E-mail a link to this directive


Number: DAO 202-301
Effective Date: 2017-07-06



.01    This Order outlines the provisions of the laws, regulations, and policies that apply to the employment of personnel of the Department of Commerce (the Department) outside the continental limits of the United States (U.S.), except Foreign Service employees of the Department who are covered by the provisions of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended; commissioned corps officers; contractors; persons paid under a local compensation plan (22 United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 2669(c)); and locally employed staff abroad (22 U.S.C. , Section 2669 (c);(n)).

.02    This revision updates Departmental policy for compliance with the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPMs) regulations; removes all references to the obsolete Federal Personnel Manual; updates language on “Excepted Appointments”; expands language on “Citizenship”; adds policy guidance on “Home Leave”; revises language in all Sections to provide more clarity; updates citations; and removes the introductory index of sections.



.01    Appointments: The following designated appointing authorities will be used in connection with filling positions in overseas areas:

a.      Competitive Appointments – Except as provided in subsections 2.01.b, 2.01.c, and 2.01.d, below, all appointments to positions in overseas areas will be made on a competitive basis.

b.      Excepted Appointments – The following exceptions to competitive appointments

1.      15 United States Code (U.S.C.) 278e.  Appointment of employees in the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the conduct of observations on radio propagation phenomena in the Arctic or Antarctic regions.

2.      15 U.S.C. 327.  Appointment of employees in the National Weather Service in connection with the conduct of meteorological investigations in the Arctic region.

c.      Overseas Limited Appointments – 5 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 8.2 authorizes U.S. citizens overseas and within the continental U.S. to be recruited for appointment to overseas positions in the competitive service without regard to the competitive requirements of the Civil Service Act when there is a shortage of eligible applicants resulting from a competitive announcement that is open to applicants in the local overseas area.
d.   Appointment of Experts and Consultants Experts and consultants may be employed as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 3109 at a rate authorized by 5 U.S.C. 3109 when authorized by an appropriation or other statute.
e.      Restriction on Use of Competitive Appointment Authority – An appointing officer may not fill any excepted position specifically provided for in Schedules A, B, or C by appointment under the competitive Civil Service regulations, unless such action is required for restoring an employee who was formerly in the competitive service to the roll after the successful appeal from separation, or upon return from military service or defense transfer.  The OPM, Departmental, and bureau/operating unit instructions covering procedures to be followed in filling excepted positions must be complied with in all respects of filling any position excepted from the competitive service under Schedules A, B, or C.

.02    Position Classification.  All positions overseas are subject to the Classification Act of 1949,5 U.S.C. 5105 et seq., as amended, unless authority exists for a specific exception to that Act.

.03    Other Regulatory Coverage of Overseas Employment.  Employment overseas is subject to, but not limited to, all of the following:
a.      All veterans’ preference requirements including, but not limited to the Veterans Preference Act of 1949.
b.      5 U.S.C. 5724 and 5738 relating to payment of travel and transportation expenses in connection with the employee’s return to his/her place of residence for leave upon completing an agreed-to tour of duty at an overseas post.
c.      5 U.S.C. Part III, Subpart F, Chapter 73 relating to the security requirements for Federal employees.
d.      5 U.S.C. 5704 and 5706 relating to allowable expenses.


.01    “Continental United States” means the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; it does not include the states of Alaska and Hawaii (5 U.S.C. 5721).  

.02    Recruitment.  All positions outside the continental U.S., except those listed in Section 2.01.b and 2.01.d of this Order are in the competitive service and will be filled in accordance with competitive procedures.  Excepted appointments may be made under the authorities listed in Sections 2.01.b.1 and 2.01.b.2 to any position specifically covered by the terms of the excepted authority.  The recruitment of persons residing in areas outside the continental U.S., including noncitizens, is encouraged to the maximum extent practicable and will conform as closely as possible to local prevailing laws, customs, and practices.  If local sources are inadequate, personnel may be recruited in the U.S., subject to the requirements of Section 5 of this Order.  In general, recruitment of personnel in the U.S. for duty overseas will be limited to those positions requiring specialized and hard-to-find skills.

.03    Hours of Duty.  The administrative workweek and official hours of duty will be established by the head of each bureau/operating unit for all employees subject to the provisions of
5 U.S.C. 6101.


