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Border force officer

Border Force officers secure the UK border by carrying out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £23,000 to £31,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 to 42 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need to:

  • be a UK national with no restrictions on your stay
  • have lived in the UK for the last 5 years
  • pass background and security checks
  • pass a medical examination
  • have a good level of physical fitness

To enter at officer level, you’ll also need to have one of the following:

You could also start out as an assistant officer and work you way up. For an assistant officer role you’ll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths.

GOV.UK has more information about careers in the civil service and how to apply.

If you're a graduate, you can apply through the Civil Service Fast Stream.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • decision making skills
  • the ability to manage challenging situations in a calm and professional manner
  • leadership skills
  • teamworking skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll protect UK border entry points like ports, airports, postal depots and the rail network.

You’ll check passengers for immigration control purposes, and you'll enforce customs regulations by making sure the right tax is paid on goods. You'll also be looking for and removing illegal items like drugs, firearms, and counterfeit goods.

Your duties will depend on which part of the country you’re based in. Your day-to-day work could include:

  • checking travel documents and passports
  • questioning passengers about their travel plans, and deciding if they need further questioning
  • searching people, luggage and vehicles
  • writing case notes
  • working with the police on major cases
  • attending court as a witness

You might also take part in counter-terrorism activities or prevention of human trafficking.

4. Salary

Starter: £23,000

Experienced: £27,000

Highly Experienced: £31,000

Overtime working may mean you can earn more.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 40 hours a week on a shift system, which could include nights, weekends and bank holidays.

You'll mainly work indoors, based at a port or airport, but you'll spend time away when working on investigations or attending court. You’ll usually need a full UK driving licence.

The role can be physically demanding.

6. Career path and progression

You’ll get continuous training during your first 6 to 12 months. Once you’ve developed your skills and passed your probationary period, you’ll have the full responsibilities of a Border Force officer.

With experience you could then become a team leader, or move into a management position. You could also use your skills in training and working with new staff.

You may also be able to apply for roles in other departments of the Home Office or Civil Service.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017