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  5. Criminal Investigator Pay and Benefits

Criminal Investigator Pay and Benefits

Criminal Investigators escorting a handcuffed person to the back of a law enforcement vehicle.

Working as a Criminal Investigator, your job is impactful because you provide factual, unbiased and professional investigative products and services in support of the overall OPR mission to safeguard and promote the integrity and security of the CBP workforce.  




Dollar Sign Icon Competitive Pay


Criminal Investigators are competitively rewarded for their time on the job. In addition to base salary, Criminal Investigators may be eligible for locality pay, overtime pay, and more.

Grade Base Salary Average FY 2022 Locality, Overtime and Premium Pay Total Compensation*
GS-9 $47,097 $10,679 $57,776
GS-11 $56,983 $12,920 $69,903
GS-12 $68,299 $15,486 $83,785
GS-13 $81,216 $18,415 $99,631

*Based on fiscal year 2022 pay scale for GS Step 1 positions. Salaries include an average of locality, overtime, shift differential, and will vary by location.

  • Salary: Your salary corresponds to your grade level, as quoted on USAJOBS. 
  • Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP): Earn up to 25% of your salary for time worked outside the 40-hour work week.
  • Foreign Language Pay: You are eligible for foreign language pay if certified as fluent in certain foreign languages.
  • Locality Pay: You may receive pay on top of your salary, depending on what county you work in. Explore Locality Pay Tables.
  • Premium Pay: You may be eligible for premium pay for working on Sundays, holidays and night shifts.
  • Cash Awards: Outstanding performers may receive cash awards as recognition for their superior efforts, funding permitting.
  • Career Progression: Criminal Investigator is a career ladder position with a grade level progression of GS-9, GS-11, GS-12 and GS-13. For more information, see the Career Progression section below.

Palm Tree on an Island Under a Sun IconPaid Time Off


CBP offers Criminal Investigators substantial leave benefits and unique training opportunities, including:

Palm Tree on an Island Under a Sun Icon

13 to 26 days of annual leave accrued per year (variation based on years federal service)

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11 federal holidays per year

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Military reserve leave

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13 days of sick leave accrued per year

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Opportunities for paid training


Overview: The maximum amount of annual leave that you may carry over into the following year is 30 days. There is no limit to the amount of sick leave that you may accrue. For more details, visit the Benefits page.

Disabled Veteran Leave (Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015)

In accordance with the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-75, November 5, 2015), employees eligible under the Act are entitled to disabled veteran leave for the purpose of undergoing medical treatment for a service-connected disability. View the Disabled Veteran Leave Fact Sheet for more information.


Person Climbing a Stairs IconCareer Progression


CBP supports Criminal Investigators with long-term career success, rapid promotion potential and first-rate training for new and current officers. Criminal Investigator is a career ladder position with a grade level progression of GS-9, GS-11, GS-12 and GS-13. You will be eligible for a promotion to the next grade level without reapplying once you successfully complete one year in each grade level, with supervisor approval. At the GS-13 level and beyond, you compete for positions and are promoted based on merit with significant pay boost for progressing on the career ladder.


Caeer chart. Entry level to journeyman to supervisory to executive

Entry Level: Criminal Investigators entry level positions are GS-9 and GS-11.

Journeyman: Journeyman positions entail more responsibility, duties and higher performance standards.

Supervisory: Supervisory roles include leadership and increased responsibilities.

Executive: Beyond the GS-15 level is the Senior Executive Service (SES), which makes up the core of CBP’s leadership. SES is typically responsible for high-level decisions, CBP's vision and interacting with external stakeholders and Congress.


Graduation Cap IconTuition Assistance Program


The Tuition Assistance Program reimburses Criminal Investigators for off-duty post-secondary education costs of tuition, fees and books. A Criminal Investigator may apply for benefits up to $1,500 per course and $4,500 per calendar year for a professional certification of for any two- or four-year degree, including associates, bachelors, masters and doctorates.


Medical Badge IconHealth Insurance


Employee health is of the utmost importance to CBP. Criminal Investigators are eligible to choose from a variety of premium federal health insurance programs. Programs available include:

You may be eligible to keep your health insurance in retirement while paying the same subsidized premium as you did as an employee. Learn more about continued health insurance benefits for you and your family in retirement.


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CBP offers various federal life insurance programs to help you achieve your financial planning goals for the future, including:


Piggy Bank IconGenerous Retirement


CBP continues to support Criminal Investigators retiring from the agency with the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), which includes three streams of income:

  1. FERS Basic Annuity Under Special Provisions: Criminal Investigators that serve in the federal government with at least 20 years of law enforcement service are eligible for this guaranteed lifetime pension, which is a percentage of a retiree's highest average pay earned during any 3 consecutive years of service. Learn more about FERS basic annuity.
  2. Thrift Savings Plan: Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a defined contribution plan designed to give federal employees the same retirement savings-related benefits as with 401(K) plans in the private sector. Employees choose the amount to contribute, which is transferable if you change employers, with employer matching up to 5% of your base salary. Learn more about the Thrift Savings Plan.
  3. Social Security: Criminal Investigator retirees receive social security retirement payments; benefits are transferable if you change employers. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits.

Law Enforcement Retirement Coverage: Being a Criminal Investigator at CBP qualifies you for law enforcement retirement coverage. What does that mean? Law enforcement retirement coverage means you can retire at any age after 25 years of service or at age 50 with at least 20 years of service.

Last Modified: June 3, 2022