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United States Border Patrol Grooming Standards

In order to foster public trust, uniformed law enforcement officers need to maintain a professional and neatly-grooming appearance. Accordingly, the following standards will apply to all Border Patrol agents. These standards shall be applied consistently and fairly. The Chief Patrol Agent may grant exceptions to these standards for Border Patrol agents assigned to plain clothes duties such as field intelligence units, disrupt units, multi-Agency task forces or similar duties where these standards might compromise the safety and effectiveness of these units. Other exceptions to these standards may be granted by the Chief Patrol Agent.

Head and facial hair, including sideburns and moustaches and beards shall be neatly trimmed and clean, and shall neither interfere with the wearing of the required uniform nor constitute a safety hazard or an impediment to the employee’s ability to properly perform his or her assigned duties. Employees who are not actively attempting to grow a beard or other type of facial hair must report to work with an otherwise cleanly shaven face.

Hair

  • Ponytails, pigtails, hanging locks or hanging braids are not authorized.
  • Outlandish hair coloring, such as purple, orange, green, pink, bright red and fluorescent (or neon) colors shall not be permitted. Border Patrol agents may not cut designs into their hair.
  • Males – Hair shall not be worn below the middle point of the outer shirt collar (as measured when the agent is standing), nor cover more than half of the ears, nor cover any portion of the eyebrows. Male agents may not style their hair to circumvent these standards.
  • Females – Hair shall not be worn below the bottom of the outer shirt collar (as measured when the agent is standing), nor cover any portion of the eyebrows. Female agents may wear conservative barrettes and pins as long as they do not pose an officer safety hazard.

Facial Hair

  • Beards are authorized, but patchy, or spotty clumps of facial hair, excluding those resulting from scars, are not considered beards and as such are not permitted. If a beard or mustache is worn, it shall be well-groomed and neatly trimmed at all times in order not to present a ragged appearance. The bulk of the beard (distance that the mass of facial hair protrudes from the skin of the face) shall not exceed one-half of an inch, unless required for medical or religious reasons.
  • Ungroomed beard stubble will not be considered neat, clean and professional. Facial hair will not be worn in any extreme or unconventional styles.
  • Beards are not authorized for agents until the successful completion of the Border Patrol Academy and any applicable probationary period and may not be worn in Class A or Class B uniforms, Honor Guard, Recruitment, Public Affairs, Sector and Headquarters temporary assignments (unless otherwise authorized at that location), Border Patrol Academy Instructors, and Oral Hiring Boards.
  • These exclusions will not apply to employees who have requested and received a waiver for medical or religious purposes.
  • Sideburns may not extend below the bottom of the earlobe, and may not be more than 1/2” wider than at their narrowest point.
  • Moustaches must be neatly trimmed and may not extend outward beyond the natural contours of the upper lip, nor downward more than 3/8” past the corner of the mouth. Moustaches may not touch the lower lip when the mouth is closed. Handlebar moustaches are not permitted. Moustaches may not be twisted.

Jewelry & Piercings

  • Jewelry, if worn, must not detract from the professional law enforcement image.
  • Necklaces (other than a small portion of the chain) shall not be visible. Choker-type necklaces are not authorized.
  • Male agents shall not wear earrings or other body piercing items that are visible.
  • Female agents may wear up to two small non-dangling earrings in each ear lobe, but shall not wear other body piercing items that are visible.
  • Intentional body and facial disfigurements that are visible are prohibited for both males and females.
  • Agents may wear one bracelet per wrist, which may include a medical alert bracelet. Bracelets must be conservative in style and appropriate for the Agent’s work environment.
  • Agents may wear rings on their fingers as long as they do not post an officer safety hazard, interfere with the manual dexterity to operate firearms and/or any use of force implement.
  • The use of gold, platinum, or other veneers or caps for the purpose of dental ornamentation (as opposed to dental repair) is prohibited. Teeth, whether natural, capped, or veneered, will not be ornamented with designs, jewels, initials, etc.
  • Conservative or military-styled watches are authorized for wear. Watchbands will be limited to conservative colors such as silver, gold, black, brown, dark blue, grey and dark green.

Miscellaneous

  • Males – Fingernails shall not extend more than 1/8” beyond the fingertips.
  • Females – Fingernails shall not extend more than 1/4” beyond the fingertips.
  • All fingernails must be maintained consistent with those of a professional law enforcement officer.
  • Makeup is permitted only for female agents and shall be worn in a manner consistent with that of a professional law enforcement officer and must be conservative in color and amount.

Tattoos and/or Brandings

  • Obscene, racially/ethnically derogatory and/or gang tattoos or brandings shall not be visible.
  • Tattoos and/or brandings on the head, face, neck or hands are not permitted.
  • All visible tattoos and/or brandings will be covered while performing the following volunteer duties: Recruiting, Public Affairs Officer, Oral Hiring Boards, International Liaison Duties, Community Affairs or judicial proceedings.
Last modified: 
January 6, 2020