Security clearance request process

Find out how to request a new security clearance or to update (renew) or upgrade an existing clearance. Explore who can request one and find out what information is required during the screening process.

About security clearances

A personnel security clearance is required before an employee may access classified information, assets or work sites.

Period of validation

  • Valid for 10 years: Secret or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secret clearance
  • Valid for 5 years: Top Secret or Control of Secret Material in an International Command (COSMIC) Top SecretFootnote1

Conducting background checks

Before submitting a personnel security screening request to Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Contract Security Program (CSP), company security officers (CSO) and alternate company security officers (ACSO) are required to conduct preliminary verifications and verify their employee’s identity.

For more information on how to complete this step in the security screening process, conducting background checks for personnel security screening.

The standard on security screening requires that applicants submit specific types of documentary evidence of identity. The purpose is to provide greater assurance of an individual’s unique identity.

The CSO or ACSO must obtain 2 pieces of identification (1 of which must contain a photo) from the employee.

One must be from each of the following:

Visit about identity verification requirements for more information, including the process to verify an employee’s identity, the list of all accepted foundational and supporting evidence of identity, and guidance on how to handle special circumstances.

Requesting a security clearance

Only a CSO or ACSO may request a security clearance for an individual on behalf of an organization registered in the CSP.

Visit who is eligible for a personnel security screening and accepted justification to process personnel security screening requests for more information on an individual’s eligibility for personnel security screening.

To request a new security clearance, or to update or upgrade an existing security clearance, the CSO or ACSO and the employee must complete and submit the following forms:

Processing times for a security clearance depend on the complexity of the request and the verifications that must be completed. Requests can be categorized as either simple or complex. For more information, visit cost and processing times for personnel security screenings.

The CSO or ACSO can only submit their personnel security screening request to the CSP once they have completed and documented a thorough verification of the applicant’s security form and background.

Learn how to complete the security clearance forms and how to obtain the status of a personnel security screening application.

Information needed

The following will be requested:

The following may also be requested:

  • out-of-country verifications:
    • these are required when an applicant has lived outside of Canada continuously for 6 months or longer
  • other supporting documents, as necessary
  • immigration documents if the applicant was born outside of Canada
  • a security screening interview (with the applicant) to assess eligibility for a security clearance

More information

To learn more about security clearances, consult:

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