The Family Liaison Office’s (FLO) Employment Team trusts these FAQs will help you find answers to the most common questions. If you do not find your question in the list below, email FLOAskEmployment@state.gov.
- How do Eligible Family Members (EFMs) enter the Harry S. Truman (HST/Main State) building if they do not have a badge?
- How can I get information on the post to which I have been assigned?
- What is The Network?
- May I apply for state unemployment in between posts when I am no longer employed by the federal government?
- Who do I contact to get a copy of a SF-50?
- Who do I contact to get a copy of my W-2?
- Who do I contact to get a copy of my latest Employee Performance Review (EPR) JF-57?
- How do I change my Thrift Saving Plan (TSP) address on record?
- How do I obtain a copy of my federal employment personnel records if I am no longer employed?
- When do EFMs earn retirement credit?
- Who do I contact to find out about my retirement benefits?
- I am a current employee applying for a loan. The lender is requesting employment verification. Who will provide this information?
- How do EFMs get paid for accrued annual and/or sick leave when leaving a Family Member Appointment (FMA)?
- Is there an age restriction on a Family Member Appointment (FMA)?
- Can my annual leave be transferred from one U.S. Government agency to another?
- How do I resign from the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC) or Intermittent No Work Scheduled (INWS) status?
- Does time in non-compensated reserve status as a member of the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC) count toward federal service credit?
- Am I eligible for reinstatement?
- What can EFMs, who are Career-Conditional employees, do when going overseas before receiving tenure (Career Status) to maintain their Creditable Service?
- How can I prepare for the security clearance process?
- What is the Family Member Employment Report (FAMER)?
- How does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) relate to overtime and premium pay for EFMs?
- What are the different ways that can be used to hire an EFM overseas
- Is it possible to obtain a higher step within a pay grade?
- What will happen to my TSP funds if I resign?
- What does the Post Employment Committee (PEC) do?
- How do I find out about EFM employment opportunities at an Unaccompanied Tour (UT) post?
- Can an EFM maintain their hiring preference at another post in the same country or in a neighboring country?
- What is the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC)?
- Can EFMs use USG-provided housing for business activities?
- What career development resources are available to Eligible Family Members?
- What is the Global Employment Initiative (GEI)?
- What kind of support should I expect from the Global Employment Advisor (GEA)?
- How can I find a Global Employment Advisor (GEA) in my country or region?
- There is no Global Employment Advisor (GEA) who covers my overseas post. What should I do?
- Where can I find out more information about potential jobs on the local economy?
- Do I need to pay taxes to the host country government when I work outside the mission?
- Do I need permission from the Chief of Mission to work and/or volunteer on the local economy?
- Where can I find resources on telework?
- Is a work permit required when self-employed and working out of U.S. Government (USG) leased or owned quarters?
- What is a bilateral work agreement (BWA) or a de facto work arrangement?
- What does a bilateral work agreement (BWA) mean for a spouse of an accredited U.S. government employee assigned overseas?
- Who is eligible for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document) and when should I apply?
- If I am not a U.S. Citizen, am I still eligible to secure a work permit under a BWA?
- As an EU citizen returning to Europe, will I retain criminal immunities if employed on the local economy?
- Is a member of household (MOH) joining the FSO at their post of assignment able to obtain a work permit under a bilateral work agreement (BWA)?
- Where can I find information about the Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP)?
- What is the Professional Development Fellowship (PDF) Program?
- What is the Hard-to-Fill (HTF) Program/Professional Associate Program?
- What is the Consular Affairs-Appointment Eligible Family Member (CA-AEFM) Program and how do I apply?
- What is Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) as taken from Executive Order E.O.E. 12721?
- What documents are required to prove that I have Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE)?
- Does my service in more than one Family Member Appointment (FMA) count toward earning Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE)?
- What is the Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) Registry and how do I enroll?
- Where do family members find U.S. Government (USG) regulations and references?
- What are the Department’s rules governing the use of social media by eligible family members?
- How do I enroll in classes offered by the Transition Center at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI/TC)?
- How do I enroll in the Basic Consular Adjudication Course (ConGen)?
- How do Family Members enroll in functional training classes at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI)?
- How do Family Members enroll in language classes at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI)?
- EFMs can bring a valid diplomatic passport to the reception desk, get a blue badge, and enter unescorted. Alternatively, they can bring other government-issued identification but will need to be escorted by a Department of State employee with a badge. In both cases, the EFM will go through the visitor screening outside the C Street entrance.
- You can find post research and re-entry resources online and at the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) at the Foreign Service Institute’s Transition Center (FSI/TC). You can reach the OBC directly at FSIOBCInfoCenter@state.gov.
- Read the Family Member Employment Report (FAMER) located on the Department of State FLO intranet site or in the OBC at FSI. The FAMER provides the best information on family member employment at post. You may obtain a copy of a post’s FAMER through that post’s Community Liaison Officer Coordinator, FSI’s Post Info To Go, or through FLO.
- Reach out to the Community Liaison Office (CLO) Coordinator at your future post to get welcome materials along with information on possible EFM employment opportunities. Additionally, ask to be signed up for the CLO newsletter.
- Learn more about the role of the CLO at posts overseas on FLO’s CLO Program webpage.
- The Network is an email subscription service for Foreign Service family members seeking employment in the Washington DC area. It is designed to connect family members with potential employers within the U.S. Department of State as well as with other outside organizations. The Family Liaison Office (FLO) sources job opportunities for family members with Non-Competitive Eligibility. It also works with outside organizations to find job opportunities and give family members the inside track on government contract, NGO, and other private sector positions. Job vacancy announcements and other employment-related information, including upcoming programs and FLO services, are distributed via The Network to registered family members.
