U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Mar 20, 2023
(a) To establish a person's suitability for employment, appointments to covered positions identified in § 731.101 require the person to undergo an investigation by OPM or by an agency with delegated authority from OPM to conduct investigations. However, except as provided in paragraph (b)(2), an appointment will not be subject to investigation when the person being appointed has undergone a background investigation and the appointment involves:
(1) Appointment or conversion to an appointment in a covered position if the person has been serving continuously with the agency for at least 1 year in one or more covered positions subject to investigation;
(2) Transfer to a covered position, provided the person has been serving continuously for at least 1 year in a covered position subject to investigation;
(3) Transfer or appointment from an excepted service position that is not a covered position to a covered position, provided the person has been serving continuously for at least 1 year in a position where the person has been determined fit for appointment based on criteria equivalent to the factors provided at 5 CFR 731.202;
(4) Appointment to a covered position from a position as an employee working as a Federal Government contract employee, provided the person has been serving continuously for at least 1 year in a job where a Federal agency determined the contract employee was fit to perform work on the contract based on criteria equivalent to the factors provided at 5 CFR 731.202; or
(5) Appointment to a covered position where there has been a break in service of less than 24 months, and the service immediately preceding the break was in a covered position, an excepted service position, or a contract employee position described in paragraphs (a)(1) to (a)(4) of this section.
(b)(1) Either OPM or an agency with delegated suitability authority may investigate and take a suitability action against an applicant, appointee, or employee in accordance with § 731.105. There is no time limit on the authority of OPM or an agency with delegated suitability authority to conduct the required investigation of an applicant who has been appointed to a position. An employee does not have to serve a new probationary or trial period merely because his or her appointment is subject to investigation under this section. An employee's probationary or trial period is not extended because his or her appointment is subject to investigation under this section.
(2) An appointment to a covered position also will be subject to investigation when:
(i) The covered position requires a higher level of investigation than previously conducted for the person being appointed; or
(ii) An agency obtains new information in connection with the person's appointment that calls into question the person's suitability under § 731.202;
(3) Suitability determinations must be made for all appointments that are subject to investigation.
(c) Positions that are intermittent, seasonal, per diem, or temporary, not to exceed an aggregate of 180 days per year in either a single continuous appointment or series of appointments, do not require a background investigation as described in § 731.106(c)(1). The employing agency, however, must conduct such checks as it deems appropriate to ensure the suitability of the person.
(d) Reinvestigation requirements under § 731.106 for public trust positions are not affected by this section.
(e) For purposes of this section, “criteria equivalent to the factors provided at 5 CFR 731.202” are criteria that provide adequate assurance that the person to be appointed, converted to an appointment, or transferred is suitable to be employed in a covered position, as determined by OPM, in issuances under this regulation. A decision by OPM, or by an agency applying guidance from OPM, that a prior fitness determination was not based on criteria equivalent to the factors provided at 5 CFR 731.202, and that a new investigation or adjudication is necessary is not subject to review under section 731.501 of this part.