Financial issues - how can they affect your security clearance applications?

Published on: 8 Dec 2021

Making the transition from a career in uniformed services - such as the armed forces or the police - to a new job can be an exciting time, but it can also raise some questions.

One issue you might need to consider is whether you'll require a particular level of security clearance for your new role. This could be the case if you're looking at jobs that involve handling confidential information, or if you want to work in an area such as:

  • Central government (particularly in departments such as the Home Office, Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence)
  • Police services
  • Aerospace
  • Telecommunications
  • Cyber security

As you go down this route, it could become clear that your financial background will be one of the focuses of the vetting process.

Past financial difficulties will not necessarily result in the failure of your security clearance application, but it's important to be aware of what's involved in the process and the sort of information the United Kingdom Security Vetting (UKSV) service will look at.

When do financial checks become necessary?

If you're interested in roles that require a lower level of security clearance - such as the Baseline Personnel Security Standard or the Counter Terrorist Check (CTC) - analysis of your financial background may not be necessary.

The CTC, for example, doesn't involve detailed analysis of your financial records, but does require:

  • Completion of a security questionnaire
  • Examination of departmental and company records
  • Checks of spent and unspent criminal records
  • Analysis of Security Service (MI5) records

However, when you move up to the next level of security clearance - which might involve going through the Security Check and Developed Vetting procedures - UKSV will start to look into your financial history.

What does the process entail?

The Security Check process includes an examination of your credit and financial history with a credit reference agency, which will show if you have had debt problems in the past, if you have a poor credit score and if you have been the subject of action such as a county court judgement.

If there are unresolved financial concerns, you might have to complete a separate questionnaire so a full review of your personal finances can be carried out.

Job applicants who go through the Developed Vetting process have to undergo:

  • A check of their credit and financial history with a credit reference agency
  • A full review of their personal finances
  • An assessment of their assets, liabilities, income and expenditure, looking at their individual situation and their joint position with a spouse or partner

While these are among the factors taken into account as part of the vetting process, all applications are reviewed on their own merits, and you might be able to obtain security clearance even if you have experienced financial difficulties in the past.

To learn more, take a look at our comparison of the Security Check and Developed Vetting processes and how they examine your financial background.