- Whether or not you are eligible for unemployment varies from state to state. Please contact your state unemployment office (sometimes called the Office of Unemployment Insurance) in your state of residence for specific information on eligibility, benefits, and services.
- 3 FAM 3645.1 provides additional information about the U.S. Government’s responsibility to provide Form SF-8, Notice to Federal Employee About Unemployment Compensation, at the time of separation from Federal civilian service or when an employee is in a non-pay status for seven consecutive days or longer. This guidance is for Department of State employees only. Your Post or Bureau HR Representatives should provide this form to you at the time of your separation.
- If you remain a member of the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC), or Intermittent No Work Scheduled (INWS) status (this is less common), you will remain on the rolls of the Department of State and therefore, may not be eligible for state unemployment benefits. You may have to officially resign to seek unemployment.
- If you were not provided with an SF-8 and are unable to obtain one from your last HR office, contact the HR Service Center (HRSC) at 843-308-5539 (Call Center) or HRSC@state.gov.
Personnel Records and Administration
1. Who do I contact to get a copy of an SF-50?
- Contact HR Service Center at HRSC@state.gov or call 866-300-7419 or 843-308-5539 (Call Center).
- Active employees: You can access your W-2 statements on Employee Express at www.employeeexpress.gov. A department notice will be sent out once the statements are available (by January 31).
- Separated employees: If you no longer have access to Employee Express, you may contact EEXHelp@opm.gov for assistance with your tax documents. In your email request please include your full name, the last four digits of your social security number, and your current mailing address. Please note that they will mail the W-2 to your address on record. Plan ahead as the W-2 may have to be forwarded from your address on record to your current address.
- Contact the current Human Resources Officer (HRO) from your previous post.
- If you do not know who the current HRO is at your previous post, contact HR Service Center (HRSC) at HRSC@state.gov or call 843-308-5539 (Call Center).
- Contact Payroll Customer Support via email at PayHelp@state.gov or via phone at 1-877-865-0760.
- Submit a Privacy Act Request by following the instructions on the Department of State Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) website. Fax the request to 202-261-8579 or mail to:
Office of Information Programs and Services
U. S. Department of State, SA-2
Washington, DC 20522-8100
- A/GIS/IPS will NOT accept requests for information via telephone or e-mail.
- EFMs on Family Member Appointments (FMA) earn Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) credit. Personal Services Agreements (PSA) and Personal Service Contracts (PSC) do not earn FERS credit. TEMP Appointments may be eligible, contact your HRO for details.
- Time spent in non-compensated reserve status as a member of the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC) does not qualify as creditable federal service.
- EFMs whose periods of active FMA service add up to more than five years should direct retirement questions to HRSC@state.gov, who will, in turn, assign the request to the Office of Retirement (RET).
- Additional information can be found on the Office of Retirement’s webpage.
- If your periods of active FMA service add up to more than five years, direct your retirement questions to HRSC@state.gov. They will create a service ticket for the Office of Retirement (RET) to assign your request with a technician familiar with EFMS. RetServices@state.gov can also provide advice but HRSC should be the first point of contact.
- Additional information can be found on the Office of Retirement’s webpage and on the FLO website.
- The Records and Information Management Division (GTM/EX/RIM) is responsible for providing verbal and written employment verification. Release of employment information is provided under strict guidelines of the Privacy Act of 1974. For verbal employment verification, contact GTM/EX/RIM via phone (202-663-1880) or email HRVerificationofEmpl@state.gov.
- Releasable employment data includes salary, position title, grade/step, and length of service. Between the hours of 9:30am to 12:30pm, and 1:30pm to 4:00pm, mortgage companies may call 202-663-1880 for a verbal verification of employment and annual salary. This telephone line is dedicated to employment verification only. Another option is for mortgage companies to fax a verification of employment form to 202-663-1862. GTM/EX/RIM will complete the form and mail it back to the requester within 72 business hours.
- Written employment verification requests should be submitted to:
U.S. Department of State
Records and Information Management Division GTM/EX/RIM, SA-1
2401 E Street, NW, H-804
Washington, DC 20522-0108
Inside the Mission
- Annual leave lump sum payments occur when an employee resigns from an FMA, including an appointment to the FSFRC.
- Separation/Termination: Upon separation (resignation) from federal service, employees receive a lump sum payment for unused annual leave. Sick leave may not be paid out in any circumstance.
- For regulations on leave, refer to 3 FAM 3410 and 3 FAH 3410.
- There is no minimum or maximum age restriction for an Eligible Family Member to be hired on an FMA, but the family member must meet the eligibility requirements as an Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFM). See: 3 FAM 7120
- If resigning from a Department of State (DOS) Family Member Appointment (FMA) position, you will receive a lump sum payment for any unused annual leave. The sick leave remaining should be reinstated when you return to a federal position. Lump sum payments of unused annual leave are only paid out with a termination action.
- If transferring from the DOS to another agency, annual leave should transfer once your new agency receives your Official Personnel Folder (OPF). The Human Resources Service Center (HRSC) will generate an SF-75 form to send to the HR Specialist at the new agency to confirm your benefits elections/enrollments.
- Contact HRSC by email at HRSC@state.gov or call 843-308-5539.
- Send a resignation email to HRSC@state.gov. Provide your full name, last four digits of your social security number, the effective date of your resignation, and the reason for your resignation (e.g. acceptance of a third party government contract, loss of status as an AEFM).
- No. An individual who is a member of the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC) receives no pay, benefits, or service credit while in non-compensated reserve status.
