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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Diplomatic Couriers

Date: 06/08/2009 Location: Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA Description: A shipment of U.S. Government materials that has arrived at Dulles International Airport, in Chantilly, VA, June 8, 2009. In 2008, diplomatic couriers ensured the secure delivery of more than 55 million pounds of classified diplomatic pouch materials by air, sea, and land to and from U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world. U.S. Department of State Photo. - State Dept Image

Diplomatic couriers ensure the secure movement of classified U.S. Government material across international borders throughout the world.

Couriers are required to safeguard and escort diplomatic pouches containing classified and sensitive material between U.S. diplomatic missions overseas and the Department of State. Today these materials are more than papers and files. Diplomatic pouches may contain thousands of pounds of equipment and construction materials bound for sensitive posts. Travel and independence highlight the career of a diplomatic courier.

Diplomatic couriers are assigned to one of eight regional diplomatic courier offices located in Washington, DC; Frankfurt, Germany; Bangkok, Thailand; Dakar, Senegal; Miami, Florida; Pretoria, South Africa; Seoul, Korea; or Manama, Bahrain. Couriers are assigned responsibilities on a regional basis and serve embassies and consulates in that region.

Diplomatic couriers serve a substantial portion of their careers in travel status and overseas.

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  • U.S. citizenship
  • 21 years of age
  • Associate level degree
  • If required, registration under the Military Selective Service Act
  • Undergo a thorough background investigation and qualify for a Top Secret security clearance
  • Pass a stringent medical exam and be available for worldwide assignment
  • Be willing to travel and accept assignments throughout the world. Couriers are required to live and work a substantial portion of their career overseas.
  • Be willing to spend the majority of their time traveling
  • Foreign language ability is desirable, but not mandatory
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze problems and identify significant factors, gather pertinent information, recognize solutions and implement action, plan and organize work, and communicate effectively both orally and in writing

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Salary and Benefits

Starting salaries range from $35,265 to $51,788, depending on qualifications, location of assignment, and related specialized experience. Satisfactory performance earns employees automatic grade and pay increases during the first 3 years. Thereafter, promotions are competitive based on the recommendations of annual selection panels.

An excellent benefits package includes:

  • Health Benefits Plans
  • Thrift Savings Plan (equivalents to 401(K) with Government matching)
  • Life Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Annual Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Family Medical Leave
  • Student Loan Repayment Program
  • Ten Paid Holidays Per Year
  • Career Counseling and Development
  • Child Care Centers (Domestic only)
  • Child Care Subsidy (based on income)
  • Credit Union, Fitness Facility and More
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Employee Consultation Service
  • Employee Recognition through our Incentive Awards Program
  • Employee Recreation Association
  • Extensive Training Opportunities through our Foreign Service Institute (FSI)
  • Flexible Work Hours (alternative work schedules)
  • Global Career Mobility Opportunities (if desired)
  • Managerial and Leadership Development
  • MetroChek Transit Subsidy
  • Periodic Performance-Based Pay Adjustments (within grade/step increases)
  • Shuttle Bus Service to State Annexes
  • Voluntary Leave Transfer Program
  • Workers' Compensation Coverage for Work-Related Injuries/Conditions
  • Salary Determination
  • Government-provided quarters or housing allowance overseas
  • Home leave to the United States between overseas assignments
  • Rest and recuperation leave, with transportation partially paid, when employees and their dependents are assigned to designated hardship posts
  • Cost of living allowance
  • Educational allowance for dependents under certain circumstances
  • Danger pay at designated posts
  • Moving expenses for assignments

A high level of responsibility, good opportunities for promotion, and an excellent benefits package await you.

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