An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Office of Field Operations Logo

What We Do


Office of Field Operations (OFO) is the largest component in CBP and is responsible for border security—including anti-terrorism, immigration, anti-smuggling, trade compliance, and agriculture protection—while simultaneously facilitating the lawful trade and travel at 328 U.S. ports of entry that is critical to our nation’s economy.

Male CBP Officer inspecting a passenger's luggage at an airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers are responsible for America's border security at ports of entry, safeguarding our country and communities from terrorism, illegal activity, narcotics and human trafficking.

Typical Assignments Include:

  • Detecting and preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S.
  • Enforcing customs, immigration and agricultural laws and regulations at U.S. ports of entry and preclearance locations worldwide
  • Preventing the illegal trafficking of people, narcotics, and contraband into the U.S.
  • Performing inspection, intelligence analysis, examination and law enforcement activities including apprehension, detention and arrest relative to arrival and departure of persons, conveyances and merchandise at ports of entry
  • Conducting developmental level officer duties to protect the U.S. homeland, enforce federal laws and efficiently facilitate legitimate trade and travel
  • Developing, planning and participating in tactical operations
  • Interacting with carriers, other agencies and foreign entities to exchange information and provide guidance on admissibility/compliance

Being a CBP Officer opens up many opportunities as your career advances. In your career, you may have the opportunity to do the following:

  • Work internationally
  • Conduct K-9 Inspection: Dogs are used to detect drugs, weapons, cash, and explosives
  • Join the Special Response Team, the tactical and special response arm of the Office of Field Operations
  • Join the Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET), a specialized unit of the Office of Field Operations to seize drugs, weapons, currency, and illicit contraband

CBP Agriculture Specialists target, detect and intercept invasive species, contaminants or diseases before they have a chance to harm U.S. agriculture and natural resources.

Typical Assignments Include: 

  • Serving as a consultant in the areas of inspection, analysis, intelligence gathering, examination and law enforcement activities regarding the importation of agricultural/commercial commodities and conveyances at ports of entry
  • Applying laws and regulations when determining the admissibility of agriculture commodities while preventing the introduction of harmful pests, diseases and potential agro-terrorism into the U.S.
  • Participating in special enforcement, targeting or analysis teams charged with collecting and analyzing information and identifying high-risk targets
  • Planning and conducting remedial actions such as treating, disinfecting and decontaminating prohibited commodities, conveyances contaminants or agricultural materials

Mission Ready: Import Specialist

Sarah Lum describes the duties and responsibilities of her job as an Import Specialist with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Port of Savannah. An Import Specialist classifies and appraises merchandise that is imported into the United States, ensures that imported merchandise is compliant with all laws and regulations, and that all applicable duties, taxes, and fees are paid.

Import Specialist meet with importers, advise a company on export requirements, send product samples to a CBP lab, explain to a foreign shipper or importer why their goods have been seized, and testify in court as an expert witness.

Additionally, Import Specialists check cargo manifests, target shipments to examine, review invoices to see if merchandise is classified correctly and assessed the correct duty rate, and conduct a physical exam of counterfeit goods. They interact with international shippers and freight forwarders, domestic and foreign manufacturers, ship captains, corporate lawyers, small business owners and law enforcement personnel from CBP and other U.S. federal agencies.

Sometimes, Import Specialists are given short-term assignments overseas as part of a multi-agency team. Responsibilities include investigating foreign manufacturing facilities for violations involving forced labor, product safety or other areas of concern to the U.S.

Typical Assignments Include:

  • Determining admissibility of merchandise and other import-related decisions on a national scope and on an account basis
  • Conducting in-depth analysis of the nationwide importations, exportations, and transportation of commercial goods by industry
  • Serving as an industry-focused resource for the private sector and broader trade community
  • Exercising the authority to initiate enforcement actions, appraise seized merchandise, issue penalties/fines and issue bills for additional duties, taxes and fees to protect revenue
  • Collaborating with other CBP disciplines at 300 ports of entry in the land, sea, and airport environment
  • Maintaining discipline and industry expertise by continually updating trade knowledge, both in your Center industry and in changing U.S. import/export laws and regulations