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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 U.S. 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.

General Steps in the USCIS Hiring Process

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 postion 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 



Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/08/2014