The following seeks to address questions from employees of the Department of State, USAID, and other foreign affairs agencies about bidding and assignments.
This information is grouped by topic below, was compiled by glifaa, and reflects our understanding of current U.S. government policy. However, this informal Q&A is not an official publication of the Department of State nor any other U.S. government agency and has not been cleared by any U.S. government source.
Please reach out to FSI’s Overseas Briefing Center, your Management Section, and/or the Bureau of Global Talent Management to confirm the accuracy of this information before taking any action based on the contents of this page.
This page was last updated in April 2023.
Bidding and Assignments Topics
Post Info To Go: LGBTQI+ Survey and Same-Sex Spouse Accreditation Matrix
The Overseas Briefing Center, a division of the Transition Center at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI/TC/OBC), maintains bidding research tools available online through the Post Info to Go (PITG) website (accessible to State Department personnel by searching for Post Info To Go on the OpenNet homepage and GO Browser’s SharePoint App).
PITG is an easy-to-use collection of updated bidding and assignment materials (including Personal Post Insights) covering over 300 posts worldwide and hosts LGBTQI+ Surveys that address LGBTQIA+ community issues at over 170 posts. PITG also provides a link to download GTM’s Same-Sex Spouse Accreditation Matrix.
For interagency colleagues and family members, PITG-External offers the same information on a password-protected internet site. The website is available to interagency employees and all adult eligible family members (EFMs) of U.S. foreign affairs direct-hire employees under Chief of Mission authority. Civil Service employees heading to an overseas assignment may also request access for their EFMs. Request access by emailing PostInfoToGoExternal@state.gov with your name, current post, U.S. government agency, and employee sponsor’s name and government email address for verification. The Overseas Briefing Center collaborates with several federal agencies for employee access; check with OBC to see which agencies are part of the PITG program.
For more information on how to access these resources, please email PostInfoToGoExternal@state.gov or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more information via diplomatic cable 22 STATE 101130.
- Tales from a Small Planet, includes “Real Post Reports” (a non-U.S. government version of Personal Post Insights) with responses addressing LGBTQIA+ issues.
- Associates of the American Foreign Service, an independent, non-profit organization representing Foreign Service spouses, employees, and retirees. AAFSW is welcoming and open to the spouses and families of LGBTQIA+ personnel.
Accreditation for LGBTQIA+ Spouses and EFMs
As of 2023, more than 60 countries do not offer full diplomatic accreditation with corresponding privileges and immunities for same-sex spouses and other LGBTQIA+ eligible family members (EFMs) of U.S. government employees assigned abroad. A small subset of these countries may instead offer informal, non-diplomatic status via residence, member of household, or domestic employee visas. In some cases, host governments may offer full accreditation while refusing to use the term “spouse” when accrediting same-sex couples, potentially jeopardizing an EFM spouse’s ability to work under the bilateral work agreement. In addition to refusing accreditation for same-sex spouses, some countries may refuse accreditation to (and/or prohibit the entry of) transgender people, non-binary individuals traveling on an X-gender marker passport, or people living with HIV. Living without accreditation at an overseas post can lead to unacceptable levels of financial, legal, and personal risk for LGBTQIA+ EFMs and employees. In some countries, EFMs who are not accredited cannot receive non-diplomatic residence visas and might not be able to accompany or reside with an employee at post. Additionally, LGBTQIA+ employees and EFMs serving under Consular or Administrative and Technical status in countries where same-sex behavior and/or transgender status is criminalized may be at risk of prosecution under local law for non-official acts involving actual or perceived LGBTQIA+ status.
The glifaa board encourages all members to carefully review GTM’s Same-Sex Spouse Accreditation Matrix and the LGBTQI+ Surveys available on Post Info to Go before bidding on and/or accepting any assignment abroad. To ensure officers and EFMs understand their options and are aware of any potential risks of service at unaccredited posts, members considering accepting an assignment at a post that does not accredit LGBTQIA+ family members may wish to consult with the post or bureau human resources office, glifaa post representative, and/or glifaa board before accepting the assignment. Additional information on country-specific entry restrictions for LGBTQIA+ travelers and people living with HIV can be found on travel.state.gov and the Global Database on HIV-Specific Travel and Residence Restrictions.