18 FAM 200 

18 FAM 201
Directives Management

18 FAM 201.1 


(CT:PPP-28;   10-07-2023)
(Office of Origin:  A/GIS/DIR)

18 FAM 201.1-1  Policy and objective

18 FAM 201.1-1(A)  Policy

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. The Department of State articulates official guidance, including procedures and policies, on matters relating to Department management and personnel, known collectively as “directives,” in the Foreign Affairs Manual and Handbook Series.  Directives include Department administrative organization policies and procedures.  These directives derive their authority from statutes, Executive orders, other legal authorities, and Presidential directives, such as OMB circulars, and Department policies.

b. For the purposes of this subchapter, all references to the Foreign Affairs Manual include the Foreign Affairs Handbook series.

c.  The only authoritative text of the Foreign Affairs Manual or its Foreign Affairs handbook series is the text that the Office of Directives Management (A/GIS/DIR) posts and maintains on its Internet, Intranet, and ClassNet websites.  Personnel who administer Department websites must not post copies of Foreign Affairs Manual or Foreign Affairs Handbook material on such websites; instead, they must provide a hyperlink to the authoritative text.  See 18 FAM 201.1-6(D)(2).

18 FAM 201.1-1(B)  Objective

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. The Department’s directives program provides agency managers with the means to convey written instructions to Department and other relevant personnel and to document Department directives.  The program’s purpose is to make necessary organization, policy, and procedural information available to program management and operating offices so that they can carry out their responsibilities in accordance with statutory and Executive mandates.

b. The Department achieves its objective by:

(1)  Providing a single, comprehensive, and authoritative source:  The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) and the related Foreign Affairs Handbooks (FAH) for organizational structures, policies, and procedures that govern the operations of the Department, the Foreign Service, and, when applicable, other Foreign Affairs agencies;

(2)  Organizing and structuring policy and procedural information and providing indices and references to facilitate effective use;

(3)  Incorporating statutes, Executive orders, and directives originally issued elsewhere into the FAM;

(4)  Issuing changes and additions to Department directives in a timely manner;

(5)  Annually reviewing the FAM to ensure completeness and accuracy (see 18 FAM 201.1-3(A), subparagraph (2)); and

(6)  Supporting operational needs of offices by providing updated FAM material on its websites and in other formats, as requested.

18 FAM 201.1-1(C)  Scope

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

These directives apply to the Department of State and its operations worldwide.

18 FAM 201.1-1(D)  Applicability

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

These directives apply to all Department of State and other relevant personnel worldwide.


(CT:PPP-28;   10-07-2023)
(State Only)

Authorities include:

(1)  Section 1 (a)(4) of the State Department Basic Authorities Act, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2651a(1)(a)(4)).  This statute, authorizes the Secretary to “promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Secretary of State and the Department of State.”  Various other statutes and regulations authorize the Secretary to prescribe rules and regulations on particular topics.  (For example, see Section 206 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended (22 U.S.C. 3926), which authorizes the Secretary to prescribe such regulations as the Secretary deems appropriate to carry out functions under the Foreign Service Act.)  Relevant legal authorities are cited in the portions of the FAM to which they pertain;

(2)  The Federal Records Act of 1950 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 31);

(3)  The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) (Public Law 105-277, Title XVII (44 U.S.C. 3504, note); and

(4)  Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d);

(5)  Information and Communication Technology Final Standards and Guidelines (36 CFR Part 1194); and

(6)  22 CFR 5.5, The Foreign Affairs Manual and the Foreign Affairs Handbook.


18 FAM 201.1-3(A)  Program Offices

(CT:PPP-7;   08-13-2018)
(State Only)

Program offices:

(1)  Draft and coordinate appropriate directives to be incorporated into the FAM that set forth Department organizational structures, policies, and procedures and identify and verify related legal authorities;

(2)  Ensure that the Department’s directives are current.  Program offices review directives for which they have substantive and coordinating responsibility annually and make changes to maintain the completeness and accuracy of the FAM; and

(3)  Ensure that organizational, policy, or procedural changes issued by ALDACS or Department Notices (see 18 FAM 201.1-5(B)) are incorporated into the FAM within 60 days of the announcement of such changes.

