Eligibility Requirements for the FSOT

Eligibility Requirements for the FSOT

The State Department has a list of requirements for those who are eligible to take the FSOT, but did you know that there are other requirements too? The real objective to taking the FSOT is to be selected as a Foreign Service Officer and too many applicants only look at the FSOT requirements and don’t necessarily look at all the other requirements until they have made that step in the process.

This can be very frustrating for an applicant because according to a State Department survey, 2-4% of FSOT applicants don’t get selected because they didn’t meet the medical or the security requirements. Although the FSOT requirements discuss this, they don’t go into detail and many people making the mistake of just believe they are healthy or will get a security clearance without actually verify what those things entail. In essence, if these people had read this post, they would have known better and would have understood from the beginning that they wouldn’t meet the overall selection requirements.

So as to help potential FSO’s figure out whether or not they have a chance, we have compiled a complete list of all requirements and also a list of suggested requirements.

Requirements for the FSO Process

  1. You must be a citizen of the United States and have a valid birth certificate, social security number and another form of official identification (Driver’s license, Military I.D., etc)
  2. On the day that you submit your reservation package, you must be between the ages of 20 and 59. However, you must be 21 before you are selected as a FSO and you must not be older than 60 when you are selected or else your application will be disregarded and someone else will be selected.
  3. You must be available for world wide assignment. This means you must be able to pass a complete medical physical. To learn more about that, checkout our article of the requirements of a FSO medical physical. This step is very important because many people fail this step and never understand why. What is even worse is that this step actually happens after you pass the FSOA and are ready to be added to the registry.
  4. Although this isn’t applicable to most, if you were removed from the FSO department for any reason other than honorable, you can’t reapply. Furthermore, if you were on the registry and then denied the offer to take a position, you cannot apply again no matter the reasons for your denying their offer. So be prepared to take ANY assignment they offer or suffer the complete dismissal from the registry and the program.
  5. You must be able to complete a full security investigation. To become a FSO, you will need to have the ability to access secret to top secret material and therefore the State Department must be sure you can adequately handle this. There are multiple deal killers that will preclude you from passing the security background check. Below are a couple of examples, however, if you want more information, we recommend checking our article on the FSO Security Clearance Process:

    A. You should not have any thing illegal activities on your record such as DUI, Drugs, or anything else that would show you had a problem in the past.
    B. You must be able to provide a complete list of every place you have lived over the past 10 years and a respective name and contact information of a non-family member who can verify that you lived in a certain place. If you cannot do this, your clearance investigation may take longer and be inconclusive.
    C. You cannot be married to foreign national with a background that may be concerning to the U.S. This can include a nationality to a rival country like China or Iran. It can also include their background and whether or not they were apart of the foreign military or other organization that would be of concern.

How to Pass the Medical and Security Clearance Portion

The medical and security clearance can be tricky. In many cases, you might be fine, however, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of passing both. You can find out our specific details on each in our respective posts:


So, as you can see, there are more details out there in each of their so-called “requirements.” The Medical and Security clearance processes are not easy to get and cannot be waivered. You either pass them or you don’t. Therefore, before you start your FSO selection process, ensure from the beginning that you can be cleared medically and can acquire a Top Secret clearance.

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