Careers: How to Apply
Below is a guide to submitting an application, and information to help ensure that you meet all requirements for employment with ICE.
The application process for frontline positions is rigorous and challenging: it includes steps such as a background investigation, physical fitness test, and medical exam. It is recommended that you review the full position requirements before you apply to ensure you are prepared for what is to come.
Similarly, administrative, professional, and technical job applicants often have several steps in the application process. Make sure you carefully review the USAJOBS posting for the position to understand what is required.
Job announcements are posted at USAJOBS, a hiring portal for the U.S. government. If you are a member of the general public, the first step in applying for a position at ICE is to create a USAJOBS profile, and regularly search for ICE jobs that are listed as “Open to the public (all sources).” If you are a current federal employee, you can search USAJOBS for job announcements that are listed as “Merit promotion eligible candidates” or “Eligible for federal employees.” ICE is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ a diverse workforce that is both highly productive and effective.
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. The required documents can vary depending on the job listing. USAJOBS instructions should be read and followed carefully for each job announcement. Include documents required for law enforcement officers.
- Visit USAJOBS, look in the “Help” section and search for “Federal Resume Training” to find documents and videos available to help with creating a federal resume.
- You are responsible for ensuring that your application is complete.
- Follow all required steps and submit all required documents listed in the vacancy announcement before the vacancy closes.
Applicants with current or prior federal work experience should submit a recent SF-50 with their application. Please ensure it shows grade, step, and salary.
Current or former members and veterans of the armed forces should include their DD-214 or Statement of Service letter with their application. Disabled veterans must also submit an SF-15 and/or a VA letter.
What Happens After You Submit Your Application
Thank you for taking time to apply for a position with ICE.
Once you submit your application, we will assess your experience and training, identify the best qualified applicants, and refer those applications to the hiring manager for further consideration and interviews. We will notify you by email the outcome after each of these steps has been completed. Your status will also be updated on your USAJOBS account throughout the process.
Following receipt of a tentative selection letter, you must complete pre-employment requirements. These requirements vary by position. All positions require security vetting and drug test. You may also be required to pass a medical exam, fitness exam and oral board interview. Security vetting takes an average of three months to complete, but the process can vary from two weeks to one year, depending on both the applicant’s history and the level of security vetting required for the position. For internal candidates, drug test is not required.
A tentative selection letter remains tentative until all pre-employment requirements are met for the position. Once you have cleared these requirements, then a firm job offer will be made.
Below are answers to common questions about emails received from the ICE Office of Human Capital. More detailed information about federal government hiring can be found on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management website.
Direct Hire Explained
Direct-hire authority allows federal agencies to hire individuals without using traditional rating, ranking, and selection procedures, including the application of veterans’ preference. Applicants must apply for direct-hire authority jobs through USAJOBS and meet any pre-employment requirements. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management approves direct-hire authority when an agency has a severe shortage of candidates or a critical hiring need. It can cover certain occupations and geographical locations.
Notice of Results (NOR)
Below are two sample Notice of Results (NOR) emails from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The emails are sample responses to direct-hire authority applications for ICE Deportation Officer and Criminal Investigator positions. Review our helpful guide to understand what information is contained in the NOR email.
The main body of the message includes general language about why you are receiving the email and several disclaimers about the meaning of the message. OPM states:
- that the email is not a job offer,
- the qualifications stated in your application are subject to fact checking and verification,
- it is possible a Human Resources Specialist has not yet reviewed your application, and
- because you applied for a direct-hire position, and if you are a Veteran, preference points were not added to the passing examination score for rating procedures.
Appointment Type: Lists if the position is Permanent or Temporary
Work Schedule: Lists if the position is Full-Time or Part-Time
|IQID||You are ineligible because you do not meet the minimum education and/or experience requirements for this series/specialty/grade combination
(This notice means that the candidate did not have enough education, experience, or both, to qualify for the position. The candidate did not proceed in the process.)
|ELOC||You do not appear to meet the first area of consideration specified in the job announcement. However, we have accepted your application and may review it if a selection is not made from the first area of consideration. If upon later review we find that you are eligible and referred or ineligible, we will notify you.
(Candidates who were not included in the first 1,000 female-only eligible candidates that proceeded to testing received this notice. Candidates in this category were not reviewed. They may, or may not, be found qualified later and referred for testing should the program decide to test another group of candidates from this announcement.)
|IOSS||You were not considered for this position because of the answers you provided to one or more of the suitability questions.
(Candidates who answered "YES" concerning certain questions involving security, or answered "NO" to the ability to do some job requirements, were automatically made ineligible to continue. They were not evaluated further.)
|IQTR||You are ineligible to proceed in the hiring process because you did not attain the overall minimum score on the required assessments for this position
(Individuals who took the proctored examination and did not meet the overall minimum score are not continuing to the certificate, or selection phase, of the process.)
|IODL||You were not considered because you indicated that you do not possess or are not able to obtain a valid driver's license.
(Having a driver's license is a requirement for this position. Inability to obtain a license prior to entrance on duty for the position results in removal from further consideration.)
|PA||You must complete additional assessments to be considered for this position.
(Candidates in the process of testing may receive this notice.)
|IQWA||You were not considered because you did not obtain a sufficient score on the written assessment
(Candidates who did not pass the writing assessment receive this ineligible code.)
Frequently Asked Questions
As stated in the Direct Hire Announcement postings, only the first 1,000 qualified candidates to apply would be eligible to take the ICE Special Agent Battery and Writing Sample online assessments and receive further consideration. The Direct Hire announcements had funding to test 1,000 candidates per announcement. Applications were ranked in receipt order, and the first 1,000 qualified applicants proceeded to testing. If you received this notice, you did not make it into the testing group.
After I received the notice that I am ineligible, I then received another notification indicating that I needed to take an assessment and that...
After I received the notice that I am ineligible, I then received another notification indicating that I needed to take an assessment and that the assessment had been completed. But I never took an assessment. What does this notification mean?
This was an automated message to notify ineligible candidates that no further action was required.
I answered a question incorrectly by accident and screened myself out of the hiring process. Is there anything that can be done?
No, answers cannot be altered after the close of the announcement. You will need to reapply to a future announcement.
See the What should I provide during the medical examination? page for more information.
To learn more about what happens after you apply to ICE, and to read frequently asked questions, visit here.