How to Apply
- Search for Desired Vacancy Opportunity. Review the entire vacancy announcement for important information about who may apply, job qualifications, duties, position requirements, salary, and duty location. Use this information to decide if your interests, education, and experience are a right match for the job. Be sure to take note of the HR Contact listed on the vacancy announcement. If you should have any questions during or after the vacancy open period, you will need to have this contact information.
- Apply to the Vacancy. Carefully follow the specific instructions provided in the “How to Apply” section of the vacancy announcement. Be sure to submit all required documents requested in the vacancy announcement to receive full consideration. If you are unable to apply on-line or need reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process, notify the Human Resources Office contact identified on the announcement at least one day prior to the closing date for further instructions.
- Review your resume and/or transcripts. Ensure the work experience on your resume clearly documents your experience as it relates to this announcement/position. (QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED). If your resume and/or transcripts do not clearly document how you are qualified you may be rated ineligible.
- Submit all of the Required Documents. Review your documents prior to and after uploading. Your documents must clearly document you being qualified this position/ announcement.
Do you qualify?
- You must have successfully completed a full four-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree that included a major field of study in biological sciences including botany, entomology, plant pathology, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry or related disciplines (e.g., ecology).
- U.S. Citizenship and Residency in the U.S. for the last 3 years
- Must possess a valid state driver's license
- Be willing to travel; you will be required to travel frequently. This job may require extended domestic and foreign Temporary Duty (TDY) assignments.
You may be rated unsuitable for the Agriculture Specialist position if your background includes:
- past or present arrests
- convictions (including misdemeanor domestic violence charges)
- dismissals from previous jobs
- debts and financial issues
- excessive use of alcohol
- use of illegal drugs, and/or the sale and distribution of illegal drugs
Veterans Preference: If you are claiming Veterans Preference, you must submit the following proof of eligibility:
- Five Point Preference: DD 214 (Member Copy 4)
- Ten Point Preference: DD 214 (Member Copy 4) and supporting documentation as listed on the Standard Form 15, Application for 10-Point Veterans Preference. Click this link for a copy of the SF-15: www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf. Veterans with a service-connected disability must also submit a VA Disability Award letter dated 1991 or later.
- If you are currently serving on active duty: A statement of service from your unit identifying the branch of service, period(s) of service, campaign badges or expeditionary medals earned, and the date you will be separated or be on approved terminal leave. If you submit a statement of service at this stage, your preference will be verified by a DD 214 (Member Copy 4) upon separation from the military.
- For more information on Veterans’ Preference please visit: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.aspx.
- If you are not sure of your preference eligibility, visit the Department of Labor's Veterans' Preference Advisor at: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/vets/vetpref/mservice.htm.
Due to the strenuous nature of the Agriculture Specialist position, you must take and pass a video-based test (VBT) in which you need to demonstrate that you possess the abilities and other characteristics important to Agriculture Specialist positions. Among these are the competencies of judgment/decision-making, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills, and cooperativeness/sensitivity to the needs of others.
Agriculture Specialist Structured Interview Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Q. What is the VBT?
A. The VBT is a video based test consisting of a series of hypothetical scenarios that are designed to measure specific competencies. You will view videotaped scenarios and respond to the video when prompted after each scenario. You will be videotaped while responding to the different scenarios. The examination takes about one-half hour and is reviewed and evaluated by a team of CBP management officials. The test is rated on a pass/fail basis. Therefore, you will need to receive a “pass” rating to continue through the hiring process.
Q. What types of scenarios are included in the VBT?
A. The VBT consists of two types of scenarios. In the first type of scenario, you will be shown a job-related situation on a TV monitor and will be asked to respond to the scenario as if you were actually in the situation yourself; similar to role-play. For example, you may be shown a situation with an agitated individual and be asked to address the individual as if you were actually a part of the scenario. The second type of scenario, you will be shown a series of travelers or items that are attempting to enter the United States and you will be asked to indicate which travelers or items warrant further scrutiny and why.
Q. How is the VBT scored?
A. You will be videotaped when responding to the VBT scenarios. After the VBT is completed a panel of two trained VBT raters will review your responses and score you on five competencies. You must receive a passing score on all five competencies in order to pass the VBT. The competencies include: Interpersonal Skills, Judgment/Decision-Making, Cooperativeness/Sensitivity to the Needs of Others, Emotional Maturity and Overall Task Orientation. You will not be scored on your knowledge of any policies, procedures, or law. Applicants cannot appeal the VBT; results are final.
Q. Do I need to take the VBT?
A. Anyone who has not participated in a VBT for the Agriculture Specialist position will be scheduled for the VBT.
Q. Can I review the Video-Based Test (VBT) scenarios beforehand?
A. No, the VBT scenarios and the rating scales are considered test material and cannot be released to candidates. You will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to beginning the interview process.
Q. How will I be notified of the Video-Based Test (VBT)?
A. Approximately 6 weeks after you are tentatively selected, you will receive a notification letter emailed to the email address you indicated at the time you submitted your application informing you of the date, time and location of your VBT. You will be scheduled for the VBT at the location you chose when you registered for the written test. If you have moved and have new contact information or otherwise need to request a new VBT location, you must contact the Structured Interview Team at (952) 857-2938.
Q. What should I bring to the Video-Based Test (VBT)?
A. Candidates scheduled for a VBT located in a CBP facility will be required to present a valid form of identification, such as US Passport, military ID, veterans ID or a REAL ID compliant state issued driver’s license. Please check the Secure Driver's Licenses page on DHS.gov to see if your state is compliant. You will not be given a VBT without valid photo ID.
Q. How do most applicants dress for the VBT?
A. Although there are no absolute dress attire requirements when taking the VBT, we can tell you your VBT will be videotaped and reviewed by a panel of trained supervisory/managerial CBP employees. The VBT will be in a professional office environment where employees are either in uniform or professional attire. Most candidates tend to dress in business attire (e.g., a suit); however, you will not be rated based on your attire. Use your best judgment.
