How to become an immigration officer

Written by hannah rice myers
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Immigration officers play an extremely important role in the security and safety of the United States. Due to the role immigration officers play in protecting our borders, there are specific qualifications and requirements that they have to meet to become eligible for a job in this field. Knowing these requirements ahead of time will allow the applicant a better chance of acquiring a position with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Know the job description. Before you cement your decision to become an immigration officer, know what you will be expected to do. The title of immigration officer covers many levels of this career. You may be hired as and enforcement agent, an information officer or a detention centre officer. Some of the responsibilities entailed with the job include identifying benefit fraud, conducting interviews with possible illegal aliens, preparing reports and making recommendations for situations.

  2. 2

    Familiarise yourself with federal guidelines. To obtain a job with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS), you must meet the federal requirements as well. You must be a U.S. citizen and have resided in the U.S. for three out of the last five years. You must be under 40 years of age, pass a written exam and background check, be physically fit,and have a valid driver's license.

  3. 3

    Earn your degree. Before applying for a job with USCIS, you must have a Bachelor's degree. While this degree can be obtained in any area of study, it would be better to have obtained it in international law and criminal justice. It is also helpful to know a second or third language. Spanish would be most helpful.

  4. 4

    Apply. Once you have received your degree, you need to apply with the federal government. This is done online and there is a link in the Resources section below to help you. The next step is taking a test which is administered by the Office of Personnel Management that is specific to the position your are applying for. The applicants with the highest scores may be contacted for an interview, once a position becomes available.

  5. 5

    Participate in training. Once you have been accepted by the USCIS, you will be required to attend training classes. This training takes place at the USCIS Academy. You will be paid during this time, and once you have graduated from the program, you will be considered an immigration officer. You will then receive an offer for an assignment and UCIS will inform of you of your location and rate of pay.

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