Border Force Officer

Job Description:

Border Force officers protect a country's border entry points like ports and airports, by enforcing immigration and customs regulations.

Job Category:
Aerospace & Defence

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • check travel documents and passports
  • question passengers about their reasons for visiting the country
  • search people, luggage and vehicles
  • write case notes
  • work with the police and immigration officials on operations
  • attend court as a witness


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • customer service skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Border Force Officer, you don’t need specific qualifications. However, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial in preparing for a career in border security and customs enforcement. Here are some subjects that can be helpful:

  1. English: Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential for border force officers, as they need to document incidents, communicate with travellers, and write reports.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are useful for tasks such as calculating duties and taxes, measuring quantities, and performing basic financial calculations.
  3. Geography (Optional): Courses in geography can provide insights into global geography, border control issues, and geopolitical factors that affect border security.
  4. Foreign Languages (Optional): If you plan to work in an international airport or port of entry, proficiency in foreign languages can be an asset for communicating with travellers.
  5. Physical Fitness: Border force officers often need to maintain a high level of physical fitness. Consider participating in physical education (PE) or fitness-related activities to stay in shape.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working your way up
  • applying directly
  • a graduate training scheme


You could do a college course which could help you to develop some of the skills and knowledge needed in this role.

In the UK, for example, relevant courses include a Diploma in Public Services.


You could do a public service operational delivery advanced apprenticeship with the Civil Service.


You could join the Civil Service as a Border Force assistant officer, then apply for an officer post when vacancies become available.

Direct Application

You could apply directly to become a Border Force officer.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 38-42 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays on shifts.

You could work at a border post. Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers. You may need to wear a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

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

You’ll get regular training updates throughout your career to keep up to date and with experience you could become a senior Border Force officer.

You could become a team leader, or move into a management position. You could also use your skills to train and work with new staff.