Q. What if I cannot attend the Video-Based Test (VBT) on the date scheduled for me?
A. You may call the Structured Interview Team at (952) 857-2938 to request a reschedule. Candidates are allowed one reschedule and will only be granted under extenuating circumstances. You will be notified of the scheduled VBT at least 2 weeks in advance to enable you to make arrangements to attend. Failure to attend a rescheduled VBT will result in your removal from the hiring process and you will be required to reapply during the next vacancy announcement.
Q. How will I know if I passed or failed the Video-Based Test (VBT)?
A. The VBT results are sent to the Structured Interview Team at the Minneapolis Hiring Center. The Structured Interview Team will send you an email with your "Notice of Results." This "Notice of Results" will indicate either an eligible (pass) or ineligible (fail).
Q. Can you tell me which part of the VBT/SI I did not successfully pass?
A. The Minneapolis Hiring Center cannot give more detailed information about your responses to the VBT. To do so would compromise the integrity of the testing process. The success of the testing process is dependent on applicants giving honest responses to situational questions. If applicants were to modify their answers in response to specific feedback, the integrity of the testing process would be harmed.
Q. How long are the VBT results good for?
A. The VBT results are good for 3 years if you were rated eligible. If you received a rating of ineligible, you cannot be considered for an Agriculture Specialist for one year from the date of the VBT. If you have additional questions in regards to the VBT process, contact us at our e-mail address of CBPHiringSI@cbp.dhs.gov. You may call during normal business hours at (952) 857-2938. Because of the volume of inquiries received, you may have to leave a message and wait for a return call, so we strongly encourage you to contact us via e-mail.
Contact Information for the Structured Interview Unit
Phone: (952) 857-2938
Fax: (952) 857-2000
Pre-Placement Medical Exam
The standard requires that the person be medically and physically capable of performing the essential job functions and duties of the position safely and efficiently without aggravating existing health problems or endangering the health and safety of the individual, others, or national security. The individual must be free of any organic, structural or functional impairment(s) and free of any existing health problem(s) that would be aggravated in response to the work environment or that would affect the safe and efficient performance of the position’s duties.
- Distant Visual Acuity: Must be at least 20/30 or better in the best eye with or without correction.
- Note: Individuals who have undergone refractive eye surgeries/procedures (e.g., photorefractive laser surgery, keratoplasty, LASIK) may be qualified provided they have no post-operative adverse complications and they meet the vision requirements.
- Near Vision: Must be 20/30 or better, with or without corrective lenses, on the Snellen eye chart used by eye care professionals and others to measure visual acuity.
- Color Vision: Must be able to distinguish colors (i.e., red, green, yellow, blue, orange, purple, pink, brown, black, white, and gray). Use of an X-chrome lens is not acceptable.
- Visual Fields: A minimum of 140 degrees in the horizontal meridian.
With or without the use of hearing aid,
- The hearing level in each ear must not exceed 40 decibel (dB) for the average of the following frequencies: 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 Hertz (Hz).
- The difference in hearing level between the better ear thresholds and worse ear thresholds may not exceed 15dB for the average of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 Hz.
- The difference in hearing level between the better ear and worse ear may not exceed 30dB at 4,000 or 6,000 Hz.
Are there medical/physical conditions that are not acceptable?
Medical suitability determinations are made on a case by case basis. Any medical or physical condition(s), disease(s), or use of medication(s) that may interfere with safe, reliable, and efficient performance of the essential job duties (including training requirements), or could result in endangering the health and safety of the individual or others would be unacceptable for employment to the CBPAS position. In addition, any condition that is not well stabilized or may result in sudden or subtle incapacitation or recurrence, or any condition that cannot be ruled out, may preclude the individual being found medically eligible for the position.
Medical Review Frequently Asked Questions
Q. After I receive my tentative selection letter, how long will it be before I am scheduled for my re-employment medical examination?
A. You will be contacted to schedule your pre-employment medical examination shortly after you have received your tentative selection for the position.
Q. Who will contact me to schedule my pre-employment medical examination?
A. You will be contacted by our contractor, Comprehensive Health Services (CHS), to schedule an appointment for your pre-employment medical examination. CHS will try to contact you by phone and e-mail. The first contact by phone will come from an automated message instructing you to contact CHS to schedule an appointment.
The contact information you provide to the Minneapolis Hiring Center will be used by our contractor to reach out to you; therefore, it is important that we have your most current contact information. If you need to update your phone number(s), mailing address, or e-mail address, please contact the Medical and Fitness Scheduling Unit at (952) 857-2939 or by e-mail at CBPHiringmedfitappt@cbp.dhs.gov.
Q. Where will I take my pre-employment medical examination?
A. The pre-employment medical examination will be conducted at the nearest available CBP contracted facility according to the mailing address the Minneapolis Hiring Center has on file for you. Every effort is made to identify a clinic within a reasonable driving distance of your residence. Please note that travel to and from the facility is at your own expense.
Q. How much time will I have to schedule and complete my pre-employment medical examination?
A. Your medical examination will need to be completed within ten (10) business days of when you are contacted to schedule your appointment.
Q. Should I bring anything to my pre-employment medical examination?
A. Once you have a scheduled appointment for your pre-employment medical examination, Comprehensive Health Services (CHS) will send you a confirmation e-mail which will include the name and address of the facility where you will complete your exam, and a copy of the Medical Examination and History Report. You will need to complete the Medical Examination and History Report before you appointment and bring all of the paperwork with you to your exam. You will also want to bring a valid, government issues photo ID such as a driver’s license; a copy of any medical records relating to current and/or past medical condition(s); eye glasses or contacts, as your vision will be tested with and without corrective lenses; and, a copy of your vision prescription.
