DSS International Division Frequently Asked Questions

Security Assurances for Cleared Individuals and Facilities

  1. How do you process an outgoing visit request for an international classified visit?
  2. Is 30 days a mandatory lead time for approving a RFV to a Foreign Country?
  3. Is the FSO’s signature required on visit request forms?
  4. Does DSS process outgoing international visits for un-cleared contractors?
  5. What are the most common reasons RFVs are rejected?
  6. Does DSS pass SCI access/caveats?
  7. Are interim clearances accepted for issuance of NATO Security Clearance Certificates?
  8. Can I hire a foreign national as a consultant to work on a classified contract overseas?
  9. Are there a maximum number of visitors I can include on one visit request form?
  10. If an individual was previously granted an LAA and changed contracting companies, do they need a new letter of justification (LOJ)?

International Transfers of Classified Information

  1. My company is going to let a classified subcontract to a foreign subcontractor. How do I proceed?
  2. Can I use FedEx to transmit foreign classified material to their Embassy in D.C.?
  3. There's an urgent need to hand carry our classified proposal to a foreign government. What steps should be taken?
  4. What does it mean if the visit from a foreign contractor is non-sponsored?
  5. An international visitor arrived with a SECRET classified CD. What do I do?
  6. We want to establish an office in Europe. Can I have an office overseas cleared with storage?
  7. Can I add related unclassified items to a DSP-85?
  8. My company employs foreign nationals. Are we required to have a Technology Control Plan (TCP)?

Security Assurances for Cleared Individuals and Facilities

1. How do you process an outgoing visit request for an international classified visit?

Guidance is provided on the DSS website here. DSS International Division verifies the visitor’s clearance and transmits the request to the Foreign Government National Security Authority/Designated Security Authority (NSA/DSA) of the intended foreign country to be visited.

IMPORTANT: International Visits must comply with Foreign Government lead times. For the most current information regarding lead times and requirements associated with international classified visits contact the DSS International Division at RFV@dss.mil.

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2. Is 30 days a mandatory lead time for approving a RFV to a Foreign Country?
Each country’s NSA/DSA establishes its own requirements regarding RFV lead times. DSS requires five (5) business days in addition to the Foreign Government’s lead time requirement in order to process each RFV.

Note: Foreign Governments can change their RFV lead times without notice. For the most current information regarding country lead times and requirements associated with international classified visits; click here, contact DSS Visit Request Hotline at 855-834-0375, or email us at RFV@dss.mil.

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3. Is the FSO’s signature required on visit request forms?
Visit requests will be rejected without the FSO or Company Security Officer’s signature in Block 10 of Form U-1201.

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4. Does DSS process outgoing international visits for un-cleared contractors?
No. DSS only processes outgoing visit requests for cleared contractors.

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5. What are the most common reasons RFVs are rejected?
The following are the most common reasons for rejection:

  • Incorrect points of contact are listed on the visit request;
  • The start date doesn’t meet processing and lead time requirements;
  • The visit does not meet the criteria to be submitted as an amendment, click here for details on submitting amendments;
  • The clearance level required for the visit and/or the traveler’s clearance is incorrect;
  • The Traveler completes and submits the RFV form instead of his/her company security officer or FSO.

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6. Does DSS pass SCI access/caveats?
DSS does NOT pass SCI access/caveats. This is the responsibly of the appropriate Government Contracting Activity (GCA).

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7. Are interim clearances accepted for issuance of NATO Security Clearance Certificates?
No. NATO Security Clearance Certificates are ONLY issued to fully and favorably adjudicated clearances. (NISPOM 10-705)

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8. Can I hire a foreign national as a consultant to work on a classified contract overseas?
No. A consultant shall not be assigned outside the United States with responsibilities requiring access to classified information. (NISPOM 10-601c)

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9. Are there a maximum number of visitors I can include on one visit request form?
In an effort to better serve you and save time on submission and processing of visit requests, all visits comprising of more than 50 visitors must be split into multiple requests.

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10. If an individual was previously granted an LAA and changed contracting companies; do they need a new letter of justification (LOJ)?
A. LAA access is limited to a specific U.S. Government contract. A new LOJ is required.

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International Transfers of Classified Information

1. My company is going to let a classified subcontract to a foreign subcontractor. How do I proceed?
You must request verification of the foreign company’s facility security clearance (FCL) and storage capability from DSS International Division (fax 571-305-6010) prior to awarding the subcontract. Also reference NISPOM 10-202: If you are authorized to award a subcontract with a foreign contractor that will involve classified information you are required to provide DSS with a copy of the contract’s classification guidance with the international security clauses that you are providing to your foreign subcontractor

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2. Can foreign classified information be mailed to U.S. embassies abroad using a Diplomatic Post Office address?
Foreign classified information CANNOT be mailed to a Diplomatic Post Office address. However Secret and Confidential material may be transmitted by registered mail through U.S. Army, Navy, or Air Force postal facilities (reference NISPOM 5-405 b).

