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ICE appreciates my work ethic and has career tracks that are specifically geared toward veterans. I can use the skills that I learned in the military and carry them over to a civilian career.

ICE supports employing veterans and actively recruits qualified veterans for all positions within the agency. ICE values the commitment, work ethic and experience that veterans bring to the job, as well as their specialized skills and talents. Veterans currently compose one third of the ICE workforce.

Veteran's Preference

The Office of Personnel Management's Feds Hire Vets website includes more detailed information on veteran’s preference and other information related to veterans applying for federal employment, including qualifying dates of service.

What is veteran's preference?

Preference consists of giving qualified, eligible veterans an advantage over others when recruiting under competitive external procedures (i.e., announcements open to anyone in the general public). Depending on the position being filled, veteran applicants may be placed ahead of other candidates in a ranking category.

Who is eligible for veteran's preference?

To learn what preference(s) you may qualify for, follow the step-by-step question service offered by the Department of Labor’s Veteran Preference Advisor.

ICE will adjudicate preference prior to selection of eligible veterans who were discharged or released from military service under honorable conditions AND are eligible under one of the preference categories listed by OPM. Visit OPM’s page on Types of Preference for more information.

How do I claim veteran's preference?

To claim veteran’s preference, you will be prompted to indicate that you are a veteran during your application in USAJOBS. When you do so, you will also be asked to upload supporting documentation, which varies based on what kind of preference you are claiming:

  • 5-point preference: DD 214
  • 10-point preference: DD 214 and supporting documentation as listed on the Standard Form 15 (SF-15), Application for 10-Point Veterans Preference. View a copy of the SF-15. Veterans with a service-connected disability must also submit a VA Disability Award.
  • If you are currently serving on active duty: A statement of service from your unit identifying the branch of service, period(s) of service, campaign badges or expeditionary medals earned and the date you will be separated or be on approved terminal leave. If you submit a statement of service at this stage, your preference will be verified by a DD 214 upon separation from the military.

Hiring Authorities

Special hiring authorities for veterans, including Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment (VRA), 30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans and Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) can be found at Feds Hire Vets.

Operation Warfighter (OWF)

ICE is a proud supporter of the Department of Defense's Operation Warfighter Program (OWF). OWF is a temporary assignment/internship program for service members who are convalescing at military treatment facilities. The program provides recuperating service members with meaningful activity outside of the hospital environment and offers a formal means of transition back to the military or civilian workforce.

Operation Warfighter is an opportunity for service members on medical hold to build their résumés, explore employment interests, develop job skills and gain valuable federal government work experience to prepare for their return to the workplace. Participants must be American citizens who are on active duty in the military (including the National Guard and Reserves). They must also fulfill the security vetting requirements set by the office where they intend to work.

OWF participants are placed in ICE host offices based on the needs of the host office and the interests of the OWF participant, and receive extra training as necessary.

While there is no guarantee of employment following the completion of an OWF assignment, service members released from medical hold status are considered potential candidates for full-time employment with ICE, pending separation from the military.

OWF Testimonials

“We believe the program is mutually beneficial to the agency and service member. We have found that many service members have a continued desire to serve in a civilian capacity. This internship provides them the opportunity to gain insightful experience and provides support to the agency.”

Jessica R. Brown
Supervisory Mission Support Specialist
ERO San Diego


“In January 2014, I became involved with OWF while awaiting medical procedures and ultimately a medical retirement from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. I was assigned to the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Las Vegas office as a volunteer and assisted with administrative tasks and investigative support. This led to my desire to apply and utilize my military experience with the agency upon my retirement in December 2014. I was hired full time in October 2015 starting at the Mission Support Specialist GS-7 level and was recently promoted to a Mission Support Specialist GS-13.”

Douglas K. McIntosh
Mission Support Specialist
HSI Las Vegas


“While in the OWF program, I had the opportunity to join the Office of the Principle Legal Advisor team for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The duties that I fulfilled were in line with being a Legal Assistant for OPLA. I supported all OPLA’s attorneys on a daily basis with mentorship from the Deputy Chief Counsel and the other Legal Assistant. This program is absolutely phenomenal. The Deputy Chief Counsel and the other Legal Assistant who mentored me were highly intelligent individuals who had the patience to work with someone who had never worked in an office prior to the internship. Personally, I think that military members who are going through some sort of medical challenge should all consider being part of the OWF program. ICE, in my opinion, is one of the best routes to go as everyone that I encountered has given a warm welcome and given great advice. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a great agency, and I cannot thank the agency enough for giving me such a fantastic opportunity.”

Brennan Stebbing
Recent OWF participant
OPLA Denver Field Office



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Updated: 06/09/2022