Q. What does the medical exam consist of?
A. In advance of your scheduled exam, our contractor will send you a detailed medical history form by e-mail which you will be asked to complete and bring with you to your appointment. The medical examination itself includes a physician exam (with history review); vision testing including visual acuity (uncorrected and corrected vision), color vision, depth perception and peripheral vision; and, a hearing test/audiogram.
Q. How long should I plan to be at the facility for this appointment?
A. Depending on the facility’s schedule the day of your appointment, you may begin the appointment immediately or it may be several hours. Please plan accordingly.
Q. What happens if issues arise as a result of my pre-employment medical examination, am I immediately disqualified for the position?
A. No. You will be notified by the Minneapolis Hiring Center of any issue(s) that arise as a result of your medical exam and you will be given the opportunity to provide additional medical evidence to clarify the issue.
Q: After I complete my medical examination, how long will it take before I get the results?
A: After you complete your medical examination, it is forwarded to a Medical Officer for review before being sent to our office and that review process can take between 4-6 weeks (sometimes longer). Once we receive your exam in our office, it is forwarded to our nurse for review which can also take several weeks. If additional information is needed, we will send you a letter by e-mail requesting that information. If no additional information is needed and you clear medically, your status will be updated on the CASS website.
Q. I am currently a CBP employee, do I need to complete a medical examination?
A. Maybe. The requirement of a pre-employment medical examination will depend on the position you have applied for and the position you currently hold.
Q. I completed a medical examination for another CBP position, can that be used for my new selection?
A. There are times when a medical examination can be used from a prior selection and reviewed for a new selection whether it be for the same position or a different position. Whether or not you have a previous medical examination that can be used is determined at the time you are tentatively selected for the position.
Q. I received a letter requesting additional medical information. Why am I getting this letter?
A. There was a medical issue or condition noted on your medical examination that requires additional information from you and/or your medical provider. Our office needs this additional information so we can determine if you are medically qualified for the position.
Q. The letter I received by e-mail is password protected. What password do I use to open it?
A. You can open the attachment using your Applicant Identification Number. Your Applicant Identification Number was sent to you by e-mail after you received your tentative selection for the position.
Q. I was told at my pre-employment medical examination that everything was okay. Why am I being asked to provide additional information?
A. The facility where you attended your appointment only performs the pre-employment medical examination; they do not make determinations as to whether or not you meet our standards. The Agency Medical Officer makes that determination.
Q. What do I need to do with the letter I received requesting additional medical information?
A. You will need to see your medical provider for an examination on each medical issue(s). Your medical provider will need to provide a written response giving details about your medical history and your current status.
Q. How do I know what medical issues require additional information?
A. The medical issue(s) that require additional information and specific information regarding what is being requested is outlined in our letter. You may have more than one medical issue that requires additional information. Please be sure to carefully read the packet in its entirety so that you provide all of the necessary information to our office.
Q. If I passed the PFT-1, why do you need additional medical information?
A. The medical and fitness are two separate parts of the hiring process. It is common for someone to pass a fitness test and still need to provide additional information for their medical process.
Q. What type of medical provider can I see?
A. Generally, your family provider can see you and complete the requested written response. However, some issues require a special type of medical provider. The document(s) attached to your letter will be addressed to the specific medical provider our office recommends you see. For example, if your document states, “Dear Licensed Mental Health Provider” or “Dear Cardiologist” you will need to see a licensed mental health provider or a cardiologist. If your document states “Dear Provider” your family provider can complete the requested examination and written response.
Q. What information do I need to get from my medical provider?
A. Your provider needs to complete a detailed written response to the documents attached to your letter. Make sure that you bring all documents in this packet to your appointment so your medical provider can address all points. Also, additional information such as blood tests, x-rays, or other medical testing may be requested.
Q. Do I have to provide copies of all of my medical records?
A. You need to provide our office with copies of all medical records related to the issue(s) noted in your letter. You should also provide copies of these records to the medical provider completing your evaluation.
Q. How do I get my medical records?
A. You will want to contact the medical records department of each medical facility where you have been seen. To obtain a copy of your military medical records, please contact the National Archives Veteran Service Records.
Q. Do you need my Veteran disability information?
A. Yes, if you receive Veteran disability compensation, provide copies of all VA disability award documentation, including the Reason for Decision section.
Q. How do I obtain copies of my VA Disability Rating along with the Reason for Decision section?
A. You can contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office.
Q. Why do I need to provide additional information for a mental health issue that occurred in the past?
A. Our Agency’s Medical Officer recommends a current mental health evaluation for all candidates with a history of counseling, therapy, treatment, or mental health diagnosis.
Q. Can I send my response back by e-mail, mail or fax? How will I know if it was received?
A. Yes, you can provide the requested information by e-mail to CBPHiringmedreview@cbp.dhs.gov or fax to (952) 674-4423. We ask that you please choose one method of returning the information as receiving duplicate copies can slow down the review process. Once the information has been received and checked-in to our system, we will send you an e-mail confirming receipt. If you provide the requested information by e-mail, we will respond directly to your e-mail with confirmation of receipt. If you provide the information by fax, we will send you a separate e-mail confirming receipt. In most cases, we will send a confirmation e-mail within 48 hours of when we received the information.
Q. Can I get an extension to provide the requested medical information?
A. Yes, if you are not able to provide the requested information by the due date indicated in your letter, you can contact our office for an extension. Extensions are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Q. Will CBP pay for the additional medical information being requested?
A. The Agency is responsible for paying for the initial pre-employment medical examination; however, if any additional information is recommended, it is provided at the candidate’s expense.
Q. I’m not able to find a provider that performs the specific color vision testing that is being requested. Does CBP have any suggestions as to where I can find these color vision tests?
