UPDATE

  • Future FSFRC vacancy announcements will tentatively open on January 15, March 15, May 15, July 15, September 15, and November 15 in 2020.

Contents

FSFRC Overview

To more quickly mobilize Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFM) to fill available positions in missions overseas, the U.S. Department of State developed the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC). Upon acceptance, AEFMs are appointed into a Family Member Appointment (FMA) without compensation or benefits, allowing the Department of State to improve efficiency in the hiring process when filling positions at posts abroad. FLO and HR Shared Services created an informative video and slide deck to provide an overview of the FSFRC, the advantages of enrolling, and best practices for applying via USAJobs. For general questions about the FSFRC, email FSFRC@state.gov.

Family members who meet eligibility requirements should apply as soon as possible since the application evaluation process averages from 6-12 months.

How to Apply

Determine Eligibility

An individual who meets all the following criteria is eligible to be an FSFRC member:

A. Is a U.S. citizen; and
B. Is the spouse or domestic partner (as defined in 3 FAM 1610) of a sponsoring employee (i.e., a direct-hire Foreign Service, Civil Service, or uniformed service member); and

C. Is the spouse or domestic partner (as defined in 3 FAM 1610) of a sponsoring employee (i.e., a direct-hire Foreign Service, Civil Service, or uniformed service member); an

Is either:

  1. listed on the travel orders (TMFOUR) of a sponsoring employee for a post abroad at a U.S. mission under Chief of Mission authority (to include the American Institute in Taiwan), or
  2. listed on the HR/EX approved Form OF-126, Foreign Service Residence and Dependency Report, or
  3. has a letter from the sponsoring employee’s agency stating that they are the spouse or domestic partner of the sponsoring employee and that their sponsor is expected to serve at an overseas post under Chief of Mission authority (to include the American Institute in Taiwan) in the next 12 months; and
D. Is not receiving a U.S. Government retirement annuity or pension from a career in the U.S. Foreign Service or Civil Service; and
E. Is not a Foreign Service Officer in Leave Without Pay (LWOP) status; and
F. Is not a Civil Service employee with re-employment rights to their agency or bureau.

Meet the Criteria Above?

  • Yes:  Determine When and How to Apply
  • No:  Not eligible for FSFRC membership
Determine When and How to Apply
Applicant When How Notes
Department of State (DOS) Employee Overseas working on an FMA or TEMP Assignment Now MyData
DS-5137

Incomplete or improperly submitted forms will be returned to the applicant.

Handwritten or scanned applications will not be accepted.

Additional Guidance:
Application Process

DOS Employee in a Domestic Civil Service Position

* Those who are in Leave Without Pay (LWOP) status are not eligible for membership.

A minimum of 30 days prior to but no more than six months prior to the departure date from the position

*Applications cannot be fully adjudicated until the employee leaves his/her domestic position.

MyData
DS-5137(note the date of termination)
See notes above
Former DOS Overseas Employee in INWS Now Internet
DS-5137
See notes above
Not Employed When the FSFRC Vacancy Announcement (VA) is open

USAJOBS Vacancy Announcement

Using login.gov to get to USAJOBS.gov

Dates for upcoming vacancy announcements will be posted on this webpage, the FLO Weekly newsletter, and FLO’s Facebook page.

Subscribe to FLO Weekly: FLOPublications@state.gov.

Additional Guidance
FSFRC Open Enrollment

Employed Outside of the Government When the FSFRC Vacacny Announcement (VA) is open USAJOBS Vacancy Announcement See notes above
Employed by a Non-DOS Government Agency

After resignation* and when VA is open

*EFMs in LWOP status with another agency are not eligible for FSFRC membership

*PSC and Third Party Contractors can only apply three months prior to the end date of employment and cannot be appointed until the contract has ended.

USAJOBS Vacancy Announcement See notes above
Employed on a Personal Services Agreement (PSA)

After resignation* and when VA is open

*EFMs in LWOP status with another agency are not eligible for FSFRC membership

*PSC and Third Party Contractors can only apply three months prior to the end date of employment and cannot be appointed until the contract has ended.

USAJOBS Vacancy Announcement See notes above
Employed on a Personal Services Contract (PSC)

After resignation* and when VA is open

*EFMs in LWOP status with another agency are not eligible for FSFRC membership

*PSC and Third Party Contractors can only apply three months prior to the end date of employment and cannot be appointed until the contract has ended.

USAJOBS Vacancy Announcement See notes above
Employed by Third Party Government Contractor

After resignation* and when VA is open

*EFMs in LWOP status with another agency are not eligible for FSFRC membership

*PSC and Third Party Contractors can only apply three months prior to the end date of employment and cannot be appointed until the contract has ended.

USAJOBS Vacancy Announcement See notes above

Applying for Enrollment in the FSFRC on USAJOBS.gov?

  • Yes: Review announcement to determine documentation required for application.
Determine Documentation Needed for the USAJOBS Application

The following documents must be submitted are required   at the time of application for the application to be considered:

  • Resume
  • OF-126- Foreign Service Residence and Dependency Report or the employee sponsor’s agency equivalent for non-Department of State employees OR (TMFOUR) Travel Orders of Sponsoring Employee or the employee sponsor’s agency equivalent for non-Department of State (TMONE Assignment Notifications do not meet this requirement).

