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Office of Allowances

Department of State Standardized Regulations - (Last updated 10/29/2006)






Expenditures for items of the following kinds incurred in the foreign country or area of assignment or detail by employees and adult family members acting with or on their behalf described in Section 312, may be approved for reimbursement or payment:


a. entertainment of a protocol nature, such as that normally offered by the principal and high-ranking subordinate officers of the Foreign Service at posts abroad on such occasions as national holidays and on such other important occasions as visits of noted personages or of public vessels or aircraft.  However, reimbursement for entertainment solely for employees of the Executive Branch of the United States Government and their families is prohibited.  (See Section 330d);


b. entertainment undertaken by employees to promote personal relationships necessary to the performance of their official duties;


c. gratuities (in addition to those related to entertainment) to persons not employed by the United States, where such gratuities are used primarily to extend courtesies or to conform to social or diplomatic custom and subject to the limitations of Section 320d; (eff. 10/29/06 TL:SR-670)


d. purchase of flowers, wreaths and similar tokens for presentation in accordance with local custom on appropriate occasions such as weddings, births or deaths of important personages. The cost of items purchased under this subsection may not exceed the lesser of the limits established under 22 USC 2694 for gifts of minimal value (as defined in 41 CFR 102-42) or an agency’s implementing regulations; (eff. 10/29/06 TL:SR-670)


e. entertainment of members and employees of the Legislative and/or Judicial Branches of the United States Government, or other American citizens who are not employees of the Federal Government, including State and local officials and business persons;


f. hiring extra waiters, busboys or other temporary help to serve at official functions, and overtime for ORE staff serving at official representation events; (eff. 10/29/06 TL:SR-670)


g. rental costs incurred for ceremonial dress required of staff accompanying an Ambassador in presenting his/her credentials to the head of state; rental costs incurred by Ambassadors, Deputy Chiefs of Mission and officers serving as Charge D’Affaires for formal morning dress required by host country protocol for official ceremonial occasions.  Reimbursement for rental costs of formal wear for all other occasions is prohibited. Where economical to the U.S. Government and authorized by agency regulation, agencies may permit the purchase of formal morning dress for the purposes listed above so long as such attire is only used for official purposes (eff. 10/29/06 TL:SR-670);


h. printing, engraving or purchase of invitations to official functions, seasonal greeting cards,or other printing and engraving related to representation functions, where there exists agency authority for such printing and engraving (e.g. Department of State authority under 22 U.S.C. 2669(a)) (eff. 10/29/06 TL:SR-670); and


i. other representational expenses which the head of agency may authorize or approve as being of a type to promote the interests of the United States.