A. Often times these tests can be hard to find. We usually recommend candidates try contacting any major universities in their area or try the internet to find optometrists or ophthalmologists that provide these types of color vision tests. Additionally, the Minneapolis Hiring Center is aware of some locations throughout the U.S. where candidates have notified us that they were able to find the requested color vision tests. Please contact the Minneapolis Hiring Center’s Medical Review Unit by phone at 952-857-2919 or by e-mail at CBPHiringmedreview@cbp.dhs.gov for a list of possible locations in your area.
Q. Am I able to have corrective eye surgery to meet the vision standards for the position?
A. Whether vision correction surgery is or is not an option for you is something you would need to discuss with your eye doctor, but we do accept it as a way to correct your vision.
Q. Is there a mandatory waiting period after having corrective eye surgery?
A. There is a 90 day follow-up period with corrective eye surgery.
Q. I provided the requested medical information, how long will it take to be reviewed?
A. The review process can take between 6-8 weeks (sometimes longer).
Q. Did you receive everything that is needed to clear me?
A. We will not know if the information you provide is sufficient until it has been reviewed by our Medical Officer.
Q. I’ve been calling regarding the status of medical review, but I haven’t received a call back. When will I receive a return call?
A. Our goal is to answer all calls live; however, in the event you must leave a voicemail, it will be returned within 24 hours.
Q. Should I keep a copy of any medical information that I provide to the Minneapolis Hiring Center?
A. Yes, it is recommended that you maintain a copy of all documents submitted our office. Also, you should take a copy of the medical documents with you to the training academy, if they pertain to physical performance issues (for example, orthopedic, chiropractic, cardiology, asthma).
Q. How will I be notified once a medical determination has been made?
A. You’re able to monitor your medical status on the Central Applicant Self-Service website: https://apps.cbp.gov/cass/. If the Minneapolis Hiring Center determines that you do not meet the medical standards for the position, you will be sent a letter by e-mail notifying you of the decision.
Q. I have cleared medically, what happens next?
A. For questions regarding the next steps in your hiring process, please contact our Front Line Staffing Unit.
Q. How long are my medical results good for?
A. A medical determination is good for two years from the decision date.
Q. If I do not meet the medical standards for the position after I provide the requesting medical information, do I have waiver rights?
A. Yes. If you are found medically ineligible for the position for which you have applied, you will be given the opportunity to request a waiver of the medical standards. The opportunity to request a waiver of a required medical standard is based on Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations§ 339 which governs the Medical Review Program. These regulations require an agency to waive a medical standard when a candidate demonstrates, through comparable work experience, that he or she can safely perform the essential duties of the position in spite of the medical condition. The Waiver Review Board (WRB), consisting of subject matter experts, is the body that reviews each waiver request and determines whether to waive the medical standard for the specific candidate. The WRB reviews non-medical documentation submitted by the candidate in support of the candidate's ability to perform the essential duties of the position. The WRB's decision is unrelated to the candidate's ability to meet the medical requirements of the position.
Q. I submitted a waiver request, what happens next?
A. Once your waiver request has been received it will be forwarded to the Waiver Board for review. Medical standard waiver requests are considered by a separate board outside of our office and the process can take several weeks. We monitor the case status and will complete our processing as soon as we receive official notification from the board.
Q. How can I get a copy of my medical examination?
A. Copies of the medical examination must be requested through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA contact information can be obtained by e-mailing the Minneapolis Hiring Center at MHCFOIAPACongressional@cbp.dhs.gov.
Contact Information for the Medical Review Unit
Q. Who do I contact if I have questions concerning the scheduling of my pre-employment medical examination?
A. Any questions concerning the scheduling of your pre-employment medical examination can be directed to the Medical and Fitness Scheduling Unit at (952) 857-2939 or CBPHiringmedfitappt@cbp.dhs.gov.
Q. Who do I contact if I have questions regarding the medical review process?
A. Any questions regarding the medical review process can be directed to the Medical Review Unit at (952) 857-2919 or CBPHiringmedreview@cbp.dhs.gov.
Q. I have completed my medical exam, who do I contact if I have questions regarding the medical review process?
A. Any questions regarding the medical review process can be directed to the Medical Review Unit at (952) 857-2919 or CBPHiringmedreview@cbp.dhs.gov.
e-QIP & Preparation Tool
Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP)
During the hiring process, you will receive a request to complete an online form known as the e-QIP. You must successfully complete the online e-QIP in order for your background investigation to begin. The e-QIP requires you provide very specific information on past addresses, personal references with contact information, and complete work history, among other items. Gathering the required information will require time and research.
e-QIP Preparation Tool:
You can prepare for the future request to complete the online e-QIP by reviewing the e-QIP form here, e-QIP preparation tool. We suggest you print the PDF version and fill in the requested information now so that when you receive the request to complete the online e-QIP, you will have the information available to fill in the online form. By having accurate information ready for completing the online form you can fast track the start of your background investigation process and continue moving forward in the hiring process.
We are asking you to utilize this tool. Using this tool will help ensure you are ready and prepared to respond accurately when you receive the request from the Minneapolis Hiring Center to begin your online e-QIP process.
Completing Your e-QIP:
STEP 1 - Prepare:
Carefully follow instructions and complete each form indicated below. Type responses or print legibly. Sign and date each form. Dates must be clear and legible, following any prescribed format (example: mm/dd/yyyy).
CBP Form 258 (Financial Disclosure Report). Fields [1d, 1g, 1h and 1i] may be left blank. Leave no other remaining section blank on the form. If the answer is “No” or “None”, indicate such on the form.
Residency Requirement Waiver. Check appropriate box, complete applicable line items, and sign and date the form.
Provisional Clear Election Form. If you wish to enter on duty in a provisional clearance status, prior to receiving a full clearance from the Office of Internal Affairs, please elect yes and complete this form. If you prefer to wait and enter on duty after you have a full clearance, elect no.
Once completed, set these forms aside for later upload as indicated in STEP 7 below.