Maintaining Membership in the FSFRC

  • When not employed in a local position, FSFRC members are required to recertify:
    • every year for members in categories ONE and TWO, and,
    • every 5 years for members in category THREE.
  • HR Shared Services contacts members approximately 60 days prior to their recertification date regarding the recertification requirements.
  • Guidance on Accepting a Personal Services Agreement or Civil Service Position (see Membership Retention and Resignation).
  • Policies concerning termination and resignation from the FSFRC are in 3 FAM 8220.

 Background Information

For an general overview of the FSFRC, read: Introducing the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (Department of State guidance, May 3, 2016)

FSFRC FAQs

 

Eligibility

How Do I Apply?

Notification

Clearances

Membership Retention and Resignation

Hiring Preference

Miscellaneous


Eligibility

  1. Who is eligible to apply to join the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC)?
  2. May a family member apply to join the FSFRC without ever having worked for the Department of State?
  3. Must a family member be currently working in an overseas position to join the FSFRC?
  4. Is a family member whose sponsoring employee is with a non-State agency eligible to apply to join the FSFRC?
  5. Are family members who are currently receiving a FS or CS annuity eligible to apply to join the FSFRC?
  6. May FS Generalists and Specialists in LWOP status (e.g., tandems) apply to join the FSFRC?
  7. If my EFM child(ren) accompany me to post, can they apply for the FSFRC?
  8. How do family members who have been placed in INWS and have left post before submitting their application apply for the FSFRC?
  9. My spouse works for the U.S. government outside of the U.S., but is not under Chief of Mission authority. Am I eligible to join the FSFRC?
  10. I am currently employed as either a third party government contractor or under a Personal Services Contract. Am I eligible to apply for the FSFRC?
  11. Can I apply to the FSFRC while my sponsoring employee is serving in a domestic assignment?
  12. I am a civil service employee with Department of State and will be accompanying my sponsoring employee overseas as an AEFM. How do I apply for FSFRC membership?
  13. I am civil service employee with another agency and will be accompanying my sponsoring employee overseas as an AEFM. How do I apply for FSFRC membership?
  14. Are family members who are currently employed on a TEMP Appointment with an intermittent work schedule eligible to join the FSFRC?
  15. Will Overseas Seasonal Hire Program (OSHP) participants be eligible for FSFRC membership?

How Do I Apply?

  1. I am currently employed with the Department of State, how do I apply to become a member of the FSFRC?
  2. I am not currently employed with the Department of State, how do I apply to become a member of the FSFRC?
  3. What documents do I need to submit as part of my application package for the FSFRC open enrollment when applying to the USAJobs vacancy announcement?
  4. I am not currently employed with the Department of State and the vacancy announcement on USAJobs has closed. How do I submit my application?
  5. I live overseas and have heard it’s hard to establish a USAJob account because of the authentication process. How can I get a login?
  6. I am having trouble with USAJOBS. Who do I contact for technical support?
  7. If the USAJobs vacancy announcement closes before I’m able to submit my application, will I still be able to apply for jobs at post?
  8. I accepted a position at post and my background investigation is underway. Should I apply for FSFRC membership?
  9. May a family member apply to join the FSFRC if they do not yet have a security clearance?
  10. Will the family members of newly hired sponsoring employees be able to join the FSFRC?
  11. Will HROs at post have responsibility regarding the process to apply for and join the FSFRC via USA Jobs?
  12. What are the different categories of FSFRC membership?
  13. Should AEFMs currently employed by DOS apply for the FSFRC BEFORE departing post?
  14. If an AEFM has already accepted a position at their next post, do they still apply for the FSFRC?
  15. If an AEFM does not apply for FSFRC membership before departing their position at post will their Family Member Appointment be terminated?
  16. Will AEFMs who apply for the FSFRC before departing post be placed in INWS after departing post or while the application is being adjudicated and processed?
  17. If I am working on a Personal Services Agreement (PSA), Personal Services Contract (PSC), or as a third party government contractor, can I apply to the FSFRC now?

Notification

  1. Will family members receive notification when they are accepted in the FSFRC?
  2. How can I confirm that my application was received and /or find out the status of the application?
  3. Why would paper copies of SF-50s be issued, instead of email? Paper copies could be lost in the mail during PCS transitions.
  4. How soon after I submit my application to join the FSFRC will I be notified of my status?
  5. Will everyone who applies for the FSFRC be accepted?

