Border Patrol Hiring Process | Job Application, Interviews, and Employment

Being a Border Patrol agent may be your ideal career path if you want to support U.S. border security. 

As part of the hiring process, border patrol candidates take an entrance exam, have their education and experience reviewed, and are screened for various indicators. 

As a Border Patrol agent, you’ll find the job rewarding and dangerous. Besides the compensation packages and the opportunity to progress regularly, you’ll also be rewarded with a lucrative benefits package. We shall also look at the border patrol requirements.

Border Patrol Job Description

Approximately 20,000 Border Patrol agents serve in the United States. They work on foot, horses, vehicles, and even boats. They also patrol the coast to protect the U.S. borders. 

A Border Patrol agent never knows what each day will bring. Facing danger is a regular part of the job. When Border Patrol agent encounters a dangerous situation, they act quickly and decisively. This position requires patience, excellent interpersonal skills, and security or law enforcement knowledge. Multilingual abilities are an asset.

Physical fitness is vital for CBP officers who have physically demanding jobs. You’ll have to show your fitness level in various ways during training, so begin preparing as soon as you decide to apply. There are other educational and experience requirements as well.

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Border Patrol Educational Requirements 

To be considered for the Border Patrol hiring process, you must meet specific qualifications, including having a valid driver’s license, passing a criminal background check, and passing a drug test. 

A Border Patrol entrance exam is required for every applicant. The exam assesses your reasoning skills, Spanish language proficiency, and understanding of security or law enforcement issues. The test assesses your ability to pick up the language if you do not speak Spanish.

The minimum requirement to become a basic agent is one year’s experience in law enforcement or a related field. If you have an undergraduate or graduate degree in law enforcement or criminal justice, it may be possible to move up to a higher position.

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How Much Do US Border Patrols Make?

We have seen the requirements, but how much do US border patrols make? While picking out the Border Patrol hiring process, it is equally important you find out your potential salary as a border patrol agent and how rewarding the industry is.

The basic annual salary of a Border Patrol agent was $40,511. Your assigned work location and overtime potential can increase your compensation by up to $12,000. 

Besides your salary, you are entitled to a generous welfare package that includes paid sick leave, vacation time, retirement plans, and insurance. Regular promotions will increase your salary incrementally.

The federal government promotes border patrol agents through an elaborate structure. They start out as entry-level agents, advance to journeymen, and then advance to supervisory and executive positions. 

Promotion to the first five levels requires only a supervisor’s approval. The pay increase between these levels is between $8000 and $13,000. 

The salary increase from year one to year two might be approximately $10,000, and the top level of this position can make over $80.000.

Border Patrol Requirements

Border Patrol Agents have mental and physical challenges, so they must go through a rigorous application process to ensure they are qualified to perform the expected tasks.

We will take the CBP Border Patrol hiring process one step at a time. This is to ensure clarity and a concise understanding of border patrol requirements. Below is the border patrol hiring process for recruits.

1. Basic Eligibility Requirements

You must possess many of the following to be eligible for a US border patrol job.

  • Should be a citizen of the United States, hold a valid driver’s license, and have lived in the U.S. for at least three of the last five years (military exception).
  • Should be eligible to carry a firearm.
  • Must be referred for selection before you turn 40 years of age (waiver for veterans’ preference eligible or those who have previously done military service).
  • You will be required to travel often.
  • This job may require extended domestic and foreign Temporary Duty (TDY) assignments.

You are not eligible for a CPB border patrol job if you fall into the categories below.

  • Using drugs or selling drugs.
  • Being convicted of misdemeanour domestic violence.
  • Intentional harbouring or concealing of illegal immigrants.

2. Apply Online

If you are interested in applying, you will find the position’s title or a link on the Apply Now page of USAJOBS. To apply online, you must create an account and self-certify your qualifications. 

Please submit a resume, transcripts, and other documents to verify your age and veteran status. You can start your application today by visiting the Apply Now page.

3. Sit for the Border Patrol Exam

The border patrol hiring process will not be complete if you have not sat for the exam. A Border Patrol Agent must be able to pass an entrance exam administered at the location of their choice.

The entrance exam comprises two parts. The first is an online Candidate Experience Record that measures your ability to work as a Border Patrol Agent.

A computer or phone test will take you less than one hour, and the second test you will take at a local testing centre involves logical reasoning. We recommend you allow four hours (including travel, check-in, and testing time) to complete this test.

