When your background investigation is complete and the government has determined you not suitable for a security clearance, you will be notified of the reason for the denial. Typically the applicant will receive either a Statement of Reasons (SOR) or a Letter of Intent (LOI).

Each agency has its own appeal process, however generally the SOR or LOI will contain specific instructions regarding the appeal process and applicable deadlines. For instances, some agencies give you an opportunity to request a hearing in front an administrative judges while others request only a response to the SOR/LOI and supporting and/or mitigating documentation from the applicant.

If a hearing is requested, the government will set a hearing date for the applicant and government counsel. It is similar to a court proceeding in that live testimony is accepted. This means that both the applicant and government counsel will have an opportunity to present its case, offer witness testimony have the opportunity to cross examine witnesses. Following a hearing, the Administrative Judge will issue a written decision.

The Administrative Judge’s decision can be appealed to the DOHA Appeal Board. The Appeal Board’s decision is generally final. However, the Appeal Board can remand the case to the Administrative Judge for further review and proceeding.