Clearances

  1. Do I automatically get a clearance if I join the FSFRC?
  2. What will happen to my current clearance if I join the FSFRC?
  3. May family members who have security clearances granted by non-State agencies (e.g., DOD) join the FSFRC and have their clearances accepted by State?
  4. As an FSFRC member in Category 3 or Category 2 can I expect an expedited investigation and adjudication if my position at post requires a higher level clearance?
  5. If an FSFRC member currently holds a Secret clearance, can the HRO ask for an upgrade to a TS clearance?
  6. I’m not an FSFRC member but previously held a security clearance. Can that clearance be revalidated when I join the FSFRC?
  7. If I am granted an interim clearance at a higher level than my current FSFRC membership category can my membership category be changed to reflect this?
  8. If an FSFRC member returns to the U.S., will they still be able to retain their membership and security clearance under the FSFRC?
  9. Does membership in the FSFRC allow for the investigation to continue if I depart Post prior to a higher level investigation being fully adjudicated?
  10. Could an applicant for the FSFRC meet security clearance requirements, but not be found suitable for membership in the FSFRC?
  11. If an AEFM has a higher level clearance investigation in process or has been granted an interim clearance, what clearance level should the AEFM indicate on their FSFRC application – their current clearance or the clearance requested and under investigation?
  12. If an FSFRC member is granted a higher level clearance, will they be able to change their FSFRC category?
  13. Will clearances be reinvestigated periodically during a member’s time in the FSFRC?
  14. In addition to security clearance reinvestigations, are other recertification actions required to remain in the FSFRC?
  15. Must FSFRC Members file foreign contact reports, even when they are not actively working?

Membership Retention and Resignation

  1. What happens to my FSFRC membership if my sponsor returns for a domestic assignment in the U.S.?
  2. Will FSFRC members be able to retain their Non-competitive Eligibility (NCE) (E.O. 12721) when they resign from the FSFRC?
  3. Will I retain my Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC) membership if I accept a domestic Civil Service position?
  4. If I accept a domestic Civil Service (CS) position, how will my transition from FSFRC to CS be documented?
  5. Can an FSFRC member retain their FSFRC membership if they accept a position with an employment mechanism that is either a Personal Services Agreement (PSA), a Personal Services Contract (PSC), or as a third party government contractor?
  6. Are FSFRC members in reserve status allowed to work outside the Department?
  7. When am I required to resign from the FSFRC?
  8. Can an FSFRC member who divorces a Foreign Service spouse remain a member of the FSFRC after the divorce is finalized?
  9. How do I resign from the FSFRC?
  10. If I am currently working at post on an appointment, am I required to recertify my eligibility to retain my FSFRC status?
  11. As an FSFRC member in reserve status am I subject to the department’s ethical standards and conduct?
  12. What is the length of time that a member can remain in the FSFRC without working in a local position?

Hiring Preferences

  1. I understand that the hiring preference order will be changing. Can you tell me more about that?

Miscellaneous

  1. What badge should be issued for an FSFRC member when they are appointed to a position at Post?
  2. Does the FSFRC replace the Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP)?
  3. How will family members from other agencies learn about the FSFRC before they come to post?
  4. What is the FSFRC reserve status?

Eligibility

1. Who is eligible to apply to join the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC)?

  • An individual who meets all of the following criteria is considered to be an Appointment Eligible Family Member (AEFM) (3 FAM 7120) and eligible to apply to join the FSFRC:(1) Is a U.S. citizen;(2) Is the spouse or domestic partner as defined in 3 FAM 1610 of a sponsoring employee (as defined in 3 FAM 7120);(3) Is listed on one of the following:(a) Travel orders of a sponsoring employee who is assigned (not TDY) to a U.S. mission abroad under Chief of Mission authority, or at an office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), or(b) An approved Form OF-126, Foreign Service Residence and Dependency Report (or other agency equivalent), of a sponsoring employee who is assigned (not TDY) to a U.S. mission abroad under Chief of Mission authority, or at an office of the AIT, and is residing at the sponsoring employee’s post of assignment abroad;(4) Does not receive a U.S. Government retirement annuity or pension from a career in the U.S. Foreign Service or Civil Service;(5) Is not a Foreign Service Generalist or Specialist in Leave Without Pay (LWOP) status;(6) Is not a Civil Service employee with re-employment rights to their agency or bureau.NOTE 1: U.S. citizen spouses/domestic partners as defined in 3 FAM 1610 of a sponsoring employee who are on approved Voluntary Separate Maintenance Allowance (VSMA) or Involuntary Separate Maintenance Allowance (ISMA) and are temporarily residing apart from the sponsoring employee are also eligible to apply to join the FSFRC.

2. May a family member apply to join the FSFRC without ever having worked for the Department of State?

  • Yes. Previous employment with the Department of State is not required for membership in the FSFRC.

3. Must a family member be currently working in an overseas position to join the FSFRC?

4. Is a family member whose sponsoring employee is with a non-State agency eligible to apply to join the FSFRC?

  • Yes, subject to the criteria outlined in 18 STATE 40224, paragraph 5, if the family member meets the eligibility criteria, he/she may apply to join the FSFRC.

5. Are family members who are currently receiving a FS or CS annuity eligible to apply to join the FSFRC?

  • No, FS and CS annuitants are ineligible for FSFRC membership. However, family members who are currently receiving a FS or CS annuity may still apply to work in the mission. If selected to fill the vacancy, they will be hired on a Personal Services Agreement (PSA). Family members who are currently receiving a Military annuity, and not a FS or CS annuity, are eligible to apply to join the FSFRC.

6. May FS Generalists and Specialists in LWOP status (e.g., tandems) apply to join the FSFRC?

  • No. However, FS Generalists and Specialists in LWOP status may still apply to work in the mission. If selected to fill a vacant DOS position, they will be hired on a TEMP Appointment.

