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Foreign Travel Training

Update: Changes to State Department Foreign Travel Training Courses During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Effective June 2, 2020, the High Threat Overseas Training Seminar (HTSOS) has been renamed the Counter Threat Awareness Training (CTAT).

Effective March 20, 2020, the Foreign Affairs Counter Threat Course has been cancelled until August 31, 2020. The Registrar will do their best to re-enroll students in future sessions, based on availability, when activity returns to normal. The Department of State is addressing the process for allowing FACT waivers under certain circumstances and when guidance is in place, it will be messaged to all personnel and agencies affected

In anticipation of some employees having an urgent need to travel to post without having completed FACT due to the current cancellation of FACT. Waivers are an available option for employees with PCS or TDY travel to posts before the next available FACT course offering. The current waiver process remains in effect. It is recommended that any employee who believes they might require a waiver complete the online Counter Threat Awareness Training (CTAT) (formerly HTSOS) course as soon as possible, as prior completion of that online course is a condition of receiving a FACT waiver.

Additional Updated Guidance to FACT and CTAT Training:

A new threshold for FACT has been approved.  Instead of requiring FACT for all U.S. government personnel working overseas for 45 or more cumulative days in a calendar year, FACT is now required when those personnel work overseas for 90 or more cumulative days in a 12-month period.  Personnel working overseas for less than 90 cumulative days in a 12-month period will not be required to take FACT. 

In addition, the validity period for FACT and CTAT has been extended from five years to six years.  This will allow one additional year for personnel to obtain a new FACT or CTAT certificate.

Official international travel under the Department of State Chief of Mission (COM) requires training prior to travel. All personnel performing official international travel for less than 90 days cumulative for the calendar year are required to complete the High Threat - Security Overseas Seminar (HTSOS) course online via the Commerce Learning Center (CLC). Personnel going on official international travel for 90 days or more cumulative for the calendar year (extended TDY or Permanent Change of Station) are required to complete the Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) course.

High Threat - Security Overseas Seminar (HTSOS)

Traveling internationally fewer than 90 days cumulative for the calendar year?

HTSOS fulfills a Department of State mandatory training requirement for all personnel traveling internationally for less than a cumulative 90 days for the calendar year. HTSOS is not required for, and does not include, non-official (personal) international travel.

HTSOS training on the CLC takes approximately 5 hours to complete all modules. The HTSOS completion certificate is valid for 6 years, at which time the training must be completed again.

If an individual is executing official international travel and does not have access to the CLC, the HTSOS (HT401) is accessible via the Department of State Foreign Service Institute (FSI) website which carries a registration fee of $80.

Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT)

Traveling internationally for 90 days or more (e.g. Permanent Change of Station to overseas post) cumulative for the calendar year?

Personnel who will incur 90 days or more of official international travel cumulative for the calendar year on temporary duty [or on permanent change of station (PCS) orders] are required to complete the 5-day FACT course. Enrollment procedures, cost, course schedule and other information regarding this training can be found at the Department of State (DOS) Foreign Service Institute (FSI) website. This course is valid for 6 years.

A valid FACT course certificate will be recognized in lieu of the HTSOS requirement for official international travel.


For questions related to HTSOS or FACT training requirements, please contact the Office of Security Training Program POC at OSY-PPCD@doc.gov