Referees are invited to provide a reference regarding an individual applying for a security clearance. Referees play an important role in the security clearance assessment.

Referees can be personal or professional.

Referees will be asked questions that explore personal and sensitive aspects of the clearance applicant’s life, such as:

  • relationships
  • finances
  • alcohol and drug use
  • social or political views.

Referees may be uncomfortable answering some of the questions, or view the questions as intrusive. The Vetting Analysts conducting the interviews are qualified professionals who complete the security clearance assessment in an objective manner.

Referees are obligated to ensure that the security clearance assessment process remains confidential.


Refer to the Nominating referees page for information about referee eligibility and relationship requirements.


Referees will receive a generic text message and an email invitation to complete a referee report.

Completion of a referee report takes approximately 15-45 minutes.

The report can be accessed for up to 15 business days from the date of the email invitation. The report needs to be completed in one sitting - responses will not be saved if the report is closed prior to submitting.

Referees may be contacted by phone to arrange a phone, video or in-person interview.


Participation as a referee is voluntary. A referee can decline by emailing