7. If my EFM child(ren) accompany me to post, can they apply for the FSFRC?

  • No, the FSFRC is only open to U.S. citizen spouses and domestic partners (as defined in 3 FAM 1610) who meet the criteria for membership in the FSFRC.

8. How do family members who have been placed in INWS and have left post before submitting their application apply for the FSFRC?

  • If a family member departed their position at post before June 2016, and was placed into INWS status, they are eligible to apply for the FSFRC via submission of the DS-5137 FSFRC Membership Form as long as they have a Not To Exceed (NTE) date on their SF-50 personnel action that is due to expire prior to June 30, 2021. See “How do I Apply” #1.

9. My spouse works for the U.S. government outside of the U.S., but is not under Chief of Mission authority. Am I eligible to join the FSFRC?

  • No. An FSFRC sponsoring employee must be a Direct Hire Foreign Service, Civil Service, or uniformed service member who is or will be permanently assigned to or stationed abroad at a U.S. mission or at an office of the American Institute in Taiwan and who is under Chief of Mission (COM) authority.

10. I am currently employed as either a third party government contractor or under a Personal Services Contract. Am I eligible to apply for the FSFRC?

  • No, individuals who are currently employed as a third party government contractor or under a Personal Services Contract cannot be appointed to the FSFRC. However, when you are within 90 days of your contract end date, you are eligible to apply for the FSFRC but cannot be appointed to the FSFRC until your contract has ended.

11. Can I apply to the FSFRC while my sponsoring employee is serving in a domestic assignment?

  • Yes, as long as you are either:
  1. Listed on the travel orders of a sponsoring employee for a post abroad at a U.S. mission under Chief of Mission authority, or at an office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), or
  2. Listed on an HR/EX approved Form OF-126, Foreign Service Residence and Dependency Report (or agency equivalent), of a sponsoring employee.
  • NOTE: EFMs whose sponsoring employee is not employed by a Foreign Affairs Agency (i.e. STATE, USAID, FAS, FCS, and the BBG) will be required to provide a letter documenting the expectation that the sponsoring employee is expected to serve at an overseas post within the next 12 months.

12. I am a civil service employee with Department of State and will be accompanying my sponsoring employee overseas as an AEFM. How do I apply for FSFRC membership?

  • A CS employee Appointment Eligible Family Member (AEFM) employed with Department of State can apply for FSFRC membership via the DS-5137 FSFRC Membership Form. Please ensure you have communicated to your domestic HR specialist that you applied for FSFRC membership.

13. I am civil service employee with another agency and will be accompanying my sponsoring employee overseas as an AEFM. How do I apply for FSFRC membership?

  • A CS employee Appointment Eligible Family Member (AEFM) employed with another federal agency who is departing their domestic position to accompany their spouse overseas can apply for FSFRC membership via the USAJobs vacancy announcement. At that time, if the family member holds an active security clearance or has a clearance which is revalidation-eligible, the family member may be able to enter the FSFRC in Category One or Two. This will be determined on a case by case basis. Please ensure you have communicated to your domestic HR specialist that you applied for FSFRC membership.

14. Are family members who are currently employed on a TEMP Appointment with an intermittent work schedule eligible to join the FSFRC?

  • Yes. As mentioned in 16 STATE 49074, paragraph 19, family members currently employed on a TEMP Appointment may join the FSFRC.

15. Will Overseas Seasonal Hire Program (OSHP) participants be eligible for FSFRC membership?

  • No, because children do not meet the FSFRC eligibility requirements.
How Do I Apply?

1. I am currently employed with the Department of State, how do I apply to become a member of the FSFRC?

  • All family members currently employed with the Department of State on an FMA or TEMP Appointment or in INWS status, or in a Civil Service position are encouraged to submit a DS-5137 FSFRC Membership Form now, reference 17 STATE 105262. HR Shared Services will inform applicants if any additional documents are required to revalidate the applicant’s security clearance.You can apply using one of the following methods.

OpenNet

1) Access DS-5137 Membership Application or Declination via myData on the DOS Intranet home page

2) Open form

3) Answer the questions as prompted

4) Select the correct form

5) Enter data following the directions on the form

6) Follow instructions to e-mail complete application to FSFRC@state.gov.

MyData users should use Chrome for optimized system performance.

Internet Only

1) Access DS-5137 Membership Application or Declination

2) Answer the questions as prompted

3) Enter data following the directions on the form

4) Save complete application to desktop (ensure this is in fillable PDF format)

5) E-mail FSFRC@state.gov with complete application attached

Scanned forms will not be accepted.

Please note that you will need to use Adobe Acrobat to update the form. Mac Preview will not work. If entering your data online, please ensure that you are using Internet Explorer and not Chrome. You will not be able to save your data if you are using Chrome.

2. I am not currently employed with the Department of State, how do I apply to become a member of the FSFRC?

  • AEFMs who are not currently working for the Department of State should apply through the vacancy announcement on USAJobs. Vacancy announcement schedules will be posted on FLO’s website.

3. What documents do I need to submit as part of my application package for the FSFRC open enrollment when applying to the USAJobs vacancy announcement?

