- Are non-citizens eligible for Foreign Service employment?
Only U.S. citizens may apply for an appointment to the career Foreign Service, i.e., you must be a U.S. citizen by the day you submit your registration package (for generalists), or upon your application to fill a vacancy announcement (for specialists).
- Are veterans given hiring preference?
Officers: Veterans who pass the Oral Assessment and qualify as preference eligibles are entitled to .175 for a 5 point preference or to .35 for a 10 point preference, based on a seven point scale. Specialist candidates, who are assessed on a 100 point scale, and who pass their oral assessment are entitled to an additional 5 to 10 points added to their competitive rating. Candidates must submit form DD-214 to document creditable military service.
- Can you use college courses in a particular language to gain language points?
Points are not awarded for college language courses.
- Does the Foreign Service look more favorably on individuals with advanced degrees or foreign language skills?
There is no set educational level or foreign language skill required to join the Foreign Service as an Officer. Some Foreign Service Specialist positions do have degree requirements.
- Foreign Service salary matching, pay tables, danger pay, overseas moving expenses and taxes
Only salary is taken into consideration. A bonus or commission is not factored in.
- FS candidates with Same-Sex Domestic Partners who are not US citizens
Q: I have a conditional offer for employment as an FSO, and am in a somewhat unusual situation vis-a-vis my family. My partner and step-child have been categorized as my EFMs, but they are currently living overseas because DOMA precludes my sponsoring them for residency. If I were to accept an A-100 offer, would DOS assist with their relocation to DC? Or, would we be forced to wait until I was posted abroad before they could join me? If they would be allowed to accompany me to Washington, would DOS facilitate their visas? And what kind of timeline would we be looking at? Alternatively, could they enter the country temporarily as visitors, and then work with the department to acquire visas for my first assignment? Thanks for your help.
- How long does it take the Final Review Panel to make a suitability determination?
It takes from one week to months to complete a suitability determination. The length of time depends on the issues involved in each candidate’s file and the need for the Panel to obtain additional information in order to reach a decision that both conforms to the standards outlined in the Foreign Affairs Manual, and is fair to the candidate.
- I am curious about the experiences of newly hired FSOs that are 55 plus years of age. What percentage of new hires are in this age group? Generally, how are these "older" junior officers viewed?
The Foreign Service is looking for employees who represent the depth and breath of the United States, and we expect new hires will bring unique skills and life experiences not shared by other candidates. Consequently we interview and hire candidates from across a range of ages and experiences. A newly minted officer might be in his or her 50s or maybe only in his or her 20s
- If I decline an offer of employment, will my FSO candidacy continue? Am I likely to get another offer of employment in the future?
If a candidate declines two appointment offers, his/her name is removed from the Register, even if the 18 month eligibility period has not expired. If a candidate declines an offer, there is no guarantee that his/her name will be reached again and another employment offer made.
- If the retirement age is 65, would the Foreign Service hire someone over 55 knowing that they will only have a 10-year return on their investment?
Yes. There are some Foreign Service Officers who entered the Foreign Service shortly before turning 60. The Department of State encourages all interested candidates who meet the age qualifications to apply. The only requirement is that you must have entered an A-100 class before your 60th birthday.
- Is it possible for members of the Foreign Service to also be in the Reserves or National Guard?
There are a good number of Foreign Service Officers and Specialists in the Reserves or National Guard, and military leave is granted so that Reservists and members of the National Guard can fulfill their obligations. For detailed information on military leave and how it works, please click here and select 3 FAM 3440: http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/regs/fam/c22159.htm.
- Is it possible for the Department to hire while under a Continuing Resolution (CR)? What happens to candidates already on the register?
Hiring under a CR depends on the specific language and appropriations the CR authorizes. Normally, a CR allows spending at about 80% of the previous year's budget and only for continuing activities, not new ones. So hiring is possible but limited. Until we know what Congress has decided we cannot predict how soon we will know about hiring or what level of hiring will be possible.
