application status on usajobs

Last Updated on 06/10/2020

You might have heard already that applying for a federal government job is a process that takes much time. First of all, you will need to invest a considerable amount of time and effort into creating a decent resume tailored for the specific job announcement you want to apply for. After creating a resume using the USAJOBS resume builder or uploading your own federal resume file, you will need to complement your application with other documents listed in the job announcement requirements, as well as fill in the self-assessment questionnaire. This is when your application package becomes complete and ready to be submitted.

But what happens next?

After submitting your application, you enter the process of being screened and evaluated by the Federal Human Resources Specialist. On your part, all you can do now is watch the changes in your USAJOBS application status, which you can find at “my USAJOBS account“.

When you go to the application manager page, you will see the list of all your applications with the updated application status displayed next to each application. Below, we will explain what each status means, in other words, the current position of your application in the long federal government job application process.

USAJOBS Application Status

Each status in the following list shows that your application has been received and moves forward in the application process.


This status means that the hiring agency has received your application. Your application status will change into Received when your application has successfully gone through.


The USAJOBS Reviewed status will most likely appear only after the job announcement is closed by the hiring agency. This ensures that the process of evaluating the applications is fair. However, this also means that you might have to wait for quite a long time until the Received status of your application changes into the Reviewed status. Please note that not all hiring agencies assign this status to a candidate’s application after it was reviewed.

How long does USAJOBS take to review applications? The application reviewing process might take some time, so you will need to be patient when waiting for your application status updates. The duration of this process depends on many factors including the number of applicants for the specific position. Normally, it will take from 2 to 4 weeks for your application to get reviewed.


You might not see the USAJOBS application status Best Qualified shining next to your application, however, this is what basically the USAJOBS Referred status means. Those applications that are considered by the Federal Human Resources Specialist best qualified for the position at USAJOBS are referred to the selecting official. This means that your application has moved one step further in the application process, and the selecting official will now be evaluating your application to determine whether to select you for the job interview.


This status shows that your application has been chosen by the selecting official, who decided that you are qualified enough to be invited for an interview and receive a job offer. Nevertheless, after seeing this application status, the candidate should still be patient since it might take some time before they receive a phone call from the hiring agency.


This is the status that does not need much explanation. It appears next to your application after you have accepted the job offer you were made by the hiring agency.

Paused USAJOBS Application Status

If you can see such a status next to your application, this means that you need to take further action in order to complete it.

In Progress

This status basically shows that your application is in the middle of the completion/submission process, which is to be finished.


When you see the USAJOBS Application Incomplete status next to your application, this means that you need to take action so that your application could be accepted by the application system. This status can appear when your application lacks some documents required by the position or when you have not completed the application submission process.

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Stopped USAJOBS Application Status

If one of the following status updates appear next to your application at USAJOBS, this means that either your candidature has been considered not qualified enough to continue the competition or the hiring agency has canceled the job announcement.

Not Referred

This status means that your application, after being reviewed, was not considered one of the best qualified in order to be referred to the selecting official.

Not Selected

This application status shows that the selecting official has not chosen your candidature to be offered an invitation to the job interview.

Not Hired

This status appears when you have either declined the job offer made by the hiring agency or when you have not been offered the job.


You might see this application status when the hiring agency has canceled the job announcement without hiring anyone.

What Does Status Candidate Mean on USAJOBS

While sounding like one of the USAJOBS application status terms, the “status candidate” has a different meaning.

This term refers to the former or current federal employees who have a total of three years of qualifying service. The status candidates can apply for the positions that are marked as open to Federal employees – Competitive service, also known as “merit promotion”.

Still unsure about how to use USAJOBS site? Read our guide articles:

How to complete an occupational questionnaire on USAJOBS

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Professional resume writer Daniella HendersonDaniella Henderson

Daniella knows all ins and outs of the federal hiring process. She is excellent at job hunting strategies, starting from federal resume writing to the final stage of interview conduction.
  1. Avatar

    After the Job has been closed, and they acknowledged they received your application, can they still refer you? Or if you are not referred and it closes does that mean you will no longer have a chance to be referred?

  2. Avatar
    Linda Magee

    Hi Daniella,

    I was referred for a position 01/08/2020 but I haven’t heard anything since then. Is this normal? How can I know if a decision has been made?

    Also how does “Qualifications under review” compare to “Your application has been received for processing”?

    1. user

      Hi Linda,
      Yes, it’s absolutely normal, but I would recommend you to make a call and ask about the final decision.
      Check out the contact of the hiring manager at the bottom of the job announcement.

      Your application Received means the hr received your job application.
      Your application Reviewed means the hr reviewed your job application, but still didn’ choose you as a qualified specialist.

  3. Avatar

    What if there is no hiring manager or servicing agency listed in the announcement? Who do I direct inquiries to?

    1. user

      Hi Fred,
      Check out How to Apply section on USAJOBS.
      You’ll find Agency contact information.
      Even if there is no phone number, write your inquiry to the email address.
      If there is no email address, copy the address of the agency and search it on Google. You’ll find contact number for sure.

  4. Avatar

    I have several application that only say received and I have never heard anything else about them? Does this mean my application is not going through??