  • Carefully review the vacancy announcement and ensure all documents requested are included in your application package. Late document submissions will not be accepted.

4. I am not currently employed with the Department of State and the vacancy announcement on USAJobs has closed. How do I submit my application?

  • If the announcement has closed before you have had the opportunity to submit your application, please apply at the next opportunity. Vacancy announcement schedules will be posted on FLO’s website.

5. I live overseas and have heard it’s hard to establish a USAJob account because of the authentication process. How can I get a login?

  • You will need to receive the login.gov security code via text or phone call. Text messages will work for any mobile number, including international numbers. However, if you sign up to receive a phone call, you can only use a U.S., Canada or Mexico-based phone number. Alternatively, some applicants identified a U.S. resident who was willing to receive the 6 digit password on their behalf and communicate it to them within the allocated 10 minutes.

6. I am having trouble with USAJOBS. Who do I contact for technical support?

  • Please contact USAJOBS technical support by scrolling down to the bottom of the screen, selecting “Help Center” and “Contact Us” options located under the “Help” column.

7. If the USAJobs vacancy announcement closes before I’m able to submit my application, will I still be able to apply for jobs at post?

  • Yes. At this time, FSFRC membership is not a requirement for applying for positions at post. There will not be a change until all AEFMs have had an opportunity to apply.

8. I accepted a position at post and my background investigation is underway. Should I apply for FSFRC membership?

  • Yes. If you are not a current employee of the Department of State, we encourage you to apply for the FSFRC via the USAJobs vacancy announcement process. If you are currently employed under an FMA or Temp appointment or are in INWS status, please submit the DS-5137 FSFRC Membership Form.

9. May a family member apply to join the FSFRC if they do not yet have a security clearance?

  • Yes. Holding a security clearance is not a prerequisite for joining the FSFRC.

10. Will the family members of newly hired sponsoring employees be able to join the FSFRC?

  • Yes, assuming they meet eligibility requirements, they will be able to join by submitting their membership application via USA Jobs.

11. Will HROs at post have responsibility regarding the process to apply for and join the FSFRC via USA Jobs?

  • At this time, we do not anticipate that HROs at post will have a role with regard to family members applying to join the FSFRC through USA Jobs. However, HROs will be asked to provide assistance in communicating information about the FSFRC program to family members and other interested parties at post and with Entry on Duty paperwork.

12. What are the different categories of FSFRC membership?

  • Please see 16 STATE 49074, paragraph 15, for details on how the FSFRC is structured. While eligibility requirements are the same for anyone one wishing to join the FSFRC, once an applicant is enrolled and becomes a member, he or she will be placed in one of three categories.
    • Category One is for family members who currently hold an active Top Secret clearance.
    • Category Two is for family members who currently hold an active Secret clearance.
    • Category Three is for family members who are not currently employed by DOS or who are currently employed by DOS in a non-sensitive or a “public trust” position for which they received an appropriate investigation and suitability determination.
  • Regardless of the category at which they enter, FSFRC members may later qualify for a different category as outlined in 16 STATE 49074, paragraph 16.

13. Should AEFMs currently employed by DOS apply for the FSFRC BEFORE departing post?

  • Yes. It is very important that you apply BEFORE departing post as the Bureau Family Member Employment Coordinator (FMEC) must take action on your status within the first pay period of your departure. Ideally AEFMs will submit their application a minimum of 30 days before their departure date from their position at post. If an AEFM has not applied for the FSFRC prior to your position departure date, the FMEC must terminate your appointment. If your appointment is terminated, you may apply to future FSFRC vacancy announcements on USA Jobs. However, if you have applied and then departed post, we will continue to adjudicate your application through the DS verification and enrollment process before the personnel action processing deadline; otherwise, you will be placed into INWS and will need to go through a revalidation process.

14. If an AEFM has already accepted a position at their next post, do they still apply for the FSFRC?

  • Yes, if they are transferring from an overseas position or from a CS Department of State domestic assignment to an overseas post they should apply for FSFRC membership in order to avoid a break in service.

15. If an AEFM does not apply for FSFRC membership before departing their position at post will their Family Member Appointment be terminated?

  • Yes, if the AEFM does not submit an acceptable application for FSFRC membership prior to departing their position at post, the appointment will be terminated and the employee will not be placed in INWS.

16. Will AEFMs who apply for the FSFRC before departing post be placed in INWS after departing post or while the application is being adjudicated and processed?

  • In most cases, an AEFM who applies for the FSFRC before departing post and is accepted as an FSFRC member will be converted in to the FSFRC and will not enter INWS. Only in cases where the applicant departs with insufficient time to process their application will it be necessary to place them in INWS while their application is under consideration. The applicant will then be notified about the revalidation process and will be required to complete an SF 86C.

17. If I am working on a Personal Services Agreement (PSA), Personal Services Contract (PSC), or as a third party government contractor, can I apply to the FSFRC now?

