Collapse to view only § 3950. Reemployment rights following limited appointment

§ 3941. General provisions
(a) Citizenship requirement

Only citizens of the United States may be appointed to the Service, other than for service abroad as a consular agent or as a foreign national employee.

(b) Examinations
(1) The Secretary shall prescribe, as appropriate, written, oral, physical, foreign language, and other examinations for appointment to the Service (other than as a chief of mission or ambassador at large).
(2) The Secretary shall ensure that the Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service annually offers the oral assessment examinations described in paragraph (1) in cities, chosen on a rotating basis, located in at least three different time zones across the United States.
(c) Veteran or disabled veteran

The fact that an applicant for appointment as a Foreign Service officer candidate is a veteran or disabled veteran shall be considered an affirmative factor in making such appointments. As used in this subsection, the term “veteran or disabled veteran” means an individual who is a preference eligible under subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of section 2108(3) of title 5.

(d) Career and noncareer appointments
(1) Members of the Service serving under career appointments are career members of the Service. Members of the Service serving under limited appointments are either career candidates or noncareer members of the Service.
(2) Chiefs of mission, ambassadors at large, and ministers serve at the pleasure of the President.
(3) An appointment as a Foreign Service officer is a career appointment. Foreign Service employees serving as career candidates or career members of the Service shall not represent to the income tax authorities of the District of Columbia or any other State or locality that they are exempt from income taxation on the basis of holding a Presidential appointment subject to Senate confirmation or that they are exempt on the basis of serving in an appointment whose tenure is at the pleasure of the President.
(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 301, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2083; Pub. L. 100–204, title I, § 179(a), Dec. 22, 1987
§ 3942. Appointments by the President
(a)
(1) The President may, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint an individual as a chief of mission, as an ambassador at large, as an ambassador, as a minister, as a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, or as a Foreign Service officer.
(2)
(A) The President may, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, confer the personal rank of career ambassador upon a career member of the Senior Foreign Service in recognition of especially distinguished service over a sustained period.
(B)
(i) Subject to the requirement of clause (ii), the President may confer the personal rank of ambassador or minister on an individual in connection with a special mission for the President of a temporary nature not exceeding six months in duration.
(ii) The President may confer such personal rank only if, prior to such conferral, he transmits to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a written report setting forth—(I) the necessity for conferring such rank,(II) the dates during which such rank will be held,(III) the justification for not submitting the proposed conferral of personal rank to the Senate as a nomination for advice and consent to appointment, and(IV) all relevant information concerning any potential conflict of interest which the proposed recipient of such personal rank may have with regard to the special mission.
Such report shall be transmitted not less than 30 days prior to conferral of the personal rank of ambassador or minister except in cases where the President certifies in his report that urgent circumstances require the immediate conferral of such rank.
(C) An individual upon whom a personal rank is conferred under subparagraph (A) or (B) shall not receive any additional compensation solely by virtue of such personal rank.
(3) Except as provided in paragraph (2)(B) of this subsection or in clause 3, section 2, article II of the Constitution (relating to recess appointments), an individual may not be designated as ambassador or minister, or be designated to serve in any position with the title of ambassador or minister, without the advice and consent of the Senate.
(b) If a member of the Service is appointed to any position in the executive branch by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, or by the President alone, the period of service in that position by the member shall be regarded as an assignment under subchapter V and the member shall not, by virtue of the acceptance of such assignment, lose his or her status as a member of the Service. A member of the Senior Foreign Service who accepts such an assignment may elect to continue to receive the salary of his or her salary class, to remain eligible for performance pay under subchapter IV, and to receive the leave to which such member is entitled under subchapter I of chapter 63, title 5, as a member of the Senior Foreign Service, in lieu of receiving the salary and leave (if any) of the position to which the member is appointed by the President.
(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 302, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2084; Pub. L. 100–204, title I, § 177(b), Dec. 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1362; Pub. L. 102–138, title I, §§ 141, 142(a), Oct. 28, 1991, 105 Stat. 667.)
§ 3943. Appointments by the Secretary

The Secretary may appoint the members of the Service (other than the members of the Service who are in the personnel categories specified in section 3942(a) of this title) in accordance with this chapter and such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe.

