Notification to Candidates:
Changes in the FSOT Registration Process

The U.S. Department of State Board of Examiners (BEX) announces permanent changes in the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) application and seat selection process to consolidate both steps into one five-week period.

Now candidates will complete both registration steps—submitting an application and selecting a seat—during the same five-week period immediately prior to a specific testing window. Applications will be valid only for that test and will expire when the testing window closes. The registration period will continue to close three days prior to the opening of the testing window. This change took effect on September 30. 2015.

As a reminder, once an application for a test window is submitted it cannot be changed, and candidates may test only once in a 12-month period. Under this consolidated process, eligible candidates will be able to submit new applications during each registration period, allowing them to update employment or other important information and change their chosen career track if they wish. Candidates will be able to access their archived applications, but will only be able to submit them during registration periods. Click here for answers to FAQs.

The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) is an important part of the FSO selection process, covering the job knowledge, English expression and biographic information necessary to work as a Foreign Service Officer. The FSOT also includes an essay. View complete information on the FSOT and the selection process.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, the U.S. Department of State requires that each candidate be:

  • A U.S. citizen on the date the candidate submits the registration package
  • At least 20 years old and no older than 59 years of age on the day the candidate submits the registration
  • At least 21 years old and not yet 60 on the day the candidate is appointed as a Foreign Service Officer
  • Available for worldwide assignments, including Washington, D.C.

Upcoming Foreign Service Officer Testing Windows

This chart contains relevant dates for the next three Foreign Service Officer Tests. As a reminder you will be able to register—apply and select a seat—for approximately five weeks before each testing window.

  February 2017 June 2017 October 2017
Testing Window Dates January 28 to February 4 June 3 to 10 September 30 to October 7
Registration opens December 15 April 26 August 23
Registration closes January 25 May 31 September 27
List of embassies/consulates* offering the FSOT available at December 14 April 25 August 22

*The FSOT is offered at both domestic and overseas locations.

From time to time the State Department includes additional test material on the FSOT. The October 2016 FSOT will be 210 minutes in length instead of 180 minutes. As is currently the case there will be no scheduled breaks during the test so you are encouraged to plan accordingly.

Pilot Program Using Overseas Pearson Professional Centers

The Board of Examiners is continuing a pilot program to offer the FSOT exclusively at certain overseas Pearson Professional Centers (PPCs). Read more...


Find more information on a rewarding career in the Foreign Service.

If you have specific questions about the Foreign Service Officer Test you may send them to

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Last updated 2016-10-12