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How to obtain a security clearance

If you require access to classified information or a classified area, you need a security clearance.

The required classification level depends on the material or the areas you needs access to. For example, if you need access to material classified as SECRET, you must be cleared for SECRET or above.


Learn more about security clearances here (watch the video on YouTube in order to chose English subtitles):


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Vetting requires consent

It is normally your workplace, e.g. a ministry, that issues the security clearance. 

The clearance is, among other things, based on a vetting procedure carried out by PET. The vetting is subject to your written consent. The extent of the vetting procedure depends on the classification level of the information, to which you are to have access.


What is important?

Your workplace will take the result of PET’s vetting into consideration and may choose to attach importance to whether you:

- have a good sense of judgement
- are loyal 
- are able to observe professional secrecy


Public authorities issue security clearances

Public authorities are responsible for issuing security clearances. This means that private companies do not issue such clearances - but if one of their employees is a regular visitor, at a ministry for example, the ministry may initiate the security clearance of this person. However, PET is the authorizing authority when it involves persons who are to work for the police.


Remember the need-to-know-principle

Be aware that your security clearance is only valid as long as you work for the employer who has cleared you.


Also remember that you must have a work-related reason for accessing classified material. This is known as the need-to-know principle. 


This also means that you are only allowed to share classified information with others who have been cleared for at least the same classification level as the information and who have a work-related reason for needing access to the information.


122,000 individuals vetted

Thousands of individuals are vetted by PET every year. In 2020, PET vetted approximately 22,000 persons.

Read more about security clearances and classified information in Security Circular no. 10338 of 17 December 2014

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