U.S. Office of Personnel Management
THE GUIDE TO PROCESSING PERSONNEL ACTIONS
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
(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.