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The Border Patrol Hiring Process

Before You Begin, Things That Will Disqualify You:

1. Any conviction for domestic violence. The Lautenberg Amendment prohibits you from possessing or using a firearm.

2. You must have resided within the United States or its possessions for three of the last five years, unless employed by an agency of the US government. This is not waiverable.

3. YOU are responsible for ensuring that you meet all requirements. Check the vacancy announcement using the hyperlink on the links page to check eligibility. When you are sure you are eligible to become an agent, 


Step 1 -  You may apply on line when hiring is open.

Step 2 - If the application on-line process finds you qualified, you will be scheduled for an exam and automatically receive study guides and an admission notice for the test, telling you when and where to go for testing. DO NOT BE LATE OR MISS YOUR TEST DATE. A few weeks may pass between when you complete the on-line process and when you actually get the test admission notice, so don't despair. MAKE SURE YOU BRING YOUR TEST NOTICE AND A PICTURE ID with you when you appear to take the written test or OPM will not admit you to take the test. BE VERY CAREFUL to not throw away the envelope your materials arrive in. The admission notice may be the address slip showing through the envelope window.

Step 3 - Take the written test. It consists of three parts, a general knowledge section, an artificial language test or Spanish test and a personality inventory test. Spanish must be learned at the Border Patrol Academy. While it is not a requirement to GET the job, it is a requirement to KEEP the job. If you already are very fluent in Spanish (this includes the rules of grammar), you can opt to not take the artificial language portion. Your Spanish ability will be tested. The purpose of the artificial language test is to test your ability to learn a language. When you have completed the written test, be prepared to wait for what seems like forever (it probably will be only a few weeks) until you get your results. Everyone who completes the written test will receive a Notice of Results. For more test info, click HERE. 

Step 4 - If you pass the written test, your name will go on a register of eligible persons. The Twin Cities Delegated Examining Unit (DEU) receives a new list from OPM every three weeks when testing is being done.  

This is information received via email from the Twin Cities Hiring Center:

The higher you score on the test, the better your chances of getting called (and getting called earlier) will be.  If you want to increase your chances of getting a higher score, I highly recommend the ONLY useful BP exam study guide.  Click here to view:


Those of you concerned about the GL-5/7/9 pay grade issue should pay special attention to the Grade Determination sheet provided in the package and provide documentation which you feel will qualify you at the higher grade level. You should also complete ALL GL-5, GL-7and GL-9 sheets, because if you do not qualify for GL-7, or if there are no GL-7 positions available, your application will not be considered for GL-5 if you have failed to return the GL-5 work sheet.

Step 5 - The Twin Cities Staffing Unit will obtain clinic assignments for your medical and vision examinations from their medical contractor. You will receive a FEDEX or priority mail package containing your examination forms and lab kit shortly after receiving your tentative selection letter. It is YOUR responsibility to schedule appointments with the clinics upon receipt of the kit. Please read the instructions thoroughly. Guidance is provided on how to proceed if you run into any problems with the clinics. YOU also are responsible for notifying your Staffing team of your scheduled appointments. This may be done by phone or by completing and returning the postcard enclosed in your medical kit. A determination on the results of your medical exam may take a few weeks. The Twin Cities Medical Review Unit will contact you if any additional follow-up information is required to make a determination of your eligibility. If you are found to be medically ineligible, you will receive notification of that finding and given 30 days to appeal that finding. The notification will provide guidance on how to proceed.

Step 6. You will be notified of when and where to report for an oral interview. The oral interview is a panel of three experienced agents. These agents will give you certain scenarios and test your ability to think on your feet. Please do not be foolish enough to ask agents or applicants what the questions or scenarios are. They will not divulge that sensitive information. If there are very few applicants residing in the area where you live you may experience a delay before being scheduled for your oral interview. Once you have received notification of your oral interview it is YOUR responsibility to contact the Twin Cities Oral Board Coordinator if a bona fide emergency situation or military duty will prevent you from attending your oral interview. If you do not appear for the interview and have not called to make other arrangements your tentative offer of employment will be withdrawn.

Step 7 - If you pass the oral interview, you begin the waiting game.  This is an excellent time to get your ducks in a row as far as documents and scattered information that you will need to complete the SF-86 on the eQip.

Step 8 - At some point you will be contacted by the Twin Cities Drug Testing Unit with instructions on what you must do to complete a drug screening. This could occur prior to the oral interview. You must appear for this screening as instructed, usually with rather short notice. Failure to appear will result in withdrawal of your tentative offer of employment.

Step 9 - Go home and wait. Do not quit your job, but begin to get your personal life in order so that you'll be ready to accept the opportunity of a lifetime.  Eventually, if your background investigation does not uncover the fact that you murdered your grandmother and buried her dismembered body in Mason jars in the back yard, you will be informed of your duty station and given a very short amount of time to report, at your own expense. You will need sufficient funds to defray cost of travel, lodging for about three or four days and incidental expenses. After arrival at your station, the government assumes responsibility for your travel costs. Room and board is free at the Academy and you receive regular GL-5, 7 or 9 pay during your stay there. You will not receive Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) until you actually report for duty at your station. AUO is a premium pay equal to (almost always) 25% of your base pay. As you can imagine, it makes a major difference in your take-home pay.

Step 10 - Make out an allotment to me for 10% of your pay for the rest of your career (just KIDDING! - chill out!) Good luck and welcome to the BEST JOB ON EARTH!