18 FAM 201.1-3(B)  Operating Offices

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

Operating offices should notify the proper program office, if known, or the Office of Directives Management of any discrepancies in the FAM.

18 FAM 201.1-3(C)  Office of Directives Management

(CT:PPP-25;   04-25-2023)
(State Only)

a. The Office of Directives Management (A/GIS/DIR):

(1)  Analyzes, evaluates, organizes, and edits initial FAM directives and changes;

(2)  Coordinates with and ensures that responsible program offices incorporate statutes, Executive orders, or other legally-required or Presidentially-directed materials into the FAM;

(3)  In conjunction with the Office of the Legal Adviser, determines the validity of Department of State directives materials; and

(4)  Periodically reports to management the status of the Directives Management Program.

b. A/GIS/DIR must approve and ensure the appropriate clearance of all directives before publication or issuance.  (This includes changes issued under section 18 FAM 201.1-5(B).)

c.  A/GIS/DIR coordinates the annual review of all FAM material (see 18 FAM 201.1-1(B) paragraph b(5)) and reports on the review’s status to the Standing Committee on Directives.

d. A/GIS/DIR also maintains the official Department of State organization chart.  This chart reflects the structure of the Department as provided by the organizational and functional statements in 1 FAM (Organization and Functions).

e. A/GIS/DIR provides up-to-date organizational information to the Federal Register annually, or as otherwise requested, for inclusion in the United States Government Manual (See 5 U.S.C. 552).

18 FAM 201.1-3(D)  Office of Inspector General

(CT:PPP-25;   04-25-2023)
(State Only)

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has statutory responsibilities under section 4(a) of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended (5 U.S.C. 401 et seq.).  Accordingly, OIG reviews proposed legislation, regulations, and policies relating to programs and operations of the Department and other establishments for which OIG provides oversight.  OIG provides written comments on such proposals when appropriate.  OIG’s review ensures its awareness of all changes relevant to its oversight responsibilities, and its comments typically focus on text that is related to:

(1)  OIG work or recommendations within the past 3 years; or

(2)  OIG oversight authorities and internal operations.

18 FAM 201.1-3(E)  Other Foreign Affairs Agencies

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. The Department of State and other Foreign Affairs agencies, i.e., the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, should strive to provide maximum uniformity in their administrative policies and procedures.  Directives, therefore, should be joint efforts whenever the agencies have common operations.  In the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual, these joint directives are issued using the term “uniform regulations.”  A/GIS/DIR determines the presentation style of these policies and procedures.

b. A Joint Regulations Board, consisting of a representative from State (A/GIS/DIR), who is the chair, and one representative each from USAID and the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, administers the uniform directives program.  The Department of State provides leadership, but all agencies participating have equal voice in developing uniform directives.

18 FAM 201.1-3(F)  Volume Coordinator

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

Volume coordinators perform FAM oversight and liaison functions in cooperation with the Office of Directives Management (A/GIS/DIR).  With the exception of Volumes 1 and 2 of the FAM, the volume coordinator for a specific volume or portion of a volume is designated by the Assistant Secretary (or equivalent), whose 1 FAM responsibilities include managerial responsibility for that particular volume or portion.  Each volume coordinator also:

(1)  Oversees the assigned volume (and attendant handbooks); monitors status of pending items; and reviews issuance dates to ensure that the material contained in the FAM is current;

(2)  Coordinates FAM changes; participates in all formal submissions to A/GIS/DIR (sometimes drafting the formal submission memorandum); and may act as the conduit for all submissions and revisions between the substantive office and A/GIS/DIR;

(3)  Ensures proper clearances of all material before formal submission to A/GIS/DIR;

(4)  Coordinates clearances within the volume coordinator’s bureau on related issues in other volumes;

(5)  Keeps management informed of the status of changes and alerts appropriate offices concerning portions of the FAM that warrant revision.  Secures management’s cooperation to ensure that reviews and revisions are carried out;

(6)  Coordinates with the designated A/GIS/DIR FAM analyst to ensure FAM revisions under the volume coordinator’s responsibility are codified;

(7)  Identifies material for inclusion in the FAM and ensures such material is added; and

(8)  Mediates differences between offices on FAM issues.

