Foreign Service Diplomatic Courier

Montevideo, D.C
Jul 29, 2021
Aug 05, 2021
Full Time


The U.S. Department of State is developing a rank-ordered list of eligible hires for a limited number of Foreign Service Diplomatic Couriers (DSC) positions. Learn more about a career in the Foreign Service and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security .

There is more to joining the Foreign Service than just salary . Refer to the Benefits section for more information on total compensation.

This is a 2580 Foreign Service position equivalent to the 0301 Civil Service series.

Learn more about this agency


Foreign Service Diplomatic Couriers assist in worldwide security programs that provide secure transportation services for Department of State classified diplomatic pouches. Diplomatic Couriers safeguard and escort diplomatic pouches containing classified and sensitive material between U.S. diplomatic missions overseas and the Department of State. The Department carries out this mission at more than 275 embassies and consulates around the world, offices in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, and other locations in the United States.

Diplomatic Couriers spend most of their career in a constant state of travel. Couriers are assigned to regional offices and travel from these postings to constituent embassies and consulates in the region.

Diplomatic Courier duties may include the supervision of subordinate staff and the actual performance of some, or all, of the following functions:

Safeguarding Classified Material:
  • Performs travel and transports classified material
  • Escorts other couriers/provides security for shipments for extended periods of time
  • Provides container watch and security for shipments
  • Performs pouching
  • Operates light-duty motor vehicles, such as medium-sized cargo vans including the ability to operate a vehicle on the flight line
  • Operates warehouse material handling equipment
  • Loads and unloads vehicles, material handling equipment, containers, and pallets
  • Assesses risks and identifies contingencies
  • Assists posts with diplomatic pouch questions
  • Provides administrative support within the office

  • Develops travel plans
  • Arranges logistic operations support
  • Coordinates with Embassies/Consulates
  • Negotiates prices and schedules with vendors
  • Develops pouch escort schedules
  • Uses computer applications to plan and manage work
  • Prepares for work in extreme environmental conditions, including heat, cold, and/or noise
  • Maintains records
  • Performs financial tasks
  • Provides customer service contingency: based on current information, desk officer briefings and past experience, develops contingency plans in advance to overcome issues or obstacles encountered while transporting/safeguarding classified material

  • Establishes working relationships
  • Demonstrates commitment to EEO principles
  • Communicates with others
  • Follows security procedures
  • Resolves disputes
  • Assists Regional Diplomatic Courier Offices/hubs
  • Works with other government offices
  • Drafts trip and other reports
  • Improves cultural sensitivity and language capability
  • Trains others
  • Seeks professional development
  • Supervises and evaluates staff (at senior job levels)

Other Duties as Assigned

Travel Required

76% or greater - Foreign Service Specialists generally spend the majority of their career assigned to our overseas missions and at times, live away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions. Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. All travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.*
  • Obtain/maintain a Top Secret Security Clearance and TS/SCI access.
  • Obtain Class 1 Medical Clearance and favorable Suitability determination.**
  • Be at least 20 years old to apply; at least 21 years old to be appointed.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).***
  • Possess and maintain a valid/current U.S. Driver's License.

Essential Physical Requirements:

Some of the essential functions of the Diplomatic Security Courier (DSC) have a physically demanding component. A Courier must meet the following physical requirements:
  • Vision: Ability to see objects that are near, far, or at night.
  • Hearing: Ability to hear speech or other sounds, including sufficient sensitivity to hear sounds of low volume or in noisy environments.
  • Speaking: Ability to speak clearly enough so others will understand, including speaking to groups.
  • Mobility: Ability to walk moderate distances, climb stairs, or access work stations and vehicles.
  • Running: Ability to run short distances, up to 250 feet.
  • Strength: Ability to lift, push, pull, and carry up to 70 lbs., as well as climb ladders or balance.
  • Torso Flexibility: Ability to bend, stretch, stoop, twist, or reach.
  • Dexterity: Ability to manipulate small objects with hands or fingers.
  • Physical Endurance: Ability to perform movements repeatedly or continually, including the ability to stand for extended periods or take frequent extended trips by plane or other vehicles.
  • Mental Endurance: Ability to maintain attention for extended periods or work long hours.
  • Tolerance for Extreme Environmental Conditions: Ability to tolerate heat, cold, noise, or pollution.
  • Lifting: Ability to lift pouches of 70 pounds waist high and hold for 10 seconds without assistance.
  • Climbing: Ability to climb stairs, ladders, and other inclines.
  • Crawling: Ability to crawl under, around, or over objects.

  • The Diplomatic Courier Standards Form can be found at DS Diplomatic Courier Supplemental Physical Standards Form .



    Three years of work experience with progressively increasing responsibility. Qualifying experience must demonstrate that the applicant has the ability to analyze problems, gather pertinent information and data, plan and organize work, form solutions, implement action, and communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. Evidence of working and/or living in a multicultural environment is desirable.

