Customs Agent

Customs agents investigate drug smuggling, child pornography, money laundering, in addition to enforcing provisions of the Arms Export Control Act. These agents are also referred to as Customs Border Patrol (CBP) officers. Customs agents operate sophisticated surveillance technology, recruit informants, analyze courier, manufacturing, bank, and export records, acquire search warrants, conduct interviews, and collaborate with other law enforcement agencies to conduct raids.

Customs agents check people, imported products, and luggage, in addition to cargo being transported on planes, boats, and trains entering and departing the country. They organize efforts to inspect, count, and weigh cargo entering or departing the country, regardless of whether its commercial or not. When illegal drugs, weapons, or other items are detected, customs agents confiscate it. They also oversee efforts to eliminate the importation of contraband and arrest smugglers and other suspected criminals.

CBP officers are stationed at more than 300 ports of entry nationwide, including air and seaports and border crossing stations along the Mexican and Canadian borders. Ports of entry are the nation's frontline of protection against numerous criminal enterprises, such as gun, drug, and human smuggling, money laundering, terrorism, contraband smuggling, and other customs and border violations. Since CBP officers are federal law enforcement agents, they're required to carry guns, wear official uniforms, and work overtime when necessary. Certain CBP officers are trained to handle drug and explosives sniffing dogs.

Since CBP officers frequently interact with tourists and other travelers, they must be patient, excellent communicators, and exercise smart judgment. In addition to traditional law enforcement responsibilities, CBP officers gather intelligence and coordinate anti-terrorism and smuggling operations with the ATF, DEA, FBI, and other police agencies. Some CBP officers are assigned short-term, specialized assignments in foreign countries.

Duties of CBP Officers
  • Executing and supporting the federal government's anti-terrorism programs
  • Inspecting cargo entering and departing the United States and screening foreign travelers
  • Inspecting commercial and passenger motor vehicles at border crossing stations
  • Inspecting luggage and commercial cargo at airports and interacting with foreigners entering the country
  • Inspecting cargo and luggage being transported by ships at seaports
  • Assisting other law enforcement personnel employed by local, state, and federal agencies
  • Utilizing sophisticated technology and traditional procedures, including the use of drug and explosives sniffing dogs to stop drug smuggling

Training to become a CBP officer begins at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Academy at Glynco, Georgia with 15 weeks of rigorous and paid training. Trainees complete rigorous physical and firearms training, in addition to classroom instruction and hands-on inspection method and technology utilization training. Trainees preparing to work at the Mexican border, Florida, or Puerto Rico must pass a Spanish proficiency test or complete an extra 6 weeks of language instruction, extending preliminary training to 21 weeks.

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How to apply for the CBP Officer position
To apply for open CBP officer positions you must sign up for a written online test after openings are announced. When jobs open, job postings are viewable at (Careers section) or

Registration instructions for the written online exam are provided with vacancy announcements. When registering for the exam, you'll be asked various questions to determine whether you're a good candidate to become a CBP officer and willing to agree to employment requirements. Every applicant will be required to complete preliminary qualification screening, answer questions about the CBP officer position, identify preferred specialty and work location, and identify the location of where the exam will be taken.

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