diplomatic service


Diplomatic Service

On the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream, you’ll promote British interests overseas and support our businesses and citizens around the world


2 years




London and overseas


There's no such thing as a typical Diplomatic career. You could be based in London or working in one of the Foreign Office's small, challenging or remote embassies, or working on global issues in one of 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.


  • British citizen (those with dual nationality may apply) who have been a resident in the UK for at least 2 out of the last 10 years
  • you need, or expect to have, 2:2 degree or higher in any subject
  • Existing civil servants can apply without a degree

What will you experience?

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Foreign Office staff change roles routinely every 3 to 4 years. You’ll apply for each role according to your preferences, career ambitions, and personal circumstances.

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

You can also apply for the Diplomatic Service (Economics) scheme provided you meet the eligibility criteria.

What do they say?

Your progression through the programme

Supporting your learning

Your training will help your understand how the Foreign and Commonwealth Office work and also diplomatic tradecraft:

- Job-specific training, often including a visit to one of our embassies overseas.

- A buddy from the previous year’s Fast Stream intake

- Coaching and mentoring available.

Up to £45k

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

What benefits will you enjoy?


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.

Other benefits include the Civil Service pension scheme, professional qualifications, language learning opportunities, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, child care assistance and more.

Application process


Online tests

The online tests consist of Work Style Questionnaires and multimedia Situational Judgement Questionnaires, Work Based Scenarios and a video interview.

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 centre in either London or Newcastle. The Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC) reflects some of the key elements of a Fast Stream role and will consist of a leadership exercise, a group exercise and a written analysis exercise. Information is presented via an iPad tablet; alternative formats are available.

You can take a virtual tour of the assessment centres at the following links:




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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