U.S. Office of Personnel Management




Subchapter 4.  The Entry on Duty Process for New Employees


4-3.  Entrance on Duty (EOD)


c.  Oath of Office


As part of the entry-on-duty process, the

employee takes the oath of office.  The

Standard Form 61, Appointment Affidavit,

contains the oath of office (part A) required

by 5 U.S.C. 3331, the affidavit on striking

against the Federal Government (part B)

required by 5 U.S.C. 7311, and the affidavit

on purchase and sale of office (part C) that 5

U.S.C. 3332 requires officers to complete.


(1)  The form is completed and filed on the

right side of the Official Personnel Folder

when the employee is first appointed in the

Federal Government and for each

subsequent new appointment in any agency

(including appointment by transfer,

reinstatement, and restoration).  A Standard

Form 61 is not required when there is a

change in an employee’s status (such as a

conversion to a new appointment) as long as

service is continuous in the same agency.  A

new Standard Form 61 is not required when

the employing office or agency changes as a

result of a transfer of function, either.

However, an agency may request that the

form be completed even if it is not required.


(2)  The oath and affidavits are executed

when the appointee enters on duty and are

given by a notary or by a Federal official or

employee of your agency who has, or has

been delegated, responsibility to administer

oaths (see 5 U.S.C. 2903).  United States

citizens must swear to or affirm the oath of

office and the affidavit in part B;  aliens must

swear to or affirm the affidavit in part B.

Persons appointed as “officers” must swear

to or affirm the oath of office and the

affidavits in parts B and C. (“Officers” are

justices and judges of the United

States and individuals who are required by

law to be appointed by the President, a court

of the United States, the head of an

Executive agency, or the Secretary of a

military department;  persons appointed as

officers” are invested by law with authority

delegated from the heads of departments or

independent establishments.)


(3)  If the appointee objects to the form of

the oath on religious grounds, certain

modifications may be permitted pursuant to

the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Please contact your agency’s legal counsel

for advice.  The jurat at the bottom of the

form must be signed by each appointee and

completed by the person who administers

the oath or affidavits.


(4)  The Civil Service oath of office in part

A contains the phrase “defend the

constitution.”  In the case of Girouard vs.

United States, 328 U.S. 61 (1946), the U.S.

Supreme Court held that the oath of

allegiance to the United States of American [sic]

(taken by all candidates for citizenship)

does not in terms require that they promise

to bear arms.”  Explain to any appointee

who questions the meaning of, or objects to,

that part of the oath that the “defend the

Constitution” phrase in the Civil Service

oath of office does not imply that the

appointee would be expected to bear arms.


(5)  Obtain an original and a copy of the

Standard Form 61 when the oath and

affidavits are executed by cabinet officers

and heads of independent establishments,

agencies, and offices.  After the oath has

been taken and the form executed, send the

copy to the Department of State.