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Do you have prior Career or Career-Conditional Service with the Federal Government? If so, you may be eligible for reinstatement.

What is Reinstatement?

Reinstatement allows you to reenter the Federal competitive service workforce without competing with the public. Reinstatement eligibility enables you to apply for Federal jobs open only to status candidates.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You must have held a career or career-conditional appointment at some time in the past. If so, there is no time limit on reinstatement eligibility for those who:

  • Have veterans' preference, or
  • Acquired career tenure by completing 3 years of substantially continuous creditable service.

If you do not have veterans' preference or did not acquire career tenure, you may be reinstated within 3 years after the date of your separation. Reinstatement eligibility may be extended by certain activities that occur during the 3-year period after separation from your last career-conditional appointment. Examples of these activities are:

  • Federal employment under temporary, term, or similar appointments.
  • Federal employment in excepted, non-appropriated fund, or Senior Executive Service positions.
  • Federal employment in the legislative and judicial branches.
  • Active military duty terminated under honorable conditions.
  • Service with the District of Columbia Government prior to January 1, 1980 (and other service for certain employees converted to the District's independent merit system).
  • Certain government employment or full-time training that provided valuable training and experience for the job to be filled.
  • Periods of overseas residence of a dependent who followed a Federal military or civilian employee to an overseas post of duty.

How do I apply for Reinstatement?

You must conduct your own job search. Reinstatement eligibility does not guarantee you a job offer. Hiring agencies have the discretion to determine the sources of applicants they will consider.

Individuals usually apply to agencies in response to vacancies announced under the merit promotion program. Some agencies accept applications only when they have an appropriate open merit promotion announcement, while others accept applications at any time. If you are seeking a higher grade or a position with more promotion potential than you previously held, generally you must apply under a merit promotion announcement and rank among the best-qualified applicants to be selected. Status applicants include individuals who are eligible for reinstatement.

To establish your reinstatement eligibility, you must provide a copy of your separation SF 50, Notification of Personnel Action, showing tenure group 1 or 2, along with your application. You may obtain a copy of your personnel records from your former agency if you recently separated. Otherwise, send your request to the address below.

The FEDERAL RECORDS CENTER has been established as a depository for official personnel folders of persons no longer in the Federal service. Federal agencies, generally, transfer employment records to the Federal Records Center 120-days after the employee has been separated from Federal service. Requests for this information should be directed to:


National Personnel Records Center, Annex
1411 Boulder Boulevard
Valmeyer, IL 62295
Fax: 618-935-3014

Such inquiries should include your full name under which formerly employed, social security number, date of birth, and to the extent known, former Federal employing agencies, addresses and dates of such employment. The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a) and the Office of Personnel Management require a signed and dated written request for information from Federal records. No requests for information from personnel or any other type of records will be accepted by telephone or e-mail.

How can I find out about agency merit promotion announcements?

USAJOBS®, the government's official job web site provides access to more than 30,000 job listings daily as well as applications, forms, and employment fact sheets. Job postings are updated daily and are available to job seekers in a variety of formats to ensure accessibility for those with differing physical and technological capabilities. You can search for jobs by location, job category, and agency and complete and submit your application directly to the agency online.

The TDD line, 978-461-8404, is available for our customers that are hearing impaired. Local telephone companies may charge for long distance service.

Applicants may also contact the agencies in which they are interested in working for specific application instructions.


You must be a citizen of the United States.


You must meet the qualification requirements for the position. Written tests are not common but if one is required, arrangements will be made for you to take it.


You must meet the suitability standards for Federal employment. If you were removed for cause from your previous Federal employment, it will not necessarily bar you from further Federal service. The facts in each case as developed by inquiry or investigation will determine the person's fitness for re-entry into the competitive service.


There are no maximum age limits for appointment to most positions in the competitive service. Some jobs, such as law enforcement officers and firefighters, do have limits.

Positions Restricted to Veterans

Positions in the competitive service such as guard, messenger, elevator operator, and custodian have been restricted by law to veterans entitled to preference. Generally, a non-veteran may not be reinstated to such positions if qualified veterans are available.

Probationary Period

If you did not complete a required probationary period during previous service under the appointment upon which your eligibility for reinstatement is based, you will be required, in most cases, to serve a complete one-year probationary period after reinstatement.

AS OF: 10/2011

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