STEP 2 - e-QIP Setup Steps:
Enable Web Browser & TLS 1.0
Read “Completing the 2010 SF 86 in e-QIP” at http://www.opm.gov/e-QIP/CompletingSF86.pdf
Read “Frequently Asked Questions...About e-QIP” at http://www.opm.gov/e-QIP/faq-e-QIP.asp
STEP 3 - e-QIP Navigation:
Log on to http://www.opm.gov/investigations/e-qip-application/ . Click on “Register for Username and Password” box.
- Enter your social security number and click “submit”. Do not use the “Request Number” option.
- Single click on the following box: “Allow me to see my Golden Answers as I type them.”
- Enter answers to the Golden Questions as shown: [Case sensitive]
- What is your LAST name? Enter your last name
- In what CITY where you born? Enter the word Unknown
- In what four-digit YEAR were you born? Enter your actual Four-digit year of birth
You must create a Username, confirm your Username, create a Password, and confirm your Password. Remember your Username and Password for future use.
Enter challenge questions and answers to help retrieve a forgotten password and click “submit”. Remember your username, password and answers to challenge questions for future use.
STEP 4 - Data Entry:
Enter data and save
- Closely follow instructions for each section of the SF-86. Answer the SF-86 questions completely and accurately.
- e-QIP will automatically validate your data after you select “save” on each screen.
- If you receive errors or warnings, check for the following:
- Look for gaps and/or missing information, and then make additions or corrections.
- Review “Completing the 2010 SF 86 in e-QIP” at http://www.opm.gov/e-QIP/CompletingSF86.pdf
STEP 5 - Validate, Review & Certify:
- Validate and review
Use navigation pull-down menu and select “Validate, Review and Certify”.
Check all e-QIP sections for errors or omissions, and correct all validation errors.
- Certify that the information is accurate
Single click “Certify Investigation Request” button.
STEP 6 - Certify My Answers are True:
- Certify My Answers are True
Go to navigation menu, select “Certify That My Answers Are True”.
Click “Go” to lock your answers.
STEP 7 – Display, Print & Attach Documents:
- Display archival copy.
- Print one set of the archival copy for your records.
- Display the signature forms: Certification (CER), Fair Credit Reporting Act Disclosure (FCR), Authorization for Release (REL), and Medical Release (MEL).
- Print one copy of the signature forms (CER, FCR, REL, MEL). Ensure the top, bottom and sides of each document are present. The investigation request ID on the forms must match the e-QIP investigation request ID being submitted. Ensure your name is typed or clearly printed as it appears on the EQIP. Sign and clearly date the forms using the prescribed date format: mm/dd/yyyy. These forms MUST be dated after the e-QIP has been certified.
- When asked if you have a document and/or file you would like to associate with this request, answer “Yes”.
- When asked to specify a method to provide your attachments, select “Upload File” or “Direct Fax”.
- Upload or fax the signed e-QIP signature forms (CER, FCR, REL, and MEL) and the three other forms addressed in Step 1 (Financial Disclosure Report, Residency and Provisional Clear Election Forms) to your e-QIP record.
NOTE: Documents must be clear and legible and cannot contain lines that may occur during the scanning process. If any part of the document is illegible, [too dark or too light] it will be rejected.
STEP 8 - Release e-QIP to Agency:
- Ensure that you upload all required attachments to the e-QIP record first. Once complete and ready to release, click the button to “Release Request/Transmit to Agency”.
- You will not be able to access e-QIP or upload or fax forms after this point.
If you have any questions regarding these instruction or require assistance along the way, contact the HR Assistant assigned to assist you with your background investigation process. Once you complete and release the e-QIP, the assistant will contact you if additional information or corrections are required.
Common e-QIP Errors to Avoid:
Lack of attention to the following errors will cause your e-QIP to be rejected and your BI processing to be delayed.
- DO NOT list relatives as verifiers or references unless the SF-86 specifically asks for relative information
- Residence and employment coverage must be continuous with no gaps larger than one month.
- A typed response of “I don’t know” is NOT acceptable. A detailed explanation of why you cannot obtain information is required.
- Section 12 - Where You Went to School. Enter your high school/GED diploma information plus any post-high school education. Enter a verifier for post-high school education if it is requested.
- Section 13 - Employment Activities. List each period of employment and unemployment separately. DO NOT list your education as an employment activity. Do not list your supervisor as the employer; list the company or agency name. If you are a current Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employee, list CBP as your employer, do not list Department of Homeland Security.
- Section 14 - Selective Service Record. Your Social Security Number is not your Selective Service number. Retrieve your Selective Service number at www.sss.gov.
- Section 16 - People Who Know You Well. List names, contact information, and complete addresses of three people who knew you during the past 7 years. The entire 7-year period must be covered. DO NOT list current or former spouse or any other relative. Do not list your relatives anywhere except in section 18. In addition, DO NOT list any person that you have or will list elsewhere on this document.
- Section 17 - Marital Status. List as much information as possible about your spouse, former spouse, and cohabitant(s), even if you have no contact with them. This includes names, contact information, and documentation numbers. Do not list family members as cohabitants. You must list SSN’s of adult cohabitants. Remember to list your spouse’s maiden name if applicable.
- Section 18 - Relatives. An entry must be made for each family member. List as much information as possible about relatives separately, even if you have no contact with them, regardless of whether they were born in the U.S. or abroad; or, are living or deceased. This includes names, contact information, and document numbers. If you are unable to provide the information, you must provide the written reason why. Do not list your relatives anywhere else on this form.
Dates: Ensure all hand written dates are clear, legible, and follow any prescribed format (example: mm/dd/yyyy).
The Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 requires all job applicants for law enforcement positions at U.S. Customs and Border Protection to receive a polygraph examination and a background investigation before being offered employment. Candidates will be scheduled for and must successfully complete a polygraph examination as part of the pre-employment requirements. Accordingly, if the individual does not successfully complete a polygraph examination, it is CBP’s practice to request that the candidate be removed from consideration.
