Job type

Diplomatic service officer

£25k - £45k

Typical salary

37 – 40

Hours per week

Diplomatic service officers help to promote and protect British interests, businesses and citizens overseas.

More info

  • Exciting, high profile work serving the Government
  • Opportunities for travel, but you need to be prepared to go anywhere
  • Excellent access to training opportunities and progression routes

As a diplomatic service officer you'll work in one or more of the three areas covered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. These are political (monitoring political and economic developments in other countries, and representing Britain in government and the media), commercial (helping British companies to trade overseas), and promoting investment in Britain and Consular (assisting British citizens in other countries and processing UK visa applications).


  • Monitoring and analysing overseas events
  • Developing policies and strategies towards different countries
  • Dealing with press and communications at home and abroad
  • Promoting overseas investment into the UK
  • Giving consular support to UK citizens abroad
  • Processing visa applications for people looking to visit, study or work in the UK
  • Giving admin support to other embassy staff


You'll normally work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, if you're based in the UK. Overseas, your hours and conditions may vary according to the culture and climate of your host country. You may also be on call 24 hours a day. You'll spend between 18 months and 3 years in London before your first posting overseas. Most overseas postings last from 3 to 4 years. You must be willing to work anywhere in the world. You'll have access to a wide range of Civil Service training, designed to prepare you for your first overseas posting. This includes foreign language training.

You'll need

This role is ideal for someone with good administration skills, who is thorough and pays attention to detail and has the ability to work well with others.

You could take a degree before applying to join a graduate training scheme. Most subjects are accepted. If you're a graduate with at least a lower second class degree, you can apply to the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream programme, which leads to senior management posts in the service. You can also apply through the Government Economic Service Fast Stream and join the service as an economist. You'll need an upper second class degree in an economics-related subject to do this.

To join as a diplomatic administrative officer you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C). If you apply to become an operational or policy officer, you'll usually need A levels or equivalent qualifications.

If you already work in the Civil Service, you can apply to join the diplomatic service, depending on your skills and experience.

It will help if you have some relevant work and life experience, like a proven interest in other countries and culture, international relations or a foreign language.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers a number of work experience schemes for people from different backgrounds who may be interested in joining them.


You'll be encouraged to identify your own training needs as part of an appraisal and staff development programme. After 2 years, you can apply to join the Fast Stream programme if your manager thinks you have the potential for senior management.