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Federal Jobs for Veterans with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Veterans make up about one-third of ICE’s workforce, and ICE is committed to being a leader when it comes to putting our vets to work. ICE provides many opportunities for veterans who want to transition from active duty or join our agency while in reserve status.

Thousands of our veterans work in:

Veterans: Finding Your Place With ICE

ICE supports employing qualified veterans and actively recruits for all positions within the agency. ICE values the commitment, work ethic, specialized skills and experience vets bring to the workforce.

You can find ICE’s federal jobs for veterans by searching for open positions on USAJOBS or by taking one of the following pathways:

  • DOD SkillBridge
  • DOD’s Operation Warfighter Program
  • HSI HERO Child-Rescue Corps
  • Special hiring authority for disabled veterans (30% or greater)
  • VA Nonpaid Work Experience
  • VA On-the-Job Training
  • VEOA
  • VR&E
  • VRA

The following sections explain how you can find your place at ICE through special initiatives designed for veterans.

DOD SkillBridge


Open to any rank, enlisted or officer, on active duty; also open to some National Guard and Reserve members.

The Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program gives service members the opportunity to gain real-life civilian work experience through specific training and internships. Often, service members transition directly into a federal job with ICE after completing an internship and being released from active duty.

You may participate in SkillBridge if you know your release date and receive approval from a field-grade officer (an O-4 or higher) in your chain of command. However, you must be able to complete the program within your last 180 days of service.

Pay, Work Schedules and Other Details

As a SkillBridge participant, you continue to collect your military paychecks and use TRICARE while working for ICE. Your place of duty is your SkillBridge assignment location, and your work schedule depends on your office’s mission.

ICE places SkillBridge participants in positions that match their resumes and work interests. After you complete your training and internship, ICE may choose to hire you through Veterans Recruitment Appointment.

Contact your installation’s transition or education office to find out how to enroll in SkillBridge and send an email to to find out about ICE’s program requirements.

DOD’s Operation Warfighter Program


Open to service members convalescing at military treatment facilities and who are on medical holds.

Operation Warfighter, commonly called OWF, is a temporary assignment and internship program that helps you build your resume, explore your employment interests and develop job skills. The average length of a Warfighter assignment is three to five months, but you and your ICE supervisor may agree to extend it. ICE may consider OWF service members released from medical holds who are pending separation from the military for full-time employment.

Pay, Work Schedules and Other Details

When you participate in OWF, your pay comes from the Department of Defense. You still receive medical treatment through your military branch, and your work schedule depends on your treatment schedule.

ICE matches your existing skills and aptitudes with open positions; you get to learn and line yourself up for post-military employment while you support ICE’s mission.

ICE may consider you for full-time employment after your branch releases you from military service.

Learn more about how veterans can get federal jobs through noncompetitive appointment

Contact an OWF Regional Coordinator or email to find out how to apply for the program.

ICE HSI HERO Child-Rescue Corps Program


Open to U.S. citizen veterans with a VA or DOD disability rating or statement of service who have been honorably discharged.

HSI HERO Child-Rescue Corps is a paid federal internship for veterans. As a HERO intern, you receive intensive computer forensic analyst training that helps you fight child exploitation. You work closely with HSI special agents to rescue child victims, prosecute sexual predators and prevent child sexual abuse. You receive 13 weeks of paid HSI forensic training and earn a certification in CompTIA A+. After you complete training, you transition directly into a nine-month paid internship in an HSI office. ICE may choose to hire you as a full-time employee after you complete your internship.

Pay, Work Schedules and Other Details

ICE pays HERO interns on the General Schedule, a pay table similar to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s military pay table. HERO interns are federal employees paid at the GS-5 or GS-7 level. As a GS employee, you may receive additional pay based on your location. Find current GS location-based pay tables here. You also receive per diem pay during your initial 13-week training.

Your work schedule depends on your location and your HSI office’s needs.

After you graduate from training and complete your internship, ICE will consider you for permanent, full-time employment. To learn more about the program and apply, visit ICE’s HERO Child-Rescue Corps webpage.

Special Hiring Authority for Disabled Veterans (30% or Greater)


Open to veterans who have a 30% or higher-rated service-connected disability rating.

If you have a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30% or more — that is, if the VA or DOD has rated you as 30% or more disabled due to conditions you developed during your time in the military or that were made worse by your military service — you’re eligible to apply for special consideration in hiring. Specifically, ICE (and other federal agencies) may directly appoint you to a job without requiring you to compete with civilian applicants.

This special hiring authority allows ICE to place disabled veterans in temporary or term federal jobs. Temporary federal jobs last at least 60 days but no longer than a year, and term federal jobs last between one and four years. ICE may choose to make you a permanent employee at any time during your temporary or term employment.

Pay, Work Schedules and Other Details

ICE may hire you in any position and at any pay grade under this special hiring authority. Your work schedule and pay depend on the job.

Apply for jobs and receive special consideration for your 30% or higher disability rating by visiting USAJOBS to search for open federal positions with ICE.

VA Non-Paid Work Experience


Open to participants in the VA’s Veteran Readiness and Employment, or VR&E, program.