What to expect under a polygraph examination:
As you know, law enforcement positions at Customs and Border Protection require a polygraph examination. The results of the polygraph are used as part of the determination of your suitability for placement in the law enforcement officer position.
You will be administered a standardized polygraph exam to determine your suitability for employment with CBP. Some questions will concern the answers you gave on your application and background forms; others will deal with national security issues such as foreign contact, mishandling of classified information, and involvement in terrorist activity. All questions will be explained and reviewed with you prior to the actual examination. You will be given an opportunity to discuss any concerns or issues you may have with any question prior to the actual exam.
The polygraph exam generally takes 4-6 hours to complete, but may run longer. Before you leave the exam, the examiner will advise you if you passed or failed the exam. Declining an interview or polygraph exam will result in the cancellation of your investigation and the withdrawal of your conditional offer of employment.
Following is a list of sample questions covering many of the issues you will discuss with the polygraph examiner. You are not being asked to answer any of these questions at this time. This list is provided to give you a better understanding of and expectation for the polygraph exam.
1. Have you ever been convicted of a crime of domestic violence that has not been expunged, set aside, pardoned, or dismissed?
2. Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime of domestic violence that did not result in a conviction?
3. Are you currently delinquent on any debt that has been outstanding for 90 days or more (e.g., credit cards, mortgage loans, taxes, overpayment of benefits, federal guaranteed student loans, and/or commercial loans)?
4. Have you illegally used, experimented with, received, purchased, transferred, or distributed a Schedule I-V controlled substance?
Examples of controlled substances include: cocaine or crack cocaine (such as rock or freebase), THC (such as marijuana, weed, pot, hashish), synthetic marijuana (for example, K2 or Spice), hallucinogenics (such as LSD, PCP, mushrooms, peyote, or mescaline), ketamine (such as special K or jet), illegal steroids (for example, the clear or juice), narcotics (such as opium or heroin) or stimulants (for example, speed, crystal meth, or ecstasy).
5. After the age of 18, did you ever enter the U.S. illegally, use fraudulent or counterfeit documents to enter the U.S., or intentionally overstay an authorized period of admission to reside, work, or attend school in the U.S. without legal immigration status?
6. If you entered the U.S. illegally prior to your 18th birthday, did you initiate action to obtain legal status within 24 months after reaching age 18?
7. Are you currently married to or living with any person who is illegally residing in the U.S.?
8. Have you ever intentionally harbored, concealed, transported, or employed an illegal alien(s)?
9. Have you ever been convicted of any crime involving identity theft or the fraudulent use of a credit card (including buying, selling, manufacturing, stealing or fraudulently using credit cards to obtain something of value)?
10. Have you received property which you knew was stolen?
11. Have you been a member of, had an affiliation with, assisted, or promoted any street gang, group, or organization that advocates or espouses any form of racism or illegal activities?
With the additional information you now have about the polygraph exam, do you still want to continue in this application process? If not, please contact your case manager indicating your decision to withdraw your application at this time. You may reapply during the next open period without prejudice.
Polygraph Examination Frequently Asked Questions:
Candidates for law enforcement officer positions at Customs and Border Protection are required to undergo a polygraph exam as part of the background investigation. The results of the polygraph will be used to determine the candidate’s suitability for placement in the law enforcement officer position. The suitability information provided by and collected on applicants, including CBP polygraph exam results, will be kept for a minimum of three (3) years for use in future background investigations.
Q. How should I prepare for the polygraph exam?
A. The important things you should consider are:
- Try to get plenty of sleep the night before your scheduled exam.
- Eat prior to arriving for your exam.
- Dress is business casual, but you should wear comfortable clothing.
- If an issue arises that would preclude your being tested on your scheduled date, please call the examiner and re-schedule your exam.
- Do not schedule other events for the same day as your scheduled exam. The polygraph process generally takes four to six hours to complete, but may run longer.
- Bring photo ID (Driver’s License, passport, etc.) to your exam.
- Bring any updated e-QIP (SF-86) information to your exam.
Q. What type of questions will be asked?
A. You will be administered a standardized polygraph exam, the results of which will be used in determining your suitability for employment with CBP. Some questions will concern the answers you gave on your application forms; others will deal with national security issues (e.g., foreign contacts, mishandling of classified information, and involvement in terrorist activity). All questions will be explained and reviewed with you prior to the actual examination. You will be given an opportunity to discuss any concerns or issues you may have about any question prior to the actual exam.
Q. When will I find out the results of my polygraph exam?
A. Before you leave the polygraph suite, the examiner will advise you of the preliminary results as to whether you passed or failed the exam and will offer you the opportunity to comment on any areas of concern. The examiner will explain to you the polygraph Quality Control process, which is the process in which the final decision on your exam is made. In some instances, the examiner may schedule you for additional testing.
Q. What is Quality Control?
A. Under Federal polygraph policies and procedures, your Polygraph Examination results are submitted to the Polygraph Quality Control (QC) section in the Credibility Assessment Division for final review. If QC concurs with the examiner’s opinion about your polygraph examination, the results are final and will be forwarded to the Personnel Security Division for inclusion in your background investigation file. If not, you may be contacted for additional testing (re-test).
Q. Will the Credibility Assessment Division (Polygraph Unit) contact me again after the Polygraph Exam?
A. No, not unless additional testing is required.
Q. Does the Credibility Assessment Division (Polygraph Unit) decide if I get hired?
A. No. The Credibility Assessment Division does not make hiring decisions.
Q. How will I know if I will continue in the application process?
A. Polygraph results are submitted to the Personnel Security Division (PSD), and are adjudicated as part of your background investigation. The Credibility Assessment Division (Polygraph Unit) does not participate in the adjudication process. PSD may contact you during the background investigation process to schedule additional interviews or request additional information. You may check the status of your application by visiting the Central Applicant Self-Service System (CASS).
