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Marine Interdiction Agent Application Process

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Being a Marine Interdiction Agent can be both mentally and physically challenging. As a result, the application process to become a Marine Interdiction Agent is intentionally rigorous to ensure that those selected can carryout the duties that are expected of them.

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 the last 3 years.
  • 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 Marine Interdiction 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

Expand Specific Marine Interdiction Agent Qualifications

You must possess and provide proof of the following, at time of application in order to meet the basic requirements of this position:

  • One year of specialized law enforcement experience
  • Must possess a valid United States Coast Guard issued vessel license. Your USCG vessel license must bear one of the following capacities:
    • Masters License (any tonnage);
    • Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) License;
    • Deck Mates License (Chief Mate, Second Mate and Third Mate) of greater than 200 gross tons;
    • Deck Mates License (Chief Mate, Second Mate and Third Mate) of 200 gross tons or less (Near Coastal and Offshore)

8 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 Marine Interdiction 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. 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. 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.

Expand 3. Medical Exam

You will undergo a medical exam to ensure you are medically fit for the job
To ensure you are medically fit for the job, you are required to undergo a medical exam. The medical exam includes a medical history review, physician exam, vision, and hearing test.

Minimum Vision Requirements

  • Near: sufficient to read Jaeger type II at 14 inches
  • Uncorrected Distance: 20/200
  • Corrected Distance: 20/20 in one eye and 20/30 in the other
  • Color: normal
  • Peripheral: normal
  • Depth: normal, less than or equal to 70 seconds of arc or greater than 60% Shepard Fry


Minimum Hearing Requirements

  • Must not exceed 30dB in either ear in the 500, 1000, and 2000
  • Must be able to hear whispered voice at 15 feet in each ear without the use of a hearing aid


Lifting/Carrying Requirements

  • 50lb lifting requirement


Expand 4. Fitness test

To ensure you are physically fit for the job, you are required to undergo the MIA Physical Fitness Test (PFT)

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

Physical Fitness Test Minimum Requirements
Test Repetitions Time Frame
Sit-Ups 20 1 minute
Push-Ups 12 1 minute
12" Step 120 steps per minute 5 minutes

Expand 5. Background Investigation

Marine Interdiction 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 6. Drug Test

Marine Interdiction 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.

Expand 7. 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 8. Three Part Vessel Assessment

You will be required to pass a three part assessment that consists of a 1) written exam, 2) vessel evaluation, and 3) interview. The assessments will be conducted at an AMO location to be determined and will take approximately 1 full day. Selectees will be responsible for all expenses associated with their travel, as well any lodging and/or personal expenses incurred.

Part 1) Applicants must complete and pass a written exam.
This test covers the following areas: Rules of the Road, Navigation General, and Deck General. To prepare for the examination, applicants should refer to study aides for preparing for the OUPV license. Candidates should also review and practice chart plotting. Chart plotting tools will be provided.

Part 2) Applicants must complete and pass a vessel evaluation.
You will be required to demonstrate your vessel handling proficiency on a 30' twin engine vessel. You will be evaluated on your knowledge of equipment safety and nomenclature, Marine VHF, vessel handling and practical demonstration of navigation and docking in various conditions.

Part 3) Applicants must complete and pass a structured oral interview.
You will be required to undergo a structured interview. This interview is designed for the applicant to demonstrate the core competencies necessary to be a Marine Interdiction Agent. Competencies include sound judgment, decision making, integrity, communication, and emotional maturity. You will be asked a series of questions involving actual scenarios you may encounter that will test these competencies.

For more information, view the MIA 3 Part Vessel Exam page.


Last modified: 
May 30, 2019