Posted: 2:21 am ET
Nonimmigrant visas are used for travel to the United States on a temporary basis. Click here for the categories of nonimmigrant visas. Note that visas are used to make application to enter the United States. The validity of the visa is not a permit to stay. Having a visa does not guarantee entry to the United States, it does indicate a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad has determined you are eligible to seek entry for that specific purpose. DHS/CBP inspectors are responsible for admission of travelers to the United States, for a specified status and period of time.
Posted: 2:38 am ET
Via the Congressional Budget Office, February 2017:
Discretionary Spending is spending that lawmakers control through annual appropriation acts. Below is a breakdown of discretionary spending for FY2016 (October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016).
- $1.2 Trillion | Discretionary spending by the federal government in 2016
- $584 Billion ($0.6 Trillion) | Spending on national defense, which accounted for nearly half of the discretionary total, in 2016
- $52 Billion | International Affairs, which accounted for the smallest nondefense spending
Posted: 3:06 am ET
Under the FY2016 request, top foreign assistance recipients would not differ significantly from FY2014 (FY2015 country data are not yet available). Israel would continue to be the top recipient, with a requested $3.1 billion (level with FY2014) in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds, followed by Afghanistan, for which $1.5 billion was requested (a 28% increase from FY2014). Egypt would receive $1.5 billion (-3% from FY2014), largely in FMF to support shared security interests, and Jordan would get $1.0 billion (-1% from FY2014) to promote security and stability in the region as well as address economic and security strains related to the crisis in Syria. Pakistan would get $804 million (a 10% cut from FY2014), to continue ongoing efforts to increase stability and prosperity in the region. Other top recipients include Kenya ($630 million), Nigeria ($608 million), Tanzania ($591 million), and other African nations that are focus countries for HIV/AIDS programs. A new addition to the top recipient list under the request would be Ukraine, for which $514 million was requested (snip).
Below is the proposed FY2016 foreign operations budget allocations by region and country.
Funding allocation among regions would change slightly under the FY2016 request compared with FY2014 (FY2015 regional data are not yet available), with Europe/Eurasia and the Western Hemisphere increasing their share by 2% each as a result of proposed funding for Ukraine and Central America. Africa’s share of aid funding would decline by about 5% from FY2014 estimates.
Posted: 3:39 am ET
Updated: Feb 14, 2:18 pm PT: Notification reportedly went out o/a 9 pm on Feb 13 that the FSO/FSS March classes are on.
According to the State Department, Foreign Service (FS) and Civil Service (CS) attrition is categorized as either non-retirements or retirements and as voluntary or involuntary. Nearly all retirements in the CS are voluntary; however, in the FS, retirements may be either voluntary or involuntary. Between FY 2016 and FY 2020, the Department projects that close to 5,400 career CS and FS employees will leave the Department due to various types of attrition.
Involuntary retirements include those due to reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65, which cannot be waived unless an employee is serving in a Presidential appointment, and those who trigger the “up-or-out” rules in the FS personnel system (e.g., restrictions in the number of years FS employees can remain in one class or below the Senior Foreign Service threshold).
Voluntary non-retirements include resignations, transfers, and deaths.
Involuntary non-retirements consist of terminations, as well as “selection out” of tenured employees and non-tenured decisions for entry level FS employees.
Overall attrition in the FS increased from 485 in FY 2014 to 539 in FY 2015. Most FS attrition is due to retirements. In FY2015, over two thirds of all separations in the FS were retirements. For the FY 2016 to FY 2020 period, the attrition mix is expected to be 81 percent retirements and 19 percent non-retirements.
FS Generalist Attrition in FY2014 is 242; in FY2015 the humber is 279. The number of retirements increased from 169 in FY 2014 to 186 in FY 2015 and the number of non-retirements increased from 73 in FY 2014 to 93 in FY 2015. FS Generalist attrition rates increased only slightly from 3.3 percent in FY 2014 to 3.8 percent in FY 2015. Most of the non-retirements were at the entry-level.
