Customs & Border Protection Officers
Also called: Customs Inspector, Customs Officer, Inspector, Special Agent
Produced by CareerOneStop
Video transcript: skip transcript
Whether working with a dog to sniff out contraband brought back from an overseas vacation… or checking out the cargo hold of an ocean-going freighter, immigration and customs inspectors help to protect the public from criminal activity— and dangerous germs and pests. Whenever the country’s borders are crossed, immigration and customs inspectors enforce laws about the people and goods that are allowed in… or out of… the United States. These inspectors work for the U.S. Customs Service, a division of the federal government. Their job is to inspect cargo on boats, trains, and planes, that enter or leave the country, and to investigate the baggage and personal items carried by people traveling over national borders. They also review travelers’ passports and immigration applications to determine eligibility for entering, or residing in the United States. Customs inspectors carry the authority of law. In their efforts to enforce regulations, they search for illegal substances such as drugs, and can seize prohibited or smuggled articles, and apprehend, search, and arrest people who violate U.S. laws. To become a customs inspector, you must be a U.S. citizen, pass a drug screening test, and pass a civil service examination. Most people in the field have an associate’s degree, or vocational school training. Knowledge of a foreign language may improve your chances of being hired.
What they do:Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, goods, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
On the job, you would:
- Examine immigration applications, visas, and passports and interview persons to determine eligibility for admission, residence, and travel in the U.S.
- Detain persons found to be in violation of customs or immigration laws and arrange for legal action, such as deportation.
- Inspect cargo, baggage, and personal articles entering or leaving U.S. for compliance with revenue laws and U.S. customs regulations.
Safety and Government
- law and government
- public safety and security
Arts and Humanities
- English language
- foreign language
- customer service
- administrative services
Math and Science
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- talking to others
- understanding people's reactions
- changing what is done based on other people's actions
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
- make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
- notice when problems happen
- pay attention to something without being distracted
- do two or more things at the same time
- see hidden patterns
People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Self Control
- Stress Tolerance
- Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Office suite software
Data base user interface and query software
- Automated Manifest System AMS
- National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database