The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is calling on those who want to help protect American interests and secure our Nation. DHS Components work collectively to prevent terrorism; secure borders and our transportation systems; protect the President and other dignitaries; enforce and administer immigration laws; safeguard cyberspace; and ensure resilience to disasters. We achieve these vital missions through a diverse workforce spanning hundreds of occupations. Make an impact; join DHS.
Being a Border Patrol Agent makes you a valuable member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) profession. Typical assignments include:
- Detecting, preventing, and apprehending undocumented noncitizens and smugglers of noncitizens at or near the land borders by maintaining surveillance from covert positions
- Responding to electronic sensor alarms
- Interpreting and following tracks, marks and other physical evidence
- Using infrared scopes during night operations
- Responding to aircraft sighting and other anti-smuggling activities
- Performing farm and ranch checks, traffic checks, city patrols, and transportation checks
- Patrolling the international boundary and coastal waterways and using a variety of Government assets for the accomplishment of the USBP Mission. These assets may include, but are not limited to: vehicles, horses, vessels, watercrafts, off-road vehicles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorcycles
The path to become a Border Patrol Agent includes several steps. Each step is necessary to make sure we are hiring people who are qualified and capable of doing this important work. This video includes what you need to know as you navigate the journey in becoming a Border Patrol Agent – Your Journey To Becoming A Border Patrol Agent.
For more information on becoming a Border Patrol Agent, contact our recruiters here.
This is a career ladder position with a grade level progression of GL-9, GS-11, and GS-12. You will be eligible for a promotion to the next higher grade level (without re-applying) once you successfully complete 52 weeks in each grade level. Promotions are at the discretion of the agency. Pay rates are based on the 2023 OPM Salary Tables and do not take into consideration any potential overtime earnings, recruitment incentives, location incentives or yearly cost of living increases.
For more information on career progression, click here.
Click on this video for more information on what it’s like to be a Border Patrol Agent – A Day in the Life of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. In this video, actual agents in the field provide insight into the skills needed to be successful in the role, the tools they use, and what drives U.S. Border Patrol Agents.
Uniform/Grooming Standards: This position requires wearing an officially approved uniform and complying with established grooming standards found here; as established by the Border Patrol’s Uniform and Grooming Standards Policy #07-09126. Please note that in accordance with these standards, tattoos and/or brandings on the head, face, neck, or hands are not permitted, with the exception of one ring tattoo on each hand that cannot be wider than one half inch. Obscene, racially/ethnically derogatory and/or gang tattoos or brandings shall not be visible.
Bargaining Unit: This position is covered under the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). For more information, please visit https://bpunion.org/.
Conditions of Employment
You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
Firearm Proficiency: You will be required to carry a firearm. Firearm proficiency is required for all Border Patrol Agents and is part of the training provided.
Probationary Period: You must serve a one-year probationary period during the first year of your initial permanent federal appointment.
Formal Training: 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. Successful completion of the academy is required for this position. For more information, please see the Hiring Process Deep Dive Video: Preparing for the Border Patrol Academy for a look at how to prepare for the academy, what you’ll learn there and next steps after graduating.
Language Proficiency: Border Patrol work requires the ability to speak and read Spanish, as well as English. Agents will be provided training to become proficient with the Spanish language at the academy.
Residency Requirement: CBP has a residency requirement that applies to all applicants not currently employed by CBP. You are required to have physically resided in the United States or its protectorates (as declared under international law) for at least three (3) of the last five (5) years, before completing an application for CBP employment. If you do not meet the residency requirement and have been physically located in a foreign location for more than two (2) of the last five (5) years, you may request an exception to determine if you are eligible for a residency waiver by meeting one or more of the following conditions:
- Working for the U.S. Government as a federal civilian or as a member of the military
- A dependent of a federal civilian or member of the military who was working for the U.S. Government
- Working as a contractor employee, a volunteer, consultant or an intern for the U.S. Government
- Participation in a study abroad program sponsored by a U.S. affiliated college or university
If selected for a position, you must provide documentation to support a request for an exception to the residency requirement.
Driver’s License: You must possess a valid driver’s license.
More requirements listed in the Additional Information section below.
If you do not have previous or current law enforcement or military law enforcement experience, you may qualify for the GL-5/7 grade level. Please refer to the BPA GL-5/7 grade level announcement: Apply Here!
You qualify for the GL-9 grade level if you possess the following:
Experience: One year of specialized work experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level that shows that you have the ability to enforce local, state, and/or federal laws and regulations in a law enforcement capacity and otherwise have the authority or ability to do the following: plan and conduct investigations, plan and make arrests, serve court orders (warrants), use firearms, and/or deal with people in a persuasive, tactful, and resourceful manner.
