VIP provides a yearlong professional fellowship program that aims to serve America’s veterans & separating service members by preparing them for diplomacy & development careers.
About the Program
On November 9, 2009, Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, established the Veterans Employment Initiative. The Initiative is a strategic approach to helping the men and women who have served our country in the military find employment in the Federal Government. In support of this initiative and in recognition of a veteran’s natural potential as a source of talent for diplomacy and development, the U.S. Department of State launched the Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP), a yearlong professional fellowship program aimed at serving America’s veterans and preparing them for diplomacy and development careers, by providing education and employment resources and expertise to enhance America’s global leadership.
VIP began in 2014 as a public-private platform initiated to help build and deploy partnerships between the U.S. Government and U.S. Private sector to mobilize and build networks to promote foreign affairs career opportunities for veterans. Since the launch of VIP, the U.S. Department of State has taken ownership of the program and provides funding for each fellowship position directly. Program management continues to focus on partnership building to provide the following elements of engagement to support veterans’ transition to diplomacy and development careers:
- EDUCATION Gain hands-on learning through work in a U.S. government foreign affairs agency
- FELLOWSHIP Join talented and ambitious veterans that form the foundation of the fellowship class
- EMPLOYMENT Get facilitated exposure to career opportunities in diplomacy and development
VIP Fellowships are open to U.S. Armed Forces Veterans and Transitioning U.S. Military who have completed a Master’s degree or higher in the preferred fields of International Business, International Relations/Affairs, Public Policy, Public Administration, or a related field. Eligible veterans must apply within two years of graduate degree completion, except for those precluded from doing so due to their U.S. Military service obligation, who will have up to six years after degree completion to apply. U.S. Armed Forces Reservists and National Guard Members are eligible, provided they have completed a minimum of two years of time in service. Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic developmental program.
Founder & Secretariat:
U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships
The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP) is the center of excellence for collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, the public and private sectors, and civil society. Launched in 2008, S/GP builds and facilitates partnerships that leverage the creativity, innovation, and core business resources of partners for greater impact.
U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Human Resources
The Department of State’s Bureau of Human Resources (HR) handles recruitment, assignment evaluation, promotion, discipline, career development, and retirement policies and programs for the Department’s Foreign and Civil Service employees.
The next application process is tentatively scheduled to open in the summer of 2020. Once available, the dates for submission and the subsequent job announcement links will be provided here on this webpage, , and .
Interested and eligible veterans can apply for Foreign Affairs Officer and/or Program Analyst positions offered from throughout the State Department. After qualifying, applicants will be contacted directly by interested host offices for interviews. The process may take upwards of two months. To be added to our mailing list, please contact VIPFellowship@state.gov.
All positions will be in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The expected duration of the Fellowship will be one year. This program is not designed to lead to permanent federal employment and does not convey preference in seeking such employment. Nor does it convey the ability to convert non-competitively to a competitive service Federal position.
- A current resume. Use your resume to highlight your education, expertise, achievements and honors, extracurricular activities/community service, language skills, and any leadership experience. The resume should not exceed two pages.
- A cover letter not to exceed 450 words. In your cover letter, please include your areas of focus (i.e. economics, regional affairs, technology) and indicate your job position preference – Foreign Affairs Officer and/or Program Analyst.
- Declaration of Graduate Degree Grade Point Average (GPA). An official transcript verification may be required at a later time. Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order to be credited towards qualifications. If you are scheduled to finish a Master’s Degree by the projected start date, but have not yet graduated the program, provide a Certified Letter of your current GPA with important dates (i.e., date of course completion and graduation), signed by a senior official or formal registrar in student records.
- Any educational transcripts. It is recommended to include any available transcripts from your current and/or past educational degrees. Please merge all documents into one for uploading, and use a descending order, which allows for the highest education to be seen first. All transcripts should be in English or English translation.
- A DD-214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from the United States Armed Forces. This program is for U.S. Veterans and Transitioning Military only, therefore this document must be included (and/or a DD-215, if applicable). If you do not yet have a DD-214, but are scheduled for discharge by the projected program start date, please provide a Certified Letter with a Statement of Credible Service including important dates (i.e., scheduled end date of service).
- If applicable, education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying.
- If applicable, your Veterans Affairs (VA) Service Connected Disability Rating Letter. This alerts the U.S. Department of State that the VA has declared you eligible for veterans compensation and benefits, to include Veterans Employment Preference at a Federal institution, such as Noncompetitive Eligibility (NCE) and Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA).
