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security clearance - lessons learned

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* don't throw away your annual monthly planner pages
* keep some sort of record of your addresses and travels
* amazon.com is a good place for addresses because all your orders are on record by year and include delivery addresses
* label/date your photos
* keep your old passport
* stay friends with people who can vouch for your residence/employment/good character

It got complicated for overseas addresses. For example in Bamako my house didn't have an address. I think the electricity company just had a random reference number for it. I had more of a description than an address: Quartier Hippodrome, near the mosque, across from Supermarché Chez Maiga. I used my office address for everything, and then the office moved after my departure. So for the two years I lived in Mali, I had my home address and two office addresses in Mali, the HQ address (which also moved), and my permanent home address in California. I remembered most of my address from grad school, but not the apartment number, and I ended up calling the registrar's office which did have my complete address. For my "visits to foreign countries" I looked through my photo albums and passports. It was really laborious because I had to list every single country, and most places I traveled to required an intermediary transit point. My week in Tirana counted as a visit to Albania and a visit to Italy, because we spent the night in Milan. Ditto trips to Accra, with overnights in Abidjan and Lomé. Overall it was confusing because not only did I live in a foreign country, I also traveled fairly extensively. I also had to put info down for MoBob's family. His older brother doesn't have a birthday per se because until recently the government authorities weren't too strict about birth certificates in rural Morocco. *sigh*

Probably the only good thing I did was to fill out the form on paper before doing it on-line. There are some differences between the electronic and paper versions, but completing the form on-line went a lot faster since I had everything written down. Hopefully I won't have to do this again for a long, long time.
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On November 22nd, 2008 03:09 am (UTC), nadyezhda commented:
Also get a copy of the final form. It will be SO VALUABLE for you in the future from this point forward. Stick it in a safe deposit box or something.

I had multiple nightmares with the various processes of the clearance. I also lived abroad in a country like Morocco. In one place I never learned the street address because it was simply impossible to pronounce and it was a tiny alleyway off a main road. THAT was fun to describe... "Take Chavchavadze avenue to the end where it splits; find the third car tunnel under the apartment buildings. Take the road to the right to the end, go left at the tiny store, and go up the stairs in the last entryway to the 7th landing..."
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On November 22nd, 2008 03:49 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Yep, all set.

It was a lot easier when people could just point and say, that's where Miss Sylvia the White Lady lives.
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On December 1st, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC), congogirl replied:
Haha. Yes this should be interesting if I get to this stage. I think I have fewer problems than you but I will have to go digging for some addresses...
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