Education Substitution: There is no education substitution for this grade level.
National Service Experience: Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional, philanthropic, religious, spiritual, community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
Age Requirement: In accordance with Public Law 100-238, this position is covered under law enforcement retirement provisions. Candidates must be referred for selection to the Border Patrol Agent position before reaching their 40th birthday in accordance with Department of Homeland Security Directive 251-03. The age restriction may not apply if you are currently serving or have previously served in a federal civilian law enforcement (non-military) position covered by Title 5 U.S.C. 8336(c) or Title 5 U.S.C. 8412(d).
The age restriction does not apply if you are a Veterans’ Preference eligible. For more information on Veterans’ Preference eligibility please see the OPM Veterans’ Guide.
Firearm Requirement: This position requires that the incumbent meet initial and continuing qualifications in the use of firearms as outlined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, amended by the Lautenberg Amendment of 1996. An applicant whose background includes any of the following will be ineligible for consideration: 1) convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year; 2) has any outstanding warrants or is a fugitive from justice; 3) unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance; 4) adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution; 5) illegally or unlawfully in the United States; 6) renounced U. S. citizenship; 7) subject to a court-ordered restraining (protection) order from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner (spouse, former spouse, parent of applicant’s child, individual who cohabitates or has cohabitated with the applicant), or child; or 8) convicted under Federal, State, or Tribal Court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence against an intimate partner or child.
Current Federal Employees: Current federal employees who apply to this announcement may be required to accept a change to lower grade which will reduce their current salary based on Federal pay regulations. Re-promotion is not guaranteed. Timeframes and grade level re-promotion is at the discretion of the agency.
Political Appointees: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must authorize employment offers made to current or former political appointees. If you are currently, or have been within the last 5 years, a political Schedule A, Schedule C, Non-career SES or Presidential Appointee employee in the Executive Branch, you must disclose this information to the Human Resources Office.
Any offers of employment made pursuant to this announcement will be consistent with all applicable authorities, including Presidential Memoranda, Executive Orders, interpretive U.S. Office of Personnel Management guidance, and U.S. Office of Management and Budget plans and policies concerning hiring. These authorities are subject to change.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to ensuring that all of our employees act in a manner that embodies the Department’s Mission Statement: With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland and our values. As an employee of CBP, you will be joining a workforce that is dedicated to accomplishing our mission while maintaining the trust of our Nation by strictly adhering to all government ethics standards. Your conduct will be subject to the ethics rules applicable to all Executive Branch employees, and to CBP employees specifically, as well as the criminal conflict of interest statutes. Once you enter on duty, these rules include obtaining approval for outside employment or business activity, to ensure such employment or business activity is not prohibited and does not interfere or conflict with performance of your official duties. Please review further details here.
There is no Education Substitution for this grade level.
CBP employees demonstrate the highest level of commitment to protect and serve the United States of America and to exemplify the CBP Core Values of Vigilance, Service to Country and Integrity. Learn more about CBP’s mission and core values at https://www.cbp.gov/about.
Additional $10,000 Recruitment Incentive: Hard to fill locations include Sierra Blanca, TX; Presidio, TX; Sanderson, TX; Comstock, TX; Lordsburg, NM; Freer, TX; Hebbronville, TX; Ajo, AZ. All incentive recipients will be required to sign a two-year service agreement.
Polygraph Examination: This is a polygraph-required position. If you are not a current CBP employee in a law enforcement position, you will be required to take a polygraph exam and have favorable results in order to continue in the pre-employment process. For more information and videos about the polygraph process, please see Polygraph Examination.
Polygraph Reciprocity: CBP may accept the results of a prior federal polygraph exam in lieu of a CBP polygraph exam. You will receive information to request reciprocity in your Background Investigation package.
Polygraph Waiver: Certain veterans may be eligible to obtain a polygraph waiver. You will receive information to request a waiver in your Background Investigation package.
Background Investigation: This position is a sensitive National Security Position and, upon selection, applicants will be required to undergo, and must successfully pass, a Tier 5 investigation or equivalent for placement and retention in this position. For more information, please see Background Investigation and the Hiring Process Deep Dive Video: The E-QIP.
Pre-Screening Interview: As part of the suitability process, you may be required to undergo a pre-screening interview.
Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence: The Border Patrol Agent position is a weapons-carrying position. Any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence cannot lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition. Therefore, if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, you are not qualified for this position.
