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How to Become a Consular Representative

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The U.S. State Department offers five career tracks for foreign service officers. They are consular, economic, management, political and public diplomacy. According to the State Department, consular officers are responsible for visa adjudication (both non-immigrant and immigrant) and U.S. citizen services for Americans traveling abroad. Foreign service candidates pick their career track when they register and, according to the State Department's career website, it is a long and difficult process to change career tracks once one is chosen.

Qualify for the job by being a U.S. citizen between the ages of 20 and 59 the day you submit your registration packet. Applicants must be available for assignments around the world.

Register for the Foreign Service Officer test. Indicate consular as your career field when completing the registration packet. Sign up for the test as soon as possible. It is only offered a few times during the year.

Take the FSO exam. Bring your government-issued photo identification and admissions letter. You must register for the exam within one year of submitting your registration packet.

Write a personal narrative after receiving an email from the State Department requesting it. The State Department looks for evidence of leadership, interpersonal skills, communication skills, management skills, intellectual skills and substantive knowledge.

Complete the oral assessment. Oral assessment preparation sessions are offered around the country.

Obtain medical and security clearances. Your file will then go before a final review panel.

Complete the five-week training and embark on your first assignment as a consular representative for the U.S. State Department.

Tip

Study guides are available for the FSO exam.

Warning

Be completely honest when completing the registration packet.

About the Author

Tracie Harris lives in Atlanta and has been writing lifestyle articles since 2008. W.W. Norton is publishing her work in "The Seagull Guide" due out in 2011. Her writing has also appeared in "The Historian" and The Good Cook. Harris is a former social studies teacher. She holds a B.A. in history and secondary education from Agnes Scott College.

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