How to Apply
Two ways to apply for a position
All US Citizens
The competitive hiring process is open to all US citizens. The process includes an evaluation of the applicant’s education, experience, and/or other attributes necessary for the position and may include a written test (if applicable).
The merit promotion process is open to permanent Federal employees to compete for vacant positions on the basis of their experience, education, competencies and performance. Merit promotion may also be open to applicants under special hiring authorities.
How to apply for a position at USCIS
Search for vacancies on USAJOBS
- Tip: Use the Saved Searches feature to have USAJOBS automatically search for jobs based on your search criteria and email you daily, weekly or monthly about new vacancies.
Apply for an opening
- Read the vacancy announcement carefully.
- Check out the USAJOBS Resource Center for tips.
- You are responsible for ensuring that your application is complete.
- Follow all required steps and submit all required documents listed in the vacancy announcement.
- If you have already applied for a job, please see our Written Notifications to Applicants During the Application Process.
Receive an automatic confirmation of your completed online assessment
- The human resources office will notify you that we received your online questionnaire portion of the application. Again, you are still responsible for making sure your application is complete before the vacancy closes.
How to submit your resume
As part of the application process for USCIS, you must submit a resume that is no longer than 5 pages on standard (8.5 by 11 inches) paper. If your resume is longer than 5 pages, only the first 5 pages will be reviewed to determine your eligibility/qualifications. This requirement supports USCIS’ efforts to further streamline the hiring process through the use of clear and concise resumes.
The font type and size must be sufficient for reading purposes; however, fonts must be no smaller than 10-point size.
Using Résumé Builder
If you use Résumé Builder, you are strongly encouraged to save your resume in Microsoft Word and upload the Word document instead of submitting your resume created through USAJOBS resume builder. This helps ensure you meet the 5-page resume limit.
- USAJOBS resume builder does not show a page count/number during the building of a resume.
- Additional spaces/page gaps are added to resumes during the automated Résumé Builder conversion process. This means that our Human Resources Office may receive a PDF version of your resume that exceeds the length of the original resume you submitted.
- We strongly recommend that you convert your resume in Résumé Builder to a Word document, check the page length, and then submit your resume as a Word document.
You are responsible for manually checking the length of your resume by viewing the completed document. Applicants who submit resumes longer than 5 pages will not be eligible for further consideration for the job announcement.
What to Include
Your resume content may include, but is not limited to, the following items:
- Applicant contact/location information;
- Description of work experience(s) with specific dates;
- Job-related competencies/skills;
- Education, training and/or certifications;
- Volunteer work; and
- Interests, awards, references and/or professional associations.
The above items are all considered part of your resume and will need to be included in the 5-page limit. Please note that your resume should not include separate supporting documents or forms such as DD 214s, SF 50s, Transcripts, SF 15s, and/or other Veterans Documents.
If the job announcement requires separate supporting documents as part of your application, please submit these documents where prompted under the Select Documents section during the online application process.
If you have questions, please contact the human resources office using the email and phone number listed in the job announcement.
What happens after you submit your application
Human resources specialists review your qualifications
- Specialists review all the self-assessments, resumes, and supporting documentation to determine the top-rated applicants.
- The specialists will compare your resume with the minimum qualifications for the position.
Top-rated applicants are referred to the hiring manager
- Under competitive hiring, if you meet the minimum qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position, you are placed into one of three categories based on your rating: best-qualified, well-qualified, and qualified. Applicants in the top-rated category will be referred to the manager responsible for making the selection.
- Under merit promotion, the human resources specialist will provide the best qualified applicants to the hiring manager.
The hiring manager reviews the referred applications
- If you were referred, the hiring manager will review your application and other supporting documentation, such as a performance appraisal, to decide whether or not to interview you. Some offices may use panels to review applications.
The hiring manager sets up interviews
- For most vacancies, USCIS hiring managers will interview the top-rated applicants before making a selection.
The hiring manager makes a tentative selection
- The manager informs the human resources specialist of the top choice for the position.
The human resources specialist verifies the selected person’s qualifications and validates the tentative selection
- The human resources specialist validates that your selection meets all applicable rules and regulations.
What happens after a selection is made
If selected, you will receive a tentative job offer
- You will receive instructions for completing the online security forms and scheduling of your drug screening (if applicable) after you accept the position.
Once you are cleared through security, the human resources specialist makes the final offer
- You will be contacted by a human resources specialist to formally accept the position and schedule your start date.
You prepare to start your new job
- The specialist sends you information on where and when to report for your first day, including a link to www.uscis.gov/newemployee and instructions on what forms to complete before your first day.
Welcome to USCIS!
- On your first day, you are sworn in and you complete the required first-day paperwork (such as the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification).
- You receive orientation, either with a group of new employees or individually, depending on your office.
- USCIS notifies other candidates that a selection has been made