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Important

Foreign Service family members seeking employment on the local economy overseas, whether interested in international business, teaching at a local school, or freelancing, need to be aware of the work permit regulations in their host country.

Family members who work on the local economy without authorization are probably working illegally and may be putting themselves and their missions at risk. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations requires individuals who receive privileges and immunities from the receiving state to respect the laws and regulations. Likewise, 3 FAM 4125(a)(1) provides that family members can work on the local economy only when doing so would be consistent with local law. This provision implements 22 U.S.C. § 2699(b), which provides in part that family members of Foreign Service Officers (FSO) may accept employment in a foreign country unless such employment would violate US or local law. It is critical for Eligible Family Members (EFM) to seek Chief of Mission approval whenever a family member considers working outside the mission.

Bilateral Work Agreements

Historically, Foreign Service family members have been limited to working within the Mission or volunteering while at post due to their diplomatic or consular status. To increase family members’ employment opportunities bilateral work agreements (treaties) are established between the United States and an individual country. These work agreements enable accredited spouses and dependent children of U.S. Government employees assigned to official duty at an Embassy or Consulate in one of these countries to seek employment on the local economy. Same-sex spouses and partners should contact post HR to learn if they are eligible for work permits.

ALBANIA 4 GEORGIA NIGERIA
ANDORRA GERMANY 5 NORTH MACEDONIA 2
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA GHANA NORWAY 4
ARGENTINA GREECE 1 OMAN
ARMENIA GRENADA PAKISTAN
AUSTRIA GUATEMALA PANAMA
AUSTRALIA GUINEA BISSAU PERU
AZERBAIJAN GUYANA PHILIPPINES
BAHAMAS 1 HONDURAS POLAND
BAHRAIN HUNGARY PORTUGAL
BARBADOS 1 ICELAND REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (Brazzaville)
BELARUS INDIA 2 ROMANIA
BELGIUM 5 IRELAND RWANDA
BENIN ISRAEL SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
BHUTAN ITALY (includes The Holy See) 2 SAINT VINCENT AND
THE GRENADINES
BOLIVIA JAMAICA 2 SAINT LUCIA
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA KAZAKHSTAN SAMOA
BOTSWANA KENYA6 SAN MARINO
BRAZIL KOSOVO SENEGAL
BULGARIA KUWAIT SERBIA
CAMEROON KYRGYZ REPUBLIC SIERRA LEONE
CANADA 4 LATVIA SLOVAK REPUBLIC
REPUBLIC OF CAPE VERDE LIBERIA SLOVENIA
CHAD LIECHTENSTEIN SOMALIA
COLOMBIA 2 LITHUANIA 4 SPAIN
COMOROS LUXEMBOURG SRI LANKA
COSTA RICA MADAGASCAR SWEDEN
CROATIA MALAWI SWITZERLAND
CYPRUS MALAYSIA TAJIKISTAN
CZECH REPUBLIC 3MALI TANZANIA
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (Kinshasa) MALTA TIMOR-LESTE
DENMARK 4 MAURITIUS TRINIDAD/TOBAGO
DJIBOUTI MOLDOVA TURKEY 2,3 
ECUADOR MONACO TURKMENISTAN
EL SALVADOR MONGOLIA UGANDA
EQUATORIAL GUINEA MONTENEGRO UKRAINE
ESTONIA 4 MOROCCO UNITED KINGDOM
ETHIOPIA NAMIBIA URUGUAY
FIJI NAURU VENEZUELA
FINLAND NEPAL YEMEN
FRANCE 4 NETHERLANDS 4 ZAMBIA
GABON NEW ZEALAND ZIMBABWE
THE GAMBIA NICARAGUA

1 Limited number of family members permitted to work

2 Offer of employment required

3 Restricted employment fields

4 NATO dependents also included

5 NATO dependents included by de facto arrangement

Only valid 5 years from 8/2/2021 – 8/1/2026

 

De Facto Reciprocal Work Arrangements

On the basis of de facto reciprocity established by precedent, accredited spouses and dependent children of U.S. Government employees assigned to official duty at an Embassy or Consulate in the following countries may apply through specified channels for a permit to work.

BANGLADESH HONG KONG SEYCHELLES
BELIZE JAPAN SOUTH AFRICA
BURKINA FASO JORDAN SOUTH KOREA
BURUNDI LEBANON SUDAN
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC LESOTHO SURINAME
CHILE MAURITANIA TAIWAN
COTE D’IVOIRE MEXICO TOGO
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC MICRONESIA TUNISIA
EGYPT NIGER UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
ESWATINI PAPUA NEW GUINEA
GUINEA PARAGUAY
HAITI SINGAPORE

 

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future