(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 303, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2085.)
§ 3944. Chiefs of Mission
(a) Qualifications; preference for career members; political contributions as factor in appointment; demonstrated competency report
(1) An individual appointed or assigned to be a chief of mission should possess clearly demonstrated competence to perform the duties of a chief of mission, including, to the maximum extent practicable, a useful knowledge of the principal language or dialect of the country in which the individual is to serve, and knowledge and understanding of the history, the culture, the economic and political institutions, and the interests of that country and its people.
(2) Given the qualifications specified in paragraph (1), positions as chief of mission should normally be accorded to career members of the Service, though circumstances will warrant appointments from time to time of qualified individuals who are not career members of the Service.
(3) Contributions to political campaigns should not be a factor in the appointment of an individual as a chief of mission.
(4) The President shall provide the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, with each nomination for an appointment as a chief of mission, a report on the demonstrated competence of that nominee to perform the duties of the position in which he or she is to serve.
(b) Furnishing of information by Secretary; political campaign contributions report
(1) In order to assist the President in selecting qualified candidates for appointment or assignment as chiefs of mission, the Secretary of State shall from time to time furnish the President with the names of career members of the Service who are qualified to serve as chiefs of mission, together with pertinent information about such members.
(2)
(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 304, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2085; Pub. L. 106–113, div. B, § 1000(a)(7) [div. A, title II, § 208(b)], Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1536, 1501A–422.)
§ 3945. Senior Foreign Service
(a) Salary class

Appointment to the Senior Foreign Service shall be to a salary class established under section 3962 of this title, and not to a position.

(b) Limited appointment

An individual may not be given a limited appointment in the Senior Foreign Service if that appointment would cause the number of members of the Senior Foreign Service serving under limited appointments to exceed 5 percent of the total number of members of the Senior Foreign Service, except that (1) members of the Senior Foreign Service assigned to the Peace Corps shall be excluded in the calculation and application of this limitation, and (2) members of the Senior Foreign Service serving under limited appointments with reemployment rights under section 3950 of this title as career appointees in the Senior Executive Service shall be considered to be career members of the Senior Foreign Service for purposes of this subsection.

(c) Appointments by Secretary of Commerce
(1) Appointments to the Senior Foreign Service by the Secretary of Commerce shall be excluded in the calculation and application of the limitation in subsection (b).
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), no more than one individual (other than an individual with reemployment rights under section 3950 of this title as a career appointee in the Senior Executive Service) may serve under a limited appointment in the Senior Foreign Service in the Department of Commerce at any time.
(3) The Secretary of Commerce may appoint an individual to a limited appointment in the Senior Foreign Service for a specific position abroad if—
(A) no career member of the Service who has the necessary qualifications is available to serve in the position; and
(B) the individual appointed has unique qualifications for the specific position.
(d) Recertification process

The Secretary shall by regulation establish a recertification process for members of the Senior Foreign Service that is equivalent to the recertification process for the Senior Executive Service under section 3393a of title 5.1

1 See References in Text note below.

(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 305, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2086; Pub. L. 99–93, title I, § 119(a), Aug. 16, 1985, 99 Stat. 412; Pub. L. 101–194, title V, § 506(c)(1), Nov. 30, 1989, 103 Stat. 1759; Pub. L. 101–280, § 6(d)(3), May 4, 1990, 104 Stat. 160.)
§ 3946. Career appointments
(a) Trial period under limited appointment
Before receiving a career appointment in the Service, an individual shall first serve under a limited appointment as a career candidate for a trial period of service prescribed by the Secretary. During such trial period of service, the Secretary shall decide whether—
(1) to offer a career appointment to the candidate under section 3943 of this title, or
(2) to recommend to the President that the candidate be given a career appointment under section 3942 of this title.
(b) Decisions by Secretary

Decisions by the Secretary under subsection (a) shall be based upon the recommendations of boards, established by the Secretary and composed entirely or primarily of career members of the Service, which shall evaluate the fitness and aptitude of career candidates for the work of the Service.

(c) Foreign Service Grievance Board decisions

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Secretary or the Foreign Service Grievance Board under section 4137 of this title.

(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 306, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2086; Pub. L. 100–204, title I, § 181(c), Dec. 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1363.)
§ 3947. Entry levels for Foreign Service officer candidates
A career candidate for appointment as a Foreign Service officer may not be initially assigned under section 3964 of this title to a salary class higher than class 4 in the Foreign Service Schedule unless—
(1) the Secretary determines in an individual case that assignment to a higher salary class is warranted because of the qualifications (including foreign language competence) and experience of the candidate and the needs of the Service; or
(2) at the time such initial assignment is made, the candidate is serving under a career appointment in the Service and is receiving a salary at a rate equal to or higher than the minimum rate payable for class 4 in the Foreign Service Schedule.
(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 307, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2086.)
§ 3948. Recall and reappointment of career members
(a) Retired career members

Whenever the Secretary determines that the needs of the Service so require, the Secretary may recall any retired career member of the Service for active duty in the same personnel category as that member was serving at the time of retirement. A retired career member may be recalled under this section to any appropriate salary class or rate, except that a retired career member of the Senior Foreign Service may not be recalled to a salary class higher than the one in which the member was serving at the time of retirement unless appointed to such higher class by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(b) Former career members

Former career members of the Service may be reappointed under section 3942(a)(1) or 3943 of this title, without regard to section 3946 of this title, in a salary class which is appropriate in light of the qualifications and experience of the individual being reappointed.

