The State Department made an administrative change to 3 FAM 8210 to add supplementary guidance on the Suitability and Security Clearance Determinations process in 3 FAM 8215.1. It now includes suitability determination requirement for Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFM) working for Consular Affairs.
3 FAM 8215 Suitability and Security Clearance Determinations
3 FAM 8215.1 Suitability Determination
(Applies to Appointment Eligible Family Members Only)
a. In all cases, individuals to be appointed under a family member appointment will be subject to appropriate investigation to determine suitability for employment.
b. Except as noted in c. below, in the event that information is developed that raises a question of suitability for employment, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Office of Personnel Security and Suitability (DS/SI/PSS) will refer the case to the Personnel Review Panel (as established under 3 FAM 2150), which will make a suitability determination as to whether an individual may be appointed under a family member appointment.
c. In all cases, individuals to be appointed to positions under the Consular Affairs Appointment Eligible Family Members Program will be subject to a suitability determination by a Suitability Review Panel (SRP), as stipulated in 3 FAM 2215.1a.
3 FAM 2215.1 Suitability Review Panel
(Applies to all Foreign Service applicants)
a. A Suitability Review Panel (SRP) makes suitability determinations for appointment of career candidates in the Foreign Service, for the reappointment of a career member to the Foreign Service, for the recall of a career member to the Foreign Service (except in cases where the recalled individual is also the subject of a Presidential or other political appointment), for Civil Service candidates converting to the Foreign Service and for limited non-career appointments to the Foreign Service. A Suitability Review Panel does not make determinations for family member appointments, except for individuals to be appointed to positions under the Consular Affairs Appointment Eligible Family Members Program. A Suitability Review Panel will also review the candidacies of any current Foreign Service employee converting to another skill code if derogatory information arises prior to the candidate’s conversion. Except as provided below, candidates, except those applying for a position with Diplomatic Security (DS), who have been found suitable for appointment by a SRP within the previous two years do not require a new suitability review.
b. After the medical examination clearance has been issued, and the background investigation, which is not more than three years old, is received, a candidate’s entire file (except the medical records) is reviewed and evaluated by a SRP to determine the candidate’s suitability for the Foreign Service under the standards set forth in 3 FAM 2215. DS will re-submit applicants to the qualifications panel (3 FAM 2216.2-3) if they are found to have falsified information on their application or are found to have other disqualifying factors.
c. Suitability Review Panels for the Department of State must consist of two or more assessors from the Board of Examiners, or, in the case of Diplomatic Security or Medical Specialist candidates, one of the assessors may be a subject matter expert appointed to the Suitability Review Panel (SRP) by the Director of GTM/TAC/BEX. In the case of a candidate for appointment to the Senior Foreign Service, the SRP must consist of at least three Assessors who are career Senior Foreign Service Officers (FSO). The majority of the officers on the Senior Foreign Service Officer SRP, including the panel chairperson, must be career Senior FSOs.
d. Candidates found suitable for appointment will have their names forwarded to the Office of the Registrar in the Bureau of Global Talent Management (GTM/TAC/REG). Prior to appointment in the Foreign Service, the Department of State may, at its discretion, elect to review once again the candidate’s suitability for employment should information become available that the Suitability Review Panel had not previously had access to that raises questions about the Suitability Review Panel’s original suitability determination.
e. The candidacy of any candidate who is not found suitable for appointment by a Suitability Review Panel will be terminated and the candidate will be informed of the termination and the right to appeal in writing. An unfavorable suitability determination for a Foreign Service candidacy, other than a candidacy for a Diplomatic Security position based solely on reasons found in 3 FAM 2215.2-6 (15), terminates other pending Foreign Service candidacies. An unfavorable suitability determination for a Diplomatic Security candidacy solely under 3 FAM 2215.2-6 (15) may not necessarily terminate other pending, non-DS Foreign Service candidacies.
f. Candidates, other than candidates for Diplomatic Security positions whose candidacy was terminated solely under 3 FAM 2215.2-6 (15), not found suitable for appointment by a Suitability Review Panel are ineligible to apply for Foreign Service positions for a period of two years from the date of the unfavorable suitability determination. Candidates for Diplomatic Security positions whose candidacy was terminated solely under 3 FAM 2215.2-6 (15) will remain eligible to apply for non-Diplomatic Security positions.
3 FAM 2215.2 Suitability Standards for Appointment to the Foreign Service
3 FAM 2215.2-1 Applicability
(Applies to all Foreign Service Applicants)
This section applies to all applicants for employment in the Foreign Service. This section does not apply to family member appointments, except for individuals to be appointed to positions under the Consular Affairs Appointment Eligible Family Members Program. Standards of conduct for continued employment in the Foreign Service are found in 3 FAM 4130.