Become A Foreign Service Agent

As a Foreign Service Special Agent for USAID OIG, you will be required to combine your skills as a criminal investigator with the skills of a seasoned diplomat in order to accomplish the OIG's mission of fighting fraud, waste and abuse in the programs and operations of USAID, as well as our other client organizations, throughout the world. A Foreign Service career involves uncommon commitments and occasional hardships, as well as unique rewards and opportunities. A decision to enter this career must involve a firm dedication to public service and a strong desire to serve in the overseas environment.

General Requirements for Employment in the Foreign Service:

  • Applicants must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Under the Foreign Service Pension System, you may retire voluntarily at an early age if you meet the age and service requirements. To meet the age and service requirements, you must be at least age 50 at the time of retirement, and have 20 years of law enforcement service with at least 5 years of service in the Foreign Service. If you retire under involuntary retirement, the you may retire at any age with 25 years of service with at least 5 years of service in the Foreign Service
  • You will be subject to mandatory separation based on age if you are occupying a law enforcement position at age 57 and you have completed the necessary 20 years of service under the special 6(c) provisions. If you have not completed the 20 years, you will be separated at the end of the month in which you complete 20 years of law enforcement service. You must be given a 60-day notice prior to mandatory separation.
  • Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must be registered under the Military Selective Service Act.
  • Applicants must pass medical examination standards which may include a cardiovascular stress test, that are more rigorous than those of most other professions.
  • Applicants must undergo a thorough background investigation to determine eligibility for a security clearance, as well as suitability for appointment into the Foreign Service.
  • Applicants must be capable of attaining a certain level of foreign language proficiency. This can be demonstrated by either language aptitude scores or evidence of existing proficiency in a foreign language.
  • Applicants must be available for and willing to accept assignments throughout the world, including assignments to Washington, D.C.
  • Applicants must be willing to learn to use firearms and other weapons.
  • Applicants must agree to work an average of two extra hours per day, to meet the requirements of law enforcement availability pay (LEAP). A commissioned Foreign Service Special Agent will earn Special Differential Pay at the same rate as LEAP and must comply with the same overtime requirement.
  • Applicants must possess a valid U.S. driver's license.
  • Applicants must successfully complete the basic criminal investigator course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, or the equivalent thereof. The following qualifications and specialized experience should be reflected in the application:
  • Must have a college degree. Classes in finance, accounting, or law are highly desirable. Certified Public Accountants, Certified Fraud Examiners and those with law degrees encouraged to apply.
  • The incumbent must have demonstrated experience communicating effectively, orally and in writing.
  • To qualify for the FP 08/GS-5 level, applicants must show successful completion of a full four-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree.
  • To qualify for the FP 07/GS-7 level, applicants must have a full one-year of graduate-level education OR one-year of work experience equivalent to at least GS-5.
  • To qualify for the FP06/GS-9 level, applicants must have a full two-years of progressively higher level graduate education or master's or equivalent graduate degree OR one-year of work experience equivalent to at least GS-7.
  • To qualify for the FP 05/GS-11 level, applicants must have a full three-years of progressively higher level graduate education or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree OR one-year of work experience equivalent to at least GS-9.
  • To qualify for the FP 04/GS-12 level, applicants must have one-year of work experience equivalent to at least GS-11.
  • Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully in the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. To be credible, specialized experience must have been equivalent to the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization.


The Basics:

  • Basic orientation at time of entrance on duty and subsequent in-service professional training before the first overseas assignment.
  • Group life insurance and health benefits programs.
  • Accrual of annual leave ranging from 13 to 26 working days a year, depending on length of service with the U.S. Government.
  • Accrual of sick leave at 13 working days per year.
  • Locality pay authorized under certain circumstances.
  • Generous pension and Thrift Savings Plan similar to 401K benefits.

Additional Benefits When Assigned Overseas:

  • Travel at government expense for employees and their authorized dependents from Washington D.C. to and from posts of assignments abroad.
  • Government quarters and furnishings or housing allowance.
  • Cost of living allowance at posts where the cost of living is substantially higher than in Washington, D.C.
  • Salary differential, which is taxable, ranging from 5 percent to 20 percent of base pay at posts where there are unusual hardships.
  • Accrual of home leave at a rate of approximately 15 work-days per year while serving abroad.
  • Paid round-trip transportation to a rest and recuperation area for employee and authorized dependents who are assigned to designated hardship posts.
  • Educational allowance for minor dependents.
  • Limited coverage for emergency medical expenses of employees and authorized dependents while based overseas.

How to Apply: All OIG vacancy announcements are posted on the USAJOBS website managed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management as well as on the OIG Career Opportunities web page: Careers.