Hiring Mechanisms to Employ Family Members in U.S. Missions Overseas

Employment Inside the U.S. Mission

FMA - Family Member Appointment

This Department of State hiring mechanism is used to employ Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFM) as defined in 3 FAM 7121. The FMA allows AEFMs working in positions at U.S. embassies and consulates to earn certain benefits including life and health insurance, retirement, and Thrift Savings Plan eligibility. The FMA is a five-year limited, non-career appointment.

Once EFMs have worked a minimum of 52 weeks in an overseas FMA or TEMP qualifying position (although it does not have to be 52 consecutive weeks of employment), they may qualify for Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE). Executive Order 12721 enables certain EFMs to be appointed non-competitively to the Civil Service once they return to the U.S. Those individuals may be appointed to any federal occupation and grade level for which they are qualified. For more information, see FAQ’s: Executive Order Eligibility 12721.

TEMP - Temporary Appointment
This Department of State hiring mechanism is used for appointments not to exceed one year and can be renewed in increments not to exceed one year. A TEMP appointment is appropriate only when the job itself is not ongoing and is of short duration. Those eligible to be hired under the TEMP Appointment are U.S. citizen spouses or domestic partners (as defined in
3 FAM 1610). These individuals must be on orders accompanying a career Foreign Service or Civil Service employee or uniformed service member at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad and under Chief of Mission authority.

PSA - Personal Services Agreement
This Department of State hiring mechanism can be used for non-U.S. citizen EFMs, Members of Household, U.S. Resident Hires, and Overseas Summer Hires.

PSC - Personal Service Contract
This hiring mechanism is used by USAID, Peace Corps, and other federal agencies authorized to use it. The PSC is subject to government contracting authorities and does not confer retirement benefits or U.S. government service credit.

Note: The preceding information is a thumbnail sketch. Federal hiring mechanisms are complex and may have different implications depending on the employment history of the individual. Please consult a Human Resources Officer and the complete regulations in 3 FAM 8200.

Employment Outside the U.S. Mission

Important issues to keep in mind:

Chief of Mission Approval - Any family member who accepts a position on the local economy must obtain a work permit (where applicable) and notify and receive approval from the Chief of Mission before he/she can start work.

Cultural Awareness - Different countries have different behavioral customs, dress codes, and hierarchical dynamics in the workplace. They even have different resume requirements. Family members should be aware of the cultural norms before sending out their resumes and scheduling interviews.

Language Requirements - Jobs on the local economy in your host country may require family members to speak, read, and/or write in the local language.

Local Salary Levels - In many countries, local salaries are lower than U.S. salaries and family members should consider this before they search for jobs outside the Mission.

Local Taxes - Family members might be required to pay local taxes.

Security Concerns - Should be considered (e.g., if safety is an issue when commuting to work it might not be wise for family members to work on the local economy).


This information is specific to Foreign Service employees and their families.



Information provided by the Family Liaison Office
Contact the Family Liaison Office