Federal Government Jobs

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Federal Employee Transfers

Internal, Hardship, and Other Transfers

Internal Placement Transfers / Hardship Transfers / Transferring to Other Agencies


There are a number of programs available for active federal employees to request and obtain transfers to other locations or for reassignment to another organizational office at your current duty station. For those who want to relocate for personal reasons employees may request reassignment under the Internal Placement Program or apply for a hardship transfer.   Follow the procedures outlined below and discuss your desires with your supervisor and human resources staff. They can guide you through the process. There is no guarantee that the agency will be able to approve your request. Agencies have to evaluate their organizational needs prior to approving any transfer.

Even if the agency can’t approve your request immediately, they may, as situations change, be able to accommodate your requests at a later date. Another option for relocation is to apply for open positions at the new location that are advertised under Merit Promotion Program (MPP) job announcements. For those who wish to improve their potential for future promotions and to expand their opportunities consider developing a comprehensive Individual Development Plan (IDP). Target positions at the location you wish to relocate.

Employee Transfer Menu


Internal Placement 

Under certain conditions federal government employees may request reassignment from one organization or geographic location to another. This is a considerable benefit to the employee and it can also benefit the agency as well. If you desire to transfer to a larger office that has more developmental and career advancement opportunities or simply to relocate to a more desirable area you can use the Internal Placement Process (IPP). Some agencies call the program Employee Requested Reassignment (ERR). Every Department has their own internal program however they all follow similar guidelines as outlined here.

Consideration shall be given to IPP requests according to the needs of the Agency. This means that if you are in a critical federal government job and the position you now occupy is understaffed, you may have to wait until staffing improves at that location before the agency will approve your request. The location you choose must also have positions available or projected vacancies in the job series and grade that you request consideration for. It’s also important to realize that the government may not fund your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move since the move will be at your personal request. However, the agency may fund the PCS if funds are available and if the move is determined to be beneficial to the government.

Career and career-conditional employees located in the continental United States may request reassignment at any time to any other Agency position for which they are qualified. Employees occupying excepted positions may request reassignment only to other excepted positions, unless they are eligible to apply for positions in the competitive service because of having previously acquired civil service status.

Internal IPP Requests

Your organizational unit (an area office, systems management office, or district office for example) may include a number of field offices located throughout a large geographic area. If you wish to initiate an IPP request to another location within the same organizational unit you must submit your written request through your immediate supervisor to your organizational unit’s manager (area office, systems management office, or district office manager). Consideration shall be given in accordance with the reassignment practices of the program area involved.


Transfer Eligibility & Application Process


A career or career-conditional employee of one agency may transfer, without a break in service of a single workday, to a competitive service position in another agency without competing in a civil service examination open to the public. A transfer eligible may apply under vacancy announcements open to status candidates. An employee may transfer to a position at the same, higher, or lower grade level.

The key to successfully transferring to another position is professionally packaging your federal style resume. You must tailor your work histories and KSAs to the job announcement or position's required duties and qualifications  that you are targeting. Use the all new 10th edition of The Book of U.S. Government Jobs to take you step-by-step through analyzing the job announcement to writing your work histories and KSAs. You can also hire a professional resume writing service to assist you if desired.

Transfer Eligibility

  • Federal employees who are serving in the competitive service under a career or career-conditional appointment have eligibility for transfer to a position in the competitive service.
  • To transfer, you must meet the qualification requirements for the position. Written tests are not common but if one is required, arrangements will be made for you to take it.
  • Employees must be found suitable for employment in competitive service positions. If your current appointment is subject to a suitability investigation, that condition continues after you transfer.
  • Generally with a transfer, a career employee remains a career employee, and a career-conditional employee remains a career-conditional employee.

Applying For Transfer

Application sheet.

To apply for a transfer you must first conduct your own job search. Individuals usually apply to agencies in response to vacancies announced under the merit promotion program. Some agencies accept applications only when they have an appropriate open merit promotion announcement, while others accept applications at any time. If you are seeking a higher grade or a position with more promotion potential than you have previously held, generally you must apply under a merit promotion announcement and rank among the best-qualified applicants to be selected. Status applicants include individuals who are eligible for transfer.

Also, transfer eligibility does not guarantee you a job offer. Hiring agencies have the discretion to determine the sources of applicants they will consider.


Finding Agency Merit Promotion Announcements


Merit Promotion announcements are posted on USAJOBS and individual agency web sites when jobs are announced outside of an agency's own workforce. Agency recruiting sites provide worldwide job vacancy information, employment fact sheets, job applications and forms, and have on-line resume development and electronic transmission capabilities. In many instances, job seekers can apply for positions on-line.

On the web site, job seekers can access worldwide current job vacancies, employment information fact sheets, applications and forms, and in some instances, apply for jobs online. Complete job announcements can be retrieved from the web site. You will also find various Online Resume Builder features. Using the resume builder, job seekers can create online resumes specifically designed for applying for Federal jobs. I recommend writing your federal style resume off line first and then copy and paste into the online resume builders. Resumes created on the online resume builders can be printed from the system for faxing or mailing to employers; and saved and edited for future use. For many of the vacancies listed on the site, job seekers can submit resumes created through these resume builders however you should be aware that there are differences between agency resume builders. A comprehensive listing of 141 agency world wide recruiting web sites for jobs and employment information, may be accessed at www.federaljobs.net/federal.htm.

Probationary Period

An employee is not required by the civil service rules and regulations to serve a new probationary period after transfer. However, the employee continues to serve the remainder of any probationary period which he/she was serving at the time of transfer. In most cases, an employee must wait at least three months after his/her latest non-temporary competitive appointment before he/she may be considered for transfer to a position in a different line of work, at a higher grade, or to a different geographical area. OPM may waive the restriction against movement to a different geographical area when it is satisfied that the waiver is consistent with the principles of open competition.

Positions Restricted to Veterans

Some positions in the competitive service such as guard, messenger, elevator operator, and custodian have been restricted by law to persons entitled to preference under the veteran preference laws. Generally, a non-veteran employee cannot be transferred to such positions if there are veterans available for appointment to them. This restriction does not apply to the filling of such positions by the transfer of a non-veteran already serving in a federal agency in a position covered by the same generic title. For example, a non-veteran who is serving in the position of guard may be considered for transfer to the position of patrolman, guard, fireman, guard-laborer, etc.

Hardship Transfers


Hardship transfers can be requested by employees that are experiencing personal problems at their current duty station. There are many reasons that people request hardship transfers; to care for sick parents; lack of medical facilities at your location for specific treatments for you or your family members; to get closer to your children after a divorce when your ex spouse has custody; and any number of other reasons that create an undue hardship on you or your family.

The key to successfully transferring to another position is professionally packaging your federal style resume. You must tailor your work histories and KSAs to the job announcement or position's required duties and qualifications  that you are targeting. Use the all new 11th edition of The Book of U.S. Government Jobs to take you step-by-step through analyzing the job announcement to writing your work histories and KSAs. You can also hire a professional resume writing service to assist you if desired.

The procedure is similar to the IPP process except that you must describe the hardship in your cover letter. Prepare a cover letter requesting the hardship transfer along with an application (federal resume) and give it to your immediate supervisor. Include the desired duty location in the cover letter, job series and grade of the position at the new location, and a copy of your training history. Your supervisor will forward it to the next level of management with his/her recommendation.

There must be a position available or an anticipated vacancy at the new location for the request to be considered. Check with your Human Resource department for your agency’s hardship transfer procedures. Each agency has written policies that describe the process in detail.

Internal Placement Transfers / Hardship Transfers / Transferring to Other Agencies

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