- If you have prior career or career-conditional service with the federal government, you may be eligible for reinstatement. Reinstatement allows you to re-enter the federal competitive service workforce without competing with the general public.
1. You must have held a career or career-conditional appointment at some time in the past. If so, there is no time limit on reinstatement eligibility for those who:
- Have veterans’ preference, or
- Acquired career tenure by completing three years of continuous creditable service.
2. If you do not have veterans’ preference or did not acquire career tenure, you may be reinstated within three years after the date of your separation. Reinstatement eligibility may be extended by certain activities that occur during the three year period after separation from your last career or career-conditional appointment. Examples of these activities are:
- Federal employment under temporary, term, or similar appointments.
- Federal employment in excepted, non-appropriated fund, or Senior Executive Service positions.
- Federal employment in the legislative and judicial branches.
- Active military duty terminated under honorable conditions.
- Service with the District of Columbia Government prior to January 1, 1980 (and other service for certain employees converted to the District’s independent merit system).
- Certain government employment or full-time training that provided valuable training and experience for the job to be filled.
- Periods of overseas residence of a dependent who followed a Federal military or civilian employee to an overseas post of duty.
3. To apply for reinstatement rights you must conduct your own job search. Reinstatement eligibility does not guarantee you a job offer. Hiring managers at federal agencies have the discretion to determine the sources of applicants they will consider for open vacancies. The majority of federal government vacancies are advertised on USAJobs.gov.
- If a career-conditional (non-tenured) Civil Service employee leaves a position to immediately accompany their spouse who is on an official appointment overseas, the three-year period of reinstatement eligibility will be extended for the length of time spent overseas and essentially begins again when the EFM resumes domestic residency [see 5 CFR 315.401 (c) (14)]. The family member should work with their bureau HR specialist to ensure that all procedures and administrative procedures are followed to ensure that there will be no obstacles to reinstatement when returning to DC. The employee’s prior service counting towards career tenure will be considered creditable if the separation from employment occurs no more than 90 calendar days prior to going overseas and reinstatement occurs while overseas or within 180 calendar days resuming domestic residency [5CFR 315.201 (b)(3)(x )].
- Start gathering all information for the security clearance form as soon as possible. You will need to include addresses and telephone numbers from all prior residences from the last ten years, contact information for neighbors from every location where you have lived, and addresses for schools/universities attended.
- The HR office initiates the clearance process and will grant you access to eQIP, the mandatory online application system used for clearances, after giving you a tentative offer. You may get a head start on the process by going to OPM’s website and downloading the eQIP form. This exercise allows you to review the information that is required so you can collect and prepare the form in advance of a job offer. This is NOT a substitute for the online application itself. You must still enter personal information online in eQIP once the HR office grants you access.
- Address your questions regarding security clearances to SecurityClearance@state.gov. You may find additional information on the Diplomatic Security website or call 866-643-4636.
- FAMERs provide a post-specific snapshot of the employment situation at an overseas mission for family members.
- FAMERs come out twice a year and are completed by the CLO at post with input from the Human Resources Officer (HRO). This report is a useful tool in researching EFM employment at post.
- The FAMER reports are available on the Department of State’s intranet as well as at FSI’s Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) or by sending an email to FLOAskEmployment@state.gov.
- While the FAMER gives the researcher a baseline of data, the CLO and/or Global Employment Advisor (GEA) at post can provide additional insight into the employment situation.
10. How does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) relate to overtime and premium pay for EFMs?
- Premium Compensation: Premium compensation other than overtime (e.g. night pay, holiday pay, etc.) is governed solely by Title 5. All EFMs are eligible for premium compensation.
- Overtime Compensation: It is the Department of State’s policy that all overtime work must be authorized in writing in advance. There are two sets of regulations that govern overtime compensation for EFMs, commonly known as Title 5 and the FLSA. Which rules apply depends upon the type of duties and where the work is performed. All positions have an FLSA designation of “exempt” or “non-exempt.” EFMs who perform all of their work in a given workweek overseas are exempt. EFMs working in the United States may either be exempt or non-exempt, depending upon the position. Employees can find their designation in box 35 of their SF-50.
- The following terms are applicable to overtime work by all Department of State employees:
- Administrative workweek – a period of seven consecutive days. Generally, the Department’s administrative workweek begins at 12:00 am (midnight) on Sunday and ends at 11:59 pm Saturday. Some posts may have a different administrative workweek due to local customs.
- Regular overtime – overtime work that is scheduled in advance of the start of the administrative workweek in which it will be performed (i.e. scheduled before 12:00 am Sunday).
- Irregular overtime – overtime work that is scheduled after the start of the administrative workweek in which it will be performed (i.e. scheduled after 12:00 am Sunday).
- Title 5: Overtime compensation for EFMs in exempt positions is governed by Title 5. An exempt EFM who performs work in excess of 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week that has been officially ordered or approved is entitled to overtime compensation for that work. Overtime compensation can be in the form of overtime pay or compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay depending on the type of overtime work performed (“regular” or “irregular”) and the pay rate of the employee. All overtime compensation for exempt employees is subject to a mandatory pay cap. Exempt employees and their supervisors should complete the DS-3060, Authorization for Overtime and Premium Compensation (Exempt) form, prior to performing overtime work.
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): Overtime compensation for EFMs in non-exempt positions is governed by the FLSA. A non-exempt EFM who performs work in excess of 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week is entitled to overtime compensation for that work (even if the work was not officially ordered or approved). Non-exempt employees receive overtime pay for “regular” overtime work. They can request overtime pay, compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay, or a combination of both for “irregular” overtime work. There is no mandatory pay cap on overtime compensation for non-exempt employees. Non-exempt employees and their supervisors should complete the DS-3065, Authorization for Overtime and Premium Compensation (Non-exempt) form, prior to performing overtime work.
