Virtual Student Federal Service

Virtual Student Federal Service Youth Programs | Internships 


All about VSFS

Are you a student looking for a way to make a real difference in the work of your government, while also gaining job experience and connections?

Are you a federal employee looking for help on projects? Need new ideas or fresh perspectives? VSFS can benefit you!

Through the Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) program, students can work on projects that advance the work of government on multiple fronts. Projects include helping counter violent extremism, strengthening human rights monitoring, developing virtual programs, engaging in digital communications, mapping, economic and political reporting, data analysis, graphic design, and app building.

No more nine to five

VSFS is accommodating and flexible. Through VSFS, students can intern from wherever they are – from dorm rooms to libraries to coffee shops, or anywhere in the world with a broadband or Internet connection. Students set their own schedules too – working on projects on a timetable that fits their life.

Through VSFS, students can also choose projects from a wide variety of agencies – more than 40 federal agencies. Through VSFS, federal employees connect with students from diverse backgrounds and skills, as well as with their colleagues across government.

How it works

Each year, federal employees submit project requests between May 1 and June 10. U.S. students apply to their top three VSFS projects from July 1-31 on VSFS supervisors review applications between August 1-31 and may contact VSFS candidates for a virtual interview. As part of the interview, candidates may be asked to show examples of their expertise and work. All candidates will hear by early September if they have been offered a position.

Selected eInterns work on their projects for ten hours a week from September through May. Some eInterns work their academic institutions to receive course credit for their VSFS participation.

For more details, please visit the Student and Mentor FAQ sections.

Government Agencies in “red” in columns on pages 1-3 might be of interest to future health professionals on pages.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is VSFS?

The Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) is an eight-month remote internship program for U.S. citizen students, college-level and above, who would like to make a real difference in the work of the U.S. government. Since 2009, thousands of e-Interns have expanded the efforts of the U.S. government, working remotely from their school, dorm room, apartment, local library or coffee shop – wherever they happen to be! Virtual interns work only on unclassified projects. They report to their mentors at the Department of State and other federal government agencies in the U.S. and around the world by email, phone, or video chat. VSFS is managed by the Office of eDiplomacy in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Information Resource Management. VSFS collaborates with federal agencies across government on this program.

Who can apply to VSFS?

US. citizens who are in “student status” in a full-time or part-time degree or certificate program, and taking classes in-person or online, in the U.S. or abroad, may apply. To be clear, an applicant must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • Enrolled as a student in a college level or above degree or certificate program

What kind of work can VSFS eInterns do?

Projects run the gamut, from research to analysis to app development to graphic design to social media management and more. VSFS has something for everyone, which is why the program needs students from every major and background.

How long are VSFS eInternships?

eInternships run from September through May of each year.

How many hours per week are students expected to spend on projects?

Students contribute ten hours of work a week on their projects.

Are VSFS eInternships paid? Are there employee benefits?

VSFS eInternships are not paid. VSFS eInterns are not federal government employees, so they do not receive employee benefits. However, VSFS eInterns can gain invaluable work experience through their remote internships and learn more about the federal government.

When do VSFS applications open?

The VSFS vacancy announcement is open July 1 – 31 on the website. During that time, students may find the listing by searching for “VSFS” or “Virtual Student Federal Service” on USAJOBS. Students may apply to up to three projects.


How many positions are available?

The number of available positions changes from year to year and depends on the needs of each agency. Last year, VSFS had more than 550 projects with over 1,200 positions and 5,000+ applicants. We expect these numbers to rise in parallel. Some projects require more than one student.




Can students graduating in December of January still apply?

Yes, as long as the student commits to the full participation period of the project.

Do applicants need to speak a foreign language?

No. Some positions require a language, others do not. The language requirement for each project is on the project description page.

Can non-U.S. citizens apply?

No, the VSFS eInternship program is only for U.S. citizen students.

Where is a list of the available projects and positions?

Students #ApplyinJuly. All projects are available on    on July 1 and projects are “live” as approved and submitted beginning May 1 through June 10. Projects that require unique skills will be highlighted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How many projects may students apply to?

Students may select up to three projects.

Do applicants have to submit a transcript or a resume?

Applicants will be required to fill out the entire online USAJOBS application including:

  • a resume using the USAJOBS resume builder, a statement of interest
  • a copy of an official or unofficial transcript 

Do applicants need to write a statement of interest or obtain references?

All applicants must submit a statement of interest in that section of the USAJOBS application. The character limit is 2,500. It is important that this statement reflects the applicant! We do not accept references.

How are eInterns selected?

Project mentors will look through each candidate’s application in determining their selections. VSFS encourages all mentors to interview top applicants and ask for supporting documentation such as writing samples or a design portfolio. It is up to each supervising team to determine their criteria for selection.

When will students find out if they have been selected?

Project mentors begin reviewing applications in August. Selections are due by August 31 so students will be notified of selection during the month of August. Selected students begin their projects during the first two weeks of September. The VSFS team ( will email all applicants - those selected and those who were not placed - after the application period closes and projects are assigned.

Do eInterns get course credit for participating?

Many students have successfully negotiated course credit agreements with their schools. It is up to individual institutions of higher learning to determine whether or not to grant course credit for VSFS internships.

Will a VSFS eInternship increase a student’s chances of securing a traditional internship and/or full-time employment with the government?

Some VSFS eInterns have gone on to do a traditional internship with the State Department or other federal agencies. While VSFS is not a formal recruiting tool, students will learn about the work of the U.S. government through the program and students will gain invaluable experience working with mentors, which could make them a stronger candidate for future internships or employment with the government. NOTE: VSFS participation does not constitute official employment with the federal government. A VSFS eIntern awarded a Boren fellowship, for instance, does not need an official letter confirming his/her non-affiliation with the U.S. Government.

Will eInterns need to get a security clearance or background check?  No, VSFS eInterns do not need, and are not issued, security clearances. They will not be handling sensitive information.

If a student is not selected this year, may the student reapply next year?  Yes, as long as the student still meets eligibility requirements (i.e., U.S. citizen enrolled as a student in a degree or certificate program).

May students use the content they create as part of their online portfolio?

Yes! Students should credit their work as being done as part of the VSFS program for the office and agency they are assigned to.

What happens if a student accepts a project, but then cannot complete their assignment?  Unanticipated or unexpected circumstances can occur for both student and mentor. VSFS will address each situation on a case-by-case basis. VSFS will also try to help facilitate a positive outcome. However, if that not possible, a student may be asked to resign from the VSFS eInternship program or a mentor may be asked to close their project. In rare cases, if a mentor agrees, a student may take time off and resume the eInternship at a later date.



U.S. Department of State Student Programs (continued)

Recent Graduates Program.  This new program targets recent graduates of trade and vocational schools, community colleges, universities, and other qualifying educational institutions or programs.  To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion.  Veterans who were unable to apply for positions due to military service will have up to two years from their release or discharge from active duty, not to exceed six years after degree and/or certificate completion.  Successful applicants will be placed in a one-year career development program.


Presidential Management Fellows Program.  For more than three decades, the PMF Program has been the Federal government’s premier leadership development program for advanced degree candidates.  The Program focuses on developing a cadre of potential government leaders.


Diplomats in Residence.  These Foreign Service Officers are located throughout the U.S. and are responsible for providing guidance and advice to students, professionals and the community about Department careers.