When you are selected for the position you have applied for or have been selected for, you WILL be subject to completion of a favorable background investigation. You may be able to start working once your finger prints clear and may continue once your entire background is cleared. In some agencies, you may or may not be allowed to start working with the agency until your investigation paperwork has been initiated and your FBI fingerprint check cleared. You need to read the agency requirements to ensure your hiring procedures. In most cases, it takes a minimum of 2 weeks to clear a background, but can take longer in some cases. The key is to be honest and fully answer all background questions. Most agencies use a online electronic background system called eQuip to complete this process.
With most if not all government announcement applicants, you MUST be a United States citizen. Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs. Agencies are permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position. Again, review and research the agency you are completing an application for.
In some if not all government agencies, before being hired, you will be required to sign and certify the accuracy of the information in your resume. You will receive a Position Description of what job duties you will be required to perform and If you make a false statement in any part of your resume you may not be hired. The key is to ensure that your resume directly reflects your actual job skills, knowledge and abilities.
This whole process from selection, tentative job offer and completion of the background investigation normally takes 4 weeks. But, depending on the position you are hired on for you may start working as soon as two weeks. Meaning, an selectee may start working once their finger prints clear. Over all, if you have your professional and personal history for the past 10 years articulated in some form it will be easier to complete this process than if you have to do research on this information. Be patience and this process will fly by, be anxious and this process will drag and may seem to take forever to complete. Keep in constant contact with your point of contact, and you will be working in no time at all.