Top Most Expensive Places to Live in the Foreign Service

The cost-of-living allowances are those allowances that are designed to reimburse employees for certain excess costs that they incur as a result of their employment overseas where the cost of living, exclusive of quarters costs, is substantially higher than in Washington, D.C.

Below are the top most expensive places to live for Foreign Service personnel; alphabetic list based on government COLA rates as of June 2009:


Geneva, Bern, Other

#2. JAPAN [80%]

Akashi, Nagoya, Sapporo, Osaka-Kobe, Kyoto, Komaki

#3. DENMARK [70%]

Copenhagen, Other

#4. FRANCE [70%]

Garches, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Paris, Sevres, Suresnes, Versailles

#5. ITALY [70%]

Florence, Milan, Turin

#6. NORWAY [70%]


#7. ZIMBABWE [70%]

Harare, Other

#8. BERMUDA [60%]


#9. GABON [60%]

Libreville, Other

#10. FRANCE [60%]


#11. HOLY SEE [60%]

Holy See

#12. ITALY [60%]


#13. JAPAN [60%]


#14. SPAIN [60%]


Post (Cost of Living) Allowance FAQ (Also see DSSR Chapter 220). You can check out the full list of Post Cost of Living rates here.