Civil Service Selection Process

The U.S. Department of State's online automated hiring system, "Gateway to State" is the way to apply for Civil Service careers. This system is designed to help streamline the selection and hiring process, and allows applicants to track their application status online.

As always, please make sure to read and follow the instructions under the "How to Apply" tab of the vacancy announcement before applying for any position.

How to Apply:

Applicants are required to complete and submit their online application through the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) application system, USAJOBS. Applicants have until midnight Eastern Standard Time on the closing date of the announcement to complete the three-step application process. To be sure the application will be processed on time, do not wait until the last day to apply.

1. Identify the Job You Want

You must apply to a specific vacancy announcement. Visit the Civil Service Vacancy Announcements section  for current vacancies.

Click here for instructions >



1. Identify the Job You Want

Review the Vacancy Announcement:

Click on an individual job title to find information on specific duties, qualification requirements, ranking factors and application forms and procedures. This will take you to USAJobs where you are required to submit your online application.

To apply, you must first register at USAJobs and create at least one online Federal resume. Failure to submit a resume will result in an incomplete application.

Once the registration process is completed, select the "Apply Online" button and follow the instructions provided.


2. Carefully Follow the Application Instructions

All required application materials and instructions must be submitted according to the "How to Apply" instructions in each vacancy announcement.

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2. Carefully Follow the Application Instructions

When applying through Gateway to State, the answers to personal and job specific questions will be used to evaluate eligibility for the vacancy. When completed, the answers to the Gateway to State questions will become the application.

Once the online application is submitted, a confirmation screen will appear, indicating the application has been successfully transmitted. If the screen does not appear, your application has not been completed properly and was not submitted.

Technical assistance with the online application is available from the Help Desk at OR by calling (866) 656-6830 or (703) 269-4944 between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, EST.


3: Uploading or Faxing Documentation

This section explains how to upload or fax specific documentation such as a resume, certifications or other pertinent information.  Accompanying documents must be submitted by the closing date in order to be considered for the position.

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3: Uploading or Faxing Documentation

Documents to be submitted are listed under the "How to Apply" tab in the "Required Documents" section of the vacancy announcement.

Uploading your supporting documents

Below is an example of what you can expect to see once you are ready to upload required documentation for your application.

Submitting supporting documents by fax

You may also fax the required supporting documentation listed on the vacancy announcement. Click here for fax instructions (pdf). Print the fax coversheet(s) generated at the end of the on-line application process, then fax all supporting documentation to the number listed on the fax coversheet before the closing date of the announcement. 

The fax coversheet(s) contains an important ID number, so do not cover it up when faxing.  Remember to keep a copy for your files. Be certain to follow the fax instructions (pdf), otherwise you may lose consideration for the job.

We recommend that you print and read these instructions and keep them handy while faxing.


Additional Process Information

When applying for a position with the Civil Service, there is important information each candidate should know about the evaluation process, the job interview, and background investigations.

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Additional Process Information

Evaluation Process:

Applicants will be evaluated based on the information provided in the online resume, answers specific to the vacancy announcement, and a review of the requested documents.

Job Interview:

The names and applications of the highest-ranking candidates are referred to the supervisor or selecting official. Selection procedures are subject to Federal Civil Service laws, which ensure that all applicants receive fair and equal treatment in the hiring process.

Undergo a Background Investigation:

All Civil Service positions in the U.S. Department of State require a security clearance at the Secret level or above.

The clearance process considers such factors as failure to register for the Selective Service; failure to repay a U.S. government-guaranteed student loan; past credit problems or bankruptcy; failure to meet tax obligations; unsatisfactory employment history; violations of the law, drug or alcohol abuse; and less-than-honorable discharge from the armed forces.

Investigations range from two to four months and include interviews with current and previous neighbors, supervisors and co-workers. In some instances, work may begin on a provisional basis, pending completion of the clearance process.