How do I get security cleared?
You can only apply for security clearance if you have a sponsor, i.e. usually a central government department. If that organisation requires specialist skills that you can provide then they will act as your sponsor. So you can only be sponsored if you are contracted (or are in the process of being contracted) to work on MOD classified projects; individuals and companies cannot therefore request security clearance with sponsorship. The organization sponsoring you does shoulder a degree of risk since there is the possibility that you might be denied clearance – meaning they have to start from scratch again.
As part of the checks, there are a number of ID and other documents you will need to provide, so make sure that you have copies of these and relevant ID is up to date.
Do I need to security cleared before applying for MOD roles?
The official line from the DVA is that you do not need to be security cleared to apply for MOD contracts, and that advertising for staff that already hold clearance is 'contrary to Government policy, unnecessary and potentially discriminatory'. Updated guidance on policy can be found in this section's news updates. However, it would appear that recruiters are still coming under fire for asking for contractors to demonstrate clearance before considering them for SC roles. The DVA told CUK that it is aware of these instances, but is powerless to act since it is not unlawful, although equally it certainly isn't considered best practice either.