- Part-time EFMS: The overtime rules are the same for exempt and non-exempt EFMs who work part-time as they are for full-time employees. If a part-time EFM works extra hours, that time will only be considered overtime if the employee works more than 8 hours in a day or more than 40 hours in a week. If the employee works more hours than usual, but less than 40 hours in the week, the employee should receive regular pay for the extra hours.
EFMs are hired through various mechanisms depending on the hiring agency, funding source, and family member definition as defined in 3 FAM 7120.
Family Member Appointment (FMA)
- The FMA is a Department of State Foreign Service limited, non-career appointment available to Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFM)
- An AEFM is a U.S. citizen spouse of a sponsoring employee (as defined in 3 FAM 7120).
- The AEFM must be on the travel orders accompanying a career Foreign Service employee, Civil Service employee, or uniformed service member at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad under Chief of Mission authority. Or, s/he must be listed on the (Foreign Service Residency and Dependency Report (OF-126).
- The FMA provides benefits including benefits, including creditable USG service, and the possibility of earning Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) under Executive Order 12721.
- Civil service and Foreign Service annuitants are not eligible to be hired on an FMA.
- Foreign Service Generalists or Specialists in Leave Without Pay (LWOP) status are not eligible to be hired on an FMA.
- Civil service employees with re-employment rights to their agency or bureau are not eligible to be hired on an FMA.
- Military annuitants are eligible to be hired on an FMA.
Temporary Appointment (TEMP)
- The TEMP appointment is used for hiring AEFMs when the term of appointment is anticipated to be one year or less, regardless of the work schedule, or is expected to last more than one year with an intermittent work schedule.
- The AEFM must be a U.S. citizen spouse, the spouse of the sponsoring employee (as defined in 3 FAM 7120)
- The AEFM must be on the travel orders accompanying a career Foreign Service employee, Civil Service employee, or uniformed service member at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad and under Chief of Mission authority. Or, s/he must be listed on the Foreign Service Residency and Dependency Report (OF-126).
- The AEFM may or may not be eligible for benefits, depending as to whether or not there has been a break in service. Discuss this with your HRO at post.
- The TEMP appointment conveys creditable USG service and the possibility of earning Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) under Executive Order 12721 provided the employee works a minimum of 2087 hours under an intermittent work schedule.
- A TEMP appointment is also used for Foreign Service employees on approved Leave Without Pay (LWOP) and for Civil Service employees who have re-employment rights back to their agency/bureau who are hired at post to work during periods of approved LWOP.
- Foreign Service and Civil Service annuitants are not eligible to be hired on a TEMP Appointment.
Personal Service Agreement Program (PSA)
- A PSA is used to hire a non-U.S. citizen Eligible Family Member (EFM) of a Foreign Service, Civil Service employee, or uniformed service member assigned to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
- A retired federal employee who is receiving a pension would also be hired under a PSA. These individuals are termed “annuitants.” There is one exception to this rule, military annuitants. They are eligible for an FMA.
- The PSA is also used by the Department of State overseas to hire individuals on behalf of other federal agencies who have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
- This hiring mechanism may also be used for Members of Household (MOH) not on the employee’s travel orders.
- The PSA is subject to government contracting authorities and does not confer retirement benefits or USG service credit.
Personal Service Contract (PSC)
- The PSC mechanism is used by USAID, Peace Corps, and other agencies.
- The PSC is subject to government contracting authorities and does not follow Department of State hiring preferences. Benefits also vary and it does not confer retirement benefits or USG service credit.
It may be possible to obtain a higher step within the advertised grade of a position; however, any increase cannot exceed the highest step of the position grade. Please keep in mind that your experience, relevant skills and education will be evaluated based upon the documentation submitted with your application.
Before accepting a conditional offer of employment, an EFM should inquire if any of the following mechanisms would apply in their situation.
There are four pay setting mechanisms that HR is authorized to use. All pay setting scales are subject to available budget.
Highest Previous Rate (HPR):
- HPR may be requested by Post’s HRO prior to the appointment of an AEFM candidate when the candidate’s highest previous rate of basic pay earned on a federal government appointment for a continuous period of at least 90 days, without a break in service, was higher than the minimum step of the grade of the position. The total number of steps authorized for HPR may not exceed the highest step of the position grade.
- HPR applies to Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFM) who will be hired on an FMA or TEMP appointment.
- The SF-50 that confirms previous federal employment is required in order for HPR to be considered.
- In certain circumstances, HPR may be applied retroactively.
- In situations where both SQR and HPR might be applicable, only the higher of the two may be authorized.
- All HPR decisions made by the hiring bureau are final.
Superior Qualification Rate (SQR):
- SQR may be requested by Post’s HRO and authorized by the hiring bureau’s Family Member Employment Coordinator prior to the appointment of an AEFM candidate when the candidate’s education and/or experience relevant to the requirements of the position clearly exceed the minimum requirements of the position and the overseas post may reasonably expect enhanced performance beyond the minimum requirements. The total number of steps authorized for SQR may not exceed the highest step of the position grade.
- SQR applies to AEFMs who will be hired on an FMA or TEMP appointment.
- Steps for SQR are calculated using a formula that takes into consideration relevant education and experience which clearly exceed the minimum requirements of the position but does not take previous training or salary in to consideration.
- SQR must be requested and authorized prior to the candidate’s entrance on duty; SQR may not be approved retroactively.
- In situations where both SQR and HPR might be applicable, only the higher of the two may be authorized.