    Candidates must be able to demonstrate experience and abilities in at least two of the following areas:
  • Experience in office operations in a government agency or a business, or an industrial firm servicing a client or client organization, demonstrating initiative, ingenuity, resourcefulness and judgment required to organize, implement and accomplish tasks;
  • The ability to think logically and objectively, to analyze and evaluate facts, and to apply sound judgment in assessing the practical implications of solutions such as those required for negotiating contracts, and scheduling services or production runs and to do so independently with little direct supervision;
  • Responsibility for planning and scheduling resource needs, or organizing requirements for deliverables;
  • Experience preparing written and oral reports and presenting findings in a clear and concise manner;
  • Interpersonal skills, including cultural sensitivity, discretion, tact, and capacity for obtaining the cooperation and confidence of others during team efforts and when supervising; and
  • Experience scheduling airline and other transportation. Dealings with routing practices and customs processes, or with agents or officials involved in transporting materials across international boundaries, is also credited.

  • Superior Oral and Written Communication Skills: In order to pass the Foreign Service's thorough and competitive assessment process, successful candidates must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling, and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity, and succinctness). Those who fall short of this standard will have little chance of passing the Foreign Service's highly competitive assessment process.

    Knowledge, Skills, and Other Characteristics
  • Knowledge of material handling equipment and operating environments, the logistics process and practices, the Travel and Transportation Sector, pertinent international regulations, and knowledge of safety standards and practices and personal protection measures.
  • General skills in financial management and individual financial accountability, team leading, initiative, reporting, customer service, negotiation and conflict resolution, being adaptable and resilient, maintaining awareness of working environment and self-development.
  • Superior oral and written communication skills: must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling, and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity, and succinctness).
  • Physical ability to move heavy objects, tolerate endurance demands, and physical ability to drive.
  • Other requirements: cross-cultural awareness, tolerance of travel and being on call, tolerance for working overseas, tolerance of varying work environments with high endurance demands, world-wide availability, tolerance of living away from family, dependability, integrity and willingness to perform other duties.

  • Education

    Applicants must have at least an Associate's degree or 60 credit hours from an accredited college or university at the time of appointment.

    You must submit a copy of your university transcript(s) with your application . If you do not submit this documentation to demonstrate your educational achievements, your candidacy will not continue.

    Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted with your application. Your transcript must include your name, the school's name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded and have no missing pages. A transcript missing any of these elements will not pass the minimum qualifications and your candidacy will not continue. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.

    Education from a program or institution within the United States must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, .

    Education completed in foreign high schools, colleges, or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Only accredited organizations recognized as specializing in the interpretation of foreign education credentials that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) are accepted. If documentation from an accredited organization is not provided, your candidacy will not continue.

    For further information on the evaluation of foreign education, please refer to the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Education . The U.S. Department of State neither endorses nor recommends any individual evaluation service.

    Substitution of Education for Experience
  • Applicants with 18 credit hours of undergraduate level study in addition to an Associate's level degree may substitute that academic achievement for one year of general experience.
  • A Bachelor's degree from an accredited university may be substituted for two years of general experience.

  • Additional information

    *EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION PROGRAM (E-Verify) - Verification of employment eligibility in the United States is required.

    U.S. law requires organizations to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States - either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. This agency utilizes E-Verify to compare information from the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. If the employee's information does not match DHS and/or SSA records, the employee is given an opportunity to resolve the problem. If eligibility cannot be verified, employment will be terminated.

    **The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit: /

    ***For more information about Veteran's Preference and how it is applied in the selection process, please visit:

    No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof.

    A Foreign Service Specialist separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be a Foreign Service Specialist in the same skill code but may apply for another skill code or to be a Foreign Service Generalist.

    Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.

    It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.

    The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at , within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Sensitive Compartmented Information

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is complete before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in your application not being considered further.
  • Résumé from USAJobs Résumé Builder, the only résumé format accepted for this Vacancy Announcement.
  • Complete online application, including the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest narratives.
  • All required supporting documentation, including proof of educational achievements, certifications, professional licenses, or completed forms as required in this Vacancy Announcement.
  • Veteran's Preference documentation for applicants aged 60 to 65. If claiming a 5 pt. Veteran's Preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or Certification of service at the time of your application. If claiming a 10 pt. Veteran's Preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214 or Certification of service at the time of your application. A Certification must be from the armed forces certifying the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions within 120 days after the Certification is submitted by the applicant and should include military service dates, date of expected discharge or release, and character of service and disability rating, if applicable.

  • Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest

    The required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming a Foreign Service Specialist. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. Each response is limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters). Compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as a Foreign Service Specialist is the ability to write clearly and concisely. Answers to all items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest are required and must be completed in the online application.

    Accomplishments Questionnaire

    Substantive Knowledge: Describe your skills, knowledge, and experience that are applicable to performing the work described in this vacancy announcement, including the supervision and performance management of subordinate staff.

    Intellectual Skills: Describe a time when you had to analyze a situation and make a quick decision. What process did you follow for making the decision and were you satisfied with the results?

    Interpersonal Skills: Please provide an example that demonstrates you are good at working with others in difficult situations. What exactly did you do that shows you have this skill?

    Communication Skills: Describe a situation in which you used your communication skills, including foreign language skills if appropriate, to further an aim or achieve a goal.

    Management Skills: Describe a project you managed or helped to manage and how you sought to achieve the project's goals.

    Leadership Skills: Describe a time when you identified a serious problem that required immediate action. How did you take the lead in solving the problem?

    Statement of Interest

    Required narrative Statement of Interest not to exceed 2,000 characters, which discusses:
    • Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
    • Relevant work experience, including any unique strengths not previously mentioned, such as special skills (e.g. computer), certifications, current licenses, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position,
    • Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in the United States.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

    Similar jobs