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U.S. Border Patrol Seal

Border Patrol Agent
Application Process

Are you ready to become a Border Patrol Agent? Take your first steps toward securing your career and joining our team.


Being a Border Patrol Agent can be mentally and physically challenging. To ensure that every agent is mission-ready, our comprehensive hiring process helps identify the talented individuals who have what it takes. Explore the application requirements and steps for becoming a Border Patrol Agent below.

Male Border Patrol Agent at the academy holding the USBP patch


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Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Have a valid driver's license
  • Have resided in the U.S. for at least three of the last five years (Residency Requirement Exceptions)
  • Be eligible to carry a firearm
  • Be referred for selection prior to your 40th birthday (or receive an exception for veteran's preference eligibility or previous service in a civilian law enforcement position)
  • Be willing to travel
  • Pass the application process (see details below)

You may be disqualified if your background includes:

  • Use of illegal drugs and/or the sale distribution of illegal drugs
  • Convictions, including misdemeanor domestic violence charges
  • International harboring or concealment of undocumented noncitizens


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Your Application Journey



To begin your application process, submit your application on USAJOBS. After you submit your application, go back to the application section of your USAJOBS account and make sure we have received your application. Your application status will say you applied with the date you submitted your application if it went through.

The CBP Hiring Center will review your application to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications and determine what grade you qualify for. If your resume and/or transcripts do not clearly document how you are qualified, you may be rated ineligible. We highly recommend you review the Border Patrol Agent Resume Aid when preparing your resume.

If you are found to be a qualified applicant, then you will go through a series of steps in the application process.


You must pass the Border Patrol Agent Entrance Examination. To help you prepare, CBP has created a series of study guides and a pretest.

You can find more information, along with a video for scheduling and preparing for the exam, on the Border Patrol Agent Entrance Exam page.

You must undergo and successfully pass a background investigation as a condition of employment with CBP. The Standard Form 86 - Questionnaire for National Security or Standard Form 85 - Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions must be completed to initiate the background investigation. The background investigation consists of the preliminary vetting checks, the investigation and the final adjudication. 

You may or may not be required to take a standardized polygraph exam as part of the application process. Results of your polygraph examination, along with information gathered as part of the background investigation process, will be used to assess your overall suitability/eligibility to hold a law enforcement position with CBP. 

You 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 performance of the job's duties or training may result in medical disqualification, but no disease or 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 your expense.

For more information, visit the Medical Review page. 

You must pass the Border Patrol Agent Physical Fitness Test. To help you prepare, CBP has created a 6-week standardized training program.

You can find more information, along with the Physical Fitness Test Guide, on the Border Patrol Agent Physical Fitness Test  page. 

Activity  Repetitions Time Frame
Sit-ups 25 1 minute
Push-ups 20 1 minute
14" Step 120 steps per minute 5 minutes

You will need to complete a structured interview to ensure you have the competencies that are critical for successful job performance.

Among these competencies are judgment/decision-making, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills and cooperativeness/sensitivity to the needs of others.

You may or may not be required to take a standardized polygraph exam as part of your Border Patrol Agent application. The polygraph exam, if you are required to take it, 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.

You will be required to submit to a random drug test during the application process.

If you test positive, then you will be disqualified. 

You will be detailed to the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico, for approximately 6 months of intensive instruction in immigration and nationality laws, law enforcement and Border Patrol-specific operations, drivers training, physical techniques, firearms, and other courses.

You will also be provided training to become proficient with the Spanish language and will be tested on your language abilities. Successful completion of the academy is required for this position.