.04    Remote or Unpopulated Areas.  In view of the special conditions that may occur on expeditions or assignments to remote or relatively unpopulated areas, such as the Arctic and Antarctic, it may be impractical to apply, in full, the provisions of this Order.  Necessary modifications may be requested of the Department’s Director for Human Resources Management (Director, OHRM) to fit such circumstances.

.05    Allotments.  Bureaus/operating units are authorized to permit employees to make allotments from their compensation for the purposes and under the conditions set out in 5 U.S.C. 5525.

.06    Compensation for Disability or Death.  Overseas employees, including aliens and natives, are eligible for injury or death compensation benefits under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 5742, 8134, and as appropriate, and receive initial disbursements on injury claims while overseas under 5 U.S.C. 8136.

.07    Loyalty and Security.  The same procedures and standards for investigation, determination of findings, appeals, and decisions that are utilized by the Department in the U.S. will be used for overseas employees recruited in the U.S. and for employees recruited overseas, except as otherwise authorized by OPM upon recommendation of the Department’s Office of Security (OSY).

.08    Medical Care.  Insofar as practicable, bureau/operating units will furnish to employees of the Department and their dependents, in Alaska, Hawaii, and other points outside the continental U.S., supplemental emergency medical services by contract or otherwise, and supplemental emergency medical supplies, where in the judgment of the bureau/operating unit, furnishing of such services and supplies is necessary.

.09    Burial Expenses.  Under 5 U.S.C. 5742, expenses of preparing and transporting the body of a Federal employee who dies while officially stationed in a territory or possession of the U.S., or in a foreign country, shall be paid by the bureau/operating unit unless the provisions of some other law (e.g., the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act) are applicable.  In addition, the cost of transporting the dependent of the employee, including expenses of packing, crating, draying, and transporting household effects and other personal property to the former home, shall be paid by the bureau/operating unit.

5 U.S.C. 5742 authorizes the payment of the cost of transporting the remains of a dependent of an employee residing with the employee at a place outside the continental U.S. or in Alaska or Hawaii, or in transit thereto or therefrom, to such person’s home or to such other place determined to be the appropriate place for interment.


.10    Leave.  The provisions of 5 U.S.C. Part II, Subpart E, Chapter 63 will apply to all overseas employees.


.11    Retirement and Social Security Coverage.  Employees of the Department who are U.S. citizens and are employed overseas are subject either to the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System, along with the Social Security System (FICA) if applicable, based on their appointment, in the same manner as similarly appointed employees in the U.S.

.12    Post Differentials and Allowances.  An employee is eligible for overseas differentials and allowances in accordance with 5 U.S.C. Part III, Subpart D, Chapter 59, Subchapter III; and 5 CFR, Part 591.  These rates are prescribed by the Department of State and published in the Department of State Standardized Regulations.  Differential and allowance rates are subject to change without notice as overseas conditions change.  An employee must meet all of the following conditions to be eligible: 1) the employee must be a citizen or national of the U.S.; 2) the employee’s official worksite or detail to temporary duty must be in the post differential area, and; 3) immediately prior to being assigned to duty in the post differential area, the employee must have maintained an actual place of residence outside the post differential area for an appropriate period of time (generally at least 1 year or more), except as provided in 5 CFR 591.233.

.13    Conduct.  The importance of building and maintaining good personal relations between foreign nationals and Americans who live and work overseas cannot be overstated.  Americans who serve their country abroad must keep in mind that they are essentially guests of the host country, and, as guests, should display good manners, conduct, and character.  Employees who serve overseas and their immediate families will be subject to such regulations and instructions as may be issued by the senior U.S. diplomatic official in the country concerned, or the designated representative.  The subject matter of such regulations and instructions will, in part, pertain to the importation and disposal of personal property, the acquisition and conversion of local currency, and the importation, operation, and disposal of motor vehicles (both official and those privately-owned) by employees overseas.  The development of such regulations and instructions will embody guides set forth in Appendix A of this Order.  In overseas areas where such regulations and instructions have not yet been issued, the employee's conduct will be governed by guides set forth in Appendix A.