Q. Can I request to withdraw my application after the Polygraph Exam?
A. You can withdraw your application after the polygraph exam by contacting the Minneapolis Hiring Center at (952) 857-2914 or by contacting your assigned case manager.
Q. If I do not successfully complete the CBP Polygraph Exam, will that preclude me from job application processes with other agencies?
A. No. Other agencies may request and be given the status of your application process with CBP, but the results do not preclude you from applying or being considered for other jobs.
Q. What forms will I be required to sign on the day of my polygraph examination?
A. A “CBP Polygraph Rights Warning and Waiver” form and a “CBP Polygraph Examination Consent” form.
Q. What if I am a current CBP employee and I self-report misconduct during the polygraph examination?
A. It will be investigated and any substantiated misconduct may result in disciplinary action, up to and including removal.
Background Investigation (BI)
Suitability, a determination based on facets of an individual’s character or conduct, may have an impact on the integrity or efficiency of CBP’s mission. Therefore, candidates must complete a background investigation to ensure that the candidate is suitable for employment, e.g., reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States. Accordingly, if the individual is found unsuitable for employment, it is CBP’s practice to request that the candidate be removed from consideration.
When will I be contacted for my background investigation:
Once your e-QIP is reviewed for completeness and forwarded to the Office of Internal Affairs for processing. An investigator will contact you for a personal interview as a normal part of the investigative process. You will be contacted in advance by telephone to arrange a time and location for the interview. At the time of your interview, you must provide the investigator with the following, if applicable:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage/Divorce Records
- Military Discharge Papers (DD-214)
- Copy of Bankruptcy Papers
- Proof of College Degree and/or Transcripts
Who do I contact if I have questions about my background investigation?
You will be assigned a case manager and given their contact information at the time you are sent the background investigation packet.
If you have already received your background investigation packet, but do not know who your case manager is, please contact 952-857-2914.
How can I check the status of my background investigation:
Please feel free to monitor your status on the Central Applicant Self-Service (CASS) website at https://apps.cbp.gov/cass/. The CASS website was created to assist you in checking on the status of your application and pre-employment requirements.
To use CASS you need your Applicant Identification Number (applicant ID) and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Your ‘applicant ID’ was sent to you via e-mail.
Remember: Your forms status will not change until your background investigation forms have been forwarded from the Minneapolis Hiring Center to the Office of Internal Affairs. While your case is in process with the Office of Internal Affairs, your status in CASS will not change. You will only see a change once a final suitability decision is reached.
Please DO NOT contact the MHC for the purpose of checking on the status of your application. You will only be referred back to the CASS website. The MHC is not provided status updates. We are only notified when a final determination is made.
Background Investigation Frequently Asked Questions:
A favorably completed background investigation is required for your placement in a position with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Final determination of your suitability for the position will be determined by CBP. You will be provided the opportunity to explain, refute, or clarify any unfavorable/discrepant information before a final decision is made.
Q: What is the purpose of a background investigation?
A: A background investigation is conducted to ensure that the candidate is suitable for employment, i.e. reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States.
Q: What are the basic requirements for employment?
A: The following are the basic requirements for employment:
U.S. Citizenship: United States citizenship; proof of citizenship is required, if selected.
Residency: All CBP employees assigned to duty stations in the United States are required to maintain their primary residence in the United States. Applicants must meet one or more of the following primary residence criteria for the last three years prior to submitting an application for employment:
- resided in the United States or its protectorates or territories (excluding short trips abroad, such as vacations). Residence is defined for CBP purposes as an actual physical residence/dwelling/domicile in the United States or its protectorates or territories where a person maintains his/her household/personal belongings and sleeps, with the exception of limited vacations or visits abroad;
- worked for the U.S. Government as an employee overseas in a Federal or military capacity; or
- had been a dependent of a U.S. Federal or military employee serving overseas.
Exceptions to the residency requirement may be granted to applicants who spend time overseas within the 3 years prior to application:
- As part of a “foreign exchange” or “study abroad” program sponsored by an accredited
U.S-based school. (Time spent overseas for personal enrichment or language improvement will not receive an exception or waiver.)
- Performing missionary work under the sponsorship of a U.S.-based religious organization.
- Working as a contractor for the U.S. Government or a U.S.-based company with a stateside headquarters (records to verify contractor employment must be available stateside.)
For all residency waiver exceptions noted above, the candidate must provide complete state-side coverage information required to make a suitability/security determination. Examples of state-side coverage information include: the state-side address of the company headquarters where the applicant's personnel file is located, the state-side address of the Professor in charge of the applicant's "Study Abroad" or “student exchange” program, the U.S.-based religious organization’s records for the applicant's overseas missionary work, and/or the state-side addresses of anyone who worked or studied with the applicant while overseas. If selected for a position, applicants must provide this information when completing the Residency Requirement form.
Background Investigation: Successfully complete a background investigation before being appointed (to include successful completion of a polygraph exam for law enforcement officer positions).
Drug Testing: If in a testing-designated position (e.g., Border Patrol Agent, Customs and Border Protection Officer, Intel Specialist, Air Interdiction Agent, Marine Interdiction Agent), submit to a drug test and receive a negative test result before being appointed.
Structured Interview: Successfully pass a structured interview. Candidates for Customs and Border Protection Officer or Agricultural Specialist positions will also be required to successfully pass a video-based-test (VBT).
Q: What is adjudication and what is involved in the adjudication process?
A: Adjudication is the evaluation of data contained in a background investigation, and/or any other available relevant reports, to determine whether an individual is suitable for federal employment or eligible for access to classified information.
Q: How long does a background investigation take and why do some investigations take longer than others?
