Employment Resources for Family Members Returning to the United States
Before Leaving Post
Start the Job Search Process
- Obtaining a position in a desired field and with a desired salary can take months of full-time job searching. Family members who want to start work upon arrival in the U.S. should start networking and searching for jobs four to six months prior to departure. FLO’s regional Global Employment Advisor (GEA) can provide strategies for networking.
- Start the Job Search Process - Watch the video Returning to Washington, DC: The Job Search for tips.
Hand Carry Employment Records
- When moving back to the United States, family members should hand carry employment records to assist with the application process. FLO provides a list of important papers to hand carry.
Leaving a Family Member Appointment (FMA) position?
- Per Standard Operating Procedures introduced in May 2014, Human Resource Offices worldwide will standardize the process for family members leaving a Family Member Appointment (FMA).
- Final Evaluation - If more than 120 days have passed since the last Performance Appraisal Report (PAR), HR must ensure a final evaluation (Form JF-57) is completed. HR should provide a signed and dated copy for the employee’s records.
- INWS Letter or Resignation Letter - Employees hired under a Family Member Appointment (FMA) are eligible to be placed in Intermittent-No-Work-Scheduled (INWS) status at the end of their employment or they may choose to resign. Both options require the employee to submit to HR either the Request for Placement into INWS status letter or the Request for Resignation letter. These are standard letters available to HR staff that state the number of days/hours earned toward non-competitive eligibility (NCE). Employees should save this letter in case a federal hiring official asks for it.
- SF-50s, Performance Appraisal Reports, and Award Nominations – Family members can print SF-50s, performance appraisal reports (PARs), and award nominations by accessing HR Online/eOPF (intranet) prior to departure from the position. The SF-50s and PARs prove NCE.
- Employee Express - print the most current Earnings & Leave statement to check leave balances and to update addresses.
- Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) - HR provides a handout that explains NCE. The HR representative will also make a note in the employee’s profile that shows he/she has earned NCE.
- There are specific instructions available to Human Resource Officers (HRO) for converting an EFM/FMA into a U.S. direct-hire Foreign Service Generalist/Specialist or Civil Service appointment. The family member should ask the HRO at post not to terminate the FMA.
- Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) are terminated after 31 days in INWS.
- Family members in INWS may no longer pay into their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) but will continue to have access to their account.
- Family members cannot earn federal service credit while in INWS.
Subscribe to The Network
- Subscribe to The Network, an email subscription service for Foreign Service family members seeking employment in the Washington D.C. 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 which family members with Executive Order 12721 Eligibility would be considered for noncompetitive hire upon their return to the U.S. It also works with outside organizations to source job opportunities and give family members the inside track on government contract, NGO, and other private sector positions in the U.S. Job vacancy announcements and other employment-related information, including upcoming programs and FLO services, is distributed via The Network to registered family members.
Do Your Own Research
- Career Management Strategies for Washington Area Job Hunters (pdf)
- The Career Transition Center (CTC) at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) provides a list of online resources for finding jobs in Washington, D.C.
- Federal Contractors (pdf)
- Job Search Websites from the Family Liaison Office
- Resources for Working Internationally
Upon Arrival in the United States
- Visit FLO's Federal Employment web page. Family members who have worked inside the Mission on a Family Member Appointment (FMA) or TEMP appointment and earned non-competitive eligibility may consider continuing with Federal employment.
- Register for the Foreign Service Institute’s Transition Center courses (FSI/TC). The TC offers a range of courses, including a selection for returning to Washington. For more information, call 703-302-7267 or email FSITCTraining@state.gov. Registration procedures.
- More Training and Workshop Opportunities for Foreign Service Family Members
For a summary of the information above, check out FLO’s Quick Guide to Employment in the DC Area.
Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
Contact the Family Liaison Office