Foreign Transfer Allowance
Foreign Transfer Allowance (FTA): The purpose of the FTA is to help defray an employee’s extraordinary but necessary and reasonable costs when he/she transfers to a post in a foreign area. The FTA has four parts:
(1) The Miscellaneous Expense Portion is to help cover “miscellaneous” expenses incidental to a foreign assignment such as pet transportation; vehicle registration; driver’s license; utility fees or deposits not offset by an eventual refund. The flat amount for an employee without family is the lesser of either one-week’s salary or $650. For an employee with family it is the lesser of two weeks’ salary or $1,300. A higher rate is available if the employee provides itemized receipts (see DSSR 242.1b).
(2) The Wardrobe Expense Portion is granted when an employee transfers across two climatic zones to his/her new foreign post of assignment. Climate zone information for foreign areas can be found under “Trans Zone” in section 920 of the DSSR. Non-foreign area climate zones are listed in DSSR 242.2b. Because the continental U.S. is in zone 2, personnel transferring from the continental U.S. do not receive the wardrobe expense portion. DoD does not authorize this part of the FTA for its personnel. For those employees who qualify, the flat amounts (no itemization; no receipts required) for a two-zone transfer are: $600 for an employee without family; $1,000 for an employee with one family member; and $1,300 for an employee with two or more family members. For more information, see DSSR 242.2.
(3) The Predeparture Subsistence Expense Portion is granted to assist employees with the costs of temporary lodging, meals, laundry, and dry cleaning that are incurred when an employee transfers to a foreign post from a post in the U.S. This allowance may be granted for up to 10 days before final departure from a post in the U.S., beginning not more than 30 days after the employee has vacated permanent residence quarters. According to the government-wide DSSR the 10 days may be taken anywhere in the U.S. as long as the employee or family members have not begun travel on orders and the final departure is from the U.S. post of assignment. Note: Agency implementing regulations may restrict the 10 days to within reasonable proximity of the U.S. post of assignment. An agency may consider reasonable proximity as a fifty-mile radius from the U.S. post of assignment.
There are two methods by which employees may be reimbursed. The Total Actual Subsistence Method is the primary method of reimbursement. However, agencies may alternatively offer the Partial Flat Rate Method of reimbursement. Please check your agency’s implementing regulations for guidance on which method(s) of reimbursement your agency offers. DSSR 242.3 explains how to calculate the Partial Flat Rate Method and the Total Actual Subsistence Method. Regardless of the method, the calculation is always based on the employee's U.S. post of assignment per diem and not the per diem of where the employee/family members may be staying.
(4) The Lease Penalty Expense Portion is to offset a residential (not car or cell phone) lease penalty unavoidably incurred by an employee when transferring to a foreign post. In order for the employee to qualify for the lease penalty portion, the employee and agency must meet several requirements. Information on the lease penalty expense portion is found in DSSR 242.4.
For more information, visit: U.S. Dept. of State – Office of Allowances