18 FAM 201.1-3(G)  Standing Committee on Directives

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

The Standing Committee on Directives is chaired by the Assistant Secretary for Administration and is composed of designated representatives from other Department bureaus.  It meets as necessary to provide guidance and direction on FAM issues and to resolve clearance issues between offices concerning FAM material.


(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

Change Transmittal (CT):  Formerly known as Transmittal Letter (TL), the official document that implements formal directive changes to the FAM or FAH.  It provides effective dates and necessary instructions for incorporating changes into the FAM or FAH.

Directive:  A written communication establishing and prescribing the organizations, policies, or procedures that provide an official basis of Department of State operation.

Foreign Affairs Handbook (FAH):  An extension of the Foreign Affairs Manual.  This supplemental series provides implementing guidelines and detailed procedures for directives contained in the FAM.  The term “Handbook” denotes a Foreign Affairs Handbook.  (See also 18 FAM 201.1-5(E)(1).)

Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM):  The formal written document for recording, maintaining, and issuing Department directives.  The term “manual” denotes the Foreign Affairs Manual or one of its volumes.

Operating offices:  These offices are responsible for carrying out the Department’s mission.  They perform their functions in accordance with directives contained in the FAM.

Program offices:  Department organizations that develop, implement, and manage appropriate policies and procedures regarding specified functions.  Program offices also perform oversight and periodic review of operating offices to ensure their compliance with Department directives.

Uniform regulations:  The term used for joint directives agreed to by the Department and other Foreign Affairs agencies and incorporated into agency directives materials (see 18 FAM 201.1-3(E)).

Valid (validity):  The term used to describe those directives placed in force through proper issuance as prescribed in 18 FAM 201.1.


(CT:PPP-10;   09-19-2018)
(State Only)

The directives program comprises the Foreign Affairs Manual, the Foreign Affairs Handbooks, acquisition regulations (see 18 FAM 201.1-5(D)), Department Notices and cables (interim issuance only), and collateral regulations (see 18 FAM 201.1-5(F)).  DIR also manages delegations of authority (see 18 FAM 201.3) and agency rulemaking (see 18 FAM 201.4).

18 FAM 201.1-5(A)  The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM)

(CT:PPP-25;   04-25-2023)
(State Only)

a. The Foreign Affairs Manual is the official articulation of directives that apply to the activities of the Department of State and the Foreign Service (see 18 FAM 201.1-1(B)).  The Foreign Affairs Manual consists of multiple volumes, listed below, with brief summaries of content.  Abbreviations used for numbering change transmittals follow in parentheses.

    1 FAM—ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONS (CT:ORG-):  This volume consists of the organizational structure of the Department of State, its functions, responsibilities, and authorities, and contains the official Department organization chart.

    2 FAM—GENERAL (CT:GEN-):  This volume contains an extensive range of unrelated materials; refer to 2 FAM Table of Contents for the list of subjects.

    3 FAM—PERSONNEL (CT:PER-):  This volume contains employment information, compensation, commissions, allowances and differentials, attendance and leave, benefits, performance evaluation, labor-management relations, conduct, grievance procedures, separation/retirement, locally employed staff (LE staff), etc.

    4 FAM—FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT (CT:FIN-):  This volume contains information on auditing, budgeting, accounting, disbursing, vouchers and claims, payroll operations, structure and classification codes, etc.

    5 FAM—INFORMATION MANAGEMENT (CT:IM-):  This volume contains information management-related issues, including correspondence and records management, audio-visual management, telecommunications, software engineering, system management, equipment and services acquisition, strategic planning, Freedom of Information, and program management.

    6 FAM—GENERAL SERVICES (CT:GS-):  This volume contains personal services and benefits information; commissary, mess, and recreational facilities; safety program; procurement of automated data processing equipment; space allocation; and publication, library, and language services.

    7 FAM—CONSULAR AFFAIRS (CT:CON-):  This volume contains responsibilities regarding the welfare of U.S. citizens abroad; judicial, financial, and medical assistance; shipping and seamen; acquisition and loss of U.S. citizenship; passport services; registration abroad, including reports of birth and absentee voting; and protection of foreign interests.

