Being confused by the SF-86 (Standard Form 86) happens. It is a 17 page document, filled with minutia. To top it all off you just want to be done with the barrage of questions being hurled at you. Filling it out correctly means the difference between getting your security clearance and being denied and possibly sacrificing your career. The best thing to do if you are confused by the SF-86 is to call an attorney who specializes in security clearance law, like those at the Edmunds Law Firm. Going at that form on your own is taking your livelihood into your own hands. But okay…you want to give it a go let me give you some help.

What, specifically, shouldn’t I do if I am confused by the SF-86?

Don’t just start filling in blanks without reading the directions thoroughly.
Don’t put down answers because you think that is what the government wants to hear.
Don’t skip questions.

Okay…now you know what you shouldn’t do….

What, specifically, should I do if I am confused by the SF-86?

Provide additional information! When you are filling out a form like the SF-86, it is easy to think it is like a Scantron. You can only write the answers in the spaces provided, but that is just not the case. In addition to the “additional space” provided at the very end for questions 11, 12, and 13, you can always add your own paper. That’s right folks, you can add more paper to this lengthy form.

What should you write to explain, “I am confused by the SF-86?”

Take an additional piece of paper at note the question. Then, in narrative form, explain why you are confused or uncertain. Explain how you see the question being asked and how you interpreted it.

Better than that is to be proactive. Ask someone who knows a great deal about the SF-86 and who isn’t confused by it one bit. Ask for help from an attorney, like those at the Edmunds Law Firm.