When you are posted to a U.S. mission abroad, it is customary to write to the Principal Officer to express your pleasure with the assignment. This letter should arrive no earlier than six weeks before your arrival. If you are assigned to a constituent post, send a letter to the principal officer at post and a second courtesy letter to the country's ambassador. Be sure to confirm all names and titles with your area technician.
FOR A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW OF THIS TOPIC, please see our handout on writing introductory letters to post.
Want a template to save you time in formatting your letter? Visit our Community Developed Resources page!
FORMAL, OFFICIAL E-MAILS
Deputy Chief of Mission - This should be similar to the Letter to the Ambassador but sent via e-mail, perhaps including a copy of the letter sent to the Ambassador as a courtesy.
Supervisor - In addition to the courtesy letter to the principal officer, you should write to your supervisor as soon as possible. Your supervisor is the best person to answer questions relating to your job responsibilities, including information regarding titles for calling cards. Your e-mail to him/her will be a combination courtesy and inquiry communication.
Management Officer - The Management Officer at the Mission must know your travel plans. Be sure to include all details of your itinerary: stopovers en route, name of carrier and flight number, arrival date and time, and if you plan to arrive alternatively by car, train or boat. Also include information on the number of persons accompanying you, their names and the ages, and accompanying pets. If your pet is arriving at a later date, that is also helpful information.
INFORMAL, UNOFFICIAL E-MAILS
Community Liaison Office (CLO) Coordinator - One of your best sources of information on life at post may be the Community Liaison Office (CLO) coordinator. The CLO can answer your questions about life at post, cars, appliances, consumables, schools, pets, medical services, employment opportunities for family members, and community services. Many overseas posts have a CLO who sends newcomers information to help them prepare for their move. E-mails to the CLO can be of a more personal nature. You or your spouse/partner may write this message as soon as you have received your assignment. Contact the Family Liaison Office for the name of the CLO at your post.
Predecessor - Another source of information is your predecessor. You may wish to write one of your first e-mails to him/her.
You may send letters via pouch or APO/FPO mail or through the inter-departmental mail system in any annex or office in the Department of State. A Department return address must be used on the envelope. Do not use a personal return address or stamp for inter-departmental mail.
Return to Checklist