CA-AEFM Adjudicator Program - Frequently Asked Questions

The Consular Affairs - Appointment Eligible Family Member (CA-AEFM) Adjudicator program provides opportunities for AEFMs who are at least 21 years of age to fill entry-level Consular Adjudicator (CA) positions at select posts. Below is a list of most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Application Process

  1. How do I apply?
  2. What documents do I need to submit with my application?
  3. What is the application deadline?
  4. What is the vacancy announcement number?
  5. The DS-1950 Application for Employment does not allow sufficient space to include all of my professional experience information. How do I ensure that all of my professional experience is appropriately captured in the application form?
  6. The DS-1950 (page 1) has the section “Describe your duties and accomplishments.” I have written a long paragraph that fills the allotted space. When I print the form, only half of what I typed is printed and the other half is missing. What should I do?
  7. Page one, block 24, indicates that I should “Sign In Ink,” whereas the section “Authorization to Furnish Information” at the bottom of page three does not specify if I should sign in ink or electronically. What do you prefer for page three?
  8. What is the minimum education requirement to apply for the program?
  9. I have earned several degrees. Do I need to submit them all? Do I need a transcript copy for each one of them?
  10. I was educated overseas and graduated from a foreign institution. Do I need to get my foreign diploma(s) or degree(s) accredited?

Board of Examinars (BEX) Exam

  1. How do I prepare for the Board of Examiners (BEX) assessment?
  2. How do I register for the CA-AEFM online test, administered through BEX?
  3. How long do I have to complete the online portion of the exam?
  4. How often does BEX schedule the online test and Oral Assessments?
  5. How many times can I take the online test?
  6. I passed the online test. Now what?
  7. I passed the FS Oral Assessment and/or the CA/LNA exam and am on the register. Do I also have to pass the CA-AEFM exam?
  8. I passed the PC530 pre-test and already took ConGen (PC530). Can CA waive the exam requirements and directly place me on the roster as a CA-AEFM?
  9. Why is the CA-AEFM oral exam only offered in Washington, DC? I am stationed overseas, can I take it via DVC?

Training

  1. What training does a CA-AEFM need to complete to work as a Consular Professional overseas?

Finding a Position

  1. This is the third year of the CA-AEFM program. Can CA provide an estimate of the BEX exam passing rate for family members? How many CA-AEFMs are now fully certified and how many are already working at post?
  2. How long does it take to complete certification as a CA-AEFM from the time an applicant passes the oral assessment to the time CA identifies a position at the sponsor’s overseas post?
  3. I am a certified CA-AEFM. My spouse is bidding on an assignment overseas. How can I maximize my chance of being “matched” with a Consular position at post? Can my employee sponsor’s CDO speak to my CDO to make sure we are treated like a tandem couple?
  4. I am a fully certified CA-AEFM. What are my chances of being assigned to a Consular position overseas?
  5. How are candidates prioritized for placement into Consular positions?
  6. Will I increase my chances of being “matched” with my spouse if we bid on large posts?
  7. Can I do a temporary duty (TDY) mission at a post other than where my spouse is assigned? Can I stay at the post where I am working as a CA-AEFM after my spouse departs?

Application Process

1. How do I apply?

See the vacancy announcement on FLO’s CA-AEFM Consular program webpage.

2. What documents do I need to submit with my application?

The required documents are the DS-1950 application form and a copy of your diploma and/or transcripts or degrees (whichever is highest) proving that you have earned at least a high school diploma. You must also provide evidence that you are a U.S. citizen (sending a copy of your passport is best), and the full name and current assignment of your direct hire spouse. Please do not submit any other documentation apart from what is listed in the vacancy announcement.

3. What is the application deadline?

There is no application deadline for the CA-AEFM Consular program at this time.

4. What is the vacancy announcement number?

There is no vacancy announcement number for this program.

5. The DS-1950 Application for Employment does not allow sufficient space to include all of my professional experience information. How do I ensure that all of my professional experience is appropriately captured in the application form?

Carefully read the instructions on the form. If your professional experience requires additional work blocks than are provided on pages two and three, you may print as many copies of page two of the “Application For Employment” that are needed (but only one page three). Make sure you include your complete name and social security number on the top of each page of the application. Once completed, print out the entire application, sign the first page, and scan them as a compressed PDF.

6. The DS-1950 (page 1) has the section “Describe your duties and accomplishments.” I have written a long paragraph that fills the allotted space. When I print the form, only half of what I typed is printed and the other half is missing. What should I do?

Handwrite “See attached page” in the box where you want to provide additional information. Then attach a signed word document with the information that you want to include, being sure to include your complete name, social security number, date, and the position for which you are applying (CA-AEFM) and scan it with the rest of the application to complete the application package.

7. Page one, block 24, indicates that I should “Sign In Ink,” whereas the section “Authorization to Furnish Information” at the bottom of page three does not specify if I should sign in ink or electronically. What do you prefer for page three?

