The Consular Fellows Program offers candidates a unique opportunity to serve their country, utilize their foreign language skills, and develop valuable skills and experience that will serve them well in follow-on professions.
Foreign Service Consular Fellows serve in U.S. embassies and consulates overseas alongside Foreign Service Officers, other U.S. agency personnel, and locally-employed staff. Using their language skills in Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, or Arabic, their primary duty is to adjudicate visas for foreign nationals. Duties and responsibilities are similar to those of entry-level career Foreign Service Officers. While at post, Consular Fellows are members of the embassy or consulate community and receive many of the same benefits that career Foreign Service members receive, such as housing and educational allowances for eligible family members. View a more detailed description of the type of work involved and benefits provided.
Consular Fellows are hired via limited non-career appointments (LNAs). The Consular Fellow LNA appointment is for 60 months, but may be terminated at any time based on performance and/or needs of the Service. Consular Fellows may terminate their appointment at any time. However, if they choose to do so before completing a total of 12 months of service at post, they are obligated to repay certain costs associated with their travel, transportation, and other relocation allowances, unless the termination is triggered by circumstances beyond their control, as deemed by the U.S. Department of State.
New hires with a qualifying language, (NOTE: as of January 1, 2020, Chinese-Mandarin and Portuguese are the only languages under the recruitment incentive program) who commit to a four-year service agreement will be eligible to receive a recruitment incentive of up to 10% of their initial basic salary. This incentive would be paid in two installments: one upon completion of the first two-year assignment, and the second at the end of 48 months of consecutive service. In addition, Consular Fellows may be eligible to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) at any post in which they serve when they sign an initial three-year service agreement. For more information on the program, click here.
These are paid, non-career positions. The Consular Fellows program, similar to its predecessor, the Consular Adjudicator Limited Non-Career Appointment (CA LNA) program, is not an alternate entry method to the Foreign Service or the U.S. Department of State, i.e. this service does not lead to onward employment at the U.S. Department of State or with the U.S. government. Consular Fellows are welcome to apply to become Foreign Service Specialists, Foreign Service Generalists, or Civil Service employees, but they must complete the standard application and assessment processes. Consular Fellows who successfully complete 48 months of consecutive service as a Consular Fellow may qualify for non-competitive eligibility for government civil service positions.
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