UK Security Clearance Requirements

Updated April 17, 2017

Security clearance provides assurance that an individual is trusted to have access to sensitive information. In the U.K., all Ministry of Defence Projects require workers to have security clearance, regardless of whether they are directly or indirectly contracted by the Ministry. Additionally, jobs in the private sector that work on defence-related work and roles in the Armed Forces and in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office may also require clearance. There are three types of security clearance available, all of which have different requirements. These are a Basic Check (BC), a Counter Terrorism Check (CTC) and a Security Check (SC). Once the checks have been performed, the information is collected and assessed to decide whether clearance will be granted.


Regardless of the type of security clearance you wish to gain, both individuals and companies will need a sponsor. To be sponsored you need to be contracted (or in the course of being contracted) to work on a Ministry of Defence classified project or a high security project. If you are working on a large contract then a Project Officer from the Defence Procurement Agency or the Defence Logistics Organization will be your sponsor. For subcontracted workers the primary contractor will be the sponsor.

Mandatory Requirements

For all levels of security requirements a Baseline Personnel Security Standard check is required. This is normally undertaken as part of the recruiting process and checks the trustworthiness, integrity, and probable reliability of prospective employees. In addition, a Departmental or Company Records Check, a Criminal Record and a Security Service Check also need to take place. Normally, if you have any previous criminal convictions you will not pass the security requirements. For the higher levels of security clearance, if someone in your family has convictions you will also not be cleared. Passing these checks is sufficient to gain counter terrorist clearance. However, for Security Clearance and Developed Vetting, further checks are needed.

Additional Requirements

For Security Clearance an additional Credit Reference Check needs to be carried out. To gain Developed Vetting Clearance a Credit Reference Check as well as a review of your personal finances must be conducted. Candidates must also provide medical and psychological information and a series of interviews will be undertaken. These include personal interviews as well as interviews with character referees and current and previous supervisors to gain a full character picture.

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