Print page one and sign in ink, as instructed. If your work experience can be contained within these three pages, type your signature electronically at the bottom of page three. However, if you have additional content that exceeds the allocated space print out additional pages and write “See attached page.” Finally, sign page three and any subsequent attached pages and scan all documents as one complete package.

8. What is the minimum education requirement to apply for the program?

Please provide a copy of at least a high school diploma (with an unofficial copy of your transcript) to meet the minimum education level requirement.

9. I have earned several degrees. Do I need to submit them all? Do I need a transcript copy for each one of them?

Please note that the undergraduate degree requirement was discontinued on April 12, 2017. A copy of your high school diploma is required at the minimum. If you have earned additional degrees (undergraduate or graduate), please submit a copy of your highest degree in lieu of your high school diploma.

10. I was educated overseas and graduated from a foreign institution. Do I need to get my foreign diploma(s) or degree(s) accredited?

If you were educated overseas, please submit a copy of your high school diploma with its transcript (an unofficial copy is acceptable) at the minimum. You do not need to have your high school degree accredited.

In lieu of your high school diploma, you may submit a copy of your undergraduate degree (such as a Bachelor’s) or a graduate degree (such as a Master’s or a PhD), whichever is the highest. OPM defines accredited education as education above the high school level. You need to have your foreign degree(s) accredited if they are of a higher level than your high school diploma. Go to the Credentialing of Foreign Degrees for a United States Government Application webpage for more information.

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Board of Examiners (BEX) Exam

1. How do I prepare for the Board of Examiners (BEX) assessment?

Check out the BEX study guide. The first step is an online test that has four components: General Knowledge, English Language Expression, Situational Judgment, and Understanding Regulations (see the vacancy announcement for more information).

2. How do I register for the CA-AEFM online test, administered through BEX?

Once you submit your application to AEFM-CA@state.gov you will receive confirmation that you have the minimum qualifications to continue with the process. CA will ask you for the name and Department of State email address of your proctor for the online test. Once you have provided the proctor information, CA will send your application and proctor information to the BEX office and the BEX scheduler will contact your proctor (and you) directly to arrange the online test. BEX has hundreds of CA-AEFM applicants to schedule and it may take some time before you are contacted. If you wish to complete the online assessment in Washington DC, list BEX as your proctor.

3. How long do I have to complete the online portion of the exam?

Once BEX contacts you and the proctor, you have one month to complete the exam.

4. How often does BEX schedule the online test and Oral Assessments?

BEX schedules both of these tests multiple times a week on a rolling basis.

5. How many times can I take the online test?

If you fail the online test, you must wait 12 months from the date that BEX received your application before you can take it again.

6. I passed the online test. Now what?

BEX will send you information on how to schedule the Oral Assessment. You will have 12 months to schedule the Oral Assessment in Washington, DC from the time that you pass the online test. There is no funding available for travel to Washington, DC to take the Oral Assessment.

7. I passed the FS Oral Assessment and/or the CA/LNA exam and am on the register. Do I also have to pass the CA-AEFM exam?

No, if you are currently on the FS generalist or CA/LNA register, you are exempt from the CA-AEFM exam and can be added to the register. BEX will verify that you are on the generalist register and will provide further instructions. If you have not passed the FS Oral Assessment, but have passed the online portion of the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), you will need to take the online portion of the CA-AEFM exam.

8. I passed the PC530 pre-test and already took ConGen (PC530). Can CA waive the exam requirements and directly place me on the roster as a CA-AEFM?

No, you must still apply for the CA-AEFM program by submitting an application. Successfully completing PC530 does not take the place of exams required to become certified as a CA-AEFM. The PC530 pre-test is required for family members who want to enroll in the PC530 training course.

All CA-AEFM candidates must fill out the application for the program. If you have taken a written exam and an oral assessment with the Board of Examiners (BEX), and as a result of passing these exams, you are currently on the Foreign Service Generalist register, the Civil Service LNA Overseas register, or the Critical Language Skills LNA Program for Non-State Employees register, you can waive the CA-AEFM exams. All other applicants need to successfully pass both the written and oral CA-AEFM assessments.

9. Why is the CA-AEFM oral exam only offered in Washington, DC? I am stationed overseas, can I take it via DVC?

The Board of Examiners has examined the possibility of conducting oral assessments remotely by DVC and concluded that, for a number of reasons, it is not feasible to do so. These reasons include the difficulty of ensuring the integrity and safety of sensitive testing materials, the likelihood that technical problems could interfere with the testing process, the difficulty of assessing key dimensions of the assessment process (e.g., composure, oral communications) when filtered through technology, and the inconsistency such an option would introduce between in-person and remote tests, as well as between types of Foreign Service entry processes.

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Training

1. What training does a CA-AEFM need to complete to work as a Consular Professional overseas?

  • PN150 LNA Orientation Class (two weeks)
  • PC530 Basic Consular Course (ConGen) (six weeks)
  • Language Training (depending on the position’s language designation) - several weeks to several months
  • MQ911 Security Overseas Seminar (two days) – required only once in a career
  • Area Studies Training (two weeks) - optional
  • FACT (if going to a FACT-mandatory post but haven’t taken FACT within the past 5 years) – FACT is included on the employee-sponsor’s PCS orders and the CA-AEFM should take it at the same time as the sponsor.