.01    Overseas Limited Appointments.
When there is a shortage of eligible applicants for a competitive announcement that is open to applicants in the local overseas area, an overseas limited appointment for a U.S. citizen recruited overseas for a position overseas may be given.  Non-citizens may also be recruited overseas and appointed to overseas positions without regard to the Civil Service Act (5 CFR 8.3).
Overseas limited appointments do not confer the right to acquire competitive status (5 CFR
301.204).  The duration of an appointment is not affected by the fact that a minimum period of service is specified for authorizing travel at Government expense.

.02    Duration of Appointments.
a.      Overseas Appointment – Is of indefinite duration unless otherwise limited.
b.      Overseas Limited Term Appointment – For a period not to exceed 5 years when a time limit is imposed as part of a program for rotating career/career-conditional employees between overseas areas and the U.S.    
c.      Overseas Limited Appointment – For a period of 1 year or less to meet administrative needs for temporary appointment, and can extend the appointment for up to 1 additional year
(5 CFR 301.203).

.03    Recruitment Methods.
a.      U.S. Citizens Recruited Overseas – U.S. citizens recruited overseas for appointments to overseas positions in the competitive service are given “overseas limited appointments” without regard to the competitive requirements when there is a shortage of eligible applicants resulting from a competitive announcement that is open to applicants in the local overseas area.  Appointments are of indefinite duration unless otherwise limited (5 C.F.R. 8.2). 
b.      U.S. Citizens Recruited within Continental U.S. – OPM may authorize “overseas limited appointments” for U.S. citizens recruited within the continental U.S. in the competitive service when it is determined that it is not feasible to appoint from a civil-service register.  Appointments can be of a temporary or indefinite duration (5 CFR 8.2).
c.      Unusual or Emergency Conditions – U.S. citizens recruited in an area where an overseas limited appointment is not authorized may be given an “overseas limited appointment” when a determination by the Director, OHRM is made that an unusual or emergency condition makes it infeasible to appoint from a register.

.04    Minimum periods of service.  The minimum period of service shall be for 2 years, except as determined by the bureau/operating unit.

.05    Conditions of employment and transportation.  An agreement, Form CD-70, Standard Conditions of Employment for U.S. Citizens Stationed at Overseas Posts, must be executed for all U.S. citizens assigned to overseas posts. Use of the form will ensure the employee has a complete understanding of all applicable conditions under which the Government will pay transportation expenses, and conditions of employment, including the length of the assignment, in the overseas area. The original of Form CD-70 must be placed in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder, and a copy must be given to the employee.

If an employee completes the required period of service, he/she becomes eligible to return to the U.S. at Government expense and is discharged from any liability for transportation expenses to the overseas station. However, if an employee fails to complete the agreed-to period of service, the employee will be required to bear certain costs of travel and transportation as explained in Section 9 of this Order.

Any special conditions contained in agreements currently in effect upon receipt of this Order will remain in effect until the agreement expires or is terminated.  An employee will not be required to sign another agreement because of amendments to this Order made necessary by changes in laws or regulations.

.06     Passports.  A passport is required for a citizen of the U.S. or a person who owes allegiance thereto for entry into all countries or areas outside the U.S.

.07    Non-competitive Appointment After Overseas Appointment.  A family member who accompanied a Federal civilian employees, a Federal non-appropriated fund employee, or a member of a uniformed service who was officially assigned to an overseas area, who completed 52 weeks of creditable overseas service under a local hire appointment(s) and received a fully successful or better (or equivalent) performance rating, are eligible for a non-competitive appointment in the competitive service within the U.S. (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) for a period of 3 years following the date of returning from overseas to the U.S.
The individual must have been a family member at the time he or she met the overseas service requirement and other conditions but does not need to be a family member at the time of noncompetitive appointment in the U.S. (Title 5 CFR 315.608; Executive Order 12721).


.01    Age.  Age requirements for employees recruited in the continental U.S. for overseas duty are the same as those within the U.S., except that the minimum age for employees overseas is 18 years of age.  The OHRM may establish other reasonable minimum or maximum age standards for recruitment in the U.S. when the conditions of the post warrant such action and when such standards are not inconsistent with law or regulation.

