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The Selection and Clearance Process

How Interns are Selected

The Intern Coordinators' Office receives all applications and reviews them to ensure that they are complete and that applicants meet the eligibility criteria.  Applications are then forwarded to the bureaus identified by the applicant.  Bureau representatives evaluate applicants based on the applica-tion materials.  Foreign language ability is an important factor in placement for internships abroad.  Completing some academic studies relevant to the type of work you wish to perform increases your competitiveness.

The bureau or office to which the Intern Coordinators' Office submits the applications may make a verbal offer to an applicant.  However, the offer is not "official" until selectees receive written notification from the Intern Coordinators Office. This notification is a tentative offer to participate in the internship program.  A final offer is contingent upon successful completion of a security clearance.  Those who are not selected for internships will also be notified by mail. So that we may contact you as soon as possible, please make sure any changes of address after you apply are submitted immediately to the Intern Coordinator.

Security Clearance Process

Students tentatively selected for the internship program must pass a background investigation and receive a security clearance. The clearance process takes approximately 90-120 days to complete from the time the forms are received by the Intern Coordinator.  Investigations may take substantially longer than 120 days if you have had extensive overseas travel, education, residence and/or employment or if there is a security, suitability, or medical issue to resolve.  These issues could include a past history of drugs or alcohol abuse, as well as a past history of credit problems.

It is important to note that the presence of any of these problems will not necessarily preclude you from receiving a security clearance.  They will, however, lengthen the time if will take to complete the clearance process. Interns assigned to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) are usually subject to a reduced security clearance process, unless otherwise advised. The forms you will need to complete will be included with your preliminary notification of acceptance. When you receive these forms, please complete, sign, and return them by the date indicated in the letter.

Note:  A recent Federal law requires denial of a passport to any spouse certified by the Department of Health and Human Services as being more than $5,000 in arrears on child support.

Random Drug Testing

All interns serving in positions which require a clearance for access to information classified as "Secret" or above will be subject to the Department's random employee drug-testing program.

Final Offer of Appointment

After all procedures are completed and clearances obtained, interns assigned domestically will be contacted by the Intern Coordinators' Office with an official, final offer of appointment.  Interns assigned abroad will normally be contacted by the Bureau Coordinator.  Travel to Washington, D.C. or abroad for purposes of reporting for duty should not be done until you receive an official offer of appointment from either the Intern Coordinator (for domestic assignments) or the Bureau Coordinator (for overseas assignments) confirming the granting of your security clearance and permission to report for duty.  The office or post to which you are assigned will be unable to employ you until you have been fully cleared.

The Department of State is committed to equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment for all without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, disabling condition, political affiliation, marital status, or prior statutory, constitutionally protected activity.

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