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3. There's an urgent need to hand carry our classified proposal to a foreign government. What steps should be taken?
Is there an approved export authorization? Is the size such that it can be maintained in the personal possession of the courier? Notify your IS Rep and provide a "Hand carriage request" that includes the necessary information (cite export authorization, courier data, date & itinerary, identity of foreign recipient, etc., reference NISPOM 10-405). The request has to be submitted to DSS at least 5 work days in advance of the transfer date. DSS has to coordinate the arrangements and obtain approval from the recipient government's security authority. The courier has to be a full-time cleared employee. Brief the courier on his/her responsibilities. Complete a Courier Certificate. The courier is to travel a direct route with no overnight layover, no stops in 3rd countries and should be traveling on a US or the recipient government flag airline. If the courier is going to stay and brief the proposal, than a visit request should have been submitted to DSS International Division with the required amount of lead-time.

Upon concurrence from DSS that the request has been approved, make arrangements to meet with your U.S. DGR for the government transfer.

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4. What does it mean if the visit from a foreign contractor is non-sponsored?
If a visit is non-sponsored, the visit can still occur if your facility is in receipt of an approved export authorization to subject country. The response from the visit office would contain the security clearances of the visitors and it is the notification that the requesting government has provided the required security assurances to the U.S. Government. If a classified visit is sponsored by a US gov’t/military activity, then an export authorization is not required, as the sponsored visit authorization provides the disclosure guidance. If the visit is denied, the visit can occur, but only information in the public domain can be discussed. The process is initiated when the foreign government submits a visit request into the DoD Foreign Visits System (FVS). The foreign contractor facility or foreign government entity usually sends the visit request through their embassy in Washington, D.C. The request should be submitted 21 working days prior to the visit to allow for processing. Once their embassy enters it into the FVS, it is forwarded to the applicable Defense Visit Offices for review. The visit will either be sponsored (government approved), non-sponsored or denied. Notification of the approval will be forwarded to your facility and it will contain disclosure instructions on the classified and unclassified information involved, and any limitations.

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5. An international visitor arrived with a SECRET classified CD. What do I do?
An improper receipt of foreign government material that is not received through government channels must be reported to DSS per NISPOM 10-311. The foreign visitor failed to submit the hand carry request through his government security authority for approval. When hand carrying classified material internationally, the security authorities of the receiving government (DSS) must first be notified of the plan from the sending government (NISPOM 10-405). It's the same as when one of your employees requests to hand carry classified material, the arrangements have to be coordinated and approved by both governments prior to being allowed to proceed with the plan.

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6. We want to establish an office in Europe. Can I have an office overseas cleared with storage?

No. Refer to NISPOM 10-602 a. The storage of classified information by a contractor employee at any location abroad that is not under U.S. Government control is prohibited. The storage may be at a U.S. military facility, a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or other location occupied by a U.S. Government organization.

Please note that your employees shall not store classified information at overseas divisions or subsidiaries that are located in a foreign country. Access to classified information is governed by the laws and regulations of the country in which the division or subsidiary is registered or incorporated (NISPOM 10-602 d).

U.S. contractor employees assigned to foreign government or foreign contractor facilities under a direct commercial sales arrangement will be subject to the host-nation's industrial security policies.

Additionally, unless a waiver was granted by DSS headquarters, be aware that a consultant shall not be assigned outside the U.S. with responsibilities that require access to classified information in accordance with NISPOM requirement 10-601 c.

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7. Can I ship related unclassified items under a DSP-85?

No, unclassified material should not be shipped out under a DSP -85 "Application/License for Permanent/Temporary Export or Temporary Import of Classified Defense Articles and Related Classified Technical Data." It is unlawful for anyone to ship unclassified commodities on a classified license. Unclassified material is to be shipped on a Form DSP -5, "Application/License for Permanent Export of Unclassified Defense Articles and Related Unclassified Technical Data." The mixing of classified and unclassified items on a license is not allowed. What is permitted is when unclassified items are part of an assembled unit or system (actually bolted on at time of export).

Additionally, only items specifically listed on the license may be shipped. A statement such as "associated infrastructure" does not justify acceptance of unlisted items. It can only refer to a list that must be approved with the license application. Only those items on the list are approved for export.

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8. My company employs foreign nationals. Are we required to have a Technology Control Plan (TCP)?

If your facility is performing on classified contract, you should have a TCP unless your cognizant DSS Field Office determines that procedures already in place at your facility are adequate. A TCP is required to control access by foreign nationals assigned to, or employed by, cleared contractor facilities (NISPOM 10-509). The TCP shall define what needs to be protected. Controls are necessary to ensure that no transfer of export-controlled information occurs unless authorized.

The TCP outlines the specific information that has been authorized for release to the foreign personnel or visitors, and provides disclosure guidelines for access. The use of badges, escorts, or segregated work areas would be examples of the types of access controls that can be used by your facility. These efforts will make the foreign employee or visitor more visible, thus reminding employees of their presence.

All foreign persons should be briefed on the provisions of the TCP. U.S. citizen employees should be knowledgeable of the information that can be disclosed or accessed by foreign nationals. They should receive a copy of the TCP and be briefed on the contents of the plan.

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