.02    Citizenship.
a.      When recruiting personnel for permanent assignment overseas, the Department shall give priority to hiring U.S. citizens and nationals; however, non-citizens may be hired in excepted service or competitive service positions under certain conditions.  Bureau/operating units considering hiring a non-citizen into the excepted service or competitive service must follow competitive selection procedures and meet all requirements in either Section 5.04, or 5.05 of this Order, as applicable.  Non-citizens may only be hired in excepted service positions in the absence of qualified citizens, and may only be hired for competitive service positions when necessary to promote the efficiency of the service for temporary appointments.
b.      The hiring of ALL non-citizens requires prior approval from OPM through the Director, OHRM (5 CFR 213.3102(bb)).  Requests must be submitted to the Director, OHRM for review and collaboration with the Director, OSY.  Upon favorable recommendation from the Director, OSY, the Director, OHRM will forward the request to OPM.  The Director, OHRM will provide a written response to the request once a determination from OPM has been made.
c.      It is the policy of the Department to permit the employment of non-citizens only after he/she is determined to represent an acceptable risk to the Department.  The non-citizen may be considered only after the Department’s OSY conducts a risk assessment that considers the threat, consequences, and vulnerabilities related to such employment.  The Director, OSY will provide a recommendation to the Director, OHRM based on the risk assessment.

d.       It is the policy of the Department to permit the employment of non-citizens only in positions that do not involve significant authority and responsibility in connection with the management of the Department or any bureau/operating unit thereof.  In this context, “management” includes, but is not limited to: planning, programming, policy formulation, direction, supervision of operations, and control.

.03    Prevailing Rate Systems.  5 U.S.C. 5342(c) requires that prevailing rate employees be U.S. citizens or bona fide residents unless the Secretary of Labor certifies that no U.S. citizen or bona fide resident is available to fill the particular prevailing rate position.

.04    Positions in the Excepted Service.
Upon OPM approval, a non-citizen hired in the absence of a qualified citizen may only be given a Schedule A excepted appointment, authorized by 5 CFR 213.3102(bb).  The position must be withdrawn from the competitive service for the period of time that it is filled by the non-citizen.  The employee does not acquire competitive status and may not be promoted, reassigned, or reduced in grade or band level to another position in the excepted service unless a recruitment effort indicates there are no qualified citizens available for the position in which the non-citizen will be assigned.  A non-citizen cannot be promoted, reassigned, or reduced in grade or band level to a competitive service position without meeting the requirements of a competitive service position in Section 5.05 of this Section.

When considering a non-citizen for Federal employment in the excepted service, consideration must be given to all applicable statutory restrictions (including immigration law), regulations, and Departmental policy as set forth in this Section.  

.05    Positions in the Competitive Service.
OPM is authorized by 5 CFR 7.3 to approve the appointment of non-citizens and non-nationals to positions in the competitive service when necessary to promote the efficiency of the service in specific cases or for temporary appointments. When considering a non-citizen for Federal employment in the competitive service, consideration must be given to all applicable statutory restrictions (including immigration law), regulations, and Departmental policy as set forth in this Section.  Consideration must also be given to Executive Order 11935, which restricts appointments of non-citizens into the competitive service.

.06    Physical Qualifications and Immunizations.  Physical qualifications, as established by OPM, the Department of Commerce, Department of State, or the bureau/operating unit for employees in the competitive service are applicable to employees assigned to overseas duty.  In addition, employees may be subject to immunization requirements.  Requirements for the various overseas posts will determine the type of immunization to be given to each employee.  Immunizations are provided at Government expense.


The offices to which recruiting duties have been assigned for the specific post will be responsible for carrying out pre-appointment activities.  Detailed requirements on loyalty and security clearance, as contained in the laws, rules, regulations, and this Order and the Department’s Security Manual, must be completed before final appointment is made.


Overseas posts should encourage current employees to continue serving in their current locations prior to recruiting replacements from the U.S.  The continued employment of qualified employees whose services, conduct, and character are regarded as fully successful is advantageous as they are immediately available and no orientation training is required.


.01   Eligibility.  Eligibility for home leave requires that the employee has already been found to be eligible for the 45-day annual leave accrual ceiling under 5 U.S.C. 6304(b), 5 CFR 630.602.

