How Long Does A Security Clearance Take?

By Sophie Wright on 05 March 2020

How Long Does A Security Clearance  Image

Here at Kinexus, we often work with clients who need security cleared staff. In the defence sector, it's often a deal-breaker when choosing a candidate for a role.

However, we often run into the old 'catch-22' of you can't get a job in Defence because you don't have a clearance…but you can't get a clearance unless you're working in Defence.

Fortunately, it's not as simple as that – there are some other ways to get a security clearance, and there are more and more jobs for people' eligible' for a security clearance. To be eligible you must be an Australian citizen, and maybe not be Jeffrey Dahmer.

However, you can't just order and pay for a clearance yourself. You need to be sponsored by someone – whether that be the ADF, the government or a member of the (Defence Industry Security Program (DISP).

Further, it's going to take time - it is nowhere near as fast to get a security clearance as it is to get Uber Eats. It can take 20-180 days to process your application epack. 

We've put together some information on the basics of security clearances before, but are often asked when it's going to be completed, so we've done a bit of digging. We've gathered the benchmark and median timeframes for each level of clearance, but even these are a guideline. Around busy periods, like Christmas and New Years, we've seen big summer blowout to the normal turnaround times.


Benchmark Timeframes

Median Timeframes

% Cases completed within benchmarks


20 Days

18 Days



70 Days

64 Days



100 Days

97 Days



180 Days

154 Days


  PV Priority 

90 Days

93 Days


 * based on FY20-21 data

It’s also important to remember that these are the timeframes for ASGVA to process your application. Before that can be done, you need to gather the documentation that AGSVA use to evaluate your application, which contributes to the total time it takes to obtain a clearance.

So what can you control as an applicant?

1. Don't leave it to the last minute

Whether it's to submit your epack, or renewing your clearance – get it done as soon as possible and submitted, to allow for the long processing time. Write it in the diary, set a reminder on your phone, hire a tall, mysterious man named Dmitri to appear on your doorstep at a predetermined time to stand over you menacingly until you complete it. Just get it done.

Before you even start the process, make sure you're all over exactly what information you are going to need.

2. Get your ducks in a row 

You can't just dust off your drivers licence – you'll need some fiddly documents like your parents passports, tax information, and referee details. You'll also need to do a stat dec and get that signed by a Justice of the Peace. Becoming familiar with how to submit your application and what is needed well in advance is the best thing you can do keep turnaround times down. This guidebook is a great starting place.

You only get 2 or 3 reviews (depending) if your request is denied or revoked, and you can't simply re-submit until you get it right. It can also set you (or the business) back a lot of dosh each year, so it's pretty vital not to waste reviews due to a poorly planned submission.

3. Check it. And then check it again.

You don't want your application rejected because you missed a small detail, you double entered information, or you forgot to get a copy of personal information in time. Be thorough and diligent with your application and quadruple check it before you send for submission.

4. Know who is footing the bill

If you're not getting a clearance through joining the ADF, it can be up to either you or the business sponsoring you to splash the cash. Make sure you're clear before you start on who is covering the charge. It's not cheap, and unfortunately, they're not on AfterPay yet. Here are the current prices for initial clearances, upgrades and revalidations:











There's a little bit of mystery around security clearances, and every situation will be different. The best thing you can do is be prepared and armed, as well as efficient in your application and follow up of any requests from AGSVA.

NB. This information is updated regularly, so please always check with the AGSVA first and foremost for the most up to date security clearance information.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

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