National Security Vetting

Information about the screening process for aviation roles

The CAA is responsible for making the arrangements for the National Security Vetting (NSV) of persons in certain aviation roles, including the review, renewal, refusal or withdrawal of security clearance, in accordance with the relevant Cabinet Office guidance.

For more information on NSV, please see these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or contact us:

Frequently Asked Questions about National Security Vetting (NSV)

Counter Terrorist Checks (CTCs)

Pre-employment checks

Appeals

Where can I find more information on NSV or criminal record checks?

Why is NSV necessary? 


NSV is necessary to ensure that a person’s character and personal circumstances are such that they can be trusted to work in a position which may involve access to sensitive assets or areas.

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Which aviation roles are subject to NSV checks by the CAA?
 

The Secretary of State for Transport has defined in the Single Consolidated Direction (Aviation) (SCD) the specific roles and duties across the aviation industry for which NSV is required, as well as the type of clearance required.  These directions are not publically available in full for reasons of national security but have been made available to the industry.
Individuals will be advised by their (potential) employer whether they require an NSV clearance.

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What does a CTC check involve?
 

CTC involves a check against UK criminal and security records. Such clearance is required for access to certain establishments or public figures where there is a specific threat from terrorism. It is not designed to manage access to sensitive information.

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How long is a CTC clearance valid for?
 

CTC clearance is valid for 5 years. However, periodic checks may be made if there are changes to circumstances and vetting authorities may check against updated records.

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How do I apply for CTC clearance?
 

Organisations in the aviation sector who employ individuals that require security clearance to CTC level must apply to the CAA; applications direct from the individual will not be accepted.

The CAA has entered into agreements with authorised suppliers of NSV to government and depending on various matters including the volume of CTC clearance applications you are likely to require and completion of a User Agreement, the CAA could authorise you to have direct access to the Supplier’s online security vetting services. 

Organisations that do not have direct access to the Supplier’s online security vetting services will need to complete a Sponsor Agreement  and apply for CTC clearance by submitting the required information at point 7 to vetting@caa.gsi.gov.uk.

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Is there a charge for applying for CTC clearance?
 

Yes, the sponsoring organisation must pay to the CAA the appropriate charge as published in the Scheme of Charges (Aviation Security).
 

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What pre-employment checks need to be carried out?
 

Before NSV clearance is undertaken the requirements of the Baseline Personnel Security Standard must be met.  The BPSS requires the verification of the following four elements:

  • Identity;
  • Employment history (past three years)
  • Nationality and Immigration Status; and
  • Criminal record (unspent convictions only – but see further information under “What if the individual has a criminal record? “)

Further information on BPSS is available from the Cabinet Office.  

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What information do I as the sponsoring organisation need about the individual?
 

The following details will be required:

The individual’s:

  • full name and date of birth
  • personal email address
  • National Insurance number
  • town of birth
  • country of birth
  • job title and an explanation how it meets the rules set out in the Single Consolidated Direction.

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What if the individual has a criminal record?


For NSV purposes the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 allows for consideration of both spent and unspent convictions.  A criminal record is not necessarily a bar to NSV clearance although the CAA will need to consider whether any conviction affects suitability for the post.  The more serious, repeated, and more recent the offence(s), the more weight may be attached to it as an indicator of possible unsuitability. Failure to declare criminal convictions on a security questionnaire may also give rise to serious concerns.

The relevant offences that will be considered can be found at the following:

From time to time it may be necessary to request further information. The CAA will approach the sponsoring organisation to request further information from the individual before a decision can be made.

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What if the individual has a conviction outside the United Kingdom?
 
 

Individuals must provide an overseas criminal record check covering the time they lived abroad.  More information from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.    

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Can a vetting refusal / withdrawal decision be appealed?
 
 

Appeals may only be made by individuals who are already employed within the aviation industry.

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How do you appeal?
 
 

Any decision to refuse or withdraw clearance from an individual already employed within the aviation industry will be accompanied by information on how that individual can appeal that decision and the time scales. 
 
The appeals process will involve an arbiter having access to all the material available to the original decision maker, including advice from the police or the security and intelligence agencies.  The arbiter will operate as transparently as possible, within the bounds of national security and third party confidentiality.

Appeals will follow natural justice principles so individuals who consider appeals will have had no prior involvement in the case; in particular they will not have participated in the initial decision to refuse or withdraw clearance, nor will they have discussed any aspects of the case with those who participated in the original decision making.

The appeals process should take no more than 21 working days from the point the appeal is received by the CAA.

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Is there a further appeal route?
 

Yes, to the Security Vetting Appeals Panel (SVAP), an independent advisory body set up by the Cabinet Office.  SVAP provides a final means of challenging a decision to refuse or withdraw security clearance from individuals who have exhausted the internal appeals process and who remain dissatisfied with the outcome.  Those wishing to take their case to the panel must register their intention to appeal with the Secretariat, in writing, within 28 days of receiving the final notification of the rejection of an internal appeal. 

More information is available from HMG Personnel Security Controls

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Incorrect data?
 

If you consider that the information from the Police National Computer (PNC), used in the vetting process, is incorrect and wish to contest it please approach your local police station and ask for a copy of records held against you.  Explain that you have applied for National Security Vetting and the checks have identified criminal convictions recorded against you that you don’t believe are yours.

You can also obtain your PNC record by submitting a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act.

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Where can I find more information on NSV or Criminal Record Checks?
 

The following information is available from gov.uk

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Contact us

vetting@caa.gsi.gov.uk

Aviation Security Vetting Team
CAA House
7th Floor
45-59 Kingsway
London
WC2B 6TE

0207 453 5821
0207 453 5822

For any queries relating to NSV clearance applications submitted prior to 1 April 2014, you should contact the Department for Transport via personnelsecurity@dft.gsi.gov.uk.