Medical/Physical Requirements: You must complete the medical screening process and be found to meet the medical standards for the position. If you do not meet the medical standards for the position, you may request a waiver of the medical standard by demonstrating with non-medical information that, with or without reasonable accommodation, you can safely perform the essential duties of the position. For more information click here. This video explains what to expect in the Medical Exam process: Hiring Process Deep Dive Video: Medical Exam
Drug Testing Requirements: Employees are subject to drug testing in compliance with the DHS Drug-Free Workplace Program. You must complete a drug test as a condition of employment. For more information, visit our Drug Testing FAQs and the Hiring Process Deep Dive Video: The Drug Test.
Physical Fitness Screening: You will be required to successfully pass the Pre-employment Fitness Test. This a 6-week program designed to assist you in achieving a level of physical fitness that will help you successfully pass CBP fitness test. For more information, please see the Pre-Employment Fitness Test Physical Readiness Program and the Hiring Process Deep Dive Video: The Fitness Test.
Interview Process: You will be required to pass a structured interview.
After you successfully complete all the pre-employment steps, you will be at the final offer step. For more information on the final offer, please see the Hiring Process Deep Dive Video: The Final Offer.
All agency employees are required to participate in Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds Transfer for salary payments.
If you receive a conditional offer of employment for this position, you will be required to complete an Optional Form 306, Declaration for Federal Employment. Click this link for more information.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
We will review your resume and supporting documentation to ensure you meet the basic qualification requirements. If you meet the minimum qualifications, your experience and training will be rated using an online self-assessment questionnaire that is based on the competencies or knowledge, skills, and abilities listed below. You will receive a score ranging from 70-100 based on your responses. Your entire application package will then be reviewed.
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics (KSAOs): Candidates who meet the minimum qualification requirements are required to possess certain Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, or Other Characteristics (KSAOs) to successfully perform the functions of this position. Candidates will be asked to demonstrate their ability to perform of these KSAOs in their resume. The KSAOs are:
- Knowledge of Immigration and Nationality Law (e.g., non-immigrant classifications, immigrant classifications, inadmissible noncitizens, removable noncitizens, derivative citizenship, 8 USC)
- Knowledge of the Use of Force Policy (e.g., firearms, less-lethal devices and techniques, qualification requirements)
- Knowledge of Criminal Law and Procedure (e.g., statutory authority)
- Skill in Using Physical Techniques (e.g., self-defense, baton, OC spray, PLS)
- Skill in Using Firearms (e.g., hand gun, shotgun, M-4)
- Skills in Basic Operation of a Motor Vehicle (e.g., everyday use of vehicles, parallel parking)
Applicants who successfully complete the application process will be referred during the open period of this announcement in order of applications received.
If you meet the minimum qualifications, you will be placed in one of three categories based on your experience and training:
- Best Qualified: Substantially exceeds the minimum qualifications
- Well Qualified: Exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position and who demonstrate average proficiency in most of the critical competencies
- Qualified: Meets the basic minimum qualifications
Veterans who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10% are listed at the top of the highest quality category depending on grade levels. Veterans with 5-point preference or 10-point non-compensable preference who meet the eligibility and qualification requirements are placed above non-preference eligible within the category in which they qualify.
Resume: A resume in English is required. It must contain your full legal name, address, phone number, complete work history, a detailed description of your duties, the dates you performed those duties (MM/DD/YY), as well as your hours worked per week. If you are a current or former Federal employee, please include your salary, pay scale and pay grade information. Note: Most applicants are screened out for insufficient information on their resume. Please see the CBP Border Patrol Agent Resume Aid for specific information and examples.
Veterans’ Preference Documents: If you claim Veterans’ Preference you will be required to submit proof of eligibility (DD 214 Member-4 copy, Certificate of Release or Discharge) showing your Character of Service. Those applying for 10-Point preference must submit documentation that demonstrates preference eligibility. Please see the documentation as listed on the SF-15.
Statement of Service (Certification Letter): If you are still on active duty you must submit a signed certification from the Armed Forces showing when you will be discharged or released from active duty. The certification letter should be on letterhead of the appropriate military branch of the service and contain (1) the military service dates including the expected discharge or release date; (2) campaign badges and expeditionary medals; and (3) the character of service. View more about Veterans Preference. Prior to entering on duty, you will be required to provide a final DD-214 showing character of service.
Age Requirement Documents: If you are over the age of 40 you will need to submit proof you are eligible for the position of Border Patrol Agent. If you are claiming an age waiver based on Federal law enforcement service, you must submit copies of your SF-50s reflecting the beginning date and end date of creditable Federal civilian (not military) service under Title 5 U.S.C. 8331(20), and Title 5 U.S.C. 8401(17). Block 30 of your SF-50 should show Retirement Code M or O. If you do not meet the age requirement and you are unable to provide this required documentation, you will not receive consideration under this announcement. If you are claiming an age waiver based on Veterans’ Preference, submit the required Veterans’ Preference documents.