    8 FAMPassports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CT:CITZ-)This volume contains guidance on passports and consular reports of birth abroad for all passport agencies/centers, printing centers, and U.S. embassies and consulates (posts).

    9 FAM—VISAS (CT:VISA-):  This volume contains guidance to Department personnel on the issuance or refusal of visas to aliens.

    10 FAM—PUBLIC, EDUCATIONAL, AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS (CT:PEC-):  This volume contains information on public affairs; public diplomacy; education and cultural exchange programs; press relations; U.S. Government information dissemination to and within foreign countries; and educational and cultural conferences.

    11 FAM—LEGAL AND POLITICAL AFFAIRS (CT:POL-):  This volume contains political reporting, intelligence, policies, and programs; treaties and other international agreements; ethics; guidance relating to the Federal Advisory Committee Act; scientific integrity guidelines; and international conferences.  (Some of 11 FAM is CLASSIFIED.)

    12 FAM—DIPLOMATIC SECURITY (CT:DS-):  This volume governs security issues for personnel, facilities, and systems; protection; investigations; courier service; and counterterrorism.

    13 FAM—TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CT:TPD-):  This volume contains policies and procedures for the training of employees of the Department of State, and others, as appropriate.

    14 FAM—LOGISTICS MANAGEMENT (CT:LM-):  This volume contains logistics management, including procurement and the Diplomatic Pouch; and rules relating to Foreign Service travel.

    15 FAM—OVERSEAS BUILDINGS OPERATIONS (CT:OBO-):  This volume consists of management information of the Department's facilities abroad including foreign aspects of the Department’s safety program.

    16 FAM—Medical and Health Program (CT:MED-):  This volume provides information regarding medical clearances for personnel and acts as the Designated Agency Head for Safety Operations.

    17 FAM—Reserved.

    18 FAM—Programs, Practices, and Planning (CT:PPP-):  Provides guidance strategic direction, policy priorities, and program management. 

    19 FAM - Reserved.

    20 FAM - Data Policy (CT: DATA-):  This volume provides the Department data policy, which applies to all projects and programs collecting, using, and/or storing data.

b. A/GIS/DIR maintains the definitive master copy and inventory of the Foreign Affairs Manual.  This office also maintains the historical record of prior FAM provisions no longer in effect.

18 FAM 201.1-5(B)  Interim Directive

(CT:PPP-16;   03-06-2019)


    An office may issue an interim directive that has immediate effect.  

(1)  Interim directive refers to a new policy or a change in policy that is announced in a cable (ALDAC) or Department Notice prior to being codified in the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) or associated Foreign Affairs Handbook (FAH).  An interim directive is issued due to an urgent or compelling need or an emergency situation. An interim directive might result in conflicting guidance with the FAM/FAH.  Due to the possible confusion that may be caused by having more than one version of a policy in existence, interim directives are valid and supersede the FAM/FAH for the time period identified within the ALDAC or Department Notice.  If an interim directive expires, the effective policy will be the policy codified in the FAM/FAH.

(2)  Emergency situation includes addressing national security and public safety issues; litigation deadlines; Presidential Policy Directive Executive Orders and new legislation that have short deadlines; or other time sensitive situations.


(1)  Drafting:

(a)  The first sentence of an interim directive ALDAC or Department Notice must include:  “this is a policy change” and the expiration of the interim directive, not to exceed one year from date of issuance.

(b)  The reference line of an interim directive ALDAC or Department Notice must refer to the relevant FAM or FAH section.

(c)  A point of contact (POC) must be named within the interim directive.

(2)  Clearance:  

(a)  The drafting bureau’s Assistant Secretary or designee must approve and certify the interim directive as a new or change in policy that must be codified into the FAM in a timely manner.  

(b)  The drafting office must secure all bureau clearances before the interim directive can be issued in an ALDAC or Department Notice.

