About Security Clearances – The vetting assessment

All security clearances must be sponsored by an approved sponsoring entity who requires the individual to access Australian Government sensitive or classified information. Individuals cannot sponsor their own security clearance.

In order to be eligible for an Australian Government security clearance, an individual must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Australian citizenship – determined by the sponsoring entity before requesting a clearance
  • Checkable background – determined by AGSVA as part of the vetting assessment

A sponsoring entity can waive the citizenship or checkable background requirements if there is an exceptional business need and a risk assessment is conducted. An eligibility waiver is not a guarantee that the clearance will be granted – this is dependent on the suitability assessment conducted by AGSVA.

AGSVA will request the sponsoring entity authorise an eligibility waiver if an applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements. The Security advisor roles and responsibilities page has more information about eligibility waivers.

In addition to confirming an individual is eligible to hold an Australian Government security clearance, AGSVA will determine if an individual is suitable to hold a security clearance. This is done by conducting certain checks prescribed by the Australian Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF), and making an assessment of the individual’s overall integrity using the following character traits: 

  • honesty
  • trustworthiness
  • maturity
  • tolerance
  • resilience
  • loyalty

The PSPF requires that any doubt regarding an individual’s suitability to hold a security clearance must be resolved in the national interest.

AGSVA conducts the following external checks as part of the vetting assessment process:

Mandatory If required by AGSVA
*

 

Check Baseline NV1 NV2 PV
Verification of identity
Confirmation of Australian citizenship and status of any other citizenships
Background check 5 years 10 years 10 years Greater of 10 years or from the age of 16.
Referee checks
Digital footprint check
National police check
No exclusion

Full Exclusion 

Full Exclusion 

Full Exclusion 
Financial history check
Financial statement *
Supporting documents required
Financial probity check * * *
ASIO assessment *
Security interview * *
Psychological assessment * * *

Table 1: Minimum personnel security checks (adapted from the PSPF)

AGSVA may ask for additional information or undertake additional checks and interviews during the vetting assessment process, if there is need to do so in order to resolve a security clearance decision in the interest of national security.

A vetting officer will be assigned to conduct a security clearance assessment and make a recommendation on an individual’s suitability to hold a security clearance. The vetting officer will review the information provided by the applicant, and collected independently from other parties to make a recommendation on whether the applicant is suitable to hold a security clearance. 

All vetting officers conducting security clearance assessments for AGSVA hold an Australian Government security clearance and a Certificate IV qualification in Government Security (Personnel Vetting). 

Security clearance assessments will be conducted by an AGSVA staff member or an authorised external vetting provider contracted to AGSVA.

The Assistant Secretary Vetting (ASV) is the security clearance delegate, within AGSVA, authorised to grant, deny, or revoke an existing Australian Government security clearance. 

The ASV may delegate the authority to make grant/continue decisions to certain vetting officers within AGSVA. These individuals are Authorised Decision Makers (ADM).

Revalidations
All security clearances are required to be reviewed at regular intervals. The interval depends on the level of the security clearance
 

  Baseline Negative Vetting 1 Negative Vetting 2 Positive Vetting
Revalidation

15 years

10 years 7 years 7 years
Security appraisal Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable Annually

AGSVA initiates and manages periodic security clearance reviews (including revalidations for all clearance levels and the annual security appraisals for PV clearances)

If AGSVA becomes aware of potential concerns about someone’s suitability to hold a security clearance outside of a routine assessment, AGSVA will start a review of their clearance. This review (Review for Cause) will determine their ongoing suitability to hold the security clearance and the person will need to complete a vetting package.