  • We are unable to accept applications from AEFMs who are currently working on a PSA, PSC, or as a third party government contractor unless the agreement or contract is due to end within 90 days from the application date.
  • We anticipate that once the new GFACS payroll system has been launched, AEFMs working under a PSA will be able to apply for and retain their FSFRC membership. Note this only applies to those AEFMs working under a PSA, it does not apply to those working under a PSC or as a third party government contractor.
Notification

1. Will family members receive notification when they are accepted in the FSFRC?

  • Yes. Once the FSFRC member is accepted, if they are still actively working at post they will be emailed a confirmation letter. If they have departed their position at post and no longer have access to OpenNet and their Official Personnel Folder (OPF), HR/SS will mail a paper copy of the personnel action (Form SF-50), along with notification that the family member has been appointed into the FSFRC. It is very important that the family member include a current mailing address as well a current personal email address on the FSFRC application form.

2. How can I confirm that my application was received and /or find out the status of the application?

  • Applicants will receive several system notifications, one when their application is submitted, another upon ticketing into the system for review, and yet again upon final processing. Applicants who have received the notifications are encouraged to have patience as application processing times will vary from person to person. Applicants who have not received any notifications should send an email to FSFRC@state.gov.

3. Why would paper copies of SF-50s be issued, instead of email? Paper copies could be lost in the mail during PCS transitions.

  • Mailing paper copies is a requirement designed to protect the employee’s Personally Identifiable Information. Family members should print copies of their SF 50s from their eOPF prior to departure from their position at post.

4. How soon after I submit my application to join the FSFRC will I be notified of my status?

  • Since each application will be handled on a case-by-case basis, application processing times will vary.

5. Will everyone who applies for the FSFRC be accepted?

  • No. Each FSFRC application will be reviewed on an individual basis. Potential reasons for not being accepted include, but are not limited to: not meeting the FSFRC eligibility criteria, failure to submit all of the required documentation, and/or issues of suitability.
Clearances

1. Do I automatically get a clearance if I join the FSFRC?

  • No. Regulations do not allow security clearances for those who do not require access to classified information. E.O. 12968 governs eligibility for access to classified information and requires that access approval be limited and relate directly to the level of classified information for which there is a need for access.
  • See 16 STATE 49074, paragraph 15, for details on how the FSFRC is structured. While eligibility requirements are the same for anyone wishing to join the FSFRC, once an applicant is enrolled and becomes a member, he or she will be placed in one of three categories.
    • Category One is for family members who currently hold an active Top Secret clearance.
    • Category Two is for family members who currently hold an active Secret clearance.
    • Category Three is for family members who are currently not employed by the Department of State or are employed by the Department of State in a low-risk/non-sensitive or a “public trust” position for which they received appropriate investigation and suitability determination. Regardless of the category at which they enter, FSFRC members may later qualify for a different category as outlined in 16 STATE 49074, paragraph 16.

2. What will happen to my current clearance if I join the FSFRC?

  • If you currently hold a TS or Secret level clearance when you apply to join the FSFRC, you may be able to enter the FSFRC in Category One (TS) or Category Two (Secret). Similarly, if your security clearance investigation was concluded within 5 years and you are in INWS, it may be possible to revalidate your previous TS or Secret level clearance, allowing you to enter the FSFRC in Category One (TS) or Category Two (Secret). Membership in the FSFRC allows you to retain your eligibility for access to classified information on the basis of your FSFRC position and the need for rapid deployment as you move from post to post.

3. May family members who have security clearances granted by non-State agencies (e.g., DOD) join the FSFRC and have their clearances accepted by State?

  • On a case-by-case basis, family members who meet the eligibility criteria to apply to join the FSFRC may be able to have their non-State agency security clearance accepted by State under reciprocity. For more information on Security Clearances, visit Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

4. As an FSFRC member in Category 3 or Category 2 can I expect an expedited investigation and adjudication if my position at post requires a higher level clearance?

  • No. Just as is the process now, all FSFRC members who require access to a higher level of classified information than they currently hold (due to being selected for a local position that requires such higher level access) will need to request that higher level of access and cannot begin working until it is granted. An interim clearance may be requested in cases that require an expedited access to classified information.

5. If an FSFRC member currently holds a Secret clearance, can the HRO ask for an upgrade to a TS clearance?

  • No. The FSFRC member must apply and be selected for a local position that requires a higher level of access to classified information than he/she currently holds.

6. I’m not an FSFRC member but previously held a security clearance. Can that clearance be revalidated when I join the FSFRC?

  • In rare cases in which the individual’s investigation was favorably adjudicated within five years, this may be possible. However, other factors will apply and determination will be made on a case-by-case basis. For more information on security clearances, visit Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

7. If I am granted an interim clearance at a higher level than my current FSFRC membership category can my membership category be changed to reflect this?

  • No. Your security clearance must be fully adjudicated in order to be moved to Category One or Two.

8. If an FSFRC member returns to the U.S., will they still be able to retain their membership and security clearance under the FSFRC?

  • It depends. Please refer to FAQs on Membership Retention and Resignation. Retention of the security clearance is also dependent on the member’s ability to continue to meet the standards set forth in the government-wide National Security Adjudicative Guidelines, including cooperation with security investigations.
  • If the FSFRC member accepts a Civil Service position, they will be converted to that position or transferred to the gaining Agency as appropriate. Their FSFRC membership will end at that time but AEFMs can re-apply when they depart their domestic position to accompany their spouse overseas.