FS Specialist Attrition in FY2014 is 243; and in FY 2015 the number is 260. The number of retirements decreased from 179 in FY 2014 to 178 in FY 2015 and the number of non- retirements grew from 64 in FY 2014 to 82 in FY 2015. FS Specialist attrition rates increased slightly from 4.7 percent in FY 2014 to 4.8 percent in FY 2015. (Counts exclude conversions within the FS and into the CS. Rates include conversions.)
|>> Attrition in the FS workforce is projected to average 491 employees per year between FY 2016 and FY 2020, nearly nine percent lower than last year’s projected average annual attrition of 541. This projection represents a two percent decrease per year when compared to the annual average attrition of 500 for the past five years.
|>>As detailed in Tables 11 and 12, the projected average annual attrition over the next five years for FS Generalists is expected to essentially mirror the average annual attrition of the previous five years, 261 vs. 257, and the average for the FS Specialist workforce is expected to decrease by five percent, 230 vs. 243.
|>>The two largest FS Specialist groups – Security Officers and Office Management Specialists – account for over 40 percent of the average annual Specialist attrition. As the attrition trends change, attrition projections will be revised next year to further reflect the changes in separations.
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Posted: 1:09 am ET
Below is a list of U.S. Ambassadorial Assignments Overseas prepared by the State Department’s Office of Presidential Appointments (HR/PAS) on October 13, 2016. This is the last update as far as we are aware, so appointees who left USG service between then and now, like ambassadors assigned to Tanzania (Mark Childress) or to South Africa (Patrick Gaspard) are still reflected on this list. Career Ambassadors Tom Kelly (Djibouti) and Liliana Ayalde (Brazil) who also recently departed post, are also still listed as incumbents in this document.
For a list of political ambassadorships that will go vacant on Inauguration Day, click our list here.
Posted: 12:13 am ET
The State Department says that it employs a workforce of over 80,000 employees. The figure below shows the composition of the 2016 workforce by employment category. Total number of agency employees excluding contractors: 74,721 (FS: 13,948 includes Generalist – 8,196; Specialist – 5,752; Civil Service at 11,037) and Locally Employed Staff at 49,736 (includes Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs)and Personal Services Agreements/Contracts). We have not been able to locate a good number for contractors.
In April 2016, there were 11,861 adult family members overseas, of which 29% or 3,436 FS family members were employed by the USG at missions overseas.
Posted: 1:01 am ET
Posted: 2:33 am ET
Extracted from CRS #R44616 – FATCA Reporting on U.S. Accounts: Recent Legal Developments via Secrecy News:
Enacted in 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is intended to curb U.S. tax evasion occurring through the use of offshore accounts. Key among its provisions is the requirement that foreign financial institutions (FFIs), such as foreign banks and hedge funds, report information on their U.S. account holders to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). FFIs that fail to comply will have tax withheld at a rate of 30% on many payments made to them from U.S. sources, including interest and dividends.
Since FATCA’s passage, there has been international criticism of the FFI provisions, generally focused on whether the United States was correct to take FATCA’s unilateral approach. Questions have arisen about whether FATCA’s requirements are inconsistent with existing U.S. treaty obligations; how to handle potential conflict of law issues arising when an FFI is faced with complying with FATCA or its home country’s domestic (e.g., banking and privacy) laws; and whether the United States has intruded into other countries’ sovereignty.
Recognizing that these concerns could affect the success of FATCA, the United States has entered into bilateral intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with numerous countries in order to implement the FFI requirements. Under some of these agreements, FFIs report information on their U.S. account holders to their home country, which then provides the information to the IRS. In general, for those FFIs that are not covered by such an agreement, FATCA requires that they report the information directly to the IRS.
As of August 1, 2016, there are 63 IGAs that are currently in force. Additionally, the United States treats certain countries as having an IGA in effect even though the country has not taken all the steps necessary to actually bring the agreement into force. In July 2016, the IRS made a significant announcement regarding these countries: they will stop being treated as having an IGA in effect in 2017 unless they comply with certain requirements by December 31, 2016. Among other things, the country must explain why the IGA is not yet in force and provide a step-by-step timeline for doing so. The Treasury Department and the IRS will then decide whether it is appropriate to continue to treat the country as having an IGA in effect.