Training is mandatory and must be attended in full. If a position is language-designated, the CA-AEFM must reach the required level. CA-AEFMs fill entry level positions in the Consular Section on a full-time basis and therefore must be trained to the same level as generalists. A current FSI language score, or valid ConGen certification (i.e., having taken ConGen or adjudicated within the past 5 years) may replace some training. Due to FSI’s schedule and/or limited class availability, CA-AEFMs are not always able to take area studies. Otherwise, a CA-AEFM should assume all training listed above is needed.

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Finding a Position

1. This is the third year of the CA-AEFM program. Can CA provide an estimate of the BEX exam passing rate for family members? How many CA-AEFMs are now fully certified and how many are already working at post?

Family members of U.S. direct hire employees serving at an embassy or consulate overseas have a higher than average pass rate to the CA-AEFM written and oral assessments. As of April 2017, CA has hired 47 CA-AEFMs. Twenty-six are serving overseas and the remaining 17 are in training in Washington, DC getting ready to move to post soon. Four CA-AEFMs have resigned; of those four, three have become Foreign Service Officers. . Furthermore, CA has the first CA-AEFMs who are transferring from their initial assignments to their second posts as CA-AEFMs this summer. There are another 71 fully certified CA-AEFMs who are awaiting possible placement at their sponsor’s post during the next bid cycle. These numbers continue to grow as more people learn about the program.

2. How long does it take to complete certification as a CA-AEFM from the time an applicant passes the oral assessment to the time CA identifies a position at the sponsor’s overseas post?

The length of the process depends on each applicant’s personal circumstances and may last from a couple of months to more than one year. After BEX confirms the applicant has passed the oral exam, a Diplomatic Security (DS) representative will meet with the applicant at BEX to start the clearance process the same day. The DS investigation depends on many factors beyond CA’s control and the time varies for each one to be completed. The applicant also needs to pass the suitability review and have a valid medical clearance for the onward post. Once these steps are complete and the CA-AEFM is fully certified, the CA-AEFM coordinator in HR/CDA/EL (Human Resources/Career Development and Assignments/Entry Level) and the CA-AEFM candidate discuss the sponsoring employee’s current tour of duty and follow-on assignment (if known) to identify a suitable position for the CA-AEFM.

3. I am a certified CA-AEFM. My spouse is bidding on an assignment overseas. How can I maximize my chance of being “matched” with a Consular position at post? Can my employee sponsor’s CDO speak to my CDO to make sure we are treated like a tandem couple?

CA-AEFMs are hired on a Family Member Appointment (FMA). You will be offered a position only after your employee/sponsor receives an assignment. CA will give preference to the FSO for Consular positions and you will be hired only if CA has a need for an additional certified CA-AEFM at that same post. Because of the FMA hiring mechanism, you and your FS spouse do not bid as a tandem couple. Instead, the CA-AEFM coordinator works with you to identify a Consular position at your sponsor’s post. The employee’s CDO is welcome to discuss possible assignments with the CA-AEFM coordinator.

4. I am a fully certified CA-AEFM. What are my chances of being assigned to a Consular position overseas?

CA cannot guarantee a Consular position overseas when you are a fully certified CA-AEFM, but CA will do its best to match you with a job during the tour of duty of your sponsoring employee. This is a multi-step process. First, CA consults with post to ensure they have a need and the space for an additional person in the Consular section and to identify the level of language training the CA-AEFM requires to be effective. Then, CA has to balance this required training with the employee’s assignment, taking into account any family considerations.

5. How are candidates prioritized for placement into Consular positions?

Consular positions overseas are filled by a group of people made up of Entry Level Officers and Limited Non-Career Appointments (LNAs). The LNA group includes Civil Service, Consular Fellows (who are hired either to fill a particular language-based vacancy announcement or who are current register candidates) and CA-AEFMs. Like the Civil Service candidates, CA-AEFMs know in advance of their position placement prior to being on boarded as a CA-AEFM. The Consular Fellows bid on available assignments during orientation.

6. Will I increase my chances of being “matched” with my spouse if we bid on large posts?

Yes. CA will be able to place you more easily at your spouse’s post if you consider assignments with a large Consular section because there is a statistically higher chance of a position being available.

7. Can I do a temporary duty (TDY) mission at a post other than where my spouse is assigned? Can I stay at the post where I am working as a CA-AEFM after my spouse departs?

No. There is no mechanism that allows you to TDY at a post other than where your spouse is assigned, or to arrive at post before your sponsoring employee, or depart post after your sponsor has left. If your sponsoring employee goes on a TDY to another post, you may stay at the original post of assignment to work in the Consular position as long as the host government, the Mission, CA, and HR/CDA agree.

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For more information, email AEFM-CA-Questions@state.gov.

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