CBP Officers: Qualifications and Requirements

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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers are assigned to work in ports of entry throughout the United States. They see to it that there are no aliens who  enter the country illegally while facilitating the legal entry of visitors and goods.

CBP Officers can either be classified to start as GS-5 or GS-7 officers. You can qualify as a GS-5 CBP Officer if you have at least three years of full-time general experience that demonstrates the ability to meet and deal with people and the ability to learn and apply a body of facts. If your previous job involved explaining administrative requirements and procedures to others; checking forms to ensure that these have been completed correctly; and supervising then you qualify for a GS-5 position. You may also qualify to become a CBP Officer at the GS-5 level if you have business management experience.

To become a GS-7 CBP Officer, you need to have one year of full-time specialized experience that entailed performance of substantive duties in inspections work at borders, seaports, airports or other ports of entry. This can include work where you did the preliminary screening of persons for entry and immigration status, or compliance/regulatory work. While holding these positions, you should have shown the ability to apply specialized knowledge of the laws, regulations, and procedures for importing and exporting merchandise to and from the United States and/or law enforcement work at the local, State or Federal levels. Generally, those who worked as inspectors, auditors, analysts, examiners, administrators, and investigators in either the public or private sector can qualify to become a CBP Officer at the GS-7 level.

If you don’t have the work experience but have the education, you can still qualify!

You can qualify at the GS-5 level if you have a four-year bachelor’s degree while to become eligible at the GS-7 level you need to have one full academic year of graduate education or a master’s degree. It is also possible to combine your education and experience if you do not qualify for experience or education alone.

“The GS-5 level requires 36 months, and the GS-7 level requires 12 months of full-time qualifying experience. To calculate your percentage of undergraduate education, divide your number of undergraduate semester hours by 120 or the number of quarter hours by 180. For GS-7, divide the number of graduate semester hours by 18, graduate quarter hours by 27, or by the school’s definition of one year of graduate study. Finally, add your percentages of education and experience. The two percentages must total at least 100 percent for you to qualify under the combination of experience and education.”

There are other qualifications for those who aspire to become CBP Officers. These include U.S. citizenship; fulfillment of the residency requirement in the United States; be referred for selection before their 37th birthday; and possession of a valid driver’s license.

If you follow the steps, there is no reason you can’t succeed in a great career with the US Customs and Border Patrol!