9. Does membership in the FSFRC allow for the investigation to continue if I depart Post prior to a higher level investigation being fully adjudicated?

  • Yes. The clearance investigation will continue as long as Post has followed the instructions provided regarding naming the FSFRC category along with the position that the EFM was selected for at the time the higher level investigation was initiated.

10. Could an applicant for the FSFRC meet security clearance requirements, but not be found suitable for membership in the FSFRC?

  • Yes, this is possible. An applicant must receive a favorable suitability determination before they can be considered for membership in the FSFRC.

11. If an AEFM has a higher level clearance investigation in process or has been granted an interim clearance, what clearance level should the AEFM indicate on their FSFRC application – their current clearance or the clearance requested and under investigation?

  • The applicant should put their current clearance on the application form. They will be placed in the category based on their current fully adjudicated clearance, as verified by DS.

12. If an FSFRC member is granted a higher level clearance, will they be able to change their FSFRC category?

  • Yes, once granted a higher level of access by DS, HR Shared Services will reassign the AEFM to the appropriate FSFRC category upon verification from Diplomatic Security. As indicated above, interim clearance determinations cannot be used to reassign the member to a higher category.

13. Will clearances be reinvestigated periodically during a member’s time in the FSFRC?

  • Yes, all security clearances must be periodically reinvestigated during the member’s time in the FSFRC. Diplomatic Security will reach out to FSFRC members directly to notify them of the need to complete appropriate paperwork, and will conduct the reinvestigation. Failure to reply within a specified timeline (currently 90 days) to a reinvestigation request will result in termination from the FSFRC.

14. In addition to security clearance reinvestigations, are other recertification actions required to remain in the FSFRC?

  • Yes. Members must respond to recertification requests from HR/SS. The frequency of those recertification requests depends on the FSFRC member’s status. If the member is in FSFRC Category One or Two, and not actively working at post, they will need to respond to an annual recertification. Members in Category Three, will need to respond to a recertification request about one month before their Not To Exceed (NTE) date is due to expire. HR/SS will renew the NTE date every five years as long as the person remains eligible for the FSFRC and their recertification has been completed. Note: The FSFRC recertification process is separate from a clearance reinvestigation.

15. Must FSFRC Members file foreign contact reports, even when they are not actively working?

  • Yes, FSFRC Members are obliged to file contact reports (DS-1887) in accordance with 12 FAM 260 and 12 FAM 270, regardless of whether they are in active pay and duty status or in FSFRC reserve status.
Membership Retention and Resignation

1. What happens to my FSFRC membership if my sponsor returns for a domestic assignment in the U.S.?

  • You will remain a member of the FSFRC in reserve status provided you meet the eligibility requirements, including compliance with recertification requests from HR/SS and reinvestigation requests from DS.

2. Will FSFRC members be able to retain their Non-competitive Eligibility (NCE) (E.O. 12721) when they resign from the FSFRC?

  • Yes. Entitlement to Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) under E.O. 12721 is based on service at a position at post. As such, any entitlement to NCE is not affected by a member’s resignation from the FSFRC.

3. Will I retain my Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC) membership if I accept a domestic Civil Service position?

  • No. An FSFRC member who accepts a Civil Service position will be converted from the FSFRC to the Civil Service position. A record of past membership will be retained via SF-50 personnel actions maintained in the employee’s eOPF. You can reapply for FSFRC membership as long as you continue to meet the program eligibility criteria.

4. If I accept a domestic Civil Service (CS) position, how will my transition from FSFRC to CS be documented?

  • Once you accept a domestic CS position with DOS no further action is required on your part. The HR Specialist will verify your current clearance status and determine if a clearance conversion or new investigation is needed if the CS position requires a higher level of clearance than what you currently hold. The appointment to your CS position will be documented on an SF-50 personnel action.
  • Those accepting a CS position with a different federal agency should contact HR Shared Services at FSFRC@state.gov for additional guidance.

5. Can an FSFRC member retain their FSFRC membership if they accept a position with an employment mechanism that is either a Personal Services Agreement (PSA), a Personal Services Contract (PSC), or as a third party government contractor?

  • No. FSFRC members who accept employment where the employment mechanism is either a PSA, PSC, or as a third party government contractor are required to resign. For additional instructions email FSFRC@state.gov

6. Are FSFRC members in reserve status allowed to work outside the Department?

  • FSFRC membership is subject to the ethical standards summarized at 11 FAM 600. If FSFRC members need additional information or guidance regarding outside employment, they should contact the Office of Ethics and Financial Disclosures in the Office of the Legal Adviser (L/EFD) at (202) 663-3770 or by emailing the ethics attorney mailbox at ethicsattorneymailbox@state.gov as needed.
  • Reminder: FSFRC members at a post abroad must request Chief of Mission approval prior to accepting any outside employment. Those FSFRC members who choose to accept a Personal Services Agreement, Personal Services Contract, or employment as a third party government contractor must resign from the FSFRC.
  • Outside employment has the potential to present security concerns and could potentially place an employee in a situation in which he or she may face a conflict of interest between the outside activities and his or her ability to protect classified information. The FSFRC member’s security clearance may be affected depending on what the outside employment consists of and whether the activities and connections that result from it might create a potential conflict of interest between the outside employment, the connections, the organization’s goals, and the obligations to protect classified information. We recommend that the FSFRC member consult with DS/SI/PSS regarding the potential impact on a security clearance. They may be reached at: DSDirectorPSS@state.gov . In any case, all employees must comply with the security reporting requirements in 12 FAM 260 and 12 FAM 270.