.02   Authorization.  Home leave is authorized under 5 U.S.C. 6305(a), for employees after 24 months of continuous service outside of the U.S. in order for home leave to be granted.  However, the granting/use of home leave is not an entitlement; it is at the discretion of the supervisor, as any other form of leave, and can be granted in combination with other categories of leave. 

.03    Earning Rates.  An employee earns home leave under the rates fixed by 5 CFR 630.604(a) and are set forth in 5 CFR 630.605.  For example, an employee in the highest annual leave earning category accrues 5 workdays of home leave after a 4-month tour overseas. 
Home leave can accrue for future use without any ceiling or limitation, and home leave that has accrued cannot be a basis for terminal leave or a lump sum payment. 5 U.S.C. 6305 (b)-(c) 

.04    Granting of Home Leave.  Home leave can only be granted for travel to the employee’s residence that is located in the U.S. or a territory or possession outside of the area of employment. 
Home leave can be approved following the conclusion of the 24-month employment period when the individual has agreed to complete another employment period immediately following the use of home leave. 5 CFR 630.606.

Employees are indebted for home leave used when he/she fails to return to service abroad after the period of home leave, or after the completion of an assignment in the U.S., with the exceptions under 5 CFR 630.606(e).

.05    Actual Place of Residence.  The Servicing Human Resources Office/Shared Service Center (SHRO/SSC) is responsible for determining the location of the “actual place of residence” prior to the employee’s actual departure for an overseas assignment or upon appointment of an employee at an overseas station.  This is accomplished by performing the actual place of residence test based on an analysis of the following five factors as articulated in the Comptroller General Opinion, Rafael Arroyo, B-197205, May 16, 1980: (1) physical residence, (2) residence provided in agency records, (3) residence according to employment history, (4) individual or family association with an area, and (5) exercise of privileges and duties, such as voting, and income tax and property tax. Other Comptroller General opinions have added other consideration factors, such as the place of birth, education, or marriage.

The place of actual residence thus established will be the place to which payment of transportation expenses will be authorized either upon conclusion of the tour of duty of the employee or upon return from the overseas post for the purpose of taking leave.  No change shall be made in the place of actual residence as long as the employee’s service overseas is continuous, nor will it be affected by the establishment of a voting residence in another state or U.S. Territory.  An abandonment of the U.S. residence after appointment or transfer will not affect the determination as to place of actual residence established in accordance with the provisions of this Section.  If the employee returns from a post of duty outside the U.S. for a permanent duty assignment and is subsequently assigned to an overseas post, an administrative determination will be made at that time as to the place of actual residence based on the facts then existing.  The copy of the agreement maintained in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder should be appropriately noted to show that the place of actual residence indicated has been approved by an official of the bureau/operating unit.


Except for paragraphs 9.01 and 9.02, Section 9 is not applicable to employees whose appointments or assignments to positions outside the continental U.S. are limited for a period not to exceed 1 year or less.

.01    Transportation to Post of Duty.  Under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 5722, expenses of travel for the appointee and transportation of family members and household goods, and privately owned vehicles (POV) (5 U.S.C. 5727(c)), or transfer of officers and employees to posts of duty outside the continental U.S. will be allowed only when the person selected for the assignment agrees in writing to remain in government service for a specified period of not less than 1 year and not more than 3 years following the effective date of the appointment.  If the employee fails to complete service under a service agreement, any monies expended by the Department for such travel and transportation will be recoverable from the employee as a debt owed to the U.S.

.02    Return Transportation to the U.S. upon Completion of Assignment.
When an employee completes an overseas assignment, the travel of the employee and transportation of family members and household goods to the former duty assignment, to another job in the U.S., or to the home of record will be paid by the Department (41 CFR, Subtitle F, Chapter 302, Subchapter B, Part 302-3).  The transportation of a privately-owned vehicle (POV) may be paid by the Department should such transportation be determined to be advantageous and cost-effective to the Government.  5 U.S.C. 5727(c); 41 C.F.R. §, Subtitle F, Chapter 302, Subchapter D, Part 302-9, Subpart B.  If the employee fails to complete service under a service agreement, any monies expended by the Department for such travel and transportation will be recoverable from the employee as a debt owed to the U.S. (see Section 9.03d).

a.      When the employee renews the overseas assignment, a new service agreement must be signed.  The employee must complete the agreed upon service or incur a debt to the U.S.