(c)  The drafting office must secure clearance from all stakeholders within the Department, within two business days, before the interim directive can be issued in an ALDAC or Department Notice.  Except for the requirements identified in paragraphs (d) and (e) below, if no response is received within two business days, the document will advance to the next step.  If a stakeholder indicates a Do Not Clear they must concurrently provide the justification and alternate content verbiage that will allow them to clear.

(d)  The Volume Coordinator (VC) is a mandatory clearer for each interim directive. 

(e)  An attorney assigned to the Office of the Legal Adviser (L) must clear before the interim directive can be issued in an ALDAC or Department Notice. 

(f)   The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will review, within two business days, the text before the interim directive can be issued in an ALDAC or Department Notice.  OIG may provide comments on Department directives, ALDACs and Notices, but does not provide clearance.   If no response is received within two business days, the document will advance to the next step.

(g)  A clearance sheet must be maintained that indicates the bureau and name of the clearer.

(h)  Upon request from L or OIG, A/GIS/DIR will provide a crosswalk of modifications regarding the interim guidance and current FAM/FAH text.

(i)   For interim personnel directives that require a revision or modification of 3 FAM/FAH, see 3 FAH-1 H-1116.1 for clearance guidance.

(3)  Emergency Interim Directive:

(a)  In an emergency situation, an interim directive may be issued.

(i)     In an emergency, normal clearance may be dispensed with, but the action bureau assumes responsibility for departure from the prescribed process. 

(ii)    The action office must inform the units and stakeholders within the Department omitted from the clearance process of the action that has been taken at opening of business the next business day. 

(b)  An attorney assigned to the Office of the Legal Adviser (L) must clear all emergency interim directives before the interim directive can be issued in an ALDAC or Department Notice.

(c)  Emergency interim directives issued after hours may be cleared by the drafting bureau with relevant bureau duty officers.

(d)  The drafting bureau must notify the OIG of the emergency issuance of an interim directive at opening of business the next business day.  Subsequently the OIG will conduct a review of the interim directive within five business days. OIG may provide comments on Department directives, ALDACs and Notices, but does not provide clearance.  If no response is received within five business days, the document will advance to the next step.

(4)  Issuance:

(a)  Once approval and clearances are secured: 

(i)     The ALDAC draft is transmitted by the drafting bureau in the SMART system. The Operations Center (S/ES-O) will review each outgoing ALDAC electronically within SMART and authorize final issuance. The ALDACs that do not meet the standard requirements for issuance will be returned to the drafter for re-submission.  

·         Detailed guidance, step-by-step instructions for entering ALDACs into SMART, and clearance guidance are available on the Executive Secretariat InfoLink page at under “Paper Guidance.”

·         Additional resources on drafting and sending cables through SMART are available at the SMART apps page.

(ii)    The Department Notice is transmitted by the drafting bureau to A/GIS for final issuance.    

(b)  Upon issuance of the interim directive, on the day of or opening of business the next business day, the drafting office must provide the following to A/GIS/DIR, at efam@state.gov, for publishing in the FAM/FAH:

(i)     Approved ALDAC or Department Notice;

(ii)    Clearance sheet;

(iii)    Hyperlink URL to the specific interim directive:

·         on the SMART Search site for ALDACS;

·         on the Department Intranet site for Department Notices.

(c)  A/GIS/DIR will notify the appropriate VC upon receipt of information regarding the interim directive.

(5)  FAM/FAH Publication:

(a)  Within two working days after the issuance of the ALDAC or Department Notice, A/GIS/DIR will publish the hyperlink in the appropriate FAM/FAH section linking directly to the interim directive.  

(b)  Within 60 days of issuance, the interim directive will be placed in the FAM Clearance application by the VC, in the standard FAM/FAH format, in order to secure clearance from all stakeholders within the Department.

(c)  In the event required modifications or revisions are identified within the FAM clearance process:

(i)     The final cleared policy will be published in the FAM and will supersede the issued interim directive and prior policy.

(ii)    The office of origin will re-issue an ALDAC or Department Notice citing the previous issuance, identifying the modifications or revisions made along with the appropriate hyperlink, and notifying the Department that the final policy is available in the FAM/FAH on the A/GIS/DIR website.

(d)  A/GIS/DIR will notify the office of origin VC 30 days prior to expiration of an interim directive.