- If applicable, your United States Armed Forces Reserves or National Guard official member documentation (i.e., Verification of Military Status). Active reservists and guard members are eligible to apply provided they have two years of time in service. Please note that all fellows will be located in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area and do not receive Military Leave (ML) as stipulated in the program’s Civil Service (CS) Temporary Excepted Appointment hiring authority, however acquired Annual Leave (AL) may be used for required military duty days, weekend drills and necessary travel time. This is subject to change as we investigate more options.
Applications are accepted during certain time frames of the year only. Applications received outside of these dates will not be eligible for consideration. Follow on Twitter or Like us at to receive the most up to date information and notifications on the application process and/or status. The above dates and requirements are subject to change dependent only upon formal U.S. government guidance.
For additional questions, please first check the and if you still have an inquiry, call 703-516-1695 or email VIPFellowship@state.gov. Follow us on and for news and updates.
If you have interest in supporting the VIP program through partnership, please contact the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships at Partnerships@state.gov.
For any other questions, please contact VIPFellowship@state.gov or call 703-516-1695.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the structure of this program? Key components include: Twelve-month full-time employment, beginning in the fall each year, alongside mentorship and professional development opportunities throughout the year. Each fellow will receive a portfolio with assigned work commitments as a Foreign Affairs Officer or Program Analyst. This differs with regards to the office that hosts the fellow, and is in addition to participating in fellowship activities.
What are the selection criteria? Outstanding leadership and life experiences, as well as demonstrated excellence in academic, cross-cultural, and communication skills. This program is highly competitive due to the limited spaces available. Please provide the most comprehensive assessment of your skills, leadership qualities and achievements in a limited and to-the-point format when applying.
What is the minimum GPA? An applicant’s cumulative master’s degree GPA should be 3.2 or above on a 4.0 scale. If applicants went to a foreign university, they must provide a certified letter of GPA equivalent in English — signed by a senior official in student records, while it is also recommended to submit official transcripts. Official transcripts may be required at a later time.
What if I am about to graduate, but it is after the submission deadline? Applicants must have graduated by the projected start date of the program. If a student is about to graduate, they must provide a certified letter of the expected graduation date, current GPA and have it signed by a senior official in student records, while it is also recommended to submit official transcripts.
Will I need a security clearance? Participants must receive a Secret or Top Secret security clearance and pass a suitability review. The hosting agency initiates and pays for the background investigation and clearance review. However, applicants must cover fingerprinting, document preparation, and mailing costs. While having a previous security clearance can assist and expedite the review process, a new or re-validated clearance that is specific to the VIP Fellow’s agency and position is required.
What is the duration of the fellowship? Contingent upon successful completion of a security investigation and granting of a security clearance, the fellowships will last 12 months from the start date.
What is the timing of the program? Applications tentatively open in late spring of each year, and selections are expected to be made within two months for a potential start date of late fall to early winter on a yearly basis, pending the granting of a secret or top secret security clearance.
Where is the fellowship located? All positions will be in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Please note that the cost of relocation will not be covered by the program (i.e. moving and travel costs). Once you have received a security clearance and start date, please reach out to VIPFellowship@state.gov to connect with current fellows and gain assistance for smooth transition.
Will compensation be provided? Fellows are paid as federal employees at the GS-9 level. Salary ranges from $57,510-$74,759 (dependent on previous experience) over the twelve months of VIP Fellowship employment. Relocation expenses are not covered.
Do I get time off or vacation pay? Fellows will acquire Annual Leave (AL) as they did in the military or prior federal employment (which transfers over), as well as Sick Leave (SL), however Military Leave (ML) does not apply to a one year temporary appointment, therefore if fellows are Reserves or Guard members, they must use AL for required duty.
Will benefits be provided? Fellows are offered the opportunity to enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHB). However, the fellowship does not provide life insurance or similar benefits. Housing is also the responsibility of the fellow to obtain.
What are the options for conversion to a Federal job? The VIP Fellowship is designed to provide experiential learning opportunities and skills that build on a completed Master’s degree. Fellows may pursue careers in the private, as well as public sector, upon completion of the program. This program is not designed to lead to federal employment and does not convey preference in seeking such an appointment, nor does it convey the ability to convert non-competitively to a competitive service federal position. For participants seeking a federal appointment, however, the VIP Fellowship experience may improve their ability to compete for such positions.
Whom should I contact? For additional questions, please first check the and if you still have an inquiry, call 703-516-1695 or email VIPFellowship@state.gov. Follow us on and for news and updates.