Help Filling Out Forms

Standard Background Investigation Forms

A properly completed questionnaire is key to a complete and thorough background investigation. It helps investigators complete fieldwork in a timely manner and reduces the lengths of interviews.
There are three standard forms used to conduct background investigations if you’re under consideration to work for, or on behalf, of the U.S. government:

  1. SF-85

  2. SF-85P

  3. SF-85PS

  4. ​​SF-86

Get Help with Forms

For tailored answers to questions about your investigative questionnaire:

  • Military: Contact the security officer within your command.

  • Federal Civilian: Contact the security officer or HR representative at the agency where you are applying or are currently employed.

  • DOD Contractors: Contact the facility security officer (FSO) at the company where you are applying or where you are currently employed. If you need a password reset or registration code reset for e-QIP, you may contact the DCSA Applicant Knowledge Center Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 878-274-5091. Please choose the option for “Personnel Security Clearance Inquiries to include e-QIP.” Additionally, they are available via email at

  • Other Federal Contractors: Contact the security officer or HR representative at the agency where you are applying or are currently employed.

Factsheets, Guides & Other Resources

Certain areas of the questionnaires that are often misunderstood, overlooked, or answered incorrectly. Explore resources that help address these areas.

Self-Reporting Factsheet
DCSA SF-86 Factsheet
SF-86 Tips for a More Efficient Background Investigation
OPM’s e-QIP Reference Guide
First-time User Login Instructions
Click-to-Sign Instructions for Applicants


Who do I contact to confirm if my security clearance is still active?

Security clearances remain active when there is a demonstrated need for access to classified information. If you left employment or changed positions, your clearance may no longer be active. To determine the status of your security clearance, contact the agency’s personnel security office that granted your clearance. If you're a contract employee, your company’s facility security officer may be able to help.

I've only entered a little data, but I have to go to a meeting. What should I do?

Click the "SAVE" button at the bottom of the page to save your data. Then click the "Log-out" button at the top right-hand side of the screen to exit the system.

I have completed this form in the past. Why doesn't this system have that data?

e-QIP can only retrieve data previously entered the e-QIP system. Data from paper forms or data from other automated systems has not been loaded into this system.

Where do I get help for completing a specific question?

Click the "Help" link located upper left-hand corner of each page for general help information. If you need more support with specific sections or questions, contact the agency that sponsored you.

Can I certify my form with errors?

No, all “Error” messages (annotated in red) must be corrected before the form can be certified and released to your sponsoring agency.  All “Warning” messages (annotated in yellow) must have an explanation in the ‘comment’ box provided, before the form can be certified and released to your sponsoring agency.

I don't have a first or middle name. What do I do?

If you have no first name, depending on the form you are filling out, you may have to type “No First Name” into the “First” name field. Some screens may have a drop-down menu where you can select the option “No First Name”.

If you have no middle name, use the drop-down menu next to the “Middle” name field and select “No Middle Name”.

I don't know where to start from the Main Menu. What do I do?

Click on the link entitled "Enter Your Data" to begin entering your personal data.

I have to enter a foreign address. What do I enter for the zip code?

If there is a postal code associated with the foreign address, enter it in the comment field.

Can I use my personal computer to fill out my e-QIP while abroad?

Yes, you can use your personal computer - at home or at the office. e-QIP is accessible from most computers, anywhere in the world.

I forgot to enter information. Is it possible for me to go back?

If you have not certified your responses, use the navigation bar on the left to go to the sections and questions you need to change. You will be able to change your responses and provide additional information, if needed.

If you have certified your responses, you cannot make any changes. Please release the form to your agency. Your sponsoring agency has the ability to return the request back to you and allow you to make amendments to your form. Please contact your sponsoring agency if you would like the form returned to you.

Note: Each time your sponsoring agency returns the form to you in e-QIP, you will need to answer all "Yes/No" questions again. You will also need to re-sign the certification and release forms.

I hit the Back button, and something strange happened. What's wrong?

As a general rule, do not use your browser's Back button for navigation within e-QIP. Use the section navigation menu on the left or the buttons at the bottom of the screen instead.