.03    Transportation to Place of Residence for Home Leave.  5 U.S.C. 5728 authorizes the payment of expenses of round-trip travel of an employee and transportation of immediate family (not household goods) from an overseas post of duty (outside of the continental U.S., Alaska, or Hawaii) to the place of actual residence for the purpose of taking leave prior to serving another tour of duty at the same or some other overseas post of duty.  The following conditions shall be applicable to the payment of travel or transportation expenses in connection with the return of an employee to the place of residence for leave:
a.      The employee must have completed the period of service applicable to the overseas post to which assigned.
b.      The employee must sign an agreement to serve another tour of duty at the same or other overseas post prior to departure from the overseas post for leave at the place of actual residence.
c.      The employee’s household effects shall not be moved at Government expense from the overseas post to the place where he/she is traveling for leave.
d.      If the employee fails to complete the period of service specified in the new agreement signed prior to taking leave, the employee shall be indebted to the Government for travel and transportation expenses for the employee and his/her immediate family paid by the Government in connection with: (1) the return to place of residence for leave, and (2) return to the same or another overseas post of duty.  In addition, the employee will be indebted for any amount that may have been spent in transportation from the former overseas post to the new overseas post for family members who did not return to the place of residence but were transported to the new duty station, and for household goods and personal effects, including amounts spent for packing, crating, drayage, unpacking, and temporary storage.
e.      When both spouses are employed in the immediate geographic area by the same or different agencies of the U.S. Government, they shall be allowed payment of travel and transportation expenses, provided they are otherwise eligible, either on an individual basis, or by one member taking the role of the head of the household with the other member as the spouse (41 CFR Subtitle F, Chapter 302, Subchapter B, Part 302-3.200, Subpart C).  If they elect to receive travel benefits individually, members of the household shall not benefit twice, i.e., the husband may not bring back members of the family upon completing the prescribed tour of duty and the wife later bring back the members of the family at Government expense.  Where one member assumes the role of spouse in connection with return to place of residence, per diem in lieu of subsistence will not be paid to the spouse.
f.       Travel allowances for an employee returning to the place of residence for leave shall include per diem in lieu of subsistence from the overseas post of duty to the place of actual residence at time of appointment or transfer to the overseas post and from such place of residence to the same or another overseas post.  Per diem shall not be paid to an employee while in a leave status at the place of residence (FAR Chapter 302, Table E).

g.      If leave is taken at a location other than the place of actual residence, the travel and transportation expenses allowed shall not exceed those allowed over a usually traveled route between the overseas post of duty and the place of actual residence and return there from the same or another overseas post.  Designation of a place other than an actual residence to which the employee desires to return for home leave ordinarily should be specified by the employee in advance of the travel.
h.      Home leave travel and transportation expenses may be allowed for an employee who transfers from another agency, provided the required period of service under the employment agreement is completed and that the employee executes a new employment agreement prior to departure from the post.
i.       Home leave travel is restricted to the country, territory or possession, in which the employee’s residence is located.  The mere stopping off of an overseas employee at or near the place of residence in the U.S., incident to a global tour, may not be regarded as a return to the place of actual residence for the purpose of taking leave prior to serving another tour of overseas duty.  When employees are on home leave, they are authorized unaccompanied air baggage to follow them from origin to destination and return.  This allowance includes the employee and family.

.04    Travel Allowances.  The maximum per diem allowance payable in lieu of subsistence to civilian employees of the Department while traveling on official business outside the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii, and away from their designated posts of duty, is the maximum prescribed by the President for the locality in which the travel is performed, as set forth in the Federal Travel Regulations.