- Is sexual orientation a factor considered by the Department in its hiring decisions?
The Department of State is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation.
- May a candidate in a career track or specialty have other candidacies at the same time?
Yes. A candidate may qualify for more than one career track and be on more than one hiring register at a time. For example, applicants may qualify for more than one specialist career track or they may qualify for a specialist career track(s) as well as a generalist career track(s).
- May a candidate reapply after accepting an offer and entering the Foreign Service?
After entering the Foreign Service, a candidate may subsequently reapply for other career tracks and/or use the processes available internally to Foreign Service personnel to change career tracks without prejudice. All first-tour candidates serving abroad however must complete a minimum of one year at post to be released from the requirement to repay the cost of leaving post early.
- What are the current hiring rates?
There are no precise hiring targets, but with the Department's budget decreasing or at best leveling, hiring will be significantly lower in 2013 than it has been in the previous years.
- What are the Foreign Service Officer Test Dates? What about Oral Assessment Dates?
For information about FSOT (Foreign Service Officer Test) dates and deadlines, please visit the Officer Selection Process page, and choose Step #3: Take the Foreign Service Officer Test.
- What is Foreign Service Home Leave?
Home Leave is provided to employees by order of Congress to ensure that Foreign Service employees have the opportunity to spend significant periods of time in the United States while pursuing careers overseas. Home leave accrues at the rate of 15 workdays per calendar year while on overseas assignment, and may be used at the end of a two or three-year assignment abroad, or at the midpoint of a three- or four-year tour. In addition to providing paid home leave, the U.S. government will also pay for you and your family to travel to your home leave address in the United States.
- What is the Federal payment scale (GS)? What are entry salaries for Officers, Specialists, Civil Service?
View the current pay schedule on the main Department of State site.
- What is the Final Review Panel?
Upon completion of the medical clearance and the background investigation, a Final Review Panel is convened for each candidate. The Panel examines a candidate’s total record (except medical files) to determine suitability for employment with the Foreign Service. In evaluating suitability, the Final Review Panel considers among other points: misconduct in prior employment; criminal or dishonest conduct; misrepresentation in the application process; use to excess of intoxicating beverages; trafficking in or abuse of narcotics or controlled substances; doubt as to loyalty to the U.S. Government; conduct which clearly shows poor judgment; and lack of financial responsibility, including a history of not filing tax returns or meeting financial obligations.
- What is the Qualification Evaluation Panel (QEP)?
All candidates who pass the FSOT and submit the Personal Narratives, regardless of their score on the FSOT, are considered by the Qualifications Evaluation Panels. The QEPs look at the "total candidate" to rank order all the candidates in a given career track. The number of candidates invited to the Oral Assessment depends on our anticipated hiring needs and budget.
- What kind of training, per diems, and housing is available for Security Engineering Officers (SEO)?
Your 3 weeks at FSI will likely be followed by 2 weeks of SEO-specific "orientation," followed then by transferring directly into your assigned domestic office. When it comes time you will be notified when your further SEO training will occur, as classes are full for the time being.
- Who are the Diplomats in Residence? What do they do?
Each year, the U.S. Department of State assigns Senior Foreign Service Officers to the position of Diplomat in Residence (DIR) at certain colleges and universities throughout the United States.
- Why wasn't I invited to the Oral Assessment (FSO generalist)?
As a standard practice, we do not provide specific feedback to individuals because many people may go through this process more than once and detailed guidance would constitute unfair advantage. Nonetheless, below you will find generic guidance that you might find useful; please note that these comments are general and some of them may not apply to you.
- Will the Federal government repay my college loans?
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has implemented a program for the repayment of student loans under certain conditions. By law, the maximum any federal agency can award is $10,000 a year, or $60,000 over a lifetime. In each of the first three years of our program, the Department approved payments of $4,700. In return, an employee must agree to remain with the paying agency for at least three years.