7. When am I required to resign from the FSFRC?

  • An FSFRC member is required to resign from the FSFRC under the following circumstances:
    • Acceptance of a Personal Services Contract
    • Acceptance of a Personal Services Agreement with another Federal Agency (* currently members accepting a PSA with DOS must also resign due to system incompatibility issues)
    • Acceptance of a position as a third party government contractor
    • Loss of Appointment Eligible Family Member (AEFM) status (i.e. upon retirement of your sponsoring employee, death of the sponsoring employee, or divorce or dissolution of marriage to the sponsoring employee)

8. Can an FSFRC member who divorces a Foreign Service spouse remain a member of the FSFRC after the divorce is finalized?

  • FSFRC membership will terminate when the spousal relationship between the sponsoring employee and the FSFRC member ends. The same is true when the sponsoring employee retires, resigns, or passes away. However, under certain circumstances an exemption may be requested see 3 FAM 8228.2 (d).
  • If the FSFRC member has earned Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) under Executive Order 12721, they will still be able to use their NCE when applying for positions in the Civil Service in the U.S. within three years of resuming domestic residency.

9. How do I resign from the FSFRC?

  • FSFRC members in reserve status may resign at any time. Please submit a letter of resignation including the information below to HR Shared Services at FSFRC@state.gov:
    1. Your full name
    2. The last four digits of your social security number
    3. Current mailing address and email address
    4. Your resignation effective data
    5. The reason for your resignation.

10. If I am currently working at post on an appointment, am I required to recertify my eligibility to retain my FSFRC status?

  • No. Recertification is only required as noted in question Clearances #14.

11. As an FSFRC member in reserve status am I subject to the department’s ethical standards and conduct?

  • The Department of State is committed to the highest ethical standards, and as a member of the FSFRC, you are subject to federal ethics provisions applicable to Executive Branch employees, including criminal conflict of interest statutes such as 18 U.S.C. §§ 203, 205, 207, 208 and 209, as well as the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch at 5 C.F.R., Part 2635. These rules may limit your engagement in certain outside activities, including outside employment or receiving compensation for publications, for example. If you have questions, particularly with regard to outside employment, please get in touch with your Human Resources (HR) contact.
  • For additional information on applicable ethics requirements, you may contact the Office of Ethics and Financial Disclosures in the Office of the Legal Adviser (L/EFD) at (202) 663-3770 or by emailing the ethics attorney mailbox at ethicsattorneymailbox@state.gov.

12. What is the length of time that a member can remain in the FSFRC without working in a local position?

  • FSFRC members who continue to meet the eligibility requirements (confirmed by HR/SS during the recertification process) may remain in the FSFRC.
Hiring Preferences

1. I understand that the hiring preference order will be changing. Can you tell me more about that?

  • The hiring preference has not changed. The hiring preference order will not change until the FSFRC has been fully implemented. At that time HR/OE will announce the effective date of the new FSFRC hiring preference. Until the announcement of the new hiring preference is made, the hiring preference order will continue to be as follows:
    1. AEFMs / USEFMs who are also preference-eligible U.S. Veterans
    2. AEFMs / USEFMs who are not preference-eligible U.S. Veterans
    3. FS Generalists and Specialists on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) and CS employees withre-employment rights.
Miscellaneous

1. What badge should be issued for an FSFRC member when they are appointed to a position at Post?

  • The badge issued at post is determined by the level of clearance required for the position that the EFM is encumbering. This may or may not be the same as the clearance level held by the EFM’s category in FSFRC. For example, if the EFM holds a Top Secret (Category One) or a Secret (Category Two) clearance, but the position that they occupy is non-sensitive/public trust, then the badge that they are issued would reflect the non-sensitive/public trust (Category Three) level. If an FSFRC Member is needed to fill temporary duties at Post requiring a higher level of clearance (Category One or Two) which the EFM holds as an FSFRC member, then the RSO at Post can issue a temporary badge as appropriate.

2. Does the FSFRC replace the Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP)?

  • No, EPAP will continue to exist as a separate program.

3. How will family members from other agencies learn about the FSFRC before they come to post?

  • The Family Liaison Office (FLO) will continue to reach out to family members from all agencies that serve under Chief of Mission authority through its internet site, its FLO Weekly e-newsletter, postings on Foreign Service online forums, webinars, and the worldwide Community Liaison Office (CLO) program, which provides welcome and orientation information to those bidding on or assigned to overseas posts. FLO also conducts hundreds of briefings each year at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and other locations with employees and family members of many agencies. Through its participation in the Inter-agency Roundtable group, FLO regularly updates family support offices from other agencies on the FSFRC and other valuable programs for family members.

4. What is the FSFRC reserve status?

  • FSFRC reserve status is an appointment without compensation (i.e. salary and benefits).

U.S. Department of State

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