Maintaining your national security clearance
This section helps you understand your responsibilities as a national security clearance holder, so you can meet them and stay suitable to hold a clearance.
Why remaining suitable to hold a clearance is important
Holding a clearance may be an essential requirement for your role or a condition of your employment. It’s in the best interests of you and your organisation that you remain suitable to hold a clearance.
To maintain your clearance, you must meet your responsibilities as a clearance holder.
Make sure you read and understand your responsibilities, or get someone in your agency to help you understand them.
1. Respect the ‘need-to-know principle’
The ‘need-to-know principle’ is about only giving access or sharing classified information and resources with people who hold the right level of clearance and need the access to do their work.
If a person asks you for access but doesn’t have the right clearance level, you must say ‘no’. If a person has the right clearance level but doesn’t need access to the information to do their job, you must say ‘no’.
2. Report changes in your personal circumstances
You must report the following changes in circumstances to your agency as soon as they happen. Your agency can then assess the risks and act to reduce them if it needs to.
- You start or end a close personal relationship
- You visit a foreign country
- Any of your close relatives move to a foreign country
- You plan to change your citizenship or country of residence
- Your financial circumstances change
- Your health or medical circumstances change
- You are involved in criminal activity, accidentally or deliberately
- You become involved with people or groups that may affect security
- You are in a disciplinary process
- You have breached security or caused a security incident
- You have other changes in personal circumstances that your agency has told you to report.
3. Report changes in other people’s circumstances
Letting your organisation know about concerning behaviours or incidents relating to people you work with lets them put in place ways to support that person and maintain the security culture of the organisation.
4. Discuss overseas travel plans with your agency
Before you book overseas travel, discuss your travel plans with your agency.
5. Report suspicious contacts and requests
You must report any suspicious contacts and requests to access your agency’s information and resources.
6. Minimise risks from your social media use
You need to be very careful about what you post on social media, including work-related networks such as LinkedIn.
7. Understand and comply with legislation and policy
To maintain your clearance, you must understand and comply with:
- the requirements of Crimes Act 1961
- your agency’s security policy
- the requirements in the 'Maintaining your national security clearance' guide.
8. Participate in regular reviews
The NZSIS will review your suitability to hold a clearance — usually every five years. A review could happen sooner if the NZSIS, or your agency, is concerned about your conduct, or if there are other specific risks.
9. Meet the requirements of any security risk management plan
If the vetting recommendation for your clearance included specific recommendations (‘qualifications’), your agency should have agreed a security risk management plan with you.
Page last modified: 16/12/2019