire, should be your local sponsoring or employing agency human resources, personnel security office, or individual that instructed you to access e-QIP to complete your investigation forms.

Note that, for Military and DoD local security or human resource officials, the VRO Knowledge Center is not able to view e-QIP or help with access to e-QIP for applicants whose e-QIP questionnaires are not initiated/managed within the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (currently replaced by the Defense Information System for Security-DISS).

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Completing The e-QIP Questionnaire

-One of the most common mistakes applicants make when completing the e-QIP questionnaire is not answering all the questions. Be sure to answer every question thoroughly and accurately.

-Another mistake applicants often make is waiting until the last minute to complete the forms. It is vital to start working on the documents as soon as possible so that you have enough time to complete them accurately.

-If the SF-86 does not request familial information, do not list relatives as verifiers or references. Investigation Services will not contact them.

-Do not submit the form until you have reviewed it for accuracy. Once you have submitted the form, DCSA will begin working on your case, and they will not be able to make changes.

-Be sure to list ALL your employment history, even if you were fired or left the job on bad terms. The Defense counterintelligence security agency can obtain this information anyway, and it is essential to be upfront about your employment history.

-Applicants sometimes make the mistake of trying to hide information from the DCSA. It is important to remember that the DCSA is looking for anything that could compromise national security. So, if you have anything in your past that could be considered a security risk, it is essential to disclose this information upfront. Trying to hide information will only delay the investigation process and could ultimately result in your security clearance being denied.

-A typed response of “I don’t know” is unacceptable. A detailed explanation of why you cannot obtain information is required.

-One of the most common mistakes applicants make is not following up with the DCSA submitting their forms. Defense counterintelligence security agency may need additional information from you during the investigation. So, it is essential to check your email and voicemail regularly and respond promptly to requests for further information.

Man interviewing woman

Although e-QIP is often feared, it is necessary. And it is the system for initiating investigations for individuals seeking employment with the federal government, enlisting in the U.S. military, and employment as a federal contractor.

Agency user training system: The DCSA offers e-QIP training to agencies so that their staff has the skills necessary to navigate through the system. A list of classes can be found on the DCSA Agency Training page. Classes are currently only held in Washington D.C, but there is additional online training available for agency users. For more information regarding e-QIP deployment at your agency, and if you are your agency’s security or human resources manager, contact DCSA’s system liaison at 724-794-5612, Ext. 4600 or

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