diplomatic service


Diplomatic Service

Promote British interests overseas and support our businesses and citizens around the world

APPLICATIONS CLOSED: Register your interest by emailing faststream.events@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk


2 years




London and overseas


The foreign office promotes British interests overseas, and supports our businesses and citizens around the world through our offices in the UK and our network of diplomatic posts overseas.

Our officers work on everything, from negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU, to supporting British nationals affected by natural disasters and terrorist attacks overseas.


You can also apply for the Diplomatic Service (European) or Diplomatic Service (Economist) schemes provided you meet the requirements for the European and Government Economic Service individually.


  • you must be a British citizen and must have been resident in the UK for at least 2 out of the last 10 years
  • you need, or expect to have, a 2:2 degree in any subject or higher; existing civil servants can apply without a degree

What to expect

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There's no such thing as a typical diplomatic career. You could be based in London or working in a one of the foreign office's small, challenging or remote embassies, or working on global issues in one of the our large embassies in Washington and Paris.

You might focus on bilateral work, multilateral work, consular support, media and communications, project management or decide to specialise in a particular region of the world.

Foreign office staff change roles routinely every 3 to 4 years. You apply for each role according to your preferences, career ambitions, and personal circumstances. You won’t be sent somewhere you haven’t asked to go. 

All Diplomatic Service Fast Streamers must be granted Developed Vetting security clearance before starting.

What do they say?

From the blog

5 reasons why it's great to work for the Civil Service

Read our blog here

What's in it for you?

Learning and development

Fast Streamers are expected to devote around 10% of their time to learning and development. In your first year, there will be 5 weeks of mandatory training in the basics of how the Foreign and Commonwealth Office works and diplomatic tradecraft. 

In addition you may need job-specific training, often including a visit to one of our embassies overseas.
You’ll be matched with a buddy from the previous year’s Fast Stream intake, and will have the opportunity to work with a coach or a mentor if you choose. 

Up to £45k

Promotion could see you earn around £45k within 5 years



You’ll have a unique chance to work on issues that really matter, and to gain experience internally and externally. It’s the best foundation for promotion and long-term progression.

Promotion and successful completion of the scheme will see you earn around £45k, while other benefits include the Civil Service pension scheme, professional qualifications, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, childcare assistance and more. 

Application process


Online tests

The online tests consist of 2 questionnaires, an e-tray exercise and a video interview. We recommend you do some practice questions: Situational judgement questions.

You'll only move on to the next test, if you've successfully passed the previous one.


Assessment centre

If you pass the online tests, you'll be invited to attend a half-day assessment at one of our assessment centres in either London or Newcastle.

We'll ask you to take part in a series of exercises. This includes a leadership exercise, a group exercise and an analysis exercise.


Final selection

If you are successful at the assessment centre, you’ll be invited to take part in a final selection process.

The specialist assessments will assess your broad capabilities and motivation to be part of the profession you’ve chosen. You’ll be sent detailed guidance before the assessment to explain what is involved.

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Next Event

We host events at universities throughout the country so you can find out the information you need to apply for a place on the Fast Stream. We want to reach the most talented and diverse group of students nationwide.