How to Apply

Hiring Process: There are two ways to apply for a position at USCIS.

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).

Federal Employees

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
  • 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.

Submitting your resume

You must submit a resume as part of the application process. If your resume is longer than 5 pages, the USCIS human resources office will review only the first 5 pages to determine your eligibility and qualifications for the position.

Using Resume Builder

Here are some important tips about using the USAJOBS Resume Builder.

  • Resume Builder does not show a page count while building a resume.
  • Resume Builder adds spaces and page gaps to resumes during the automated resume conversion process. This means that our human resources office may receive a version of your resume from Resume Builder with a different page layout than the one you viewed when you were building your resume.
  • We strongly recommend that if you use Resume Builder, you convert your resume to a PDF, confirm that the first 5 pages contain all the necessary information, and then submit your resume as a PDF.
  • You are responsible for manually checking your resume and ensuring that you include all content relevant to your eligibility and qualifications in the first 5 pages. Our human resources office will not read beyond the first 5 pages.  

What to Include in Your Resume

The following items are the most relevant to your eligibility and qualifications for a position and, if applicable, should be included within the first 5 pages of your resume:

  • Your contact and location information;
  • Your job objective(s);
  • A description of your work experience(s), with specific dates;
  • Your competencies and skills related to the advertised job;
  • Your education, training, and certifications;
  • Your experience in volunteer work; and
  • Your interests, awards, references, and professional associations.

What Not to Include

You should not include separate supporting documents or forms, such as DD Form 214s and other military service documents, Standard Form 50s, Standard Form 15s, transcripts, and cover letters.

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 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
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