Commonly called NPWE, the Department of Veterans Affairs Non-Paid Work Experience program is open to some active-duty service members and veterans. It’s ideal for people who learn best with hands-on experience. The whole program runs through VR&E (see the later section, “VR&E,” to learn more about the program), and the VA provides you with all the tools, equipment, uniforms and other supplies you need before you begin training.

Pay, Work Schedules and Other Details

NPWE is an unpaid program, but the VA pays you a monthly subsistence allowance while you participate. This program lasts between six and twelve months.

Your work schedule depends on your job and duty location.

ICE has the option to hire you as a full-time or part-time employee after you complete your training.

VA On-the-Job Training


Open to veterans using GI Bill benefits.

The VA’s On-the-Job (OJT) Training program allows you to learn a skill through real-world experience rather than sitting in a classroom. If you’re eligible for the GI Bill (including the Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve, the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Forever GI Bill), you may participate in the OJT program.

You may use your OJT benefit in the following positions, which are subject to change:

  • Criminal Investigator (GS-1811)
  • Deportation Officer (GS-1801)

The OJT program for each of these positions lasts two years. ICE may hire you directly as a General Schedule employee after you complete OJT.

Pay, Work Schedules and Other Details

ICE pays you for OJT. The VA provides you with money for books and supplies, as well as a monthly housing allowance, or MHA, if you’re covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Forever GI Bill. You receive MHA according to the following schedule:

  • 100% MHA during your first six months of training
  • 80% MHA during your second six months of training
  • 60% MHA during your third six months of training
  • 40% MHA during your fourth six months of training
  • 20% MHA for the rest of your training

Note: Your MHA amount may differ if you completed more than 90 days but fewer than three years of service.

Your work schedule depends on where you work and the job you perform.

Contact your local VA Regional Coordinator or email ICE’s Veterans Employment Program Manager at to learn how to participate in OJT with ICE.



Open to veterans entitled to veterans preference points and those who separated from the military after three or more years of continuous service performed under honorable conditions.

The Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998, commonly called VEOA, enables federal agencies to appoint veterans to certain permanent jobs. Under VEOA, veterans may apply for job announcements that are open only to status candidates. Status candidates are current and former competitive service employees, which means they’ve worked for the government in the past as civil servants.

Explore ICE’s jobs under VEOA at USAJOBS



Open to veterans with service-connected disabilities that limit their ability to work, provided they didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge.

Formerly known as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (or Voc Rehab), the modern-day VR&E program is officially called Veteran Readiness and Employment or Chapter 31. The VA runs this program, which enables service-connected vets to learn new skills and find a new job.

You must have a VA or DOD disability rating of 10% or greater to participate in VR&E. Your VR&E coordinator may be able to help you find a federal job with ICE.



Open to veterans who served during a war or received a campaign badge, have a disability rating, have received an Armed Forces Service Medal or are recently separated (within three years of discharge) under honorable or general conditions.

Veterans Recruitment Appointment, or VRA, is a special hiring authority that allows ICE and other federal agencies to directly appoint veterans to certain jobs. ICE may use VRA to appoint you to a job at any grade level at or below GS-11 or its equivalent without competing against the general public.

Using Veterans’ Preference for Federal Jobs With ICE

As a veteran, you may be entitled to special preference in hiring for federal jobs. Veterans’ preference is available to vets who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces and were separated under honorable conditions. Veteran applicants may be placed ahead of other candidates in a ranking category.

Three tiers of preference exist for veterans:

  • 10-point preference. Only veterans with service-connected disabilities and those who have received a Purple Heart qualify for 10-point preference.
  • 5-point preference. Veterans whose active-duty service lasted more than 180 consecutive days (other than for training) between Sept. 11, 2001 and Aug. 31, 2010; who served between Aug. 2, 1990 and Jan. 2, 1992; who served for more than 180 consecutive days (other than for training) between Jan. 31, 1955 and Oct. 15, 1976; who served between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955; or who served in a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal or badge has been authorized qualify for 5-point preference.
  • 0-point preference. Veterans are eligible for 0-point preference if they were released or discharged from a period of active duty after Aug. 9, 2008 because they are the only surviving child in a family.

Find more details on preference eligibility through Feds Hire Vets.

Matching Your MOS, Rating, AFSC or SFSC to Jobs With ICE

The U.S. Department of Labor runs O*NET, an easy-to-navigate tool that helps you match your military occupational specialty, rating, Air Force Specialty Code or Space Force Specialty Code with civilian and federal jobs. Visit the site and navigate to “Crosswalks.” Then select your branch from the drop-down menu and enter your military job code. The site will return a list of related civilian and federal jobs that align with your job in the military.

Initiatives to Help Veterans Already in Federal Jobs With ICE

ICE offers several benefits to veterans in our ranks, including:

  • Disabled veteran leave credits (nonchargeable) for treatment of service-connected disabilities.
  • Military buy-back credit for military service, which gives you retirement credit for military service time under certain conditions.
  • Nonchargeable leave for military duty.
  • The Military Liaison Officer Program, which helps National Guard members and Reservists identify, prevent and resolve issues arising from military activation.

Ready to Find Your Place With ICE?

If you’re considering federal employment and want to work in a veteran-friendly, inclusive and diverse organization, ICE may be the perfect place for you. Start your search on USAJOBS, get in touch with your VA coordinator or email now.

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