- All SQR decisions made by the hiring bureau are final SQR and may only be authorized when funds are available.
Special note for EPAP positions: During the EPAP candidate evaluation process, experience and education are reviewed and consequently used to determine the grade at which the applicant qualifies. Therefore, relevant superior qualifications are already taken into consideration.
Prior Federal Rate (PFR):
- PFR may be requested by Post’s HRO and authorized by the funding agency prior to the employment of an EFM based on their highest previous rate of basic pay earned on a prior federal government appointment for a continuous period of at least 90 days, without a break in service. The total number of steps authorized for PFR may not exceed the highest step of the position grade.
- PFR applies to EFMs who will be hired on a Personal Services Agreement (PSA) on the U.S. government pay plan.
- The SF-50 that confirms previous federal employment is required in order for PFR to be considered.
- In certain circumstances, PFR may be applied retroactively.
- In situations where both PFR and AIR might be applicable, only the higher of the two may be authorized.
Advanced In-hire Rate (AIR):
- AIR may be requested by Post’s HRO and authorized by the funding agency prior to the employment of an EFM when their education and/or experience relevant to the requirements of the position clearly exceed the minimum requirements of the PD, and Post may reasonably expect enhanced performance beyond the minimum requirements.
- AIR applies to EFMs who will be hired on a Personal Service Agreement (PSA) on the U.S. government pay plan.
- Steps for AIR are calculated using a formula that takes into consideration relevant education and experience which clearly exceed the minimum requirements of the position but does not take previous training or salary in to consideration.
- AIR must be requested and authorized prior to the candidate’s entrance on duty; AIR may not be approved retroactively.
- In situations where both PFR and AIR might be applicable, only the higher of the two may be authorized.
- AIR may only be authorized when funds are available.
- When the processing of your termination personnel action has been completed, you have various options: learn more at Thrift Savings Plan.
- The PEC ensures that the U.S. Citizen Eligible Family Member (USEFM) and U.S. Veterans’ hiring preferences are properly and equitably applied in all hiring situations at post. The CLO is a member of the PEC and observes all EFM interviews conducted with preference-eligible USEFMs and/or Veterans.
- The PEC’s ultimate goal is to include a family member advocate in the Mission’s hiring process.
- The PEC meets virtually or in-person with the selecting official and the CLO after all interviews are conducted to discuss the selecting official’s choice. Factors for the PEC to consider include Mission-wide management considerations such as conflicts of interest, post morale issues, and continuity in a certain section or agency. The PEC reviews the selection or non-selection of a USEFM or U.S. Veteran as proposed by the supervisor or selecting official. In cases of disagreement, the PEC and supervisor cooperate to reach a mutually agreeable decision.
- The PEC documents every hiring decision that impacts a preference-eligible candidate in a memorandum to the Front Office.
- In cases of perceived or actual conflicts of interest (for example nepotism), the PEC member must remove him/herself from the interview and selection process and Post HR or the Management Officer must assign someone else to participate in his/her place. (For example, a CLO who is a selecting official’s dependent must remove him/herself to avoid the perceived or actual conflict of interest.)
- The PEC should not support a supervisor or selecting official’s decision of non-selection based on a candidate who is deemed to be over-qualified for a position. If the candidate meets the qualifications, the candidate should be interviewed and, as appropriate, selected for the position. All committee deliberations are CONFIDENTIAL.
- The FAM reference can be found in 3 FAM 8111.2. For more detailed information, please contact your Human Resource Officer (HRO) or Community Liaison Officer (CLO) at post or email inquiries to FLOAskEmployment@state.gov.
- Family members may not accompany an employee sponsor on an unaccompanied tour unless they have been offered and accepted a position at one of the priority staffing posts listed below. If the UT post is not listed below, the family member may not accompany the spouse to post.
- At the specific UT posts, family members should contact the email listed below for all job openings and employment questions.
Afghanistan – Kabul:
Pakistan – Islamabad:
Iraq – Baghdad:
- An EFM only maintains their hiring preference at their current post of assignment.
- The FSFRC is a program designed to create a readily deployable work force by improving efficiency in the hiring process for Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFM) overseas.
- When family members are accepted into the FSFRC, they will be in non-compensated status until applying, competing and being chosen for a local assignment in a Family Member Appointment.
- Many FSFRC members (those in Categories One or Two) will retain their eligibility for access to classified information on the basis of their FSFRC membership as they move from post to post.
- Membership in the FSFRC does not increase the number of vacancies available at overseas posts, or guarantee assignments to those jobs.
- For more details about the FSFRC, visit FLO’s FSFRC webpage and 3 FAM 8220.
Outside the Mission
- Spouses and family members may use their government-provided housing for the conduct of a private business for personal financial gain as outlined in 15 FAM 246.2.
- The Family Liaison Office’s (FLO) Employment team supports family members with an array of programs, including the managing the Global Employment Initiative (GEI), hosting webinars, and coordinating admission to functional training for Foreign Service family members.
- For family members seeking employment in the Washington, DC area, FLO hosts The Network, an email subscription service for Foreign Service family members seeking employment in the Washington DC area. FLO’s Employment team also provides one-on-one coaching on the phone and in person.
3. What is the Global Employment Initiative (GEI)?
- GEI provides career support for family members through a network of Global Employment Advisors (GEAs). GEAs assist family members with resumes, interviews, networking, and a host of other tools for seeking employment both inside and outside missions overseas. These career transition professionals assist Foreign Service family members in developing employment strategies, exploring portable career options, and preparing for employment upon reestablishing residency in the U.S.
