U.S. Department Of State Consular Fellows Program
U.S. Department Of State Consular Fellows Program offers candidates a unique opportunity to serve their country, utilise 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, Arabic, or Russian, 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 the 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.
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 with 30 days’ notice. 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.
The Department of State will place language-qualified U.S. citizen Consular Fellows serving in Limited Non-Career Appointments (LNA) in country-specific posts with high visa workloads. These fellows will serve as professional members of embassy and consulate workforces. Limited appointments, however, do not provide expedited, alternate, preferential, or otherwise “special” access into either the Foreign Service or the Department of State Civil Service – these appointments do not lead to onward employment with the Department of State, or with the U.S. government. Consular Fellows may apply to become Foreign Service Specialists or Generalists, as well as Civil Service employees, but they must meet all applicable qualifications and complete the standard application and assessment processes.
A U.S. Consular Fellow who issues a visa for admission to the United States is required by law to personally certify in writing that he or she has performed the necessary visa lookout check, a process that includes (but is not limited to) reviewing returns from Facial Recognition checks and from Automated Biometric Identification and Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System fingerprint clearances; checking the Consular Lookout and Support System and other appropriate post records; and reviewing nonimmigrant visa and immigrant visa case notes and any other post files for information that would render an applicant ineligible for a visa.
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