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi, Lisa. We’re sure your application is going through, it just takes time to mark it as Reviewed. As you know, the federal hiring process is not so fast, so please be patient and good luck! 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Christopher Hartnett

    Hi Linda

    If I bear out all of the criteria of a particular position on my resume, and am not referred; is there a mechanism of appeal or challenge to be referred and get an interview ?

  6. Avatar
    Miguel Angel Losada

    Hello, Daniella!
    I have two applications with a “Referred”status, one since the beginning of March, the second one about a month ago. Is this normal? I understand that I might or might not get contacted for an interview, but will the status change at all?

    Thank you for your time!


    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Miguel,
      It’s quite normal as the federal hiring process takes time and your application status as “Referred” may last from 1 month to 6 months. Also please take into consideration the situation with coronavirus…

  7. Daniella Epstein
    Daniella Epstein

    The job application has been received by the hiring agency and is being considered for employment.

  8. Avatar
    Vanessa Early

    Why word “incomplete”? I did send everything what they need.

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Vanessa,
      1. Make sure all the required documents are submitted.
      2. Sometimes it happens because the data you submitted is still processing by the hiring manager.
      Good luck!

  9. Avatar

    I applied for a job back in March and I was referred in April. I looked on the bottom of the announcement but all it lists is a army portal and no contact information. I see that the process can take 1 to 6 months is that the typical timing after being referred?

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Yes, it takes approximately 3-6 months and it’s quite normal, especially now, in the period of pandemic.

  10. Avatar

    Hi Daniella,

    I’ve applied for a position and the posting is closed. I’ve been interviewed, and my references have been called, but my application status still says “received.” I was told the hiring process would be complete by the end of this month. Does the website sometimes not update at all until an offer is extended (or ever)? Thank you!

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Scott,
      The website may have bugs.
      The best option is to call the hiring manager of the agency and clarify the question with your application status.
      Good luck!

    2. Avatar
      Edit Esmailian

      Hi Scott!
      I have the same situation.
      I applied for a position I got referred, interviewed,my reference have been called.
      Now it shows received after referred.
      Do you know what does it mean?

  11. Avatar
    Victoria Meaux

    I just got an email that says

    Eligible – Application Referred to Selecting Official

    What does that mean?

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Victoria,
      It means that your application will be considered as Minimally qualified or Highest qualified.
      After that your appliaction status will change to Reffered/Not Reffered.
      Good luck!

  12. Avatar

    Hello. I was selected for a position and accepted a tentative offer back in March/ April. I am already a GS employee so I knew the process can take time. However, when I checked this morning on USAjobs, my status had changed to not referred. Does this mean I am no longer getting this position? I’ve received no other word from HR stating I was no longer selected, etc

  13. Avatar

    The status says advancing.
    What does that really mean?

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Bonnie,
      It seems you’ll get your desired job soon.
      Your application considered for the employment.

  14. Avatar

    I applied for a job and the status reads, “min qual (auto score),” what does that mean?

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Giselle,
      It means that your application didn’t meet the minimum qualifications.

  15. Avatar

    Hi Daniella,
    I just received an email for a job at the VA that says eligible and Not Referred. I called to inquire and was told that the Not Referred is because I’m not a veteran but that since it said I was eligible that there is still a chance. Would you agree or should I stop thinking about it and move on?

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Sue,
      I would recommend you to have 3-4 additional job options.
      It’s best to not obsess over this situation, but move on.
      Good luck!

  16. Avatar

    Hi, I received an email stating Qualified. Is this an official lower status than Highly qualified, with less chance of being referred?

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Chris,
      Yes, Qualified is a lower status, but don’t give up.
      Some Highly qualified candidates may be dropped out of several reasons.
      So you’ll have a chance to became #1 candidate )
      Good luck!

  17. Avatar

    I Applied for a job last year. I was interviewed Dec 2019, then no word. In April 2020 my status changed to “Best Qualified – Pending qualifications”. As of today, Jul 29, 2020, I haven’t heard anything. I have called/emailed the HR through the listed contact information, but I haven’t received any response.

    During the interview, they had mentioned the start date of Jun 2020. Am I correct to assume, I didn’t get the job and I need to move on? The status still says, “Best Qualified – pending qualifications”.

    Thank you

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi Zach,
      As you can see life is so unpredictable right now. Coronavirus pandemic has a huge impact on the federal hiring process.
      So it’s complicated to give you the right answer, I mean to promise you that you’ll get the desired job.
      I would recommend you to apply for several jobs, don’t wait to be chosen, always choose yourself.
      Good luck!

  18. Avatar

    What does forwarded to Agency mean? Is that the same as referred?

    1. Daniella Epstein
      Daniella Epstein

      Hi. Yes, it seems your application sent to the hiring manager.

  19. Avatar
    Leona Brown

    Has anyone been hired since the pandemic? I was selected as Best Qualified around April 2021, had an interview and selected my shift. Status to this day (5/24/2022) my status still remained as “Received”…other positions I applied for either stated “Not Referred or “Incomplete” except for the CRS position. I’ve email HR on several occasions but no response….I was told by a former employee that the backlog is out of this world! I guess that answered my question…Was also told from a recently hired employee that it took her 2 years.

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