- Global Employment Advisors provide the following services via webinars, one-on-one meetings, and by telephone: preparation of culturally appropriate resumes for overseas use, preparation of federal resumes, tips and practice for interviews, cross-cultural issues as they relate to the work place, networking guidance, advice on both inside and outside the mission employment, self-employment, telework, volunteer options, long-term career planning, and feedback on career strategies.
- To contact the GEA supporting your post of assignment, click here. GEAs are able to work with clients via phone, Skype, email, and in-person in at their regional base or during post visits. For additional information about the Global Employment Initiative email GEI@state.gov.
- The Global Employment Initiative network covers more than 200 countries. In locations where there is no GEA coverage or where the GEA position is vacant, family members should reach out to FLO’s Community Liaison Office program team for an overview of employment at post and to the Human Resource office about employment inside the mission. Additionally, family members can reach out to GEI@state.gov and FLOAskEmployment@state.gov for additional employment information and support.
- Family members can reach out to the Community Liaison Office, the Human Resource office, and the Global Employment Advisor at post to learn about the employment landscape. In addition, the GEA can assist family members with professional development, networking skills, and portable career options. It’s important to note that GEI is not a job placement service. Please email GEI@state.gov for these resources.
- FLO is not able to offer tax or business formation advice. Family members with questions in this area should seek the advice of a tax accountant or lawyer. The Small Business Administration website has more information on business structures and tax advice.
- Additional tax resources:
- IRS International Service: Some IRS offices have an international desk that may be of assistance.
- To learn more about the impact of bilateral tax treaties on foreign tax requirements for Foreign Service family members working on the local economy, please review the IRS Bilateral Tax Treaties.
- Tax accountants familiar with diplomat and expat tax codes advertise in the American Foreign Service Association’s (AFSA) Foreign Service Journal. Also, the Association of American Foreign Service Worldwide’s (AAFSW) Livelines listerv can be a source of recommendations. Please visit the AAFSW website for more information.
- The AFSA Tax Guide provides updates to tax codes and changes relevant to Foreign Service families.
- Visit the Social Security’s website for a list of Social Security Totalization Agreements to prevent or reduce double taxation on social security.
- Family members should seek the approval of the Chief of Mission for any significant volunteer activities on the local economy. Please refer to the EFM Employment Outside the Mission Action Memo.
- There are approximately 220 EFMs who telework around the world. Because there is a large variance in what each host country permits and prohibits, FLO strongly encourages family members to reach out to the Human Resource Officer and Community Liaison Office (CLO) Coordinator at post to inquire if there are any restrictions for telework. They should be able to clarify if there are other family members currently teleworking. Email FLO at FLOAskEmployment@state.gov for contact information for the HRO and CLO at your post.
- All Foreign Service family members who are teleworking are required to notify the principal officer of their employment activities. Please refer to the EFM Employment Outside the Mission Action Memo.
- If a family member limits the scope of his/her employment to the confines of the U.S. embassy community or telework, and clientele are not citizens of the host country, work authorization may not be required. If the freelance business includes activities that involve local residents, a work permit will be required. The family member must notify post management and can use the EFM Employment Outside the Mission Action Memo for all business activities outside the mission (including from USG-provided quarters) in order to ensure that the activity does not violate any host laws, is a security concern, or could damage U.S. interests. For reference see 3 FAM 4120.
- A BWA is a formal agreement established through an exchange of diplomatic notes between the United States and another country with the purpose of facilitating an expedited work authorization process under which dependents of accredited personnel of both governments may be employed on the local economy of the host country. There are countries with which the United States does not have a BWA but has a de facto work arrangement under which, if the other country provides our accredited dependents work authorization, the United States will do so on a reciprocal basis.
- Under both a BWA and de facto arrangement, the U.S. government must be assured that criminal immunities are not relinquished. This ensures that an EFM is not automatically subject to the criminal justice system of the host government if there is alleged misconduct on the part of the family member.
- There are more than 120 BWAs in place and more than 35 de facto work arrangements worldwide. Employees and their spouses can review a list of the BWAs and de facto work arrangements on FLO’s website.
- BWAs and de facto arrangements ensure that accredited family members are legally permitted to work on the local economy.
- Under a BWA or de facto arrangement, accredited dependents under Chief of Mission authority are eligible for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) – often referred to as a “work permit.” The citizenship of the dependent is not a factor in granting the EAD. Therefore, a Foreign Service spouse who maintains a third country citizenship would be granted a work permit under a BWA. An EFM is eligible to apply for a work permit once the sponsoring employee has been accredited by the host government. This occurs within two to three weeks upon arrival. Under BWAs, you typically do not need a job offer before applying for a work permit. Under de facto arrangements, a job offer is always required prior to the work permit application. In order to understand the work permit process, you should review post information in the Family Member Employment Report (FAMER) and/or contact the Global Employment Advisor (GEA) in your region and/or the Human Resource Officer at post. FAMER requests can be sent to the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) or FLO at FLOAskEmployment@state.gov.
- Yes, BWAs are not citizenship-specific; therefore, the embassy’s Human Resources department that supports the post can assist you in securing a BWA.
- If you return to your country or region of residence, you do not retain diplomatic immunities in the same way that a U.S. citizen is no longer a diplomat upon returning to the U.S.
- No. BWAs apply only to dependents (e.g., spouses, and in some cases, dependent children) who are officially accredited as a dependent of the FSO with the Foreign Ministry at the current overseas post. Some BWAs can also cover same-sex domestic partners. Contact the Human Resources Officer at post for more information.
