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Who qualifies to be a Border Patrol Agent?

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The Customs and Border Protection or CBP is tasked with the main mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States. In addition, they secure our borders, facilitate international travel, and enforce hundreds of immigration and drug laws. Some of their major activities include farm and ranch checks, traffic checks, city patrols, transportation checks, and anti-smuggling activities.

Patrolling 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian international land borders and 2,000 miles of coastal waters surrounding the Florida Peninsula and the island of Puerto Rico is no easy task. To be able to do this efficiently and effectively, they need dedicated men and women who have the physical stamina and psychological abilities that will enable them to perform the stressful and often dangerous job of a border patrol agent. If this sounds like the law enforcement career for you then perhaps you might want to consider working with the CBP. But the first question is: Do you qualify?

At the time of application, prospective candidates must be under 40 years old. However, the age requirement is waived for qualified Veterans’ Preference eligible candidates or those who have previous Federal law enforcement experience. You must also be a U.S. citizen and resident at the time of application and must possess a valid state driver’s license. You must also pass a thorough background investigation, medical exam, fitness test, drug test, and physical fitness test before you can be accepted as an agent. Another requirement is Spanish fluency or the ability to learn the Spanish language. You don’t need to actually be able to speak Spanish at the time of hiring but you will be required to learn it (and pass a series of exams) when you attend Border Patrol Academy.

However, you cannot be a border patrol agent if you had past or present arrests or had convictions (including misdemeanors and domestic violence charges). Dismissals from previous jobs; debts and financial issues; excessive use of alcohol; and the use and/or sale and distribution of illegal drugs can also make you unsuitable as a border patrol agent.

To apply, you will have to go to the official portal for government jobs, USAJOBS ( There, you can search for border patrol agent vacancies. By simply typing in “border patrol agent” in the keyword search, you will find if there are available vacancies. After finding the desired vacancy, read the announcement carefully and follow the instructions for applying. You will have to first create an account with USAJOBS if you haven’t done so yet. Be sure to attach the necessary documents and review your application for errors before sending it. If you have questions about the announcement or the hiring process, send an email to the address given or give a call to the number listed under the “Questions about this job” portion found on the right hand side of your screen.

Once your application gets received, it will be evaluated by the CBP hiring committee. You will receive communication via email informing you of the status of your application. If you pass the preliminary screening process, you will be contacted directly of the next steps of the selection process. Good luck!

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