How to become a border patrol officer

Working as a border patrol officer can be both an exciting career and an opportunity to help protect the country from illegal immigration. Becoming a border patrol officer is a fairly straightforward process. You need to meet the basic requirements, apply through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and complete proper training if accepted.

Apply to become an officer. When the agency is actively recruiting for new officers, information will be posted on the Customs and Border Protection website or on the USAJobs website. If you are ready to apply, complete the Border Patrol Agent Online Application (under References).

Take the border patrol entrance exam. The exam tests your ability at logical reasoning and Spanish language skills or ability to learn Spanish. It also assesses your previous work experience. There are online study guides to help you understand what is on the test.

Complete an oral interview. Every applicant is required to go in front of an "Oral Board." This board performs a structured interview consisting of situational questions that assess your decision making ability, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills, and sensitivity to the needs of others.

Pass a series of physical fitness, drug screening and medical tests. If you make it pass the entrance exam and oral board test, you will be required to pass a number of tests. These include a urinalysis drug test, a thorough medical exam and two physical fitness tests. For more information on the details of these tests, visit the Customs and Border Protection website.


The key requirements to becoming a U.S. border patrol officer are citizenship, having no criminal convictions, residency for at least three years, a valid driver's license, being less than 40 years old, passing a drug test and being physically fit. You can find the full details of these requirements on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency's website (see References).

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