.05    Travel Status.
a.      Employees assigned to temporary duty outside the continental limits of the U.S. for periods of two (2) months or less or who will be in a constant travel status will continue to have “headquarters” shown in the U.S. and be eligible for per diem in lieu of subsistence for the period of such duty in accordance with the provisions of 41 CFR, Subtitle F, Chapter 301.  Where the period of temporary duty at, or assignment to, an overseas post will be more than two (2) months, consideration should be given to affecting a change in official station or a reduction in the rate of per diem.  Prior approval of the Servicing Human Resources Office/Enterprise Services Center should be obtained in any case where an employee’s stay at a temporary duty post will exceed six (6) months and a change in official station is considered unwarranted by the circumstances.  The request should be supported by the following facts and information:
1.      The need for the employee’s services at the temporary duty station;
2.      The estimated additional period beyond 6 months that the employee’s services will be required;
3.      Whether a reduction in per diem was effected after the first 2 months of service at the temporary post, and whether a reduction in per diem will be made for time spent at the temporary post beyond 6 months; and
4.      The comparative cost to the Government of payment of per diem in lieu of subsistence, in contrast to payment of post allowance, post differential, quarters allowance, and other payments normally received for assignment to an overseas post.
b.      While in an official travel status, including time in route to and from the assigned post of duty, the employee will be in a pay status during the hours established by the Department as the scheduled workweek.  Compensatory time off for travel under the Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004 may be applicable under Departmental guidance.  Where separation occurs at the post of duty, pay will cease as of the date of separation, and payment of transportation expenses will be dependent upon the circumstances of the employee’s separation.

.06    Transition Leave.  Transition leave (3 Foreign Affairs Manual § 3464.3) 15 working days will be granted to civil service employees on limited non-career appointments who serve at least 18 consecutive months abroad and immediately return to work for the Department in the U.S. for at least 6 months.  Transition leave is authorized for a specific purpose, i.e., to provide employees a period of excused absence to resettle into their homes in the U.S. before returning to an assignment in the U.S.  A request for transition leave must be submitted to the leave-approving official at the new duty station.  Under no circumstance will transition leave be approved for use more than 30 calendar days after an employee has reported to work in the U.S.

.07    Transportation Expenses of Immediate Family Prior to Return of Employee.  When an employee has completed an agreed upon period of service at an overseas post of duty, or when it is determined by the head of the bureau/operating unit that there are compelling personal reasons of a humanitarian or compassionate nature such as may involve physical or mental health, death of any member of the immediate family, obligations imposed by authority, or circumstances over which the individual has no control, the employee may be allowed one-way transportation expenses for returning his/her immediate family and household goods, privately owned vehicles (POVs), and personal effects from the overseas post of duty to the place of actual residence.

When an employee voluntarily returns his/her immediate family to the place of residence prior to the completion of the agreed upon period of service, the employee shall bear the transportation costs involved in such return.  Reimbursement by the Government for travel and transportation expenses paid by the employee may be made at such time as the employee becomes eligible for return, at Government expense, through completing the period of service prescribed for the overseas post at which he/she is serving.

.08    Exceptions to Repayment of Travel Transportation Expenses.
a.      Exceptions to the requirement of employees repaying travel and transportation expenses as specified in Sections 9.01 and 9.03d. of this Order may be made by bureau/operating units when: 1) an employee is separated or returned to the U.S. or to the original overseas post of duty if reassigned to a second overseas post, for reason(s) beyond his/her control (the reason(s) is acceptable to the bureau/operating unit), prior to the completion of the required period of service at the assigned post of duty; or (2) such return is clearly to the advantage of the Government Separation from the service for reasons due to misconduct, delinquency, or false statements on appointment documents, either prior to or subsequent to appointment, will be considered as a separation for reasons within the control of the employee, also separation to obtain medical or dental treatment in the U.S. will be construed as a voluntary separation within the control of the employee if he/she failed to take and pass a medical or dental examination established as a requirement by the bureau/operating unit for overseas employment.

b.      A record of any exceptions made, together with a full statement of the reasons thereof, shall be maintained by the SHRO/SSC and kept for reconstruction of the decision for 6 years and 3 months (General Records Schedules 6 and 10).


Except as otherwise provided herein, employees of the Department employed overseas will continue to be governed by all other orders of the Department that are not clearly inapplicable because of the nature or circumstances of the employment.


.01    Questions relating to the interpretation of provisions of this Order should be referred to the OHRM for clarification or decision.

.02    Within the limits of administrative discretion permitted to the Department, exceptions to the provisions of this Order may be granted from time to time in rare and unusual cases by the Director, OHRM whenever the facts indicate that such an exception would promote the efficiency of the service.  Each request for an exception shall be submitted in writing signed by the head of the bureau/operating unit or designee, through the SHRO/SSC, and shall contain a full statement of the justification for the request.


