• Articles
  • October 4, 2022
  • Gareth Morris

How to get DV security clearance


With the opportunity to work on fascinating projects of national and international significance, Evolution’s selection of DV cleared IT jobs are very popular among our candidates. For those not entirely sure what DV security clearance is, or how to get it, we’ll cover everything you need to know here.

What is DV clearance?

DV clearance, formally known as Developed Vetting, is the highest classification of security clearance that you can gain in the UK. It allows you to have necessary and long-term access to extremely sensitive government information, softwares, systems and personnel.

What kind of jobs require DV clearance?

DV clearance is often required for IT jobs in the National Security, defence and aerospace sectors, where you’ll have regular unsupervised and uncontrolled access to confidential data and top-secret information. It’s the highest level of security clearance, meaning that you’ll be working across a number of substantial IT security projects. As a nation, the UK needs trusted individuals that can develop and enhance security systems to protect against threats from pressure groups, terrorists and hostile intelligence services.

You can see what current security cleared jobs we’re recruiting for in our latest IT security vacancies list here.

How do I get DV security clearance?

Due to the importance and sensitivity of information that the clearance can gain you access to, DV is not something that you can apply for in a way that is similar to an accreditation or certification. You must be in a job role that specifically adds value to DV projects. Take a strong Java Developer for example, somebody that can provide hands-on experience within a highly dynamic environment. An employer that works specifically within the national security and defence industry would sponsor you to go through the clearance, which is managed externally by the National Vetting Agency (NSV).

The requirements

To be eligible for DV clearance, you must:

  1. Have a sponsor – this will be the company (your employer), or the Ministry of Defence (MoD) authority responsible for the project;
  2. Be contracted, or in the process of being so, to work on MoD Intelligence Agencies or Central Government classified projects;
  3. Hold British Nationality and have lived in the UK for at least the last 10 years with no breaks, and;
  4. Pass multiple, in-depth and intrusive confidential pre-employee checks such as:
  • Credit checks
  • Verification of Identity and relevant documents
  • In-depth security and financial questionnaires
  • All-inclusive criminal record checks
  • Interview of referees (sometimes family or friends)
  • An intrusive face-to-face interview by a government vetting agent

The process

Once you have satisfied the initial requirements, your sponsor will apply to the government’s vetting provider, UKSV, explaining why you need clearance and for how long.

The UKSV will assess your suitability for DV clearance, undertaking invasive and detailed checks including:

  • Your personal life, family history and relationships etc
  • Use of the internet
  • Mental health history
  • Your overseas connections and interaction
  • Extreme political, moral, religious views and sexual conduct
  • Any history that you may have had with addiction
  • Any use of illegal substances
  • Financial history (both yours and your partner’s)

All information will also be verified in writing and by interviewing character referees and supervisors, both past and present.

The interview

You will attend a face-to-face interview with the UKSV. The interview will cover a wide range of personal aspects including your life, your character, your wider family background, relationships, experiences of drug taking, financial affairs, political views, hobbies, travel and more. The interviewer will be looking to understand your loyalty, discretion and honesty, as well as your vulnerability to bribery and blackmail. This can be intense and intrusive (it can last as long as it needs to, in some cases three or four hours) but should not be uncomfortable. You should be fully prepared for this as it is imperative that you are transparent and factual.

DV clearance advice

The whole process can sound very daunting, but you needn’t be worried – our advice is to be patient. The entire process can take up to 18 months in some cases and a lot of this is a waiting game for you personally, whilst the vetting team carry out the detailed checks on the information you provide. However, your sponsor will be used to this. Also, make sure you are honest – they already know the facts from comprehensive researching into your background – and be prepared (but not scared) of probing questions.

At the end of the process, your sponsor will advise if you were successful or not, and following confirmation of completion, you will be deployed onto a government site to work on classified projects. This results in you making a visible impact to the UK’s defence against cyber threats and intelligence.

How long does DV clearance last?

Your DV clearance lasts for as long as you require access to sensitive information. This is regularly assessed and renewed where necessary, which depends on the project, contract or your ongoing job responsibilities. In some circumstances, it may be possible to transfer your DV clearance to a new project, role or employee – this will be requested by your sponsor.

It’s important to remember that being DV cleared is an ongoing responsibility – any change in your circumstances can lead to a review and, if necessary, a revoke of your status.

Key takeaway

If you’re looking for an exciting IT job of national and international significance, the process is long but worthwhile and can lead to immense job satisfaction and career enhancement and longevity.

Get in touch

To find out more about DV security cleared jobs, speak to one of our specialist IT security recruitment consultants today.

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