A: Pre-employment investigative screening (such as the collection and review of fingerprints and the Questionnaire for National Security Positions, the polygraph exam, and the background investigation) can take up to 12 months, or longer. Although most issues are resolved, you cannot be authorized to enter-on-duty until all potentially disqualifying issues are resolved. If you do not provide accurate information or answer all of the questions on the background investigation forms, the process may be delayed. Some individuals have more complex backgrounds than others and, consequently, more time is required to conduct a complete investigation. Other factors that may delay the process are a candidate’s having resided in multiple geographic areas and having numerous past employers.
Q: What is the difference between a suitability determination and a security clearance?
A: Suitability refers to an individual’s identifiable character traits and conduct that is sufficient to decide whether the individual’s employment or continued employment would or would not protect the integrity or promote the efficiency of the service. Suitability is distinguishable from a person’s ability to fulfill the qualification requirements of a job, as measured by experience, education, knowledge, and skills.
A security clearance is a determination that allows an employee access to classified information or systems when the employee has a “need to know.” A security clearance may be granted based on an administrative determination that an individual is eligible for access to classified information or systems based on the favorable security adjudication of a background investigation. Although all employees must meet the suitability requirements for employment, not all employees require a security clearance.
Q: Why are you going to investigate me? I'm only applying for an entry-level job and I don't need a security clearance.
A: Suitability is always a consideration for Federal employment. All individuals employed by the Federal Government shall be reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and have complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States. This means that each employee appointed to a position in any department or agency of the government is subject to an investigation.
Q: What does a background investigation involve?
A: The background investigation will include credit and criminal history checks, records checks to verify citizenship of family members, verification of date of birth, education, employment history, and military history. Interviews of individuals who know the candidate and of any current or former spouse (divorced within the past ten years) will be conducted. Residences will be confirmed, neighbors interviewed, and public records queried for information about bankruptcies, divorces, and criminal or civil litigation.
Additional interviews will be conducted, as needed, to resolve any inconsistencies or issues which have developed during the course of the investigation.
Q: Will I need to be interviewed for my background investigation?
A: Yes. A personal interview with an investigator is part of the investigative process. You will be contacted in advance by telephone to arrange a time and location for the interview.
Declining an interview may result in the cancellation of the investigation and the withdrawal of the tentative offer of employment.
Q: What happens if I withhold information or provide false information?
A: The agency may remove an employee or disqualify applicants who materially and deliberately falsify or conceal information (such as the omission of arrests, drug use, employment, medical history, assets, and liabilities, etc.) on the background investigation documentation or who make false statements during the personal interview with the investigator. In addition, the U. S. Criminal Code (18 U.S.C. § 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines up to $10,000and/or 5 years imprisonment.
Q: Why would I receive an unfavorable suitability determination at the conclusion of my background investigation?
A: Some issues that may result in an unfavorable suitability determination include: financial irresponsibility; poor credit history; drug/alcohol abuse; arrest history; misconduct in prior employment; association with individuals involved in illegal activities such as drug use and drug trafficking; and demonstrated lack of honesty/integrity in providing complete and comprehensive information about current/past behavior which may be unfavorable.
In connection with the agency's mission to enforce our nation's drug laws, the majority of Customs workers have direct responsibility and involvement with the interdiction of illegal narcotics. Customs employees are routinely exposed to illegal substances since their duties involve the investigation, apprehension, and detention of persons suspected of smuggling drugs. To maintain the high professional standards of the CBP workforce, it is imperative that individuals who use illegal drugs are screened out during the pre-employment process prior to entrance on duty.
Drug Testing Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. When will I be contacted for the Drug Test?
A. The drug test will take place at a random time prior to your entrance on duty for the position.
Q. How do I schedule the Drug Test?
A. You cannot schedule the drug test in advance. Our scheduling contractor will reach out to you at a random time during the pre-employment process to schedule you for this appointment.
The contact information you provide to the Minneapolis Hiring Center (MHC) will be used by our contractor to reach out to you, so it's important we have the most current information.
Q. When I hear from the scheduling contractor, how long do I have to schedule the appointment?
A. You will never receive more than a 48 hour notice for this appointment.
Q. Where will I take the Drug Test?
A. The drug test will be conducted at the nearest available CBP-contracted facility according to the mailing address the MHC has on file for you. Please note that travel to and from the facility is at your own expense.
Q. How long should I plan to be at the facility for this appointment?
A. The length of time you will be expected to remain at the facility depends on the facility's schedule the day of your appointment, or if any issues arise during your appointment. Please plan accordingly.
Q. What should I bring?
A. Please bring any documentation relating to prescription medications you are taking.
Contact Information for the Drug Testing Unit:
Phone: (952) 857-2923
Fax: (952) 674-4550
The Overview of Benefits page for BPA should contain the information currently in CBP.gov, located here http://www.cbp.gov/careers/join-cbp/overview-benefits AND the link under Useful Resources block on the right hand side of this page with information located here: http://www.cbp.gov/employees/new-employee-resources/benefits
The American Council on Education's (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) has recommended college credit for the following courses offered at CBP's Academies and Training Centers:
- Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist (CBPAS) (completed 08/01/14 or later)
CBP employees now have a great opportunity to further their educational goals by taking advantage of this new program! To participate in the ACE CREDIT program you must:
- Attended an accredited college or university that accepts ACE CREDIT.
- Successfully complete one or more of the ACE CREDIT-recommended CBP courses.
- Create an account at the ACE CREDIT Registry and Transcript System https://www2.acenet.edu/credit/?fuseaction=transcripts.main
The official transcript will be delivered to you and/or your college or university (credit is not guaranteed, and is accepted at the discretion of individual institutions).
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to the CBP College Credit team at CBPACECREDIT@cbp.dhs.gov.
Questions about your application?
Phone: 952-857-2943/ Fax: 952-806-0844
Contact the Case Manager identified in your Background Investigation Packet
Medical Exam Scheduling
Medical Exam Review/Results
Video-Based Testing & Structured Interview
Training and Scheduling
Check your Status:
Use Applicant ID & SSN to log in.