SF-50: If you are a current/former Federal employee it is recommended you submit your most recent SF-50 “Notification of Personnel Action” form. Please do not submit a Performance Award SF-50.
Are you claiming special priority selection rights under the Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP)? Please submit:
- a copy of your agency notice,
- a copy of your most recent performance rating, and
- a copy of your most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, noting your current position, grade level, and duty location
Are you a current or former political appointee? If you are or have been a political Schedule A, Schedule C, Non-career SES or Presidential appointee employee, you must submit a copy of your applicable SF-50, along with a statement that provides the following information regarding your most recent political appointment:
- Position title
- Type of appointment (Schedule A, Schedule C, Non-career SES, or Presidential Appointee)
- Beginning and ending dates of appointment
How to Apply
Before you apply, it is critical that you acknowledge each of CBP’s Conditions of Employment. We expect our employees to uphold these conditions throughout their tenure with CBP. This video will detail each of our main categories: appearance and health; examinations, investigations, and tests; fitness and the academy. The goal of this video is to provide you with upfront knowledge of CBP’s expectations – Hiring Process Deep Dive Video: Conditions of Employment
To begin your online application, sign into USA Jobs or create a USA Jobs account if you do not already have one. Click Apply and follow the online prompts to fill out the questionnaire and submit your application. Your application packet must include a completed assessment questionnaire, a resume, and any applicable and/or required supporting documentation. Please see the Required Document section for additional information. All application materials must be in English. If you are planning to apply using your phone or tablet, see Browser Compatibility.
Applications and supporting documentation will not be accepted by mail or email. The email address posted below is for inquiries only. Applicants may not update any part of their application after initial submission. You must submit your resume, application questionnaire, and any supporting documents at the time of application. Please see the Next Steps section for more information.
Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) and Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) Eligibles: If you have never worked for the federal government, you are not CTAP or ICTAP eligible. View information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility on OPM’s Career Transition Resources website. You must submit the supporting documents listed under the Required Documents section of this announcement. In addition, to be considered well qualified under CTAP/ICTAP, you must possess the knowledge, skills and abilities and/or competencies clearly exceeding the minimum requirements of the position as shown in the evaluation section of this announcement.
Duty Locations: Offers are made based on operational needs and requirements and are determined by the U.S. Border Patrol. Although the locations listed will most likely be available, the duty location offered in your final offer letter may include any location within the Southwest Border region as follows:
- Big Bend Sector Texas – Presidio Station, Van Horn Station, Sanderson Station, Alpine Station, Sierra Blanca Station, Marfa Station
- Del Rio Sector Texas – Del Rio Station, Brackettville Station, Comstock Station, Eagle Pass North Station, Eagle Pass South Station, Carrizo Springs Station, Uvalde Station
- El Paso Sector Texas – Alamogordo Station, Clint Station, Deming Station, El Paso Station, Fort Hancock Station, Las Cruces Station, Lordsburg Station, Santa Teresa Station, Ysleta Station
- El Centro Sector California – El Centro Station, Indio Station, Calexico Station
- Laredo Sector Texas – Laredo South Station, Cotulla Station, Hebbronville Station, Laredo West Station, Freer Station, Laredo North Station, Zapata Station
- Rio Grande Valley Sector Texas – Rio Grande City Station, Fort Brown Station, McAllen Station, Brownsville Station, Falfurrias Station, Weslaco Station, Kingsville Station, Harlingen Station
- San Diego Sector California – Boulevard Station, Brownfield Station, Campo Station, Chula Vista, Station, Imperial Beach Station, Murrieta Station, San Clemente Station
- Tucson Sector Arizona – Ajo Station, Tucson Station, Nogales Station, Douglas Station, Brian A Terry Station, Sonoita Station, Casa Grande Station, Three Points Substation, Willcox Station
- Yuma Sector Arizona – Blythe Station, Yuma Station, Wellton Station
DHS offers competitive salaries and an attractive benefits package. For more information, go to the DHS Careers website and select Benefits. Disabled veteran leave will be available to any Federal employee hired on or after November 5, 2016, who is a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more.
DHS uses e-Verify, an Internet-based system, to confirm the eligibility of all newly hired employees to work in the United States. Learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities.
Applying to this announcement certifies that you give permission for DHS to share your application with others in DHS for similar positions. View common definitions of terms found in this announcement. View more information on applying for federal employment.