How to Select a Referee for Your Security Clearance

By Alarna Chivers on 13 September 2023

How to Select a Referee for Your Security Clearance

​We’ve all needed to rely on a referee before – to support an application for a new job, to secure housing, or to support an application to join an association or club… and securing your security clearance is no different.

One of the main causes of delays in the security clearance assessment process is the availability of referees. To ensure that your assessment goes smoothly, we have outlined the requirements of referees and tips for nominating a referee.

As a part of the vetting process, you will be required to submit at least one referee. Each level of security clearance has different referee requirements. As per the AGSVA website, the referee requirements are:

Baseline – 1 supervisor who knows you in a professional context.

Negative Vetting 1 – 1 supervisor and 1 personal who can account for the past 10 years of your life.

Negative Vetting 2 – 1 supervisor and 1 personal who can account for the past 10 years of your life.

Positive Vetting – 1 supervisor and 4 personal or 2 supervisor and 3 personal who can account for every period of your life since the age of 16 or for the last 10 years (whichever is greater).


As part of the vetting process, you will be requested to provide personal and professional referees who can speak to work and personal aspects of your life. It is important to note that personal referees cannot be:

  • A family member or relation

  • Spouse

  • De-facto partner

  • Other partner (e.g., girlfriend or boyfriend)

  • Ex-partner


Tips for Nominating a Referee

1. Provide a reference who knows you (somewhat) well

As a part of the assessment, your referee will be required to submit a report answering very detailed questions and will only be able to provide input if they know you well. Referees are asked about all aspects of the applicant's life, finances, drug and alcohol habits, relationships, and work ethic, no topic is off limits.


2. Ask them before nominating them

Referees play an extremely important role in the assessment. Due to this AGSVA requests that you get your referee's consent before nominating them, not everyone may feel comfortable being nominated as a referee.


3. Have the names of some backup referees available

In the event your nominated referees are unavailable or unable to provide the breadth of detail required, have the names of some alternate referees available. A delay in this phase will delay your clearance check.


4. Prepare your referee

The types of questions that can be asked might be confronting. If your referee is unfamiliar with the process, you might want to give them a heads-up about the type of questions they will be asked. If there are any questions that your referee has that you are unable to answer, we suggest reading over the Referees information page on the AGSVA website.


Participation as a referee is completely voluntary and the AGSVA vetting analysts and psychologists are qualified professionals, committed to maintaining the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality.


For more information on security clearances check out our other blogs:

What is a Security Clearance?

How Do You Get Sponsored For A Security Clearance in Defence Industry?

Wondering What You Need To Apply For A Security Clearance?

What Happens If My Security Clearance Is Rejected?

Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

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