(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 308, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2086.)
§ 3949. Limited appointments
(a) A limited appointment in the Service, including an appointment of an individual who is an employee of an agency, may not exceed 5 years in duration and, except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), may not be extended or renewed. A limited appointment in the Service which is limited by its terms to a period of one year or less is a temporary appointment.
(b) A limited appointment may be extended for continued service—
(1) as a consular agent;
(2) in accordance with section 3951(a) of this title;
(3) as a career candidate, if—
(A) continued service is determined appropriate to remedy a matter that would be cognizable as a grievance under subchapter XI; or
(B) the individual is serving in the uniformed services (as defined in section 4303 of title 38) and the limited appointment expires in the course of such service;
(4) as a career employee in another Federal personnel system serving in a Foreign Service position on detail from another agency;
(5) as a foreign national employee;
(6) in exceptional circumstances if the Secretary determines the needs of the Service require the extension of—
(A) a limited noncareer appointment for a period not to exceed 1 year; or
(B) a limited appointment of a career candidate for the minimum time needed to resolve a grievance, claim, investigation, or complaint not otherwise provided for in this section.
(c)
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) noncareer employees who have served for 5 consecutive years under a limited appointment under this section may be reappointed to a subsequent noncareer limited appointment if there is at least a 1-year break in service before such new appointment.
(2) The Secretary may waive the 1-year break requirement under paragraph (1) in cases of special need.
(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 309, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2086; Pub. L. 100–204, title I, § 176, Dec. 22, 1987, 101 Stat. 1361; Pub. L. 103–236, title I, § 180(a)(1), Apr. 30, 1994, 108 Stat. 415; Pub. L. 103–415, § 1(hh), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4303; Pub. L. 114–323, title IV, § 409, Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1930.)
§ 3950. Reemployment rights following limited appointment

Any employee of an agency who accepts a limited appointment in the Service with the consent of the head of the agency in which the employee is employed shall be entitled, upon the termination of such limited appointment, to be reemployed in accordance with section 3597 of title 5.

(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 310, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2087.)
§ 3951. United States citizens hired abroad
(a) Appointment of family members

The Secretary, under section 3943 of this title, may appoint United States citizens, who are family members of government employees assigned abroad or are hired for service at their post of residence, for employment in positions customarily filled by Foreign Service officers, Foreign Service personnel, and foreign national employees.

(b) Family nexus as affirmative hiring factor

The fact that an applicant for employment in a position referred to in subsection (a) is a family member of a Government employee assigned abroad shall be considered an affirmative factor in employing such person.

(c) Compensation of family and non-family member employees
(1) Non-family members employed under this section for service at their post of residence shall be paid in accordance with local compensation plans established under section 3968 of this title.
(2) Family members employed under this section shall be paid in accordance with the Foreign Service Schedule or the salary rates established under section 3967 of this title.
(3) In exceptional circumstances, non-family members may be paid in accordance with the Foreign Service Schedule or the salary rates established under section 3967 of this title, if the Secretary determines that the national interest would be served by such payments.
(d) Non-family member employees ineligible for certain benefits

Nonfamily member United States citizens employed under this section shall not be eligible by reason of such employment for benefits under subchapter VIII of this chapter, or under chapters 1

1 So in original. Probably should be “chapter”.
83 or 84 of title 5.

(e) Employment standards

The Secretary shall hold a family member of a government employee described in subsection (a) seeking employment in a position described in that subsection to the same employment standards as those applicable to Foreign Service officers, Foreign Service personnel, or foreign national employees seeking the same or a substantially similar position.

(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 311, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2087; Pub. L. 103–236, title I, § 180(a)(2), Apr. 30, 1994, 108 Stat. 415; Pub. L. 103–415, § 1(h)(1), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4300; Pub. L. 117–81, div. F, title LXII, § 6205, Dec. 27, 2021, 135 Stat. 2391.)
§ 3952. Diplomatic and consular missions
(a) Recommendations by Secretary of State; appointment by President; vice consul; performance of official functions under commission

The Secretary of State may recommend to the President that a member of the Service who is a citizen of the United States be commissioned as a diplomatic or consular officer or both. The President may, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, commission such member of the Service as a diplomatic or consular officer or both. The Secretary of State may commission as a vice consul a member of the Service who is a citizen of the United States. All official functions performed by a diplomatic or consular officer, including a vice consul, shall be performed under such a commission.

(b) Function of commissioned Service members

Members of the Service commissioned under this section may, in accordance with their commissions, perform any function which any category of diplomatic officer (other than a chief of mission) or consular officer is authorized by law to perform.

(c) Limits of consular districts

The Secretary of State shall define the limits of consular districts.

(Pub. L. 96–465, title I, § 312, Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2087.)