This order supersedes Department Administrative Order 202-301, dated September 16, 1963.


Signed by: Director for Human Resources Management
Approved by: Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
Office of Primary Interest: Office of Human Resources Management


a.      General.
1.      Regulations and procedures devised for application at the country level will be consistent with regulations, customs, and practices of the host country.
2.      However, personnel shall not engage in any practices in the transaction of personal business abroad that may bring discredit on themselves or the U.S. Government.

b.      Guides Pertaining to Personal Property.
1.      Personal property shall be imported for the employees’ use while at the post or station and is not for sale.
2.      Advance approval of the designated control officer, officers, or committee (hereinafter referred to as the “designated control authority” shall be obtained for:
(a)     Importation of items of high resale value after the first installation shipment;
(b)    Sale or other disposal of personal property to other than U.S. Government personnel in extraordinary situations such as the transfer of the officer or employee from his place of assignment and then on condition that applicable local duties, taxes, or levies will be paid in compliance with local laws and regulations.
3.      Sale of personal property usable worldwide such as photographic equipment, wrist watches, silverware, or firearms, shall be restricted.  This list will vary from country to country; it is assumed that a common-sense rule will prevail.
4.      Control shall be exercised over initial purchase and resale of items acquired through U.S. Government-operated commissaries and post exchanges.  Resale of consumables to locals by Americans or by local employees of the U.S. Government when they have commissary and post exchange privileges shall be prohibited.
5.      Control shall be exercised over importation of highly salable commodities through U.S. Government channels of entry such as diplomatic pouch, APO and FPO parcel post, attaché, and special-mission planes.
6.      Undignified sales practices, such as auctions, “fire sale” type advertising, or use of an employee’s title or connection with U.S. Government, shall be prohibited.

c.      Guides Pertaining to Motor Vehicles.
1.      Vehicles should be appropriately inconspicuous and unostentatious.
2.      Uniform and mandatory motor vehicle inspection programs will be established to ensure the highest standards of mechanical safety.

3.      Driving permits and license plates will be issued only upon the successful completion of stringent driver-testing programs.
4.      Appropriate restrictions on operation of vehicles by minors will be imposed.
5.      Special markings on U.S. privately-owned vehicles will be curtailed.
6.      Adequate liability insurance coverage with a reliable firm will be a prerequisite to the licensing of private motor vehicles.  The reliability of a firm will be determined, in part, by its reputation for prompt settlement of claims or its willingness to guarantee prompt settlement of meritorious claims.
7.      Where practicable, U.S. official vehicles will be inconspicuously painted and identified.
8.      Consideration will be given to the suspension or withdrawal of driving permits of U.S. operators for reckless or drunken driving or negligence that causes death, bodily injury, or substantial property damage.
9.      Where appropriate, rationing or denial of tax-free gasoline will be initiated judiciously to limit operation of U.S. vehicles to conform to local situations.
10.    Coordinated programs will be established to effect prompt settlement of claims arising from accidents involving U.S. vehicles, both under the provisions of U.S. claims legislation and those of vehicle insurance policies.
11.    Sale of imported automobiles shall be limited to one per employee at a post except in circumstances that can be justified to and approved by the designated control authority.

d.      Guides Pertaining to Foreign Currencies.
1.      Foreign currencies for personal use shall be obtained through U.S. authorized channels. Subsequent conversion of local currency to dollar instruments by U.S. Government Disbursing Officers, where permitted, shall be reasonable considering conditions prevailing within the country of assignment and shall bear reasonable relationship to amounts of local currency acquired through U.S. authorized channels. Conversions of local currency to dollar or other instruments will not be made for U.S. citizens other than U.S. Government personnel or their dependents except through U.S. personnel specifically responsible for doing so as part of their official duties.
2.      Payment of overseas post or station allowances shall be made in local currency to the extent that such expenditures are in local currency.
3.      Advance approval of the Designated Control Officer shall generally be obtained for conversion of proceeds of sale to dollar instruments.  (This does not authorize conversion where presently prohibited.)


Questions and Comments

Send Questions or Comments on the Commerce Directives Management program to Directives@doc.gov.

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce


July 12, 2017