(e)  Altogether, bureaus should codify an interim directive it has announced within 90 days of the announcement.


(1)  5 FAH-1 H-232 guidance regarding drafting ALDACs;

(2)  5 FAH-1 H-240 guidance regarding release of ALDACs;  see also 5 FAH-1 H-211 and 5 FAH-1 H-212.1 guidance regarding archive messages that convey official Department policy;

(3)  5 FAH-1 H-710 guidance regarding use of Department Notices; 

(4)  5 FAH-1 H-720 guidance regarding preparation and clearance of Department Notices;

(5)  2 FAM 1210 provides general guidance on action and clearance procedures and processes;

(6)  Repository:

(i)     ALDACs are retrievable in SMART Search.

(ii)    Department Notices are retrievable in the Department Intranet.

(iii)    Consular policy ALDACs and Department Notices are also retrievable in the CAWeb Intranet.

18 FAM 201.1-5(C)  Delegations of Authority

(CT:PPP-25;   04-25-2023)
(State Only)

Delegations of authority, when assigned numbers by A/GIS/DIR, become part of the Department’s body of authorities, to be cited as appropriate in the FAM and elsewhere. As necessary, DIR may also cite delegations of authority in the FAM.  (See 18 FAM 201.3).

18 FAM 201.1-5(D)  Acquisition Regulations

(CT:PPP-25;   04-25-2023)
(State Only)

a. The Federal Acquisition Regulations System codifies under Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations uniform policies and procedures for acquisition by all executive agencies.

b. The Federal Acquisition Regulations System consists of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which is the primary document, and agency acquisition regulations that implement or supplement the FAR.

c.  The Department of State Acquisition Regulation (DOSAR) implements and supplements the FAR.  The FAR and DOSAR cover Department of State acquisitions both domestically and abroad.  The Office of the Procurement Executive (A/OPE) is responsible for the DOSAR and represents the Department on the council that revises the FAR.

18 FAM 201.1-5(E)  Handbooks and Guidelines

18 FAM 201.1-5(E)(1)  Foreign Affairs Handbook Series

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. The Foreign Affairs Handbook (FAH) series is a supplemental series providing guidelines and procedures for implementing policies and directives contained in the FAM.  Material published in a FAH has the same force and effect as material published in the FAM.  Each handbook in the FAH series starts with the same FAM volume number to which it relates.  For example, 5 FAH-1 refers to the Correspondence Handbook.  The “5” prefix refers to Volume 5, Information Management.  The “1” shows that this is the first handbook in that FAH series.

b. A/GIS/DIR maintains a complete inventory and listing of all extant handbooks.  DIR also maintains the historical record of prior FAH provisions no longer in effect.

18 FAM 201.1-5(E)(2)  Other Guidebooks and Booklets

(CT:PPP-25;   04-25-2023)
(State Only)

a. The Office of Directives Management does not always link the FAM to other Department guidebooks (also termed guidelines, internal procedures, etc.) relating to isolated operations.  A/GIS/DIR must clear all proposed guidebooks or other similar materials prior to publication to determine whether they must be incorporated in a FAM volume or FAH handbook series. 

b. Booklets contain general information for distribution to individual employees or the public (such as health conditions or social customs in certain areas of the world). 

18 FAM 201.1-5(E)(3)  Numbering

(CT:PPP-25;   04-25-2023)

a. There are two numbering systems used for organizing information in the FAM/FAH: the first numbering system and the updated numbering system.  The updated numbering system is currently used in several volumes, including 8 FAM, 9 FAM, 13 FAM, 18 FAM, 20 FAM, 6 FAH-1, and 15 FAH-2.

b. In the first numbering system, information is organized into chapter (100), subchapter (110), and section (111).  This numbering system limits the number of sections in a subchapter and subchapters in a chapter to nine each.   

c.  In the updated numbering system, information is divided into series (100), chapter (101), subchapter (101.1), and section (101.1-1).  This updated numbering system provides greater flexibility by removing the limit to the number of chapters, subchapters, and sections. 

d. A/GIS/DIR has adopted the updated numbering system as the official numbering system for the FAM and requires its use in all new FAM/FAH volumes.  Further information regarding these numbering systems can be found in the FAM Writer's Guide.