Returning to Washington, DC
- If having worked as an Appointment Eligible Family Member while posted overseas, Executive Order 12721 may enable an EFM to be appointed non-competitively to a career-conditional appointment in the Civil Service once returning to the U.S. To be eligible, an EFM must have completed 52 weeks of service in an appropriated fund position(s) performed under a local hire appointment(s) overseas. Work must be performed during the time the family member was accompanying a sponsor officially assigned to an overseas post and the EFM must have received a fully successful or better (or equivalent) performance rating (see link to Frequently Asked Questions about noncompetitive eligibility below).
- The following are links to common topics that can help as a starting point in preparing for the return to Washington, DC:
- FLO’s Family Member Employment webpages – has a wealth of information regarding family member employment topics and returning to Washington, DC.
- Non-competitive Eligibility (NCE) webpage – this includes the Frequently Asked Questions and the FLO Tutorial: The Federal Hiring Process.
- Guide to Employment in the DC Area
- Email the Regional Global Employment Advisor for Washington, DC/USA at GEIUSA@state.gov to begin preparing for the employment transition to the U.S.
- The following are links to common topics that can help as a starting point in preparing for the return to Washington, DC:
FLO Employment Programs
- You can find the most current information on FLO’s EPAP webpage.
- For additional information or questions on the program, email FLOAskEPAP@state.gov.
- This FLO program assists EFM spouses and partners, who are not in a position to pursue their career paths overseas, with grants to help them maintain, enhance, and/or develop their professional skills.
- The cable announcing the open season dates, program guidelines, and application procedures comes out mid to late March each year. The application deadline is usually in May. A summary of the program and the most up to date information can be found on FLO’s PDF webpage.
Other EFM Employment Programs
- HTF positions are underbid mid-level Foreign Service (FS) positions which are designated “Hard-to-Fill” and are opened to Department of State Career Civil Service employees and Appointment Eligible Family Members.
- A cable in April/May announces the request for applications from Civil Service employees and AEFMs. All application directions, as outlined in the cable, must be followed to be considered.
- This program is managed by the various bureaus that support each post. For general inquiries, email HTFProfAssoc@state.gov.
- The Consular Affairs-Appointment Eligible Family Member (CA-AEFM) program (announced in June 2014) is centrally managed by the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA). It provides opportunities for AEFMs on their sponsoring employee’s orders to fill entry-level consular positions in consular sections at selected posts. Qualification for the program includes a written and oral assessment process proctored by the Board of Examiners (BEX). After passing the exam, completing the security clearance process and passing the conduct and suitability review, family members will be placed on a roster of qualified consular professionals and will be eligible for selection to fill a position at the sponsoring employee’s post of assignment. Prior to departure for post, a family member selected for a position will receive training which may include orientation, the Basic Consular Course, and language training. Consular positions are created by CA in Washington, DC, not at post. Learn more about the CA-AEFM program.
- The CA-AEFM program allows AEFMs to be life-long certified professional consular professionals. When bidding, the employee sponsor and their spouse are encouraged to consider potential CA position openings at post and should ensure that the sponsoring employee’s Career Development Officer (CDO) and CA work together to determine if there is an appropriate CA-AEFM position that the family member could fill.
- For additional information, see the CA-AEFM Program webpage.
- Executive Order 12721 enables an eligible family member (EFM) who has completed 52 weeks of service or 2087 hours in a Family Member Appointment (FMA) overseas to be appointed non-competitively to a career-conditional appointment in the Civil Service upon their return to the U.S. Those individuals may be appointed to any federal occupation and grade level for which they are qualified. Family members should be aware that once converted to Civil Service, they are no longer on an FMA. They must fulfill the same one-year time-in-grade requirements as any other career-conditional Civil Service employee in order to apply for positions at higher grades within the Federal Government.
- While fair competition is the basis for federal hiring, individuals with NCE are allowed to bypass the competitive examining process and may enter the competitive Civil Service without having to compete with the general public.
- An individual is eligible for temporary, term, or career-conditional appointment(s) under E.O. 12721 for a period of three years following the date of return from overseas to the U.S. to resume residence. However, family members should understand that once appointed to a career-conditional Civil Service position at the Department of State, they cannot use their NCE eligibility again with the Department of State. However, an AEFM may go abroad again and work in an FMA position and re-earn NCE, which could be used again upon return to the U.S.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NCE can be found on FLO’s website.
2. What documents are required to prove that I have Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE)?
- Hiring bureaus will request the first and last SF-50 or other documentation that details how many weeks/hours you have accrued while on a Family Member Appointment (FMA) or a temporary (TEMP) appointment to verify NCE status.
- Bureaus will also request a copy of your last Employee Performance Review (EPR) (Form JF-57) which must have a fully successful or better (or equivalent) performance rating.
- Before leaving post, HR should prepare a letter as part of the out-processing procedure certifying how many of the required 52 weeks or 2087 hours you have accrued at that particular post. If you have earned your NCE while at that post, the HRO should also note in the remarks section of the SF-50 that you have earned NCE.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NCE can be found on FLO’s website.
- Yes. You may earn creditable service through more than one appointment from different posts and appointments need not be continuous.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NCE can be found on FLO’s website.
- The Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) Registry was created for Eligible Family Members returning from overseas who have earned NCE or who have Civil Service reinstatement eligibility. It is a tool that will connect U.S. Department of State hiring managers to those with NCE and reinstatement eligibility who are enrolled in the registry. When a hiring manager has an open vacancy, he/she can request a list of potential applicants based upon their skills and experience. The NCE hiring process is streamlined and can save time in identifying and hiring qualified candidates. For additional information visit FLO’s NCE Registry webpage.
