How long is a security clearance good for after that person leaves the federal government?
There are several incorrect responses below. Your clearance does not necessarily end and is not always terminated upon leaving employment, although your immediate access to confidential or classified information does indeed stop when you are no longer working, be that through resignation or retirement. Without a need to know, your clearance, even if still active, will not get you access to the materials unless it is part of your job duties in your post-government life, such as acting as a sub-contractor on behalf of a government agency. As someone said before me, it’s simply a line on your resume at that point, and it will eventually expire. That line on your resume, however, can be very important if you are looking for a contract job or new government job that requires a clearance, but only if it has not yet expired. Without it or after the expiration date, you are no better off than an applicant without a clearance.As noted in several responses, some agencies may request termination of your clearance upon resignation or retirement - ICE does, as one example. The day you retire, they request termination of said clearance, at least for their Special Agents. However, it is not a government requirement, and certain employees in agencies that require clearances will indeed allow some former employees to retain their clearance or a downgraded clearance (ie: Top Secret SCI downgraded to Top Secret without the SCI caveat) until the termination date “on paper”, despite not having access to any actual classified information any longer. Many of those former employees use agencies such as clearance jobs to find employment where that continued clearance is required and helpful in landing a post government job, or find companies that contract with the government and put people with current clearances at the head of the list. For example, a former investigator who retires will retain his or her clearance “on paper” until its termination date. If he or she applies a year later while unexpired to be, for instance, a contract background investigator with a corporation that contracts with the government, the clearance, as long as it has not expired, will still apply in their new job, but will need renewal as soon as the 5 year re-investigation is due.