18 FAM 201.1-5(F)  Collateral Regulations

(CT:PPP-10;   09-19-2018)
(State Only)

Collateral regulations comprise an organized collection of the regulatory or directives publications of Federal agencies other than the Department of State that affect the work of the Department and the Foreign Service.  They have legal effect without reissuance by the Department.  Such material is not ordinarily written into the Foreign Affairs Manual.  It is forwarded to posts in the form in which originally issued or as extracts under cover of explanatory cables or change transmittals.  Maintain these materials as individual manuals or sets of issuances.


(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

Procedures for drafting, clearing, formatting, and issuing FAM material are given in 2 FAH-1, Foreign Affairs Manual Standards.

18 FAM 201.1-6(A)  Drafting Directives

(CT:PPP-10;   09-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. Originating offices should coordinate with the Office of Directives Management (A/GIS/DIR) before drafting a directive for publication in the FAM (or emergency issuance by Department Notice or cable).

b. The originating office is responsible for the substance, proper format, and necessary clearances of each directive proposed for publication as a change to the Foreign Affairs Manual or a Foreign Affairs Handbook.  A/GIS/DIR may return to the originating office for correction any directives submitted for publication that are not properly formatted or contain substantive errors, such as incorrect authority citations.

c.  While any office of the Department may propose the initiation of a new or revised directive, the office having primary program responsibility or interest in the subject matter involved prepares the material.  When two or more offices share in preparing a single directive, this responsibility may be assumed under mutual agreement by either office, by the volume coordinator, or the Office of Directives Management.

d. When drafting new or revised directives, drafting officers should collaborate with their counterparts in other foreign affairs agencies to obtain uniformity.  A uniform regulation may not be revised without interagency consultation.

e. The originating office also prepares a suggested summary to be included in the change transmittal.  The summary contains the specific major changes in the directive.

18 FAM 201.1-6(B)  Clearance and Submission Procedure

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

Specifics procedures regarding the FAM clearance process are covered in 2 FAH-1, Chapter H-100.

18 FAM 201.1-6(B)(1)  Policy

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. A/GIS/DIR is responsible for ensuring that materials have proper clearance before issuance, printing, or other dissemination.

b. A/GIS/DIR may specify and require clearance points and may decline issuance without those clearances.

c.  FAM material needing clearances from within the Department must be submitted to the FAM Clearance website.  Procedures for using the FAM Clearance website are contained in 2 FAH-1 H-116.

18 FAM 201.1-6(B)(2)  Internal Clearances

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

Originating/program offices are responsible for obtaining their own bureau's internal clearances; they work with the relevant volume coordinator as needed.  Drafters should be in contact with A/GIS/DIR to obtain an informal review before getting the internal clearances.

18 FAM 201.1-6(B)(3)  Department Review and Clearance Points

(CT:PPP-20;   06-10-2020)
(State Only)

a. The originating office is responsible for identifying which bureaus/offices should review, comment, and/or clear the material.

b. Each clearance point indicates approval or disapproval in writing, including the use of email, through the FAM Clearance website (see 2 FAH-1 H-116).  In the case of disapproval, the clearance point gives its reasons.

c.  Required clearance points are:

(1)  L—mandatory for substantive issues;

(2)  M—mandatory for all revisions proposed by an M family bureau;

(3)  CGFS—for financial issues;

(4)  GTM—for personnel issues; and

(5)  A/GIS/DIR—for all Department administrative issues, policies, and procedures.

d. OIG is always a review point for new policies.  OIG will comment as appropriate, but does not clear.

18 FAM 201.1-6(B)(4)  Formal Submission

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. After all clearances are obtained, the originating office reconciles comments on proposed directives into the draft directive.  It sends the request for publication and final draft in approved format (see 2 FAH-1 H-100) to the volume coordinator.  The volume coordinator reviews the submission and forwards the final draft to the Office of Directives Management for review and codification.

b. If needed or requested by A/GIS/DIR, the originating office must explain in writing reasons for nonacceptance of substantive comment from other offices identified in the clearance process. L clearance is mandatory for substantive issues.

