Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between the Overseas Briefing Center and the Family Liaison Office?
The Overseas Briefing Center is part of the Foreign Service Institute's Transition Center, located at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center. The OBC provides U.S. Government employees and family members post-specific information to assist in bidding on, preparing for, and successfully carrying out overseas assignments. We also offer "how-to"s on everything from shipping pets to purchasing consumables. Our clients include people from over 40 different U.S. Government agencies.
The Family Liaison Office, located at the Main State Department building, runs the worldwide Community Liaison Office (CLO) program and focuses on education and youth, family member employment, evacuation support, and other support services.
Who can use the Overseas Briefing Center?
U.S. Government employees, contractors, and family members assigned to or returning from U.S. Embassies and consulates overseas are eligible to use the OBC Information Center and take Transition Center training courses.
When is the OBC Information Center open?
We are open weekdays from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. and certain Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. If you do not have a State Department badge, you must pre-register for entry after 5 p.m. or on Saturdays. For a complete schedule and more information, check our Open Hours page.
Where does the Overseas Briefing Center obtain its materials?
Most of the material comes directly from U.S. Embassies and consulates, often from CLO coordinators or management personnel. A number of publications and handouts are created in-house, with the help of subject-matter experts. The Information Center also purchases a small number of books, resource materials, and online subscriptions.
Does the Overseas Briefing Center offer help with the transition to Washington?
- Yes, we have information on the Washington, DC area, including lists of short-term housing and child care providers near the Foreign Service Institute. These are available in the Information Center or via e-mail.
- Visit the OBC Transition to Washington area of this website.
- Transition Center Training offers courses such as:
- For those planning for retirement, the Career Transition Center provides excellent programs.