22 CFR 11.20 - Foreign Service specialist career candidate appointments.
(a) General considerations. (1) Section 303 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) authorizes the appointment of members of the Service (other than Presidential appointments).
(2) Section 306 of the Act provides that, before receiving a career appointment in the Foreign Service, an individual shall first serve under a limited appointment for a trial period of service as a career candidate.
(3) This section governs the appointment by the Department of State of Foreign Service specialist career candidates to classes FS-1 and below. Specialist candidates comprise all candidates for career appointment in all occupational categories other than generalists (that is, administrative, consular, economic, political, and program direction), who are governed by the regulations respecting Foreign Service officer career candidates. The appointment of all Senior Foreign Service career candidates regardless of occupational category is governed by § 11.30 (to be supplied). Regulations governing trial service and tenuring of specialist candidates are found in Volume 3 (Personnel), Foreign Affairs Manual, section 580.
(4) Veterans' preference shall apply to the selection and appointment of Foreign Service specialist career candidates.
(b) Specialist career candidate appointments -
(1) Certification of need. Candidates for appointment as specialist career candidates must be world-wide available and must have a professional or a functional skill for which there is a continuing need in the Foreign Service. Before an application can be processed, the Director General of the Foreign Service must certify that there is a need for the applicant as a career candidate in the specialist category at or above the proposed class of appointment. No applicant shall be appointed at a class level for which there is no certified need. This individual certification of need is not required for those specialist occupations which the Director General determines in advance to be shortage or continuous recruitment categories, and for which the Director General has certified the need for a specific number of appointments at given levels. Such appointments, including an appointment of an individual who is the employee of any agency, may not exceed 5 years in duration, and may not be renewed or extended beyond 5 years. A specialist candidate denied tenure under Volume 3 (Personnel), Foreign Affairs Manual, section 580, may not be reappointed as a career candidate in the same occupational category.
(2) Eligibility. An applicant must be a citizen of the United States and at least 20 years of age. The minimum age for appointment as a career candidate is 21. All career candidate appointments shall be made before the candidate's 60th birthday. The maximum age for appointment under the program is based on the requirement that all career candidates shall be able to (i) complete at least two full tours of duty, exclusive of orientation and training, (ii) complete the requisite eligibility period for tenure consideration, and (iii) complete the requisite eligibility period to receive retirement benefits, prior to reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 prescribed by the Act.
(3) Selection and initial screening. Specialist career candidates will be selected on the basis of education, experience, suitability, performance potential, and physical fitness for world-wide service. Applicants normally will be given personal interviews and will be subject to such written, oral, physical, foreign language, and other examinations as may be prescribed by the Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service and administered by the Office of Recruitment, Examination, and Employment (PER/REE). The Board of Examiners will identify and/or approve the knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics required to perform the tasks and duties of Foreign Service specialists in each functional field. PER/REE will screen applications for appointment as Foreign Service specialist career candidates under approved criteria and select those who meet the requirements for further processing under these regulations.
(4) Oral examination. Candidates selected through the initial screening will be eligible for an oral examination unless they are candidates for appointment in occupational categories for which the oral examination may be waived by the Director General. This waiver normally will apply only to continuous-recruitment categories and to appointments below the FS-6 level, and where such waivers occur, a thorough oral interview will be conducted. The oral examination will be given by a panel of deputy examiners, at least one of whom will be a career Foreign Service specialist proficent in the functional field for which the candidate is being tested. The examination may include a writing sample. Candidates taking the oral examination will be graded numerically according to standards set by the Board of Examiners. The candidacy of anyone whose score is at or above the passing level set by the Board will be continued. The candidacy of anyone whose score is below the passing level will be terminated and may not be considered again for 1 year.
(5) Background investigation. Candidates who have passed the oral examination, and candidates who have passed the initial screening if the oral examination has been waived, will be eligible for selection for the background investigation to determine their suitability for appointment to the Foreign Service.
(6) Medical examination. Such candidates and their dependents will be eligible for selection for the medical examination. The medical examination shall be conducted to determine the candidate's physical fitness to perform the duties of a Foreign Service specialist on a world-wide basis and, for candidates and dependents, to determine the presence of any physical, neurological, or mental condition of such a nature as to make it unlikely that they would be able to function on a world-wide basis.
(7) Final review panel. After the results of the medical examination and background investigation have been received, a Final Review Panel, consisting of two or more deputy examiners of the Board of Examiners, or by another appropriate panel appointed for the purpose by the Director of PER/REE, will review and grade the candidate's entire file. Candidates approved by the Final Review Panel will have their names placed on a rank-order register for the functional specialty for which they are qualified. Candidates will remain eligible for appointment for 18 months from the date of placement on the rank-order register. The Board of Examiners may extend this eligibility period when such extension is, in its judgment, justified in the interests of the Foreign Service. The candidacy of anyone who is not recommended for appointment by the Final Review Board shall be terminated and the candidate so informed.
(c) Limited non-career appointments. Other Foreign Service specialist appointments may be made on a limited non-career basis. Before an application for a limited non-career appointment can be processed, the Director General of the Foreign Service must certify that there is a need for the applicant. Such limited specialists must serve overseas, and they will be subject to the same conditions as those outlined in these regulations for career candidates, with the exception that the maximum age of 59 does not apply to such appointments. However, because members of the Foreign Service generally are subject to the mandatory retirement age of 65 under section 812 of the Act, limited non-career appointments normally will not extend beyond the appointee's 65th birthday. Applicants for limited non-career appointments will be subject to the same screening, medical examination, background investigation, and final review process required of career candidates, but normally they will not be subject to a written or oral examination. Their appointments will normally be limited to the duration of the specific assignment for which they are to be hired, may not exceed 5 years in duration, and may not be renewed or extended beyond 5 years. Ordinarily, no limited non-career appointee will be reappointed until at least 1 year has elapsed since the expiration of a previous appointment. However, earlier reappointment may be granted in cases of special need, provided the exclusive employee representative is advised in advance and is afforded an opportunity to comment. Prior to the expiration of their limited appointments, if otherwise eligible, non-career appointees may compete for career candidate status by qualifying at that time for and taking the examinations required of career candidates. If successful, their names would be entered on the rank-order register for their functional specialty. If appointed as career candidates, the length of service under their previous limited non-career appointments may be counted as part of the trial period of service prescribed before a candidate can receive a career appointment.