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Border Patrol Agent Application Process

Being a Border Patrol Agent can be both mentally and physically challenging. As a result, the application process to become a Border Patrol Agent is intentionally rigorous to ensure those selected can carry out the duties that are expected of them. Click the section buttons or titles below to learn about basic eligibility.

Expand Basic Eligibility

In order to be eligible for employment with the CBP, applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Have a valid driver's license.
  • Have resided in the U.S. for at least 3 of the last 5 years (military exception).
  • Be eligible to carry a firearm.
  • Referred for selection prior to your 40th birthday (waiver for veterans' preference eligible or those that have previously served in a federal civilian law enforcement position).
  • Be willing to travel; you will be required to travel frequently. This job may require extended domestic and foreign Temporary Duty (TDY) assignments.
  • Pass the application process (see details below).

Common Disqualifiers

You may be rated unsuitable for the Border Patrol Agent position if your background includes:

  • Use of illegal drugs, and/or the sale and distribution of illegal drugs. View our FAQ on prior illegal drug use.
  • Convictions (including misdemeanor domestic violence charges)
  • Intentional harboring or concealment of an illegal alien

9 steps in the process to employment. Note that several steps occur at the same time or may occur in a different order

Expand 1. Apply

Apply to be a Border Patrol Agent on USAJOBS
To apply, navigate to the position you are interested in on USAJOBS by searching the position title or by finding the link on the Apply Now page. To begin your online application, you need to create a USA Jobs account and self certify that you are qualified. You will submit your resume, transcripts, and other documents to verify your age and if you are a veteran. Visit our Apply Now page to start your application today!

Expand 2. Take the Border Patrol Entrance Exam (GL-9 waiver)

You must be willing to take an entrance exam at location of your choice
The entrance exam measures your ability to perform the job functions of a Border Patrol Agent. The exam is administered in two parts. The first test is the Experience Record. This test will take you less than 1 hour to complete and you can take it on your own computer. The second test is the logical reasoning test. It will take you about 2 hours to complete this test and it is administered at a testing center. More information and a study guide are available under current applicant resources.

Entrance Exam waiver for GL-9 Applicants: Applicants who qualify at the GL-9 level are not required to take the entrance exam.

Expand 3. Qualifications Review

Submit a properly formatted resume on USAJOBS to ensure your qualifications are accurate
Human Resources Specialists will review your resume and other required documents to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications and determine what grade you qualify for. For your application to be reviewed quickly and accurately, it is recommended that you submit a resume that appropriately documents your qualifications, detailed description of your duties (including tasks performed), the dates you performed those duties (MM/DD/YYYY - MM/DD/YYYY) and hours worked per week. If your resume and/or transcripts do not clearly document how you are qualified, you may be rated ineligible. We highly recommend you review our resume guide in preparing your Federal resume: (Border Patrol Agent Resume Aid)

Expand 4. Background Investigation

Border Patrol applicants undergo a thorough background investigation
All selected applicants must undergo and successfully pass a background investigation as a condition of placement into a CBP position. The SF-86 or SF-85 (e-QIP) must be completed to initiate the background investigation. The background investigation process consists of four key elements: the preliminary vetting checks, the polygraph examination, the investigation (the field portion and OPM’s National Agency Checks) and the final adjudication. The results produced from the vetting checks, the polygraph exam, and the investigation are analyzed for the purpose of making a final adjudicative determination. Learn more about the background investigation.

View the detailed overview of CBP’s suitability process

Expand 5. Medical Exam

General Medical Requirements:
Individuals in this position must 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.

After tentative selection, candidates must undergo a pre-employment medical examination and be found medically qualified to perform the position's full range of duties safely and efficiently. Any disease or condition that may potentially interfere with the safe and efficient performance of the job's duties or training may result in medical disqualification. No condition is automatically disqualifying; each determination is made on a case-by-case basis. The medical determination may involve recommendations for additional information and/or testing. If medical information is recommended beyond that provided by the initial medical examination, it is provided at the expense of the candidate.

Specific Medical Requirements:
Vision

  • Distant vision acuity - must be equal to or better than 20/100 in each eye without correction, i.e., without eye glasses or contact lenses
  • Corrected distance vision must be 20/20
  • Monocular vision is generally disqualifying
  • Depth perception must be equal to or better than 70 seconds of arc
  • Peripheral vision must be normal
  • Color vision - must demonstrate normal color vision, without the use of an x-chromatic lens or any other artificial device
  • Refractive surgery/LASIK – minimum of 90 day recovery period following procedure, free from significant untoward side effects of surgery, e.g., glare, contrast sensitivity

Hearing

  • In the frequency range of 500-2000 Hz, the deficit should not exceed 30 decibels in either ear
  • At 3000 Hz, the deficit should not exceed 40 decibels in either ear
  • Standards must be met without the use of a hearing aid

Learn more about medical qualifications and view the full standards at our BPA Medical Exam Informational page.

Expand 6. Fitness tests

To ensure you are physically fit for the job, you are required to undergo two physical fitness tests

PFT-1 is required to ensure you are able to carry out the critical tasks of the job, such as use force. The test includes pushups, sit-ups, and a step test. In order to help you prepared and successfully pass the PFT-1, CBP has created a six week standardized training program. View Current Applicant Resources to access the PFT-1 Readiness Program, a guide to the PFT-1, and frequently asked questions regarding the fitness test.

Physical Fitness Test 1 Minimum Requirements
Test Repetitions Time Frame
Sit-Ups 25 1 minute
Push-Ups 20 1 minute
14" Step 120 steps per minute 5 minutes

PFT-2 is required to ensure that you are still in shape and ready for your Border Patrol Academy training and occurs immediately before you enter on duty. PFT-2 includes pushups, sit-ups, a 1.5 mile run, and 220 yard sprint. View Current Applicant Resources for frequently asked questions regarding the PFT-2.

Physical Fitness Test 2 Minimum Requirements
Test Repetitions Time Frame
220 Yard Run --- 46 seconds
Sit-Ups 25 1 minute
Push-Ups 20 1 minute
1.5 Mile Run --- 15:00 minutes

*BPA applicants applying to announcements 17-3 and later will no longer be required to obtain a passing score, only participation in the test will be required. BPA applicants who applied to announcements prior to 17-3 will be required to take and pass the PFT-2 in order to have continued employment consideration.

For a fitness guide and other FAQs, visit our physical fitness current applicant resources page.

Expand 7. Structured Interview

You will be interviewed by a board of current Border Patrol Agents to ensure you have the competencies that are critical for successful job performance. Among these are the competencies of judgment/decision-making, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills, and cooperativeness/sensitivity to the needs of others. View Current Applicant Resources for frequently asked questions regarding the structured interview.

Expand 8. Polygraph Exam

The polygraph exam is a standardized polygraph exam, required by the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010. This is a 4-6 hour interview that requires you to respond to a series of questions typically relating to national security issues and answers you provide on your background investigations forms. The polygraph measures your physiological response when answering questions and results are subject to a quality control review for accuracy. Learn more about the polygraph exam.

Expand 9. Drug Test

Border Patrol Agents have direct responsibility and involvement with the interdiction of illegal narcotics, and are routinely exposed to illegal substances. During the application process you will be required to submit to a random drug test. Applicants that test positively are disqualified. View Current Applicant Resources for frequently asked questions regarding the drug test.

Last modified: 
January 18, 2018
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