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How to Become a Foreign Service Officer

How to Become a Foreign Service Officer

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Chris McConnell | GovCentral

Medical Clearance

Doctors at the State Department review your medical history and physical fitness to determine if you are able to serve in any assignment worldwide (“Class One” medical clearance), or if there is some condition that could affect your health should you become sick.

The reason why this is important is that many posts a Foreign Service Officer may be assigned to do not have the same medical treatment facilities as we have in the United States. A mosquito bite in the States means some scratchy skin, but it could mean malaria (and death) in a place like Tanzania.

Security Clearance

The security clearance process involves a background check of you, your family and friends to determine the trustworthiness of a candidate.

Limited factors include credit problems or bankruptcy, drug abuse, a criminal record, dishonorable discharge from the military, and others.

No matter how much the situation might have been out of your control or was a sin long atoned for, the State Department will determine whether or not you would remain trustworthy to the United States or would become a liability. Many people and organizations that harbor ill-will to the United States seek to exploit the vulnerabilities a person may have. It is in the best interest of the United States and the State Department to hire individuals that would mitigate that risk.

The security clearance can take as little as six-weeks, but is generally around 3-4 months. If you hold dual citizenship, travel overseas often, or have friends/family that are not U.S. citizens, the process could take much longer.

Next Step: Final Review Panel


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