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Hiring Process

Two Ways to Apply for a Position

Public Job Notice
This is the competitive hiring process open to all U.S. citizens if you are applying for a federal position for the first time. The process includes a written test (if applicable) and an evaluation of the applicant’s education, experience, and/or  other attributes necessary forthe position.

Merit Promotion
The merit promotion process is open to permanent USCIS employees to compete for vacant positionson the basis of their experience, education, competencies and performance.

General Steps in the USCIS Hiring Process

Go to USAJobs and submit your requirements
Follow all required steps and include all required documents listed in the vacancy announcement. You are responsible for ensuring that your application is complete. If you have already applied for a job, please see our Written Notifications to Applicants During the Application Process
Human Capital and Training 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.
Specialists review the self-assessments, resumes, and supporting documentation to determine the top rated applicants. HCT will compare your resume against your responses to the questionnaire.
Under competitive hiring, you are placed into one of three categories based on your rating: best-qualified, well-qualified, and qualified. Some or all applicants in the top-rated category will be referred to the manager responsible for making the selection.
Under merit promotion, HCT will provide the names of the applicants with the 15 top ratings to the hiring manager.
If you were referred, the hiring manager reviews 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.
For most positions, USCIS hiring managers will interview the top-rated applicants.
The manager informs HCT of the top choice for the position.
HCT confirms that your selection is validated, meaning that it meets all applicable rules and regulations.
HCT notifies you of the tentative job offer. The final offer will only be made once your security process is complete and you have passed a drug screening, if necessary. If you accept the tentative offer, HCT provides you with instructions on the next steps.
Follow the instructions that the HCT specialist provides. You must complete the security documents and the drug screening test, if required.
The specialist will inform you when your security clearance has been completed, and will then make the final offer.
You will discuss a start date with the specialist. The formal final offer, with your start date, will be emailed to you. A formal acceptance is required.
The specialist will send you information on where and when to report for your first day. The specialist will also send an email with a link to, including instructions on what forms need to be completed before your first day. The website explains recommended reading (such as benefits information) before your first day and what to bring on your first day.
You report to work. On your first day, you are sworn in and complete the required first-day paperwork (such as the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification). Orientation begins, whether formal, with a group of new employees, or less structured for a small office.


Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/05/2014