The entrance exam is unnecessary for applicants who qualify at the GL-9 level. 

4 Review of Qualifications

A Human Resources Specialist, who determines what grade you qualify for based on your qualifications and other supporting documents, will review your resume. 

To review your application quickly and accurately, submit a resume that outlines your qualifications, describes your duties (including tasks performed), and the dates you performed those duties.

We strongly recommend that you review our resume guide to prepare for your Federal resume if your resume does not reveal your qualifications. 

5. Border Patrol Background Check/Investigation

As a condition of hiring, selected applicants must complete and pass a background investigation.

This can be initiated by completing the SF-86 or SF-85 (e-QIP). Four key components comprise the background investigation process: preliminary vetting checks, polygraph examination, investigation (including OPM’s National Agency Checks), and adjudication. 

Various results from the vetting check, polygraph exam, and investigation are analyzed for final judgment. Learn more about the background investigation

6. CPD Medical Border Patrol Requirements

Medically and physically fit individuals should be capable of performing essential job functions and duties without aggravating existing health problems and without endangering the health and safety of the individual, others, or the nation.

After candidates are tentatively selected, they must undergo a pre-employment medical examination and be deemed medically fit to fulfil the full range of duties of the job.

CBP may disqualify a job candidate for medical reasons if they have a condition that may interfere with their ability to perform their duties or training.

There is no automatic disqualification; each case is assessed individually. 

7. Fitness Requirement

It is required to pass the PFT-1 so CBP can guarantee that you will carry out critical tasks of the job, such as force usage. The test includes push-ups, sit-ups, and a step test. CBP has created a six-week standardized training program to help you prepare for the PFT-1.

A role as a border patrol agent requires you to be physically healthy and scale through a physical test. Discover: Pre-Employment Physical: How to Prepare for it

8. CBP Structured Interview

In the final stages of the border patrol interview process, the Board of Current Border Patrol Agents will interview you to ensure you have the competencies important to successful job performance. Among them are judgment/decision-making, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills, and cooperation/sensibility.

9. CBP Polygraph Exam

A polygraph exam is a standardized polygraph examination required by the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010. You will participate in a 4-6 hour interview in which you will be asked questions about national security issues and provide answers about your background in criminal investigations.

During the polygraph exam, your physiological response is assessed, and accuracy is monitored. Learn more about the polygraph here.

10. CBP Border Patrol Drug Test

Border Patrol Agents are directly involved in narcotics interdiction and are routinely exposed to illegal substances. A random drug test will be conducted as part of the application process. You will be disqualified immediately if you test positive. 

Visit the applications source page to find out frequently asked questions about drug tests at CBP

Border patrol requirements at CBP are all geared towards ensuring that men and women of sound integrity and character are entrusted with safeguarding territorial borders. The border patrol hiring process is usually rigorous, but rest assured it will be worth it.


Because Customs and Border Patrol guards many borders and seaports in the United States, CBP Officers are essential to the nation’s safety.

US Border Patrol requirements are very transparent, giving everyone the equal opportunity of getting hired irrespective of race, culture, religion, or ethnicity.

California border patrol agents captured $623,000 in hard narcotics in April 2018 and many similar cases. If you get hired, working as a BCP officer will be an enjoyable experience. ​​​​​​​

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Border Patrol?

The Border Patrol is a law enforcement agency responsible for securing U.S. borders and preventing the illegal entry of people and contraband into the country.

How can I apply for a Border Patrol job?

You can apply for a Border Patrol job by visiting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website and completing an online application.

What are the requirements to become a Border Patrol Agent?

To become a Border Patrol Agent, you must be a U.S. citizen, have a valid driver’s license, be under the age of 40 (with some exceptions), pass a medical exam, pass a drug test, pass a fitness test, and pass a background investigation.

How long does the hiring process take for the Border Patrol?

The hiring process for the Border Patrol can take several months to complete, depending on the number of applicants and the availability of positions.

What does the Border Patrol interview process involve?

The Border Patrol interview involves a structured interview assessing your qualifications, skills, and experience. You may also be required to take a polygraph test.


  • – How Long Does it Take to Get a Job With the Border Patrol?  
  • – The Border Patrol Hiring Process
  • – U.S. Border Patrol Application Process


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