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Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus

Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus

The need for Airmen with foreign language capabilities is extensive. Airmen who are fluent in a second language and test at a proficient level on the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) or Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) may be eligible for additional pay. Foreign language needs will be continually assessed and an updated Strategic Language List will be published annually. More information about the DLPT may be found on the Air Force Portal under Language and culture Development Program.



FLPB is a monthly monetary incentive paid to eligible and qualified military personnel possessing foreign language proficiency. The objective of FLPB is to encourage the acquisition, maintenance, and enhancement of foreign language skills vital to national defense. The ability of the Air Force to interact in the international arena and respond effectively to any global contingency mandates the need for qualified personnel to communicate with our allies and the local populations as well as with our adversaries. Individual participation is voluntary.


An Airman's application, qualification, and receipt of FLPB constitute acknowledgment that he or she may be called upon to respond to global contingency requirements.


Airmen claiming proficiency in a language and are certified as proficient using the DLPT and/or OPI system in an authorized foreign language may be eligible for FLPB. To continue receiving FLPB, Airmen must recertify annually (biennially for 3/3 or higher scores) in any combination of two of the three modalities; listening, reading, and/or speaking. The responsibility to retest in a timely manner is the responsibility of the Airman.



Active Duty Airmen must:

  • Be entitled to basic pay under Title 37, U.S.C, Section 204

  • Be certified as proficient using the DLPT/OPI System in an authorized foreign language

Reserve Component Airmen must:


  • Be entitled to compensation under Title 37, U.S.C., Section 206

  • Meet the same requirements as active duty Airmen


The test control officer or test examiner schedules and conducts annual DLPT testing in a manner that ensures Airmen receiving FLPB test within 12 months but not sooner than six months since their previous administration. 

Individuals will contact a Military Testing Facility to arrange for initial and recertification testing, understanding that failure to test as scheduled may result in loss of FLPB. The individual's request for initial testing must include acknowledgement that once qualified for FLPB, failure to retest annually (every two years for Airmen that score 3/3) will result in a loss of FLPB.


FLPB will only be paid when the Airman demonstrates a minimum of 2/2 proficiency in any two of the three modalities with respect to foreign languages identified on the Air Force Strategic Language List (SLL). Individuals who fail to qualify in a language cannot retest in that same language until at least six months have passed from the date the test was last administered unless granted an exception by HQ AFPC Test Management Office. Airmen are authorized to receive FLPB upon completion of BMT or commissioning. DLPT scores received during the recruiting process can be used to certify for FLPB, as long as the scores are within the timeframe of 12 months.


Exception: Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands Personnel, Air Force Special Operations, and Mobility Support Advisory Personnel must achieve a minimum score of 1/1 and higher to qualify for FLPB.



In accordance with AFI 36-4002, Air Force Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus Program, paragraph 3.2.2., certification for Airmen who score 3/3 or higher will be waived to two years from the first day of the first month after the final certification month.


Airmen may be eligible for FLPB for more than one language, but may not receive more than $1,000 per month. Payment of FLPB shall not exceed $12,000 per 1-year certification period and shall be paid in monthly installments or in a lump sum during the certification period. The monthly rate shall not exceed $500 per month for a single language, or $1,000 per month for any combination of languages.



Exception to Policy (ETP) packages are initiated via Case Management System (CMS) and must include at a minimum:


  • Official memorandum of justification signed by the Airman and Airman's unit commander

  • CED Orders (in some cases DD Form 1610s)

  • DLPT/OPI test scores

  • Certification memorandum (if applicable) 

NOTE: Additional documentation may be requested and is determined on a case by case basis.



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