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Am I Eligible?

SIS is a large organisation, much like many others. But it’s also unlike any other employer you’ll ever work for. Due to the sensitive nature of our operations, if you decide you’d like to apply, you’ll need to be eligible first and pass our security clearance too. Here’s everything you need to know before you progress with your application to work with us.



We protect British interests both at home and overseas. Because of this, we ask you to be a British citizen and to have lived in the UK for seven out of the last ten years before you make your application. There are a few exceptions to the residency rule. If you’ve studied abroad, served overseas with HM forces or lived overseas with your parents, you may still be eligible to apply. At least one of your parents is also required to be either a British citizen or hold citizenship/nationality of one of the following: British Dependent Territory, British Overseas Citizen, Commonwealth, British Protected Person, British National Overseas, EEA, USA. If you hold dual nationality, you can still apply to SIS but you may be required to give up your non-British citizenship before you can take up any role we offer to you.

Medical History

Our staff and contractors are subject to a no drugs policy to reflect the adverse impact of illegal drug use and the misuse and abuse of other substances on behaviour, judgement, physical and mental health. The policy prohibits the use, possession or supply of illegal drugs, psychoactive substances and legal highs. Misuse or abuse of prescribed medication or any other substance is also incompatible with holding security clearance which can be withdrawn if this policy is not observed so you should adhere to our policy from the point of application onwards. The point of application is the date you submit your application form. We realise some of our candidates will have used drugs in the past, and this may not be a bar to a successful application, but it is important to be open and honest about your drug/substance use. You will be asked during the recruitment process to provide a sample which will be tested for drugs should your application proceed.

Security Clearance

Because we’re a Government organisation, we have much stricter security clearance than other employers. If secure information is disclosed or it reaches groups or individuals who wish to threaten the stability of the UK, it could impact on the security of the country.

So it’s essential to ensure we safeguard against that possibility by obtaining security clearance for everyone working for us. When you begin your new role at SIS, you’ll fully understand why our security process was so rigorous.

What we look for

We’ll need to conduct background checks to make sure your life, character and personal circumstances are right for an organisation like ours. And we need to build a picture of a person we can trust to work with sensitive information. You should understand that the higher the level of security required for your role, the more intrusive the process will be. The security vetting is rigorous but fair, and we strive to be as sensitive as possible as we research your background, and other people in your life such as your family members, partner, former partners and your referees. Third-party research may also include checks against criminal and security records.

How vetting works

The Cabinet Office directs how vetting should work across Government, but each Department can determine their own individual processes and make their own decisions. If you’ve been vetted by another Government Department in the past, we’ll review the information received to decide whether you’ll need to go through further checks for a role at SIS. Each role has its own set of responsibilities and security levels to match. If your role changes while you’re here, you’ll be reassessed and vetting for a higher security clearance may be required. We always make sure your application is treated equally, regardless of your gender, marital status, age, race, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability. And all of your personal data is kept strictly safe and confidential.

The security levels

There are four main levels of Government security clearance: Basic Check, Counter-Terrorist Check, Security Check and Developed Vetting. All employees of SIS, individuals seconded to SIS and most contractors working for us must hold Developed Vetting clearance, while some contractors may only need to be Security Check cleared.

Security Check (SC)

You’ll need this to access certain Government facilities or if you work in a role where you could access sensitive information classified as ‘SECRET’. You’ll need to: Complete a security clearance questionnaire; Provide identity documents and employment/education references; Allow us to check against UK criminal and security records here and overseas; Go through a credit reference check.

Developed Vetting (DV)

Our most comprehensive form of vetting, you’ll need this for roles that involve long-term, frequent or uncontrolled access to SECRET material. You’ll need to: Go through the SC clearance checks above; Complete a DV supplementary questionnaire; Complete a financial questionnaire; Allow us to review your personal finances; Allow your referees to be interviewed by a vetting officer.

Deciding to go ahead

We’re upfront about the security vetting process so you can decide if you want to proceed before you even apply or decline applying for work in particularly sensitive areas. Unfortunately, if you don’t pass our security clearance, we are unable to give a reason for the decision.

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