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To be eligible to apply you must be a British citizen (either born here or naturalised) and one of your parents must be a British citizen or have substantial ties to the UK. Applications can be made if you are 17 years of age, subject to the requirement that you must turn 18 within 6 months of the date on which you submit your application. For the avoidance of any doubt, in the event that you are successful in your application, you would not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday.

Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for nine out of the last 10 years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. We will still consider you if you have, for example, served overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of Her Majesty’s Government, studied abroad, or lived overseas with your parents.

The Recruitment Process

We run a transparent recruitment process which varies according to the role and full details for each can be found when you view the job you are applying for. However, firstly you will need to complete our pre-screening questions to find out if you meet our initial criteria. If you meet these we will then ask you to begin an application. We do not accept CVs unless required as part of a job's selection process. 

The recruitment process is lengthy and can take around six to nine months. This is because candidates have to go through a vetting procedure in addition to the recruitment process for the specific role they have applied for, due to the sensitive nature of our work.

You may only submit one application at a time.

We are a ‘Positive about Disabled People’ employer and our Guaranteed Interview Scheme means that we guarantee an interview to all candidates with a disability who meet our minimum criteria (full details can be found on the job description).

All applications will be considered on merit. MI5 is committed to reflecting both equal opportunities and the society we protect.

You should only begin or access your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to work on your application. Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application.

Skills and Experience

These depend on the requirements of the role. Some of our vacancies require specialist qualifications and/or previous experience and we recommend that you take time to familiarise yourself with the appropriate job-specific pages before you apply.

Previous skills and experience are assessed as part of a wider competency-based selection process and you will be asked to demonstrate these throughout.

There are also common personal attributes that we look for across all the roles that we recruit for, including honesty, integrity and the ability to work as part of a team.


Owing to the sensitivity of our work, discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member, providing they are British. You should also make them aware of the importance of discretion. You should not mention your application on social media or discuss it with anyone else at this stage. You will receive further guidance during the recruitment process.


Every applicant will receive bespoke cover advice (what you may consider telling family and friends) throughout the recruitment process. Should you be successful in joining MI5 you will be given a full briefing on the reasons why it is important not to disclose that you work here, and what to say if people ask you or your family about your career.

MI5 postings and your CV

The variety of jobs, outstanding team environment and rewarding nature of working in a unique environment means MI5 is one of the few organisations in the UK that can still claim to offer a career for life. Should you join and later find yourself looking for a job outside MI5, however, you will benefit from a team of careers experts who can help tailor your CV and translate the skills you have developed into a format suitable for the wider working environment, whilst also protecting your cover.

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MI5 and SIS do basically the same thing, but in different places.

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