Overseas Jobs / Government Jobs / Federal Jobs / Civil
Thousands of United States citizens work for the federal government in
foreign countries, in the United States territories, Alaska, and Hawaii.
The overseas jobs that are most often available are administrative,
technical and professional, accountants, auditors, foreign service
officers, budget and program officers, management analysts, nurses,
procurement officers, shorthand reporters, equipment specialists,
engineers, social workers, housing officers, teachers, and alcohol and
drug abuse specialists. Clerical (clerk-typist, stenographer) and
secretary positions are normally filled locally overseas.
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There are 89,204 federal employees stationed overseas in over 140 countries.
The Defense Department is the largest overseas employer with 47,229 workers. The
State Department is the #2 overseas employer with 22,291 employees stationed
are filled in several ways. In the U.S. territories, Hawaii, and
Alaska most positions are filled through competitive civil service
Various positions overseas are filled through Excepted Service and
Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentality (NAFI) hiring programs. Nonappropriated
Fund positions are paid using money generated within the Department of the
Army and other military branches through sales revenues. These overseas jobs
are primarily governed by military regulations.
When positions are filled locally overseas, U.S. citizens living abroad,
dependents of citizens employed or stationed overseas, or foreign nationals, can
be hired. Most countries have agreements with United States installations that
require the hiring of local nationals whenever possible to bolster the local
economy. All positions held by foreign nationals are in the Excepted Service.
Excepted Service positions are not subject to OPM's competitive hiring
Of the 89,204 overseas civilian federal employees, 62,838 are U.S. citizens
as of September 2010. Since 2004, total overseas federal civilian employment has
Most of the upper-and mid-level positions are filled through internal
placement. Internal placement allows government employees wanting to work
overseas to first apply for the positions in-house. If there are no in-house
bidders, agencies then advertise through competitive announcements.
Overseas applicants should contact individual Agency and OPM web sites for
job listings. Contact the following Employment Service Center for NAFI and
military civilian Jobs:
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is the
largest NAF employer. NAF personnel also work in the Army and Air Force morale,
welfare, and recreation activities. Major NAF employers in the Department of the
Navy include the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Exchange Service Command, and
U.S. Marine Corps. For more information about NAF employment, visit the
following DOD NAF Component employment websites:
- Army and Air Force Exchange Services
- Air Force Services Career Program
- Army Civilian Personnel On Line
- Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation
- Marine Corp Community Services
- Navy Exchange System
- Navy Civilian Jobs
Also visit the Department of Defense's civilian employment center at
http://www.godefense.com. This site is a
wealth of information and includes extensive job listings. On May 5th of 2006
their were over 11,200 job vacancy announcements posted on this site alone.
Overseas workers must meet various requirements: physical, security,
qualifications, tour of duty, etc. Announcements list specific restrictions,
conditions, and special qualifications.
Individuals wanting to work overseas must meet certain stringent
requirements. Thorough physical exams for both the applicant and, in many cases,
accompanying dependents require physicals. You must be able to physically adapt
to the conditions at various locations that may not have adequate health care
facilities. Individuals on medication or who require special care will not be
considered for certain positions. Any physical impairment that would create a
hazard to others or to yourself, or would reduce performance level, will
disqualify the applicant.
Security Clearance Checks
All applicants considered for appointment must pass a comprehensive security
clearance, character and suitability check. These investigations take from a few
weeks to several months to complete. If you are selected for a position you will
be appointed conditionally, pending the results of the investigation.
Individuals selected for overseas assignment are generally required to sign a
transportation agreement. Typically, overseas tours last from twelve to
Foreign Language Requirements
A foreign language that would not be a position requirement in the States may
be required for certain overseas positions. The job announcement will specify if
a language is required. Several agencies appoint candidates without the required
language skill and give them a period of time to develop acceptable language
Most agencies permit professional employees to take dependents with them.
Professional positions are generally considered to be mid-level positions and
above. Other employees can often arrange for dependents to follow them at a
Pay & Benefits
Pay is generally the same overseas for the comparable stateside position.
Additional allowances such as a post differential, cost-of-living and quarters
allowance, are provided where conditions warrant. Military base privileges are
authorized in many circumstances and Department of Defense schools are available
for dependent children through grade 12.
Basic benefits are the same for all civil service employees. Overseas
employees also receive free travel, transportation and storage of household
goods, and extra vacation with free transportation to stateside homes between
tours of duty.
There are a limited number of overseas positions and competition is keen.
However, if you are well qualified in an occupation and available for most
locations, your opportunity to be selected is good. The normal rotation of
current employees back to the United States creates a large number of recurring
Applications are accepted only from U.S. citizens and American Samoans.
Detailed overseas employment information is included in the paperback version
of The Book Of U.S. Government Jobs.
- Overseas agency personnel office addresses and phone numbers
- Overseas Job hotlines
- Overseas job web sites
- Placement services
- Pacific job opportunities
- Atlantic job opportunities
- NAFI positions
- Over 50 web sites to connect direct to agencies employing overseas
- Description of major overseas employing agencies with numbers employed
and key jobs that they fill.
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