18 FAM 201.1-6(C)  Review and Issuance

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. The Office of Directives Management determines and applies directives standards.  It makes such editorial changes it deems necessary (without reclearance, unless substantive intent of the proposed material is affected), and it arranges for publication.

b. A/GIS/DIR reviews and issues all directives, ensuring that:

(1)  No conflicting and duplicating policies are published;

(2)  Proper clearances and approvals have been obtained; and

(3)  Directives are easy to understand.

c.  The A/GIS/DIR obtains or directs the originating office to obtain any additional clearances it deems necessary, especially if uniformity among agencies is involved.  It also approves for publication new or revised directives after all offices concerned have reviewed and concurred.

d. When the originating office or the Office of Directives Management cannot reconcile dissenting views, A/GIS/DIR must report the matter to the Standing Committee on Directives.

e. On a uniform directive, agency dissenting views are resolved by the Joint Regulations Board or by referral by the Board to senior officials of the agencies concerned.

18 FAM 201.1-6(D)  Issuance and Distribution

18 FAM 201.1-6(D)(1)  General Policy

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. A/GIS/DIR is solely responsible for managing this program.  Address all questions concerning this program, including validity of materials in either format, to A/GIS/DIR.

b. A/GIS/DIR prepares its master copies for electronic use.  Offices may purchase paper revisions from A/GIS/GPS and use them as backup copies and for reference as needed.

c.  A/GIS/DIR issues change transmittals (CTs) to make changes and replacements by subchapter.  DIR maintains a master copy for validity and continuity purposes.

d. Use the TAGS AINF and KFAM on all official communications concerning any FAM or FAH issuances.

18 FAM 201.1-6(D)(2)  Intranet

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

A/GIS/DIR posts all issued Department’s directives on its websites.  These electronic Web versions are the official versions of the Department’s directives.

18 FAM 201.1-6(D)(3)  Compact Disk Format

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

Upon requests from posts where the Internet may not be available or reliable, A/GIS/DIR can supply the FAM in CD-ROM (Compact Disk-Read Only Memory) format.

18 FAM 201.1-6(E)  Volume Maintenance

(CT:PPP-25;   04-25-2023)
(State Only)

a. The FAM is a vital part of the Department’s day-to-day operations.  Posts/offices relying on nonelectronic FAM materials must maintain them and keep them current.  Responsibilities for FAM maintenance include:

(1)  Providing means to access the FAM over the Department’s Intranet or ClassNet, as well as the Internet, OSIS, and SIPRNET whenever possible, or making the most recent FAM CD-ROMs or paper copies readily available;

(2)  Distributing new material promptly; and

(3)  Ensuring that FAM materials remain at the post or office, and not in the possession of individual officers or staff.

b. Posts and offices that rely primarily on CD-ROM or paper versions of the FAM should include FAM maintenance as part of the job descriptions of designated employees and should include a FAM/FAH review as part of check-in and check-out procedures.


(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

The Office of Directives Management maintains complete records showing clearances and approvals on all materials published in the FAMs and FAHs.  These records are available to officers of the Department who seek information on the history of directives.


18 FAM 201.1-8(A)  Validity

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

a. The Office of Directives Management (A/GIS/DIR), in coordination with L, determines the validity of Department of State directives.  As the managing office, DIR maintains an official copy of all valid directives.  In the case of legal deficiency, L may request DIR to rescind the identified material and at the same time notify the program office of the determination and the need to revise the affected material.

b. A/GIS/DIR will respond to questions of apparent discrepancy or divergence between the official electronic version and other DIR-issued versions.  (For example, due to older processing requirements, FAM citations have differed slightly between the two formats, but both are equally valid as long as their substance is the same.)

c.  Direct requests concerning the validity of directives or other similar materials to A/GIS/DIR.

18 FAM 201.1-8(B)  Interpretation

(CT:PPP-2;   03-19-2018)
(State Only)

The originating office is responsible for interpreting its directives, subject to L review.  The Office of Directives Management will forward inquiries it receives to the originating office.  Interpretation of uniform directives is made after interagency consultation.