Rules and Regulations
- Regulations governing family member employment are found in the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM). In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the entire FAM and the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) are available on the Internet. Spouses and family members of USG employees assigned to a U.S. Mission overseas should be aware of the FAM regulations regarding acceptance of employment on the local economy of a host country.
- 3 FAM 4123 – Restrictions on Employment and Outside Activities
- 3 FAM 4125 – Outside Employment and Activities by Spouses and Family Members Abroad
- 3 FAM 4125 b – States that a spouse or family member should notify the Principal Administrative Officer at post before acceptance of intended outside employment.
- 3 FAM 7121 Definitions
- 3 FAM 8111.2 Post Employment Committee and Family Member Preference
- 3 FAM 8210 – Family Member Limited Non-Career Appointments
- 3 FAM 8216.2 Highest Previous Rate
- 3 FAM 8216.3 Superior Qualifications Rate
- 3 FAM 8220 Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps
- 3 FAM 8310 – Nepotism
- 15 FAM 246.2 – Housing abroad policy for using residential space for business — governs the use of government housing for home-based businesses allowing family members to work out of their USG-leased or owned properties.
- 5 FAM 784 – Providing OpenNet and Internet Access to Eligible Family Members at Posts Abroad
- Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Procedures
- 3 FAM 4170 sets out Department policy for employees on public speaking, teaching, writing, and media engagement, including the use of social media. Social media posts pertaining to U.S. foreign policy written in an employee’s capacity as a private citizen must be reviewed/cleared by the appropriate office (3 FAM 4174.3). These provisions apply to Eligible Family Members (EFMs) when they are employed by the Department in any capacity in the United States or abroad, including those EFMs working at post under either an appointment or Personal Service Agreement (PSA) and/or who are members of the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC). EFMs who are members of the FSFRC in Reserve Status, or are in Intermittent No Work Scheduled (INWS) status, are employees of the Department and must abide by Department policies.
- Where review is required, the Final Review Office for FSFRC members at post (even if not currently working in a position at post) is the Chief of Mission or their designee. For FSFRC members residing in the U.S., the Bureau of Public Affairs is the Final Review Office. (See 3 FAM 4174.3.)
- The provisions of 3 FAM 4170 apply only to employees and, as such, do not apply to EFMs who are not currently employed by the Department in any capacity (i.e., not working at post or domestically for the Department, not a member of the FSFRC, or in INWS status); however, the general provisions governing outside activities would be applicable, and the non-employee EFM should be cognizant of the general guidance provided in 3 FAM 4125 (Outside Employment and Activities by Spouses and Family Members Abroad). There is no expectation of privacy on social networking sites. Even where users have taken privacy precautions, hackers and other bad actors may still be able to access information.
- The TC offers a full range of Foreign Service Life Skills (MQ) classes ranging from employment topics to moving overseas. Some classes are tuition based while others are non-tuition based.
- Courses are available in the areas of Foreign Service Life, Personal and Financial Planning, Foreign Service Families, Going Overseas, Expanding Employment Options, Returning to Washington, and Security Overseas.
- For tuition courses you must enroll through your sponsoring employee’s Career Development Officer. Non-Department of State family members should seek guidance from their agency regarding funding, enrollment procedures or related resources.
- If you wish to register for tuition-free courses, you should enroll directly with the TC. Call 703-302-7272 or email FSITCTraining@state.gov.
- Contact FLO at 202-647-1076 or email FLOASKTraining@state.gov.
- There are several requirements you will need to take into consideration when requesting ConGen training.
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- You must be a family member listed on the travel orders or approved OF-126 of a direct hire career U.S. government employee who reports to Chief of Mission, and who has been paneled to an overseas post.
- A position for a Consular Assistant or a Consular Associate must exist at post.
- You must pass a pretest with a minimum score of 80 percent (administered at FLO or arranged through post).
- ConGen is offered on a space available basis and your seat must be confirmed by the Course Manager. ConGen candidates are waitlisted until a space becomes available.
- For additional details about enrolling in ConGen please see FLO’s Training Resources for Family Members webpage.
- Family members should contact FLO at 202-647-1076 or email FLOAskTraining@state.gov.
- To be considered, the sponsoring spouse of the family member must already be paneled for an overseas assignment.
- Functional training is offered to family members on a space available basis. EPAP qualified candidates are priority candidates.
- When there is no space available in the training class, candidates who are not enrolled are put on a waitlist. Courses include General Services (GSO), Facility Management (FM), Human Resources (HR), Information Management (IM), Financial Management (FM), and Office Management (OM).
- Some courses require that the family member have a confirmed position at post; others are available with no prior-employment offer.
- Family members of non-Department of State (DOS) agencies must contact their sponsoring agency to obtain approval for training. This needs to be documented by an SF-182 with funding information and submitted to FSI. The candidate will be added to the waitlist until a seat becomes available. At most agencies, the Career Development Officer (CDO) for the sponsoring employee is usually the contact person. Some agencies have confirmed policies as to whether they will pay for EFM classes; therefore, non-DOS family members should check with their sponsoring agency first.
- Language classes at FSI are open to family members of Department of State (DOS) employees on a space available basis.
- There are two teaching methods: instructor-led courses at FSI and the online distance language learning program.
- Enrollment of DOS family members in language training is coordinated through the Office of Career Development and Assignments (GTM/CDA).
- The Department of State employee should contact his/her Career Development Officer for further information about enrolling a family member in language training.
- Family members of non-DOS agencies must contact the sponsoring agency to obtain approval for training. This needs to be documented by an SF-182 with funding information and submitted to FSI. The candidate will be added to the waitlist until a seat becomes available. Each agency has a different policy on funding for language training.
- For additional information, contact FLOAskTraining@state.gov or 202-647-1076.